Romain Febvre of France ends Antonio Cairoli’s 6-year reign by finishing second overall at the GP of the Netherlands.
There is a new king of the FIM World Motocross Championship, and his name is Romain Febvre.
At round 16 of the FIM Motocross Championship, the Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing-backed, 23-year-old Frenchman clinched his first career MXGP title at the Grand Prix of the Netherlands inside the Dutch TT Circuit at Assen, Holland, Sunday, ending the 6-year reign of Red Bull KTM’s Antonio Cairoli and giving Yamaha its first MXGP title since Italy’s David Philippaerts won it in 2008.
Febvre came into the Assen round with a massive 101-point lead over countryman Gautier Paulin, knowing that if he could come away from the round with that point lead intact, he would clinch the title two rounds early. The nerves were abundant as Febvre struggled to find his rhythm in the first moto on the sandy, rough Assen circuit, which is laid out annually at the same facility used by the MotoGP series. Paulin did his job to avoid trouble and bring home a fifth-place finish while Paulin finish behind Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM’s Shaun Simpson,
But Paulin would falter in the second moto, making a number of mistakes on the track and falling back to fifth, behind his Team HRC Honda teammate, Evgeny Bobryshev. Febvre was clearly more relaxed in moto two, and he ran up front for most of the moto and crossed the line first for the moto win, knowing that if Paulin could not muster a third-place finish or better the title race was over. Paulin failed to make the progress he needed to stay alive in the championship battle, coming home fourth, and thus Yamaha crowned its first MXGP Champion since Philippaerts.
“I started slowly on Saturday and showed good speed in qualifying already,” Febvre said. “I knew with some good starts I could be on the podium again, and that was the goal. I knew also if I finished in front of [Gautier] Paulin then the championship would be done. It didn’t happen in the first moto, but my start was a lot better in the second, and I could pass everybody to win and the 2015 World Championship! I cannot thank everybody enough. The team did such a good job and gave me a chance last winter. I’m so happy.”
Simpson had a great second moto, finishingbehind Febvre and Coldenhoff to wrap up a second GP overall win on the season and move to fourth place in the MXGP Series standings, behind Paulin and Bobryshev, and the Scotsman still has a strong chance for at least third place in the final tally if he can muster strong performances in the final two rounds in Mexico and the USA. Febvre finished second overall, while home country rider Glenn Coldenhoff was third overall via his 4-2 moto finishes.
But Febvre has truly been the man in the absence of the injured Cairoli in 2015. He has headed the series statistics this season other than number-one qualifying spots. He has led the most laps, won the most motos (12 of 32) and collected the most Grands Prix overall wins (6) as well as been the most consistent podium finisher (11). With the pressure off, Febvre can enjoy the final two stops on the tour, secure in the knowledge that the title is his, and he can then shift his focus toward helping Team France win the Motocross of Nations at Ernee in his home country, September 26-27.
While the MXGP title chase is over, the MX2 battle is anything but as the top six riders are still have a mathematical chance at the MX2 World Championshuip. At the top of the order, Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser of Slovenia vaulted past Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass in the standings to take a 13-point series lead after earning the overall win at Assen via 1-2 moto finishes.
Jonass suffered a disastrous round at Assen. After finishing second to Gasjer in moto one he crashed off the start of moto two and pulverized his front brake. Jonass hurriedly pulled into the pits for repairs and was forced to wait agony before re-joining the moto almost a lap behind the leader, Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s sand specialist Max Anstie, who won the moto while Jonass finished a disappointing 13th. However, Anstie had crashed and was forced to soldier to a ninth-place finish in the first moto. His second-place overall finish gained him no traction in the series points standings, where he sits third, 54 points behind Gasjer and 31 behind Jonass.
But it was a good day for Kemea Yamaha Yamalube’s Brent Van Doninck, who earned his first career MX2 overall podium finish with solid 4-4 moto performances.
“I am so happy,” the Belgian said. “It’s really special for me. I wasn’t meant to be racing GPs this year, so I didn’t think this would happen in my first year.”
FIM World Motocross Championship
Grand Prix of the Netherlands
Dutch TT Circuit
Results: August 23, 2015 (Round 16 of 18)
1. Shaun Simpson (GBR)-KTM/1-3
2. Romain Febvre (FRA)-Yam/5-1
3. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED)-Suz/4-2
4. Gautier Paulin (FRA)-Hon/2-4
5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS)-Hon/3-5
6. Maxi Nagl (GER)-Hus/6-6
7. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL)-Yam/7-7
8. Todd Waters (AUS)-Hus/9-9
9. Dean Ferris (AUS)-Hus/8-11
10. Jose Butron (ESP)-KTM/14-8
FIM MXGP World Championship Series Points Standings (After 16 of 18 rounds)
1. Romain Febvre-638*
2. Gautier Paulin-536
3. Evgeny Bobryshev-499
4. Shaun Simpson-437
5. Antonio Cairoli-416
6. Max Nagl-
7. Jeremy Van Horebeek-394
8. Glenn Coldenhoff-361
9. Clement Desalle-331
10. Todd Waters-324
*Clinched series championship
1. Tim Gajser (SLO)-Hon/1-2
2. Max Anstie (GBR)-Kaw/9-1
3. Brent van Doninck (BEL)-Yam/4-4
4. Julien Lieber (BEL)-Yam/3-6
5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI)-Suy/10-3
6. Pauls Jonass (LAT)-KTM/2-13
7. Harri Kullas (FIN)-Hus 5-8
8. Benoit Paturel (FRA)-Yam/7-7
9. Thomas Covington (USA)-Kaw/6-11
10. Brian Bogers (NED)-KTM/11-9
FIM MX2 World Championship Series Points Standings (After 16 of 18 rounds)
1. Tim Gajser-518
2. Pauls Jonass-505
3. Max Anstie-474
4. Valentin Guillod-446
5. Jeremy Seewer-440-
6. Jeffrey Herlings-423
7. Jordi Tixier-393
8. Julien Lieber-391
9. Benoit Paturel-320
10. Petar Petrov-301