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.