Paturel & Van doninck Make Up the Top Six in Mexico
Kemea Yamaha Official MX2's duo of Benoit Paturel and Brent Van doninck rocketed their YZ250F's around the rock-hard, clumpy and rutty man-made circuit of Leon to modestly round out the top six at the fourth round of the FIM MX2 World Championship.
It was at this exact venue that Kemea Yamaha Official MX2's Benoit Paturel claimed his first piece of Grand Prix silverware, back in 2015, when he stood on the podium for the first time. And while that achievement remains one of the highlights of his glittering career, the Frenchman hit yet another milestone on Saturday when he posted the fastest lap-time in Timed Practice, which gave him first pick of the gate for the Qualifying Race.
His top spot on the gate didn't result in the start he was after, but he charged hard from eighth to qualify fifth. Brent Van doninck qualified seventh after he stormed his way through the field from outside of the top ten.
The MXGP of Leon posed a new challenge for both the riders and their mechanics. The venue is 1800m above sea level which basically means the air is thinner - which in short means there is less oxygen. An engine won't run without oxygen nor will the human body, so less oxygen naturally equates to less power for both the bikes and the riders themselves. It was the same for everyone. Despite the challenge, both Paturel and Van doninck got off to decent starts in the opening race of the day. Paturel ran a blistering pace and crossed the line in second place after making light work of the early championship leaders Julien Lieber and Pauls Jonass. Van doninck's performance was equally as impressive as he used his strength and consistency to finish eighth.
'A good start can make or break a race' is a phrase that is constantly tossed about the paddock. Van doninck got off to a phenomenal start in the final race of the day emerging from turn one in fourth, unfortunately the same couldn't be said for Paturel who was buried at the back of the pack. Although he had been battling an upset stomach all weekend long, Van doninck enjoyed running the pace of the leaders on his way to a season best race finish, fifth.
Heading into the final race Paturel had leapt up to second place in the championship standings, and once again, had the Red Plate in sight. A bad start followed by a crash was the ultimate test of determination and character for the talented Frenchman who managed to bounce back from his mistake with a mind-blowing ride, from dead last, to eighth place.
Paturel finished fifth overall for the grand prix, while Van doninck banked a few points less and was sixth. Both riders are looking forward to kicking off the European leg of the series in Pietramurata, Italy, on the weekend of April 16th.
I crashed on the first lap after a bad start and I went from last to eighth place. This is disappointing for me. In arco I want to be better. My speed is there but, like in Argentina I should have been on the podium, and just like there, I had some badluck and it's disappointing but this is motocross. The season is long.
Brent Van doninck
It was a good weekend especially in the second race. I had two really good starts and I was happy about that, but I am having some problems with my stomach and I think I need to see a doctor. Maybe it is something to do with the time difference and the food and stuff, but this is the last overseas race and I am looking forward to getting back to Europe where we can get back to our usual routines, and ride the European tracks. Overall, I am happy about the weekend.