omain Febvre of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team set the fastest lap in each race to claim a podium at the opening round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship at Orlyonok in Russia.

The Frenchman had already confirmed his speed with third place during the morning timed practice which decided gate positions and confirmed his reactions and the power of the KX450-SR to surge uphill into turn one in third place but was unfortunate to lose three places at turn three when the rider ahead of him momentarily lost traction and they both lost their momentum for the following climb. Undaunted by the incident Romain quickly regrouped to already regain third place by the end of lap three; consistently setting the fastest laps of the race he relentlessly closed down the riders ahead of him to take over second place at two-thirds race-distance but, with the leader still six seconds clear, he sensibly settled for a secure finish on the slick hard-baked surface. Race two was again hectic through the early laps and the Kawasaki showed great reactions to cleverly avoid the carnage at turn one to move quickly into third. The rider immediately ahead of him suddenly changed his line as they entered a tight turn on lap four; Romain could not avoid his rival’s rear wheel and was catapulted into the fence. Rejoining the race way down in fifteenth position after losing many seconds extracting his bike from the fence he again set the fastest laps of the race in traffic to secure sixth place in the closing stages. He was rewarded for his efforts with third place overall in the GP and the championship standings.

Romain Febvre: “I had a good start both motos. The first laps were drama both times but I was soon third and I saw I was faster than the others so I took my time to look for lines. In race two Jonass secured the inside line everywhere which made it difficult to find a way past. At one point I was really close to him when he cut the line at the last moment; he took out my front wheel and I went into the fence. I managed to take the bike out of the fence but I lost my balance and fell over again to lose twenty seconds or something. After that I thought the podium was over, but I never gave up charging; I didn’t know until I finished that I was on the podium. I feel really good physically and mentally and I am calm. I still need a little more race time to build my race speed so this was a good start to the season; it’s on your bad days that you win championships. “

Ivo Monticelli entered the first turn in the wheeltracks of his KRT teammate in race one but was unfortunate to be hit from behind as he throttled back for the corner. Pushed downfield to seventeenth by the incident the Italian confirmed the confidence he has gained since joining KRT to regain ninth place by the end of the first lap and had advanced impressively to seventh by half-distance. A mistake cost him two places but he was recovering again until another incident left him trapped under his bike in the middle of the track for several minutes. Medical examination revealed no broken bones but it was decided not to risk starting race two.

Ivo Monticelli: “The day started well with tenth in timed practice and I got a really good jump at the gate. I was around 4th going into the first turn but Jonass hit my bike and he was stuck in my rear wheel; I had a really good first lap and after ten minutes I was seventh; I felt comfortable and could go in a good group with Herlings and Seewer but then I had a small crash to lose two positions and I started to get a little arm pump. I crashed hard in a compression and was stuck under the bike; I didn’t lose consciousness but I had a small concussion so we decided not to start race two. It was not a good day for results but the speed was there and we look forward to England. “

The series now takes a weekend off before the first of six races on consecutive weekends at Matterley Basin in southern England on the 27th of this month.

Courtesy Kawasaki