Graulus lights up a hard day for MX2 crew at Latvian MXGP

Race

The Grand Prix of Latvia brought the FIM Motocross World Championship up to round twelve of eighteen of the 2015 campaign and Standing Construct Yamaha’s 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 Yamaha’s 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 Kemea’s 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.