Paturel Seals 2016 MX2 Podium in Glen Helen
Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team rider Benoit Paturel fought off a tough final round challenge on Sunday at Glen Helen to defend his third place in the 2016 FIM MX2 Motocross World Championship. The French rider finished sixth overall on a hot Sunday in the final round of the MXGP season, while teammate Brent Van doninck bounced back from a series of setbacks to put himself in the top 10 in the second moto.
Wilvo Standing Construct Yamaha MX Team rider Alvin Östlund thrived in the late-summer heat of Southern California, finishing 12th in the second moto with top lap times as the race wore on.
Paturel held a narrow 12-point advantage over England's Max Anstie at the start of Sunday's two 30-minute motos, but sat nervously at the start line after qualifying slower than his rival on Saturday. In the first moto the Frenchman watched as Anstie's number 99 circled the long and steep motocross circuit at Glen Helen in second place for the first ten minutes, while he sat back in seventh. After nine laps Anstie began to fade and Paturel only improved, with the two switching positions as Paturel finished sixth and Anstie eighth. In the second moto Paturel crashed twice and faced a moment of supreme fear as Anstie again hovered in the top three, but in the end proved resilient by finishing ninth to the Englishman's fourth, sealing his overall podium spot in the MX2 World Championship.
Van doninck had a bad start in the first moto, and worked from 21st up to 18th over the half hour plus two laps on his YZ250F. High heat and a challenging Glen Helen circuit pushed the Belgian rider to his limit as he struggled with fitness in a return to competition following two mid-season surgeries. In the second moto Van doninck caught his second wind, and began to work up from a start in 14th to pass fatigued riders on the hillside track where square-edged bumps formed over soft ruts on a hardpack base. At the end of the second moto a happy and surprised Van doninck finished sixth for his best moto result since May.
Östlund weathered the heat with skill, and fought a duel with Australian Caleb Ward in the first moto before overtaking American Blake Lilly to finish 17th behind Jorge Prado of Spain. The Swedish teenager was even stronger in moto two, passing on the long and steep uphill and holding his nerve on the even longer and faster downhill to finish 12th for 15th overall.
Paturel finished the 2016 FIM MX2 World Championship in third place, with an eight-point advantage over Anstie. Östlund in his first season on a YZ250F and his first year in MX2 finished 13th, two points shy of 12th and three points ahead of 14th. Van doninck missed six GPs with injury but still managed to finish 15th. Wilvo Standing Construct Yamaha Official MX Team's Russian rider Aleksandr Tonkov, who missed seven GPs with a back injury, finished the season 10th overall.
6th and 9th for 6th overall. Championship position: 3rd
"The first race was better, and I rode well enough, but the second race I had two small crashes and I was so scared to lose my position. To finish like this is great for me and the whole staff today."
"The goal at the beginning of the season was top five, and in the end I am in the top three. It's perfect, I am speechless. Next year's goal is the maximum: Do my best, train really hard all winter and see what happens."
17th and 12th for 15th overall. Championship position: 13th
"We did a lot of hot races this year, so we got used to it a little bit. But it's still tough, even if it's the same for everybody."
"I learned a lot this year, some ups and downs, but I'm happy. The goal at the beginning of the season was top 15, so I'm happy. The goal next year will be to stay in the top 10 every race."
Brent Van doninck
18th and 6th for 13th overall. Championship position: 15th
"Looks like I found myself again in the second moto. I found my speed again, and for sure a sixth-place finish looks like my place for the year. I'm happy to finish the season like this, and I can go home with something positive."
"I'm really looking forward to next season, to get myself ready. For sure my goals from the beginning of the season weren't reached. Next season we are going to go for the top five overall finish again, that would be good."