Guillod sets career milestone with MX2 victory in Spain
The sunshine beat down on the small hills just outside the town of Talavera de la Reina, south of Madrid, as the Grand Prix of Spain welcomed a decent 20,000 attendance and Yamaha witnessed Standing Construct's Valentin Guillod unveiling a memorable performance to win the first Grand Prix of his career and the first for YZ250F since the GP of Belgium last summer.
The sixth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship brought the paddock to Talavera for the second year in a row and typical weather conditions and a hard-pack and narrow racing course provided a contrasting stage compared to the dark skies and reduced temperatures found in Holland two weeks previously.
Talavera had barely altered form for the 2015 incarnation of the Spanish GP but a new 'waves' section and relocation of the finish line jump offered small novelties. With the winding and continually climbing and descending layout proving difficult in terms of viable overtaking opportunities, a decent leap out of the start gate and getting out of the tight opening turn was perhaps more vital than at any other circuit this year.
In the first moto on Sunday Kemea's Brent Van Doninck was the front-running Yamaha pilot as he circulated in a relatively lonely sixth position. The Belgian was continually closed down by Guillod however. '92' set the fastest lap of the race on his flight to sixth and eventually passed his brand-mate as BVD made sure of seventh. Behind, Standing Construct team-mate Julien Lieber was ninth while Kemea's Benoit Paturel crashed into the fallen figure of Jeremy Seewer on the exit of the second turn and had to come back from last to gain six points for fifteenth.
The second race took place at the hottest time of the day and with the mercury rising to almost thirty degrees. The action was gripping as Guillod finally carved through the first turns in the top three and set about attacking leader Dylan Ferrandis. The Swiss was determined and resolute with some of his lines and made the decisive move past the Frenchman with two laps to go. After two podium finishes in 2014 this success was overdue for the likeable 22 year old and represented Standing Construct's first in 'blue'. Julien Lieber was also happier after some set-up changes worked out favourably and he rode to a top five finish (eighth overall).
Celebrations for one team was offset by misfortune for another. Kemea watched disbelievingly as Van Doninck was clipped coming out of the start gate and flipped spectacularly, also catching team-mate Paturel. Thankfully both riders were reasonably OK and Brent scored two points for nineteenth position while Benoit was just ahead in eighteenth.
After six rounds of eighteen it is Guillod who leads the way in the points standings with fifth place and tied for fourth. Lieber is ninth and Paturel fourteenth, one spot ahead of Van Doninck.
Talavera was the site of the third round of the EMX250 European Championship. Kemea's Damon Graulus posted his best finish of the season so far with two runner-up finishes and second spot overall. The Belgian fought with Maxime Desprey for victory on Saturday afternoon before just being pipped to the chequered flag. He then had to follow the Frenchman again Sunday morning but his double haul of 22 points was his best of the term so far and pulls '7' up to fourth in the championship.
More EMX classes were in action. EMX125 pushed the sight of Maxime Renaux to fourth overall on the YZ125 and the first of four Yamahas in the top ten while Lewis Gregory took to the podium in EMX300 with the YZ250 two-stroke as runner-up.
The British Grand Prix is next in line for Yamaha's MX2 stars. Round seven ventures into the Matterley 'Basin' and the popular, flowing layout for the second of three fixtures of the FIM series this month.
6th and 1st for 1st overall, Championship position: 5th
"It is such a great feeling but I really have to thank the Standing Construct Yamaha Yamalube team, my team manager Tim, my trainer Yves Demaria, mechanic, my family and everybody next to me. We worked really hard these last few weeks because things were not going how we wanted but finally we found the right set-up and it was great out there. When I came over the finish line I did not know I had won the GP. I knew I had the race but when they said the GP then that was awesome. I was riding next to Dylan and I tried to pass him but couldn't. I tried to find a solution and finally could make it happen. I came here wanting to get top fives but to win the GP is sick!"
9th and 5th for 8th overall, Championship position: 9th
"I didn't have the right feeling with the bike this weekend. We had been doing a lot of testing but here it wasnt working. I wasn't happy with my riding and also the result in the first moto. We made a lot of changes for the second moto and we could see some difference already from the start. I had a small crash but to finish fifth was a good way to end the GP."
Brent Van Doninck
7th and 19th for 13th overall, Championship position: 15th
"I don't know what happened in the second moto start. I wheelied a bit coming out of the gate and I think Brylyakov came across and touched my handlebars. I took Benoit with me and I made a front flip. I landed on the side of my head and my neck. I was riding again but I was a little dizzy and not focussed. I ended up crashing again. I wanted to do the same in the second moto as I did in the first but it did not turn out like that."
15th and 18th for 18th overall, Championship position: 14th
"It was a difficult weekend for me; no luck! I started well in the first race but in the second corner Seewer crashed in front of me. I always seemed to be coming back! The same in the second moto. I also fell off myself in that one. It was a bad day but I will work very hard for England."
Tim Mathys, Team Principal Standing Construct Yamaha
"I know everybody is saying the same but we worked so hard during the winter. For sure the stock Yamaha is already a very good base and very reliable but to compete here at the highest level is just needs to be a little better, let's say. All winter we worked and made some big investments like buying a new dyno and a few other things. I know it is a cliché but hard work pays off. I'm really happy for Valentin because he has done a lot of testing in the winter and also the last weeks and it is not always nice to do as he has to focus on training. This is a result of the whole team pushing and I think this is why Yamaha wanted us because we have proven that we can make bikes even better and today is the proof. There are some things in the pipeline that will make us even stronger in the future and I am pretty confident that this will not be the last time that we put the blue bike on the podium."