Paturel pleased with personal best fourth at Lombardian MXGP
The Grand Prix of Lombardia saw Kemea Yamaha Yamalube Racing's Benoit Paturel register a best finish of fourth position overall in his rookie season. Standing Construct Yamaha Yamalube's Valentin Guillod was fifth at Mantova after some difficult motos through the Italian sand and just keeps in touch with his quest to win the 2015 FIM MX2 Motocross World Championship. Round fifteen of eighteen in the series was played out in front of 18,000 spectators and under some cloudy skies at the town northwest of Bologna.
Yamaha had a full MX2 wing with EMX250 rider Damon Graulus joining Paturel and Brent Van Doninick in the Kemea Yamaha Yamalube awning. Mantova was sandy, jumpy and increasingly rough as the motos went on. Normally a circuit used by riders and teams to blow away the winter cobwebs - it hosts the annual Starcross International, one of the first high profile motocross meetings to take place in Europe every calendar year - the Italian layout was no stranger to most of the athletes even if the facility was on Grand Prix duty for the first time in five years.
The first moto saw Guillod primed to attack the top three but a slip on the first lap dropped him back to fifth and for most of the race he had to push to catch and pass Graulus; enjoying a GP appearance one week before his final commitment in the EMX250 European Championship. Guillod made it into fourth but was more than fifteen seconds away from title rival Tim Gajser. Fifth place was Graulus' highest ranking of the season in his fleeting wild-card appearances and teammate Paturel was a lonely sixth just behind. Third Kemea racer, Brent Van Doninck, wasn't far away meant that Yamaha had four YZ250Fs in the top eleven. Standing Construct Yamaha Yamalube's Julien Lieber rode to fifteenth after being part of a first corner pile-up.
In the second race Paturel nailed an excellent start and proceeded to run in the top three for almost all of the moto. The Frenchman followed championship leader Pauls Jonass and was only passed by Tim Gajser in the closing stages to seal fourth place (another personal best) and the same ranking for the Grand Prix. Graulus and Guillod were limited by crashes on the start straight and the first corner and had to come back to seventeenth and fourteenth respectively. Guillod in particular was lucky to escape from a huge crash in the closing stages and actually crossed the line with a badly damaged bike. Van Doninick was solid overall with a top ten finish following a massive scrap between eight riders; the Belgian classified sixth on the day. Julien Lieber was better out of the start and rode to tenth after surviving unscathed in the wake of Guillod's fall as both teammates were battling together at the time. Graulus ended his Grand Prix experience with an encouraging ninth overall.
In the MX2 championship picture Guillod is fourth and 42 points behind Jonass with 150 left in the three Grand Prix remaining. Lieber is eighth, Paturel ninth and Van Doninck twelfth.
The FIM Motocross World Championship will enjoy its second taste of Dutch terrain in 2015 this coming weekend with the fabled Assen circuit hosting MXGP for the first time. The race marks the last European stop for the series this year before flying to Mexican and American dates on September 13th and 20th.
4th and 14th for 5th overall. Championship Position: 4th
"In the first moto I was third and made a little crash but then I didn't ride well. I wasn't using the right lines and didn't have a good feeling. Fourth was OK though. In the second moto I was on the inside of the gate and a crash from the outside just took me out. I hit my head and neck. I restarted last and got up to tenth, lost another place and then pushed to get it back but came into the jump before the finish line too fast. The front wheel wobbled and I lost the bike on the take-off and went flying. I was lucky. I tried to finish the best I could. There are still three GPs to go."
6th and 4th for 4th overall. Championship Position: 9th
"I'm really happy with this race. I felt good from Saturday and got a good feeling with the suspension. I then had a bad start in the first race and took sixth and I wasn't happy; I didn't ride like I wanted. Before the second race I prepared better and made a really good start - second or third - and then I followed Jonass all race, only Gajser overtook me. I attacked Jonass with two laps to go but couldn't find a way past. Fourth in the GP is very cool for the championship and I want to finish in the top ten and will work for that."
15th and 11th for 12th overall. Championship Position: 8th
"I think I had the speed all weekend but I crashed and lost a lot of positions on Saturday and it put me low in the gate. I had had a bad crash in the first moto because everybody went down in front of me and then again on the second lap. I came back to fifteenth; not a result I wanted. In the second moto I stalled the bike and we've had some problems with the clutch in the sand and we need to work on this a bit."
Brent Van Doninck
11th and 8th for 6th overall. Championship Position: 12th
"The end result is good, but I'm not too happy with my riding. I felt really tired and could not push like I wanted. I had some troubls to pass riders and got stuck behind Sterry in the first moto and Jacobi in the second. I lost too much energy in those battles. Anyway, I managed to get two solid results and a sixth overall, so that's not too bad. Up to the next one!"
5th and 17th for 9th overall
"In the end this was a positive weekend for me. In qualification we tried some settings and I was pleased with the result. I had a good qualification race and was feeling comfortable. The first moto went really well and I was happy with the speed, even though I got passed by Guillod in the end, I had similar lap times. It was kind of a relief to have a good race with a great result. I know what I'm capable of and this was a confirmation. A lot of things happened this year and it was difficult at times but I know now I have to keep working. In the second moto I touched with Benoit and Seewer and we crashed hard. At first I was a little dizzy and had some pain in my neck but I kept going and scored another four points. Now let's go to Assen and finish this year on a good note ! I really want to thank my mechanic Gino for all the help, my family, my father for all the support this weekend, and the entire team."