Bitter Sweet Eleventh Round of MXGP in Ottobiano
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP's Romain Febvre moved a step closer to third-place in the MXGP Championship chase after securing another top-five finish in the sweltering heat of Ottobiano, Italy at the eleventh round of the FIM Motocross World Championship. Teammate, Jeremy Van Horebeek was eleventh overall and made some solid progress in the final race of the weekend with an eighth place result. Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP's Jeremy Seewer locked-down a pair of season bests with a second place finish in the qualifying race and a top-five finish in Race Two for sixth overall.
After securing his first Pole Position since the Monster Energy MXGP of The USA back in 2016, Romain Febvre was fired up for the Grand Prix of Lombardia in Italy this weekend. When the gates fell for the first race, the Frenchman rocketed into the first turn hot on the heels of the defending champion, Antonio Cairoli. With Cairoli in his sights, Febvre set the fastest lap of the race before the Italian hooked a gear and took back the bragging rights on Lap-8. After 7-Laps in second place, his feathers were ruffled by his closest rival in the run for a top-three spot inside the MXGP championship standings, Clement Desalle, and he fell a couple of turns later.
Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP's Jeremy Seewer relished the soft and rough conditions in Ottobiano as he shadowed Romain Febvre in the Qualifying Race for an emphatic second-place finish, which he turned into an eighth place finish in race one after he blitzed past the some of the quickest MXGP riders in the world.
Febvre remounted his YZ450FM in sixth-place and managed to claw back one position to finish inside the top-five, while Van Horebeek struggled to find his form in the hot climate and only managed a thirteenth place finish.
A frantic start to the final race saw this weekends front-runners Febvre and Seewer get squeezed off the line. The duo completed the opening lap in tenth and eleventh, respectively. Febvre dug deep to find the speed that took him to a race win yesterday, while Seewer had his targets and was prepared to twist the throttle of his YZ450F as far around the handlebar as possible to meet them.
With the temperature soaring above thirty-degree's Celsius, Febvre and Seewer made some epic passes and were also able to capitalize on the errors of the riders in front of them as they broke into the top-seven. At the halfway mark Seewer bought the fans to life as he hammered down and set his sights on third place after already passing a star-studded cast of riders including, Max Nagl, Kevin Strijbos and Romain Febvre. The rookie gave it his all and finally nailed a top-five finish.
As Febvre challenged Seewer for the final place inside the top-five, but eventually crossed the line in sixth, Van Horebeek managed to channel his current frustration, and took a step towards getting his season back on track with a eighth place finish.
After missing more than a month of racing through to injury, Simpson feels that he is slightly behind the eight ball in terms of bike set-up for the races. The Scot made some changes ahead of the Qualifying Race and both main events, where a couple of luckless crashes saw him shift his focus and motivation to the next Grand Prix which will take place at the same track and venue that he topped the box at last year.
The next two rounds of the FIM Motocross World Championship, round twelve and thirteen, will take place on Indonesian soil in Pangkal Pinang on the weekend of July 1st, and in Semerang on the weekend of July 8th.
5th MXGP Overall, 31-points
"I am not so happy with the way this weekend went, especially because I won the Qualifying Race yesterday, so I know I had the speed to be on the podium this weekend. It is frustrating for me, but I need to look forward and now we have a two-week break, which will be good to let my ankle heal some more. Hopefully it will be better for Indonesia."
6th MXGP Overall, 29-points
"I felt amazing from the first practice here. I made some small changes to the bike, but it was really good all weekend and I am really happy with that. I am also pumped with my holeshot yesterday and to finish second in the Qualifying Race as well. For some reason I feel like I had good rhythm this weekend and my bike felt the best it has all year. It keeps getting better and better, and I managed to take another step with top-five finish, my first of the season and it helps me to build my confidence. I just want to thank my whole team, they put a lot of effort it. Now I am looking forward to the trip overseas."
Jeremy Van Horebeek
11th MXGP Overall, 21-points
"I suppose things were going a little bit better this weekend, but I still feel like I am struggling a lot with myself, although eighth place in the second moto gives me a good feeling because I had to come from really far behind. I just have to thank my team for sticking behind me in this difficult period. They are trying really hard to get me back on track and improve every time I go back out on track, so I am really thankful for that. I just hope I can get out of this slump as soon as possible."