The spectacular Matterley Basin circuit that hosted the first Grand Prix of the 20 round series, presented challenging conditions after torrential rain and high-speed winds drenched and battered the venue only days prior.
As a result of the weather, Infront Moto Racing, the series promoters revised the program on Saturday 29th February, and only allowed time for one practice session out on track.
With limited time to set-up the bikes and ease back into racing, all three riders felt the opening Grand Prix was a strange affair, especially with the horrid weather contributing to the challenging nature of the usually fast-paced and jumpy venue.
In the opening race, Seewer burst out of the gate on his YZ450FM and led the way around turn-one before being nudged back to third on Lap-2 by Jeffrey Herlings and Mitch Evans. With 12-minutes left on the clock, the Swiss sensation hooked a gear, passed Evans and never looked back. He finished second in convincing fashion with an 11-second advantage over the rider in third.
The deep ruts, square-edged bumps and low sunlight tested both man and motorcycle. All of the riders had to work hard to find new lines in order to make passes, especially those that had mediocre starts such as Paulin and Tonus.
Paulin fought back from a 15th place start to pass Tim Gajser for seventh before falling back to ninth after losing the front in a rut. The Frenchman made a hasty remount and charged back to a seventh-place finish.
Tonus nursed a painful thumb home to 11th while SM Action M.C. Migliori Yamaha Supported MX team’s rookie Henry Jacobi rounded out the top-10.
In the second and final race of the weekend, it was Paulin who put his YZ450FM inside the top-five after his teammate Seewer collided with another rider at turn-two. The Frenchman put chase to former world champions Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings for the first 10-minutes of the race before settling into a rhythm that would eventually secure the 18-points that are awarded for fourth.
Seewer’s rear brake caliper was damaged in a collision with Clement Desalle at turn-two. Although it was not easy to navigate the rut strewn track with no rear brake, the ‘91’ still put in a determined ride to finish eighth.
After two dramatic and mentally challenging races, Seewer was disappointed to miss the podium by 3-points but is still happy to start the 20-round series in fourth overall.
Knowing there are 38 races remaining, like Seewer, Paulin was satisfied with his sixth place in the MXGP Championship Standings after round one, as was Jacobi who finished ninth in Race 2 for ninth overall. Tonus, on the other hand, was disappointed with his 11 – 18 scorecards but is looking forward to better days in the very near future.
The next round of the FIM Motocross World Championship will take place next weekend in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, on the weekend on March 8th.