Febvre & Tonus Tie for the Grand Prix Victory in Latvia
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP's Romain Febvre & Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP's Arnaud Tonus continued Yamaha's double podium streak at the ninth round of the MXGP World Championship in Kegums, Latvia. The dynamic duo finished on the same points as the eventual Grand Prix winner but based on the result of the final race Febvre was demoted to second position and Tonus third, while Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP's Jeremy Seewer finished fourth overall with 4-points less than the pair that tied for the victory.
After making some important changes to his YZ450FM after the Qualifying Race on Saturday, Febvre picked up the pace and had the fans on the edge of their seats as he dashed through the field and challenged for a place inside the top-three in both races. In the opening race the '461' was not short of determination as he tried various lines and ways to pass the nine-times World Champion, Antonio Cairoli, but the opportunity he was hoping for never arose and he had to settle for fourth.
The fairytale continued for Arnaud Tonus at the Latvian Grand Prix with the Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha star challenging for victory once again. In the opening race, the number '4' rocketed out of the gate on his YZ450F and wasted little time putting the challenge to Antonio Cairoli and the defending MXGP World Champion Jeffrey Herlings. His speed was heroic as he blitzed pass the duo on lap-4 and led the race for all but two-laps. A small error in the 'S' bend after the finish line allowed Herlings to capitalize and while he tried to respond with an intense last-lap surge, he was summoned to second position.
Seewer's weekend was highlighted by his scintillating performance in the second and final race of the weekend. After finishing fifth in the first race, 1-second behind his teammate, the '91' knew he had the speed to challenge the leaders. When the gates dropped, he got off to a rip-roaring start on his YZ450FM and led first 11-laps of the race ahead of Tonus and the championship leader, Tim Gajser.
On the twelfth lap, Gajser took the lead from Seewer as Febvre picked up the pace and stormed past Tonus. With half a lap remaining in the race, the '461' had caught his teammate and successfully executed a pass to finish second position by a minimal margin. 13-seconds further adrift, Tonus finished fourth which put him on the same 40-points as the Grand Prix winners Gajser and Febvre. Seewer came tantalizingly close to finishing on the podium for the second time in his premier class career. He was 4-points short of the victory but scored enough points to move up into third in the MXGP Championship Standings.
Between the two MXGP races, 22 of the 33 laps raced this weekend were led by Yamaha riders. Tonus led 11 in the first race, while Seewer led 11 in the second race.
Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP's Gautier Paulin did his best to ride through the suffering he faced as a result of the heavy fall he had in Race 1 at the Russian Grand Prix last weekend. The 29-year-old Frenchman pushed on and managed to finish seventh overall. As a result, the '21' leaves Latvia fourth in the Championship Standings, 2-points shy of Seewer and 8-points clear of Tonus who has moved up to fifth.
After missing four rounds due to injury, Febvre has moved up to 12th in the MXGP Championship Standings.
The next round of the MXGP World Championship will take place in Teutschenthal, Germany, next weekend, June 22nd and 23rd.
2nd MXGP Overall, 40-points
"I finished on the same points as the overall winner, so I am happy but disappointed at the same time. This weekend didn't start so well, I didn't feel comfortable on the track yesterday, but it was much better today. I made some changes to my bike and I really want to thank my team Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP for the work they are putting in. It has not been long since my injury and I have already been on the podium twice, so I am happy with that."
3rd MXGP Overall, 40-points
"I have to be happy with this weekend. It is a bit frustrating to come this close to the win, we fight hard for this so to be on the same points as the winner but miss it, it's tough. We will keep working. It still feels great to be on the podium, so I need to thank my team and all of the people around me. I will enjoy this podium finish a lot and keep fighting for the win in the future."
4th MXGP Overall, 36-points
"I had an amazing weekend, probably the best this year even though I was on the podium last weekend but not this weekend. I still finished on the same points and I was able to lead a lot of laps which was really cool. I got passed on the last lap, 'chapeau' to my teammate Romain, he was riding really fast on the last and we were able to catch Gajser. It was a great battle and I really enjoyed this weekend podium or not. I am really looking forward to Germany, it is one of my favourite tracks, so it is going well at the moment and I want to keep moving in this direction and fighting for more podiums."
7th MXGP Overall, 23-points
“I have had two big impacts at the previous two GP’s and this has affected my physical condition, so I felt this weekend was tough with my energy levels being very low. The Qualifying Race was not good for me with two crashes, but even with a bad gate-pick the team have given me a really good bike, so I managed to get decent starts, but I just didn’t feel 100% today. To take the positives away from the day today, I had two consistent races with no crashes, so I will build on this to get back to the level where I should be.”