Yamaha Riders Fired Up for an Exciting French Grand Prix
After an encouraging weekend in Portugal, the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP and Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP teams are determined to keep the momentum going as they head to Saint Jean d'Angely, France, for the seventh round of the FIM Motocross World Championship.
Following a welcomed return to the podium in Portugal three days ago, Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP's Arnaud Tonus is looking forward to racing at Saint Jean d'Angely, a circuit that is similar to the tracks he used to ride when he was younger. The French speaking Swiss rider enjoys racing in France and hopes to maintain his remarkable form as he builds on ninth position in the MXGP Championship Standings.
Fresh off of a career best finish in Portugal, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP's Jeremy Seewer is determined to post another top-five result as he nears the top-five in the Championship Classification. The 24-year-old Swiss rider is currently sixth in the standings, 13-points shy of fifth. He enjoys the circuit in Saint Jean d'Angely. In fact, it was at Saint Jean d'Angely that he made his European EMX250 debut back in 2012 and impressed with a pair of thirds for third overall.
Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP's Gautier Paulin's sole goal is to get close enough to the championship front runners to fight for the Grand Prix win. Paulin is currently third in the Championship Standings. He trails second position by 54-points and has a 22-point buffer on fourth. This weekend, the French star will be edged on by thousands of fans where the dream end to his home Grand Prix would be to sing the national anthem from the top step of the podium.
Racing on home soil is always something special, especially for a rider like Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP's Romain Febvre who took his first and only EMX250 round win at Saint Jean d'Angely in 2011. From there the Frenchman went on to achieve five podium finishes in MX2 before reaching the peak of his professional career on home soil when he dominated the French Grand Prix - Villars sous Ecot -in 2015 for his first ever Grand Prix win inside the premier class. It was that result that spurred on a run of fifteen MXGP race wins and eight Grand Prix victories to be crowned World Champion.
Still fighting to get 100% fit after breaking his ankle in Race 2 at the opening round of the FIM Motocross World Championship at the start of March, a win or podium finish at the French Grand Prix this weekend would be a hugely significant achievement.
The seventh round of the MX2 World Championship will also take place this weekend where the Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha MX2 team is looking to put the MXGP rounds of Lombardia and Portugal behind them. The previous two rounds have been spoiled by unfortunate crashes. As a result, Ben Watson has dropped to seventh in the Championship Standings while teammate Jago Geerts remains fourth thanks to his impressive top-three finishes in two of the last four races. Both riders will be out for redemption this weekend where they are determined to challenge for a place on the podium.
Coinciding with the MXGP of France in Saint Jean d'Angely, the SDM Corse Yamaha EMX250 team will line-up all four riders, Ruben Fernandez, Caleb Grothues, Rick Elzinga and Gianluca Facchetti, for the third round of the EMX250 Championship.
Joining them in the EMX250 class will be MJC Yamaha's Thibault Benistant, who will have all three of his EMX125 teammates, Florian Miot, Luca Diserens and Magnus Smith, alongside him this weekend as the trio are set to race the fourth round of the EMX125 Championship.
St. Jean d'Angely is situated around one hour north of Bordeaux on the west coast of France. It first made its first appearance on the Motocross Grand Prix calendar back in 1984 and has been a common location for the MXGP of France ever since. This weekend the MXGP and MX2 riders will have two practice session and a Qualifying Race each on Saturday followed by two Grand Prix races each on Sunday. The EMX250 and EMX125 classes will have two practice sessions each and one Championship race on Saturday afternoon, with the second and final race set to take place on Sunday morning.
All of the races can be watching on www.mxgp-tv.com, so can the MXGP Studio Show which is filmed live onsite and will feature Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP's Arnaud Tonus. It will go LIVE at 10:15 (CET) on Saturday 25th May.
3rd MXGP Championship Standings, 197-points
"I am feeling great going into the French Grand Prix in Saint Jean d'Angely. There is always an awesome crowd and very warm welcome so I can't wait to go there. The goal is always the same, to be at my best and ride my best. When I say ride my best, it means to have perfect timing and technique. I look forward to seeing the fans and hear them cheering from the side of the track. In my opinion, France has the best crowd in the world. I can't wait to be there."
6th MXGP Championship Standings, 153-points
"I love the track in Saint Jean, I have some of the best races of my career there. I remember my first race I ever did in the EMX250 class, I finished on the podium. I love that place, I love the track, it is always prepared well and in good shape. It is super cool, good flow and it gets rough in a nice way. There is always good atmosphere there, so I am looking forward to it, and looking forward to redeeming myself after the mistake I made on the last lap on Portugal. I am still angry about that, so I want to bounce back and get the job done."
9th MXGP Championship Standings, 122-points
"I am looking forward to racing at Saint Jean d'Angely. The track is a very similar surface to what I grew up on, so I am looking forward to racing the Grand Prix there. All of the people speak French there, which is my first language, so I feel quite at home. I am looking forward to it especially after the result I had in Portugal. I'm feeling great, let's try to keep the ball rolling."
19th MXGP Championship Standings, 47-points
"I'm excited to race in France. It's a home GP and that is always something very special, especially with the French fans and crowd. It has been a tough start to the year for me but I am ready now to go again and to get my feeling back during the race. My foot is feeling good, so I am rebuilding my confidence in it, and I really like the track at Saint Jean, it is really fast with a lot of hills and some big jumps. When the dirt is prepared well, it is normally pretty good."