Graulus lights up a hard day for MX2 crew at Latvian MXGP
The Grand Prix of Latvia brought the FIM Motocross World Championship up to round twelve of eighteen of the 2015 campaign and Standing Construct Yamahas Valentin Guillod managed to keep third place in the MX2 standings despite a hard day at Kegums and twelfth position overall. Yamaha were able to enjoy some success thanks to Kemea Yamahas Damon Graulus taking overall victory in the seventh appointment of nine in the EMX250 European Championship.
Periods of heavy rainfall on Sunday morning and then changeable conditions during the programme meant that the loose terrain at Kegums with a hard base of rippling bumps was rough, technical and difficult. Not a traditional sand track by any means (although many riders opted for sand scoop tyre profiles) Kegums provided a mix of demands from mud, soft berms and long ruts as well as areas of hard-pack.
The first moto was a difficult one for the Standing Construct duo with Guillod and Lieber both hitting the deck. It was left to Kemeas Benoit Paturel to earn the highest classification in eleventh with Guillod twelfth and followed by Lieber. Brent Van Doninck was fifteenth and couldn't find the best feeling around the fast layout.
In the second race British Grand Prix winner Guillod made a great start and was almost first coming down the hill into the third turn when he lost control of the front end of the bike and crashed. The Swiss picked up, but was luckless after being hit by Jordi Tixier while regaining positions later in the moto. It meant another trawl from deep regions of the pack. He managed to claw back some points by taking thirteenth spot. Julien Lieber was frustrated by his start and another mistake but with tenth place was the best YZ250F runner in the moto. A crash for Paturel and slightly improved speed for Van Doninck meant the Kemea boys were reduced to twenty-second and twelfth positions respectively.
The MX2 championship points table shows that Guillod is only ten points from Tim Gajser in second position. Lieber is eighth, Paturel twelfth and Van Doninck sixteenth, although the rookie has missed two Grands Prix due to his knee injury.
In EMX250 Damon Graulus conquered motos in contrasting conditions. The fast, dry ground of Saturday was a happy hunting ground for the Belgian as he escaped to post his fourth moto victory of the campaign (and fourth from the last four meetings). Sunday morning and the second race was a wetter and bumpier test one hour before the first MX2 moto exited the gate and Graulus was still carrying good speed. He chased Lars Van Berkel for much of the race before Brian Hsu closed up and started a three man dispute for first position. In a chaotic final two laps Damon managed to reach the flag with fourth, which was still enough for the top step of the podium. He is now fifteen points from Nick Kouwenberg and the red plate with races in Lommel and Assen left to go.
The Grand Prix of Czech Republic will make its traditional stop at the hillside circuit of Loket towards the end of the month for round thirteen.
12th and 13th for 12th overall. Championship Position: 3rd
Yesterday was OK. My riding was not perfect but today I had a lot of problems. To ride here and in those conditions you have to clutch-it a lot and ride on high rpm and that's not really my style. In the first moto I was tenth and a rider crashed right in front of me in a corner. I had nowhere to go. I was really motivated for the second race because I wanted to do much better and I made the start I needed but in the third corner I came alongside Anstie and lost the front wheel; I really don't know why that happened. My riding after that was not so bad but Tixier hit my rear wheel coming out of a corner and I crashed again. A weekend to forget really.
13th and 10th for 11th overall. Championship Position: 8th
I crashed in each race so at least I was consistent with those. We struggled a lot with the start again and we need to find a solution so I am not always stuck in the top fifteen. I need to push too much on tracks that are difficult for overtaking. Not a good weekend but at least Im healthy. Now we need to work more on the starts
Brent Van Doninck
15th and 12th for 15th overall. Championship Position: 16th
I had an off weekend I had the same feeling as in Germany, the pace and speed werent there and only in the last 15 minutes of the final moto I felt alright. Maybe I put too much pressure on myself. When you get top six finishes you want to be there every weekend but when it already went wrong on Saturday I started riding too tense. It makes me realize I still need to learn a lot and although bad days do not feel good you still have take something from them.
11th and 22nd for 16th overall. Championship Position: 12th
I had a really bad weekend. The starts were bad and I could not find a good pace. In the second moto I crashed twice and lost a lot of time to get started again. I already want to forget this weekend but in another way it motivates me to work harder for the next one...
1st and 4th for 1st overall. Championship Position: 2nd
Yesterday was good and I liked the track. It was a good win. Today was difficult with the mud and the rain and it was hard to pass. I made a couple of mistakes and ended up fourth; I wasn't happy with that but still took the overall after two difficult races in Germany and Sweden. Now well look to Lommel and one of my practice tracks so Im really excited.