Tonkov Takes Hole Shot in Lombardia Heat
Wilvo Standing Construct Yamaha Official MX2 rider Aleksandr Tonkov took his first hole shot of 2016 on Sunday during a blazing hot race day at MXGP of Lombardia. In spite of a broken bone in his hand and an injury from a training crash he suffered in April, the Russian was quickest of all to the line on his YZ250F.
Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team rider Benoit Paturel bounced back from his heavy crash last weekend at Matterley Basin to wrestle back into the top 10, improving as a busy motocross weekend wore down the loose, sandy circuit in Mantova and holding on to his 2016 FIM Championship ambitions.
In the first moto Paturel held back after a false start delayed the MX2 action and race officials had to reset the gates. Once under way, the French rider picked his way clear from 12th to seventh, using his excellent fitness to withstand temperatures above 37 degrees as other riders faded in the heat.
More than midway through the race Paturel found himself head to head with two British riders, first against Max Anstie and a bit later with Adam Sterry. As loose sand gave way to a hard base on the track, new lines appeared almost every lap demanding careful attention. In the second moto Paturel held very high lap speeds and approached a podium finish, chasing American rider Thomas Covington to finish fourth.
Tonkov fell in qualifying on Saturday and broke a bone in his left hand just above the knuckle of his index finger. On Sunday the Russian consulted with team medical staff to tape up the injury and take the start. He began moto one in 15th and moved up to 12th after passing Pauls Jonass of Latvia and trading places with Spanish rider Iker Olaño. In moto two Tonkov was the fastest off the line, scoring his first MX2 hole shot of 2016. He went on to finish seventh after fading slightly in the heat, having traded places with Paturel and Covington on the gnarly and rough course in Mantova.
Paturel's teammate Karlis Sabulis finished in the points both motos, and continues his success as a replacement for the injured Brent Van doninck. Tonkov's Swedish teammate Alvin Östlund struggled in the heat with his starts, finishing 15th in the first moto but outside the points for 22nd in the late race.
With 33 points this weekend Paturel remains fourth overall in the 2016 FIM World Championship, but will look for continued success at the end of July when racing continues after a three-week break, to make up his 78 point gap to Pauls Jonass. Tonkov is fifth overall, five points behind Paturel and 12 points ahead of French rider Dylan Ferrandis.
7th and 4th for 6th overall. Championship position: 4th
"For sure this week was better than last week. But I rode well even on a hot course, and I'm really happy."
"Now I need to go train in sand at Lommel to get ready for Assen. The next three weeks for me are no rest, but training, to get ready to push for the rest of the season."
12th and 8th for 8th overall. Championship position: 5th
"I'm really happy that the second moto is done, it was one of the hardest of the whole year. But we took points before the break, and I hope in the next three weeks I can recover in time for Loket."
"I'm really happy with the team, the YZ250F was in perfect mechanical shape, and it got me my first holeshot of the season. That's something to be proud of, and today was so hard that I'm just grateful I finished both motos."