Van Doninck heads MX2 charge as Renaux wins EMX125 again
Kemea Yamaha Racing's Brent Van Doninck managed to brush aside the complications around his recent knee injury to log a personal-best Grand Prix finish with fifth place overall at Maggiora today for the Grand Prix of Italy and the ninth round of the MX2 series; bringing MXGP to the midway point of the calendar.
36,000 spectators braved inclement weather and heavy showers on Sunday morning to crowd the steep facility that had seen further upgrades and improvements with a view to the 2016 Motocross of Nations that it will host in September next year. The track was muddy, slick and largely one-line in places and the MX2 motos saw many riders hitting the slop.
As in MXGP, Yamaha's MX2 stars could be found in a distinctive yellow shade to celebrate Yamaha's sixtieth birthday and the Standing Construct and Kemea YZ250Fs were a different kind of blur in Italy.
The first moto was wet with a thick layer of swampy top-soil meaning a diversion from the emerging drier line was risky in terms of traction and speed. Standing Construct Yamaha's Valentin Guillod - nursing a sore right foot this weekend - was the top YZ250F rider until the ninth lap of sixteen when he crashed on the start straight. Van Doninck gained another place, managed to keep on two wheels and crossed the line in fifth for his highest classification in Grand Prix. Standing Construct's Julien Lieber was next home in eighth while Guillod fought back to eleventh. Kemea's Benoit Paturel had tasted the mud and was a lap down in fifteenth while team-mate Damon Graulus had also fallen and took three points for eighteenth place.
Guillod looked to have a bright start for the second moto that begun on a drying course and with less potential for unexpected crashes but had his line cut by Jeffrey Herlings on the first corner and was pushed outside the top twenty. The Swiss had a difficult time and lost more ground and positions late into the sprint when he was caught in a multi rider incident that again saw him retrieving the '92' machine from the mud. He ended up nineteenth for fourteenth overall in the event standings. Van Doninck rode to the top seven and was just able to keep a look at Paturel ahead who had flown out of the gate and was running as high as third before dropping back to fifth place. The result was still another personal best for the Frenchman who - like Van Doninck - is taking his first steps in MX2 Grand Prix in 2015. Benoit was also competing with the discomfort of his dental injury from his home fixture almost two weeks previously. Julien Lieber made another top ten with ninth place - seventh spot overall - while Graulus was unlucky to fall again and couldn't recover to get inside the first twenty positions.
In the MX2 points table Guillod is second and trails Jeffrey Herlings by 139 points while Lieber is also creeping into the top ten with ninth position. Paturel is twelfth.
Maggiora hosted the sixth round of eight in the EMX125 European Championship and with good starts and great riding technique Kemea's Maxime Renaux scooped his second overall win of the season with a 3-1 on his YZ125. The French teenager lifted the red plate as part of the final podium ceremony of the meeting and heads Josiah Natzke by ten points in the title chase.
Yet more hard-pack awaits the MX2 elite next weekend with the shallow undulations of the Talkessel terrain once more the stages for the Grand Prix of Germany. MXGP will head into 'double figures' with the tenth round of the series opening a stint of the calendar in northern Europe.
11th and 18th for 14th overall. Championship Position: 2nd
"A difficult day but I will take the positive side and that is I gained some points. With my foot injury I should be at home on the sofa. I came here to try and yesterday was good when the track was dry but today I needed a lot of strength and it was really difficult. I was fifth in the first moto but then I made a mistake on the straight. I went sideways and back to eleventh. In the second moto I made a good jump out of the gate but Jeffrey crossed my line and pushed me and I had to brake. I was in twentieth. It was hard to ride but I got back to eleventh when with two laps to go I crashed again. We can only hope for better in Germany."
8th and 9th for 7th overall. Championship Position: 9th
"It wasn't my best day but not too bad. I was consistent to come back from two bad starts. My speed was OK in the first moto and I was behind Jeffrey all the way until I made a mistake and lost one position. In the second moto I passed a lot of riders but then found myself making a lot of mistakes and lost a lot of time. Tonkov got me on the last lap. The track was pretty slippery and not my favourite conditions but it was the same to deal with for everybody. I will work now for next week and not give up."
Brent Van Doninck
5th and 7th for 5th overall. Championship Position: 17th
"This result comes as a great surprise for me and I'm really pleased with it. One week ago it was still unclear if I would race here and in the week I hurt my knee again, so I had no expectations. In both races I had a good start and managed to stay out of trouble in the first laps. I got into fifth pretty quick and felt good on the difficult track. In the second one I was closing in on Benoit but when I tried another line to pass him, I got stuck in a rut and hurt my knee again. In the end I managed to finish well and score my best result so far. This gives me a lot of confidence and I'm so happy. This week I won't ride with the bike to let the knee rest and be better again for Germany."
15th and 5th for 9th overall. Championship Position: 12th
"Hard and difficult weekend for me. I wasn't feeling it and rode bad all weekend long. The fifth place in the second moto was positive but I didn't ride well. I should have been finishing closer [to the front]. I don't have an explanation or reason, so let's forget about this weekend and look forward to Teutschenthal."
18th and 24th for 22nd overall. Championship Position: 30th
"Luck doesn't seem to turn out well for me on a GP race day. Every time all goes well on Saturday, but on Sunday I can't put it together. On a track like we had today you needed a good start to get a good result. Both times riders crashed in front of me and that put me at the back of the pack. In the first moto I crashed myself too. I decided to go to the pitlane and get fresh goggles. I lost a lot of time with that but still came back to 18th; it's not the place I had in mind. The second race I couldn't get by [Jorge] Zaragoza and started taking risks. I crashed and hurt my shoulder a little, so the race was over. Going back to the EMX2 next week I'm disappointed I couldn't show more in these two GPs. I feel I have the speed to race in the top 10, but can't make it happen. Let's start with Teutschenthal and give my best there!"
3rd and 1st for 1st overall. EMX125 Championship Position: 1st
"It was a very difficult track with many bumps and lines by the end of the day. It was slippery! Some riders crashed in some lines and it was hard to get by. I took great starts today and I'm really happy with this result."