Yamaha Riders Set for Sandy Grand Prix in Valkenswaard
The podium champagne Gautier Paulin sprayed at the second round of the FIM Motocross World Championship has barely had time to dry as the Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP teams head to Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, for the third stop on the MXGP calendar.
Situated between Eindhoven and the Belgian boarder, Valkenswaard marks MXGP's first sand race this season. The venue has staged 32 rounds of the FIM Motocross World Championship since its first in 1974; therefore it is one of the most familiar tracks on the 2019 rostrum.
Valkenswaard was the track at which Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP's Gautier Paulin won his last Grand Prix. That victory was back in 2017 and was one of his most memorable with the Frenchman proving his sand-riding prowess with a 1-2 finish for the overall win.
Currently third in the 2019 MXGP Championship Standings and fresh off of the podium at the British Grand Prix three days ago, Paulin is driven to keep improving as he continues to test and fine-tune certain aspects of his incredible YZ450F machine.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP's Jeremy Seewer has been making solid progress. The 24 year-old surprised himself with top-five finish in the final race at the MXGP of Great Britain last weekend. As a result, he moved up to seventh position in the MXGP Championship classification, which gave him more motivation for this weekend where he hopes to inch towards a top-five overall finish.
Two frantic rounds spoiled by unlucky crashes has left Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP's Arnaud Tonus eager to finish both races strong. The 27-year-old has proven he is capable of running the pace of the front-runners after posting quick laptimes at the previous two rounds. Ironically, the last time he lined up at Valkenswaard was back in 2017 and on that day he topped the charts in Timed Practice beating even the most famed sand riders.
Valkenswaard is renowned for its popularity and hugely animated crowds, which are bolstered by the influx of passionate Belgian motocross fans who cross the border. Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha MX2 will be lining up for the third round of the MX2 World Championship with Ben Watson and Jago Geerts, and as a Belgian based team with two riders who excel in the sand, the team is confident that both riders can improve their current fifth and ninth place rankings.
Joining the MXGP and MX2 World Championships this weekend, the opening rounds of the FIM WMX World Championship and the EMX125 Championship will also take place. Bearing the torch for MXFonta Yamaha WMX this weekend, as the defending World Champion Kiara Fontanesi focuses on improving her physical condition, Larissa Papenmeier will make her YZ250F debut.
MJC Yamaha EMX125 will enter the EMX125 Championship with three young riders, Florian Miot, Luca Diserens and last years YZ125 bLU cRU Cup winner, Magnus Smith. All three riders will line up on GYTR kitted YZ125 machines.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP's Romain Febvre will not be racing, although he will be in attendance, and he will star on MXGP's live Studio Show on Saturday 30that 10:20am (CET). It is free to view on www.mxgp-tv.com.
3rd MXGP Championship Standings, 74-points
"Valkenswaard is sand, so it is really high speed and rutted with a lot of big bumps. I really like the track and I have some good memories from racing there. This weekend, we have a blank page so I look forward to going there to test everything we have been working on for the last few weeks. We have been working hard to make everything better for Valkenswaard, so I hope we have improved our set-up and we have a strong weekend."
9th MXGP Championship Standings, 50-points
"Honestly, Valkenswaard in the past has been the GP that I never looked forward to. I feel like I have struggled there a lot, but I have also had two podiums there in MX2 and last year I posted some good results after my concussion in Argentina the round before. I have had some good results there even if it is not my favourite track, so I am looking forward to it anyway especially as I return to my normal condition physically."
14th MXGP Championship Standings, 26-points
"I feel a little bit second hand going into this weekend after the crash in moto two last weekend. This week I am doing everything I can to recover so that I can post some decent results, and that's all I can do at the moment."