Guillod rounds out 2015 and MX2 with sixth podium result
Yamaha have claimed three positions in the top ten of the 2015 FIM MX2 Motocross World Championship thanks to the Standing Construct Yamaha Yamalube and Kemea Yamaha Racing Yamalube teams as both squads attacked the Monster Energy MXGP of USA at Glen Helen today. Standing Construct's Valentin Guillod shone on the YZ250F by taking third place overall in the Californian heat for one of the most draining and toughest meetings of the eighteen that formulated the '15 Grand Prix calendar.
Glen Helen returned to the international scene after a four year absence and benefitted from a larger attendance as more American and AMA competitors filled the Grand Prix entry list. The final motos of a season that began under the lights of Qatar and have involved trips to four continents were spun around a track that rewarded bravery and stamina in the climate as the long hills and vast jumps provided an authentic racing challenge.
Saturday was hard on Benoit Paturel and Julien Lieber as falls in the qualification moto meant lowly gate positions for the two thirty minute and two lap races through even higher temperatures on Sunday. In contrast Guillod rode well and took advantage of Tim Gajser's mistake to place second.
Come Sunday and the first outing saw the Swiss in an exciting tussle with Max Anstie for fourth position in the final three laps. The fight went to the final minutes and Anstie just pipped '92' by nine hundredths of a second. Lieber bore the pain of an injured right hip from his crash on Saturday. '33' elected to ride and score the points that would lift him to sixth in the world championship standings. He finished ninth in the race and then sat out the second moto and is a possible doubt for the Motocross of Nations next weekend. Lieber was originally scheduled for an operation on his left groin after the season curtain-closer in France but may have to withdraw from Team Belgium and have both problem areas fixed. Paturel was also in pain - from a sore right ankle - but soldiered through to thirteenth. Brent Van Doninck crashed on the first lap and then had to recover the best he could; the Belgian finally reaching fourteenth.
In the second moto Guillod was unable to do anything about escaping Americans Jessy Nelson and Shane McElrath but kept a consistent pace in third spot ahead of eventual World Champion Tim Gajser. Lieber was out of action and the Belgian was joined on the sidelines by countryman Van Doninck who suffered some mechanical gremlins. Benoit Paturel rode a better race to finish ninth and inside the top ten once more.
The 2015 campaign is now consigned to statistics. Guillod is Yamaha's 'winningest' rider with three victories but all four athletes walked the podium through the year with Lieber (sixth in the championship), Paturel (ninth) and Van Doninck (thirteenth) spraying champagne for the first time in their careers. This achievement represents a great spread of progress for Yamaha and the new generation of the YZ250F.
The Motocross of Nations will now see Guillod and Lieber in action for their countries at Ernee in France next weekend for the last major engagement for the teams in their 2015 diaries.
5th and 3rd for 3rd overall. Championship position: 4th
"I've had a lot of bad luck in the last few races - I don't believe in 'bad luck' - but I did have difficulty in understanding why I was crashing so much or riders were jumping on me. It was all experience and I had the goal of finishing on the podium for my last MX2 GP and that's what I did. It was really awesome to ride here. We started the year not knowing much about the Yamaha YZ250F but I think we showed that it is a great bike and my team did a great job all year. We kept working really hard and at the beginning of the season I was not feeling so good on the race bike but we finally found the good set-up from the GP of Spain. To have three GP wins and six podiums and finish fourth in the championship is still a very good season and I'm the most successful Swiss in GPs. I want to thank all my sponsors and the people that were there for me when I also had bad results. Standing Construct Yamaha were fantastic. Lastly I have to congratulate Tim [Gajser] for his title. We have always raced with respect and he did a great job."
13th and 9th for 10th overall. Championship position: 9th
"After my crash yesterday I didn't know if I would be able to ride on Sunday. My ankle hurts pretty bad and after some painkillers and a solid tape it was ok to try. These aren't the results I was looking for but given the circumstances I'm happy to finish both motos. I have learnt so much this season and I'm happy with my championship position. I know what I have to do this winter to be stronger and I want to give big thanks to the team for all they have done for me."
9th and DNS for 15th overall. Championship position: 6th
"I crashed hard yesterday and hurt my right groin. I'm due to have the left one operated after the Nations but now I'm not sure what I will do. I went out in the first moto because I really want those points to get sixth in the championship and managed to make it happen. We will see for the Nations in the next few days."
Brent Van Doninck
14th and DNF for 20th overall. Championship position: 13th
"I'm disappointed with my result in this last GP. I loved the track here but couldn't ride it like I wanted. I struggled a lot and although it started going better in the races I had some bad luck. In the first moto I crashed and had to come back to 14th and had the feeling I was riding better and better, although I had no energy left at the end. In the second moto I messed up the start but managed to get through pretty well in the first lap. I was riding good in eighth but then got bike problems and had to stop. I wanted to finish the season in a better way but that's the sport."