Round 10 – MXGP of Città di Mantova
The MXGP of Città di Mantova has concluded with a series of epic races that kept everyone on the edge of our seats as the MXGP, MX2, EMX250 and WMX classes fought it out.
Romain Febvre celebrated an epic MXGP victory, as the Frenchman took his first race win in over a year and a first overall victory of the season so far, ahead of Jorde Prado and Tim Gajser, with Gajser retaining the red plate. Australian Mitch Evans was eighth overall, collecting 29 championship points.
The standings now see Gajser leading Cairoli by a narrow five-points, with Jeremy Seewer third a further 13-points behind on 334. Mitch Evans sits just outside the top 10 in 11th on 197-points.
“A better day today which started off with a 10th in qualifying. I didn’t feel the greatest but I knew it was more down to the starts, than the laptimes and in race one I got out of the blocks well. Unfortunately, it was very hard to pass and everyone was just following the leader the whole race and I came away with sixth, which was okay. In the second race I got caught up in the first two turns and lost a couple of positions and played ‘follow the leader’ once again. I stayed in seventh until the chequered flag which made it a much better day than last Sunday and I’ll hope to keep improving for the third round here this Sunday.”
Meanwhile in MX2 Thomas Kjer Olsen put on an incredible performance to go after a back-to-back Grand Prix win ahead of Tom Vialle and Roan Van De Moosdijk, with Jed Beaton settling for sixth overall, going 6-6 across the two races. Bailey Malkiewicz also put in a strong performance going 19-7 to collect 16 championship points.
Tom Vialle leads the standings by 46-points on 431, to Jago Geerts and Maxime Renaux (329). Jed Beaton is fourth on 316-points, with Malkiewicz moving up to 18th. Nathan Crawford currently retains 15th but did not finish race 1, or compete in race 2.
“For sure it wasn’t the day I wanted after winning the second moto last weekend, but I’ll take 6-6 on a bad day. I crashed in both motos which wasn’t really ideal and made a few mistakes in the second race. No complaints, my bike’s great, it just wasn’t my day today, so we’ll look forward to Sunday and hope to get back on the box.”
The mid-week special round concluded its first day, with the fourth round of the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship. Coming into the second WMX event in Mantova, defending world champion Courtney Duncan of DRT Kawasaki Racing was more keen than ever on claiming back some vital championship points to put herself in a better fighting position for the final round in Pietramurata for the round of Trentino.
Duncan did just that with a fantastic overall victory, which now puts her four points down on the championship leader Nancy Van De Ven.
“It was nice to get the second race win and it was nice to bring the points back. I think overall, I was just so proud of how I was able to re-group and turn things around from Saturday after a pretty nasty crash. Yeah looking forward to the next round so I can continue to fight.”
The sixth round of the EMX250 Championship also concluded in Mantova and saw Mattia Guadagnini make the perfect comeback to take the overall win on home soil.
MXGP Race 1
In race one, Jorge Prado continued to show that he is the king of starts as he grabbed yet another FOX Holeshot. He was closely followed by teammate Antonio Cairoli, Jeremy Seewer and Romain Febvre.
Seewer though wasted no time as he quickly moved past Cairoli to move into second and then focused on Prado for the lead. Team HRC’s Mitch Evans had a good start and was sitting fifth ahead of his teammate and the current championship leader Tim Gajser.
Meanwhile Seewer looked to pick up the pace, setting the fastest lap time of the race as he chased down Prado. Though he needed to be careful as Febvre was also on a mission for the race win, which meant that the Swiss could not afford to make a mistake or relax.
The battle then heated up as the top three riders were all separated by a mere 1.6 seconds with still 19 minutes plus 2 laps to go. And Cairoli then looked to be stepping things up as he started to close in on Febvre, Seewer and Prado. Meanwhile further down the field Glenn Coldenhoff squeezed past Clement Desalle, to move into seventh.
With 11 minutes on the clock, the gap between Prado and Seewer was 2.016 seconds as Gajser started to close in on Cairoli for fourth. The fight for the win then intensified as Prado was getting caught by Seewer who was less than a second behind him.
With just a few laps to go, there was no change in the top five, as Prado was able to keep control under pressure to take the opening MXGP race win, while Seewer finished second and Febvre third. Aussie Mitch Evans finished in sixth.
MXGP Race 2
The second MXGP race saw Febvre perfectly time the start as he entered the first corner in the lead taking the FOX Holeshot. Febvre then led Gajser, Gautier Paulin, Seewer, Coldenhoff and Calvin Vlaanderen.
Gajser then put his focus on Febvre as the two were all over each other, while Seewer charged for Prado who was in 4th just ahead of him. Though he may have pushed too hard, as the Yamaha rider made a mistake which saw him crash out of fifth and things only got worse, as the Swiss had another big moment which saw him drop further down the order, outside the top 10.
Vlaanderen then went out of ninth, loosing several positions and dropping down to 15th.
With 10 minutes left, Febvre continued to control the race with Gajser still second and Paulin third. Paulin then passed Gajser, who immediately responded, but a lap later the Team HRC rider slipped the front and crashed out, allowing Paulin to inherit his position. He was however able to re-join just ahead of Cairoli.
As Paulin, Gajser and Cairoli battled it out, Coldenhoff was also looking to join in, on the mix as he edged closer to the top 4. While further down the field, Seewer was sitting in 11th as he looked to make up some positions in order to salvage some points.
Towards the end of the race, Febvre led by 6.978 seconds with Paulin holding on to second and Gajser third. Seewer then passed Dylan Walsh for 10th.
With just a couple of laps to go Gajser put in a last effort to pass Paulin, though Paulin was able to hold on to the position, while Febvre took his first race win of 2020!
With that second race win, Romain Febvre secured his spot on the top step of the podium, while Jorge Prado finished second and Tim Gajser third. Mitch Evans had another strong race in the top ten, finishing seventh.
“First win of the year, especially with the new team, it’s been awesome. In the first race I had a good start, I was fourth and passed Tony on the first lap but I couldn’t take the rhythm. I made two mistakes, had a gap after 20 minutes and I closed that gap, but it wasn’t good enough to make that pass. In the second race I took a big holeshot and of course that makes life easier because you can choose your lines and ride smooth. Seewer was pushing for the first 20 minutes I think, and then I think he made a mistake, so I had a comfortable gap on Gautier and after I was just by myself. I tried to stay calm to finish the race and win the GP.”
“First race was perfect. Second race I had a good jump out of the gate, I thought I made everything right and in the first corner I was almost with Romain but then some riders came on the inside and into the second corner I think I was around ninth, then I was able to make some passes in the next two corners. I was in a good position with 15 minutes to go, for the overall; then I stalled my bike and had to fight back. I was pushing very hard and still felt like I could make a good race because I was charging all the way to the finish.”
“It wasn’t a bad day as I was still able to finish on the podium but still, I wasn’t completely happy with my riding today. I didn’t have the best start in race one and in the first lap I made a couple of passes but then I was just following Antonio and it was difficult to make any passes. We were all riding the same speed and I ended up fifth. In the second moto I got a better start, in second place behind Romain and I was pushing hard trying to pass him. I had a couple of spots where I was faster but I couldn’t make a pass and then I made a mistake which dropped me to third. I tried to regain second place but ran out of tear-offs when I was pushing for the pass with a couple of laps left and instead had to settle for third, ending up third overall. Still, I have the red plate and that is important after every round.”