Matterley Basin, Great Britain (01 March 2020) – Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s star trio Jeremy Seewer, Gautier Paulin and Arnaud Tonus put solid points on the board at the opening round of the FIM MXGP World Championship in Matterley Basin, Great Britain.
The spectacular Matterley Basin circuit that hosted the first of 20 rounds, presented challenging conditions after torrential rain and high-speed winds drenched and battered the venue only days prior. As a result of the weather, Infront Moto Racing, the series promoters revised the program on Saturday 29th February, and only allowed time for one practice session out on track.
With limited time to set-up the bikes and ease back into racing, all three riders felt the opening Grand Prix was a strange affair, especially with the horrid weather contributing to the challenging nature of the usually fast-paced and jumpy venue.
In the opening race, Seewer burst out of the gate on his YZ450FM and led the way around turn-one before being nudged back to third on Lap-2 by Jeffrey Herlings and Mitch Evans. With 12-minutes left on the clock, the Swiss sensation hooked a gear, passed Evans and never looked back. He finished second in convincing fashion with an 11-second advantage over the rider in third.
The deep ruts, square edged bumps and low sunlight tested both man and motorcycle. All of the riders had to work hard to find new lines in order to make passes, especially those that had mediocre starts such as Paulin and Tonus.
Paulin fought back from a 15th place start to pass Tim Gajser for seventh before falling back to ninth after losing the front in a rut. The Frenchman made a hasty remount and charged back to a seventh-place finish.
Tonus nursed a painful thumb home to 11th while SM Action M.C. Migliori Yamaha Supported MX team’s rookie Henry Jacobi rounded out the top-10.
In the second and final race of the weekend, it was Paulin who put his YZ450FM inside the top-five after his teammate Seewer collided with another rider at turn-two. The Frenchman put chase to former world champions Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings for the first 10-minutes of the race before settling into a rhythm that would eventually secure the 18-points that are awarded for fourth.
Seewer’s rear brake caliper was damaged in his collision with Clement Desalle at turn-two. Although it was not easy to navigate the rut strewn track with no rear brake, the ‘91’ still put in a determined ride to finish eighth.
After two dramatic and mentally challenging races, Seewer was disappointed to miss the podium but is still happy to start the 20-round series in fourth overall.
Knowing there are 38 races remaining, like Seewer, Paulin was satisfied with his sixth place in the MXGP Championship Standings after round one. Tonus, on the other hand, was disappointed with his 11 – 18 scorecards, but is looking forward to better days in the very near future.
The next round of the FIM Motocross World Championship will take place next weekend in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, on the weekend on March 8th.
Jeremy Seewer – 4th MXGP of Great Britain
“It was a strange weekend because of the time schedule, so we lined up with no time on the track, but it was the same for everyone. I started off with an epic holeshot, like a whole bike length ahead of everyone, so that was super cool. I finished second, so that was a really positive start to the season, and it proved we did a good job in the winter because the track was really technical and tricky. In the second race, I had contact with another rider and he damaged my brake. So, I had to ride without my brake for the whole race which made it super tough. I think I still took good points, so I am happy with this and my speed is good. It is just a shame I couldn’t stand on the podium today, but we will keep working and be back next weekend.”
Gautier Paulin – 6th MXGP of Great Britain
“I’m in the game. I felt good all weekend long, it was just a strange weekend. Riding a new bike on such a tough track, with not a lot of time on the track, and then with the weather being off and on, rain and then sunshine and then rain. I got sideways out of the gate and then it was tough to come back through the pack. I crashed but got back to seventh. In the second race I got to fourth pretty quickly, but I really struggled with the sun. I didn’t want to pull my laminates off because I didn’t know if it was going to rain or not. I am really happy with the team; they are all working really hard. The feeling is good, and the season is long.”
Arnaud Tonus – 14th MXGP of Great Britain
“It was a hard weekend for me. I kind of expected it because I have had some time off with a thumb injury. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to ride, so I am already happy that I could line up. I felt alright on the track, but I had bad starts, but I just didn’t have the pace to move forward. My thumb was still hurting quite a bit as well, but from here I will recover and be back next weekend.”