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.