14 September 2015
Febvre's Mexican double
World champ wins MXGP but there's drama in MX2 with crashes galore
Recently-crowned world champ Romain Febvre took his seventh GP overall win and 14th moto victory with a convincing double win in the humidty and muddy conditions at Leon in Mexico. He easily won both heats after taking the lead early in both motos.
Febvre said: “I feel good and had two solid motos with two good starts. I'm so happy!”
But it was great for Briton Shaun Simpson who took second overall thanks to a pair of second place finishes. For the Scotsman, it was his third podium finish in the last four GPs, but he didn't have it easy – especially in the second moto when he had a huge scrap with Evgeny Bobryshev, Gautier Paulin, Glenn Coldenhoff, Jeremy Van Horebeek and Max Nagl.
Simpson said: “I don't know what's going with my starts as I'm struggling a bit. The track was excellent in the second moto with lines everywhere and I really felt good on the bike.”
Honda man Bobby took third overall with two third place finishes, and moved to within 27 points of his team-mate Paulin who is currently second in the series with one round to go.
Paulin battled with Bobryshev for third place in the second moto – proving there really are no team orders at HRC – and with a couple of laps to go the Frenchman looped out spectacularly. He remounted and finished a disappointing ninth. Briton Adam Sterry took a couple of 12th place finishes in his first ever MXGP race.
Mexico just seems to bring out the drama in MX2. Last year it was the drama between Jeffrey Herlings and Jordi Tixier in the final round. This year, the drama all surrounded KTM man Pauls Jonass.
Jonass easily won the opening moto – his first ever moto win - and got within four points of Tim Gajser's championship lead. But he then crashed heavily as he skidded across the holeshot line in moto two. He remounted near the back, pulled through the field but then had a huge Chad Reed-style crash over a massive jump.
He remounted, pitted for a new clutch lever and to get the bike straightened up and rejoined the race two laps down. He finished 13th and saw his title rival Gajser extend his series lead to 18 points going into the final round at Glen Helen next week. Max Anstie had one good race but one terrible one and finished fifth overall. He's now 50 points back.
Gajser, fourth in the opener, took second overall on the day as American Thomas Covington won the second moto and the overall win. He's the first American to win an overall since Zach Osborne in Ireland in 2008. Covington, who hadn't been on the podium all year, said: "I didn't even realise I'd won overall until they told me to go to the podium, and I had to ask which step to go on!"
Gajser now must feel he has one hand on the crown. If he wins, it will be Honda's first ever MX2 championship win. They last won in the small-bike class in 1995 when it was for 125s with Alex Puzar.
Gajser said: "I'm pretty happy. The track was so much better in the second moto." Frenchman Benoit Paturel took third overall, his first ever podium finish.
The heavens had opened overnight, and the baked-hard Leon circuit was turned into a sticky mess for the MX2 opener at the Leon circuit. In the opener Jonass pulled a clean holeshot and was unchallenged for the win. At one time his lead was 13 seconds over Briton Max Anstie, who rallied back on the last lap but couldn't catch up and finished second.
Third was Yamaha's Benoit Paturel from Thomas Covington who held off a challenge from red plate holder Gajser who fell heavily in fourth place and was ordered by his team to nurse home his steaming CRF.
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