Promising Start to the Portuguese GP for Febvre & Van Horebeek
With throttle control being the name of the game out on the fire-red clay of Agueda, Portugal - where round twelve of the FIM Motocross World Championship kicked off today - Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing's Romain Febvre shone with his third place finish in the Qualifying Race, while teammate Jeremy Van Horebeek put in an awe-inspiring ride for seventh.
When the gates dropped for the MXGP Qualifying Race they fell in favour of Febvre and his YZ450FM with the Frenchman emerging from turn-one inside the top three. After setting the fastest lap in Timed Training, Febvre was the man to beat and he looked hungrier than ever. Water had gone down on the distinctive red dirt of Agueda right before the Qualifying Races in order to combat the dust, which made for a hard-to-read, slick and edgy surface. The drying clay got more and more technical with each passing lap as Febvre battled arm-pump while trying to shake off a challenge from the eight-time FIM Motocross World Champion, Antonio Cairoli. At one point Cairoli took advantage of Febvre's brief stint of weakness to inherit third before a mistake of his own handed the position back. Febvre crossed the line in third place - and qualified inside the top three for the third time this season.
After three-weeks off of the bike, fellow YZ450FM rider Jeremy Van Horebeek made his return to racing with the fifth fastest time the 'Timed Practice' session, which he almost repeated in the Qualifying Race despite the heavy strapping to his right hand. The Belgian was only cleared by the doctors on Thursday and admitted he had quite a bit of pain, but nevertheless his heart and determination prevailed and he charged home to an impressive seventh place.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing's dynamic duo of Romain Febvre and Jeremy Van Horebeek will compete in two races tomorrow afternoon, as will Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP's Arnaud Tonus, who qualified in seventeenth place. Race 1 will take place at 14:15 BST, while Race 2 will commence at 17:10 BST.
3rd Place MXGP Qualifying Race
"I had a good start today, I was already in the top three. I got some arm-pump because we had made some changes on the bike that weren't working so well for me, but still I finished third so it was good, but I want more for tomorrow."
Jeremy Van Horebeek
7th Place MXGP Qualifying Race
"Today was not too bad. It's been 3-weeks since I broke my finger. I have not been on the bike at all. I still have quite a bit of pain, but overall it was not so bad. I definitely feel that the guys on the line, they know that I am hurt because they are not afraid to block pass me knowing I don't have the strength to fight back. So seventh is not so bad. If tomorrow I finish both races inside the top 7, I will be a happy boy."
17th Place MXGP Qualifying Race
"I'm not so happy with the day. It was not so good. A lot of guys crashed on the first lap. It was a messy first few laps for me, I found a rhythm in the end but it was already too late after a not so good beginning. It's alright though, I will rebound for tomorrow."