Romain Febvre claimed the fourth podium finish of his maiden season for the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team in the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship at the tough Lommel track in Belgium.
The Frenchman rode an exciting opening lap in the first moto to move forward from a fourth-placed start to second and immediately set the fastest lap of the day as he closed down the leader to settle down just out of the spray of dirt from the front man’s rear wheel. He stalked the leader for twenty minutes before he lost contact as they encountered lapped riders and had to settle for second. He again made decisive moves on the opening lap of race two to advance from a third-placed start to take the lead and had soon established an eight-second lead. Despite maintaining his lap times in heavy going after recent rain he realised from mid-moto that his chaser was gaining ground and had anticipated picking up on his rival’s lines but a fall five laps from the end saw him lose the tow and he again had to be content with second place to confirm his second place on the day. He remains fifth in the series but is now just thirty-four points from a series medal despite missing the first two rounds of the series.
Romain Febvre: “In the second heat I was really comfortable in the lead and doing some good things so I just tried to keep my rhythm but I knew I could be better on two particular sections of the track and could see Tim coming back at me. I knew for sure he must have better lines than me in those parts of the track so I hoped to see his lines but two corners after he passed me I crashed so I could not follow him. It’s not really what I would have hoped but at least we are back on the box after just missing it on the same points in the first two races here. I’m looking forward to Arco; maybe it will be cold, maybe not, but we feel good and will be looking for more podiums there. “
KRT team colleague Clement Desalle was less fortunate at the starts, claiming a place just inside the top ten each time in the final GP of his distinguished career in his Belgian homeland. In the first moto he pushed forward impressively to eighth but dropped to tenth on lap eight of sixteen when he ran off the track. Maintaining a good rhythm throughout race two he quickly took over seventh place on the second lap and reaped the reward for an error-free ride by moving to sixth on the final lap for eighth overall and the same position in the series points standings. He is now securely ahead of his chasers and, just thirteen points shy of seventh, has a highly-realistic chance of advancing further up the rankings next weekend.
Clement Desalle: “It was raining for this third GP in Lommel, and during the timed practice session I didn’t want to take any risks in these conditions; I qualified thirteenth but the times were very close. I was in the top ten at the start of the first race; there was mainly one line on the track and I rode a decent race even if I lost two positions when I made a mistake. My second start was a little better, and I soon came to seventh; then I lost two positions but I kept my rhythm and came back again to sixth. It was emotional on the last lap when I realised that it was for me the last lap of my last MXGP of Belgium. This one was the best of the three we raced this week; it’s never easy to race three times here within one week but my feeling was better today.”
The stars of the world series now take a deserved six-day pause from racing as the teams head to Pietramurata in the north Italian province of Trentino for the fifth triple-header of the season which represent the final three rounds of the eighteen-GP series so cleverly salvaged by promoters Infront and the FIM during this difficult year.