Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre claimed another GP podium after narrowly missing victory in the second moto at the penultimate round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship.
After a frustrating day at the same Pietramurata track in the shadow of the Italian Dolomites on Sunday when he was run over by other riders the Frenchman confirmed his determination to bounce back to success with second-fastest time – less than four-hundredths of a second from pole – in Qualifying during the morning but his immediate hopes of victory were devastated in a ragged start to the opening race which left him dead-last through the opening two turns; undeterred by the setback he scorched through the pack to fourteenth after just one lap and was already seventh, hot on the rear wheel of teammate Clement Desalle, after three laps. The Green duo advanced together in tandem up the leaderboard to take the chequered flag fourth and fifth. The second moto had to be red-flagged after an incident which did not involve either Kawasaki rider and Febvre responded admirably at the re-start to leave the opening turns in fourth place, making a pass for third within half-a-lap and executing a clever move to second at the end of lap two. At the head of the race the newly-crowned world champion had already established a lead of several seconds but the Kawasaki rider, riding immaculately and setting the fastest laps of the race, closed time-and-again onto the rear wheel of the champion but could not quite make the decisive pass for victory. Such was the pace of the leading duo that they had out-distanced the rest of the field by nearly half-a-minute at the chequered flag. Third overall on the day Febvre has now consolidated yet further fourth place in the world championship which will culminate at the same track on Sunday.
Romain Febvre: “I was able to recover pretty well physically since Sunday, but not completely and this evening I still have some pain in my back! It was not an easy day but I rode a good first moto; I had a bad start as my rear wheel slipped on the metal plate but I had good speed to come back from last to fifth. My second start was much better; I was third, passed to second and had a nice battle with Tim. I just couldn’t find the spot to pass him; it’s really difficult to pass here. But I am on the box and that’s good, even if I would prefer to be on another step. Now I have three days to recover again and then try to get another podium.”
Brimming with confidence after his podium finish on Sunday Clement Desalle was fifth – just half-a-second from pole – in Qualifying. Tenth through the unpredictable opening turns in the first moto he pounced decisively on the second lap to advance three places and continued his impressive ride up the leaderboard to claim fourth place at the finish. Having frustratingly seen the second moto red-flagged after starting fourth the Belgian moved forward quickly from sixth in the re-run to again claim fourth on the opening lap but such was the pace of the entire leaderboard that he remained in that position to the finish to also claim fourth overall on the day. He is still seventh in the championship but could still claim fifth in the final standings at the last round of the series on Sunday.
Clement Desalle: “Overall it was a good day, starting with fifth position in the timed practice session. At the first start I was seventh or eighth; I passed two guys and then Cairoli crashed and handed me the fourth position. I caught Lupino who was third; I was faster than him but to pass on this track is really difficult! My second start was good, but then there was the red flag. My start in the re-run was not as good, but I could come back to fourth with Cairoli chasing behind me; he was close for several laps but then I was fully focused for a few laps and could make a gap on him. I’m pretty happy with my day with a subscription to #4!”