Early morning rain made Lommel’s power-sapping sand extra difficult to navigate at the 14th round of the FIM Motocross World Championship, the Grand Prix of Limburg in Belgium. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Jeremy Seewer was the best-placed Yamaha rider earning fifth overall. An unlucky technical issue cost Gautier Paulin points in the opening race, but the Frenchman banked 15-points for sixth in the final race of the day, which he added to the 2-points salvaged in the first race for 12th overall.
Riders are pushed to the limits at a venue like Lommel with the sea-deep and treacherous sand being extremely physically and mentally demanding. Seewer made some slight changes to the suspension on his YZ450FM after practice, which worked in his favour as he stormed to fourth position in the first race.
Coming off of a season-best result at the Grand Prix of Flanders in Lommel three-days ago, Paulin was handicapped in Race 1 by a poor start and a technical issue. The Frenchman did his best to nurse his YZ450FM to the flag and despite impressively fighting to tenth position, the bike expired in the third sector (from four) on the final lap.
The sun had lowered going into the final race of the day which casted deceiving shadows on the rough and rugged circuit. Mistakes were easy to make, and every error proved costly. Seewer powered his YZ450FM to another top-five start but in contrast to the first race, the added changes he made to the bike in the break between Race 1 and Race 2 did not work to his advantage.
After battling the bike and the track for 30 minutes plus 2-laps, fatigue kicked in and the Swiss star was edged from fourth position back to sixth and eventually finished seventh position.
Paulin usually thrives in rough and technical conditions, but with the MXGP class being so competitive in 2020, the ‘21’ had to fight hard from outside of the top-10 to finish sixth in Race 2.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Arnaud Tonus was sidelined for one-month going into the first Grand Prix in Lommel. The number ‘4’ is still easing back into racing, and with the absence of ‘race-fitness’, the Swiss rider finished 23rd overall.
5th MXGP of Limburg, 32-points
4th MXGP Championship Standings, 461-points
“Even though it rained quite a bit this morning, the track had quite a bit of flow because they made some changes that took a lot of little obstacles away. I felt better on the track this morning, I had quite a decent first moto, I had two good starts. I battled for third in the first race but decided to settle for fourth and go for the second race. This strategy didn’t work at all because I made some bike changes between in the break between races but somehow went completely the wrong way, so I struggled with that and then I couldn’t find my flow and I felt empty in terms of energy. The season is getting long so it’s getting really tough to stay mentally and physically 100%. I gave it my all, I can’t blame myself and now up to the last one on Sunday.”
12th MXGP of Limburg, 17-points
7th MXGP Championship Standings, 369-points
“I am frustrated about today. In the first race I got into trouble on the start with some other riders and then I had to start from really far back, like 20th or something. I came back to 10th and but the bike was not pulling. I had an issue from Lap-2 or 3 until the end. The bike broke on the final lap, but I was expecting it as I could feel a loss of power. I fought hard, it was just frustrating that it broke in the third sector on the final lap, because physically I used a lot of energy pushing hard. In the second moto, the bike was working well, and I finished sixth which is not where I expect to be, but I was feeling strong, so I am now looking forward to Lommel 3 to put everything together.”
23rd MXGP of Limburg, 2-points
18th MXGP Championship Standings, 93-points
“It was really a struggle today. In both motos I had some bad starts and crashes. It was super hard. I definitely felt like I was physically not ready for the demands of this event here in Lommel. Especially two GP’s here in a row. It was a really difficult day, so now I need to try and recover as best I can.”