The smooth and precise riding style of Arnaud Tonus is well suited to the rock-hard hilly layout in Orlyonok, Russia. It was at the Russian circuit in 2017 that he won his first ever Qualifying Race inside the premier class. The win also marked a first for the Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP Team.
With some extra confidence after finishing up the last two Grand Prix rounds on the podium, the number '4' of Tonus is excited to line his YZ450F up this weekend where he hopes to add to his string of podium finishes.
Speaking of podium finishes, Gautier Paulin has had three thus far and is determined to make a fiery return to the box this weekend. The Frenchman enjoyed the view from the podium in Orlyonok back in 2017 where he celebrated the Grand Prix from the third step. He is currently third in the MXGP Championship Standings, 10-points clear of the rider in fourth.
If race results were put on a graph, Jeremy Seewer would have the most exciting curve of improvement. The 24-year-old is gradually building confidence on his YZ450FM and has improved his results at each and every Grand Prix. Consequently, the talented Swiss rider is sixth in the Championship Standings, only 6-points shy of the rider in fifth. He is currently 22-points clear of his compatriot Tonus, who is in seventh position.
After making his return to racing less than 3-weeks ago after a severe ankle injury that required surgical intervention, Romain Febvre's return to Grand Prix form has been spectacular. The former World Champion suffered from illness leading into the MXGP of France, yet still managed to put his YZ450FM on the box. After a much-needed weekend off to ensure his health has returned to 100%, '461' is confident that if his arms don't pump up this weekend, he can be on the box.
As the only rider that has defeated the current championship leader in a race this season, anticipation of what is yet to come is building for the Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha MX2 team and their Belgian protegee Jago Geerts. Geerts tied on points for the victory at the previous Grand Prix but was demoted to second as a result of a small crash while pestering the leader in the final throws of Race 2. The 19-year-old star is hungrier than ever for a maiden GP win, and there is a good chance it could come this weekend in Orlyonok, Russia, as it was at this venue that he won the his first World Title, the 2016 Junior 125cc Motocross World Championship.
Geerts is currently third in the MX2 Championship Standings, while his teammate Ben Watson is 3-points off of a place inside the top-five. He is sixth.
Additionally, the EMX250 series will join the premier classes on the coast of the Black Sea at the scenic venue of Orlyonok, Russia, this weekend for the fourth round of the championship. Riding a wave of confidence after finishing on the podium at the most recent round in France, MJC Yamaha's Thibault Bensistant is determined to remain at the front of the field where he can build on his 10th place in the Championship Standings.
Joining Benistant, SDM Corse Yamaha EMX250's Rick Elzinga, Caleb Grothues and Gianluca Facchetti are looking forward to making the trip in hopes of putting their GYTR kitted YZ250F's inside the top-ten. Unfortunately, the young Italian based team will be one-man down this weekend as Ruben Fernandez recovers from a heavy fall at the Italian Championship only three-days ago.
This weekend the MXGP and MX2 riders will have two practice sessions and a Qualifying Race each on Saturday followed by two Grand Prix races each on Sunday. The EMX250 class will have two practice sessions on Saturday morning followed by a Championship race on Saturday afternoon. The second and final EMX250 race will take place on Sunday morning.
All of the races can be watched on www.mxgp-tv.com, so can the MXGP Studio Show which is filmed live onsite and will feature Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP's Jeremy Seewer. It will go LIVE at 10:15 (GMT+3) on Saturday 8th June.