KEMEA Yamaha Yamalube

KEMEA YAMAHA Yamalube Race report: GP12 Kegums, Latvia

Just as last week in Sweden, the 12th round of the MXGP World championship in Latvia was closed with mixed emotions. Highlight of the weekend was the overall victory from Damon Graulus in EMX250, in contrast to Paturel and Vandoninck who had a weekend to forget.

After a 0 points score last weekend in the second moto, the championship was suddenly far away for Damon. He entered this race with nothing to loose and without pressure. Taking the holeshot in the first moto, Sterry took over the lead in the first lap. Damon stayed close and managed to take advantage of a mistake. He regained the lead and won the first moto in front of Sterry and Kouwenberg.

With a confidence boost from the win, Damon took another holeshot in the second moto. A soft spot in a corner made him loose the lead to Van Berkel. He followed him the whole race but could not pass him. In the final stages of the race Hsu and Vaessen came really close. Hsu passed Damon in the penultimate lap and a couple of turns later Vaessen made a hard move on the Belgian. Damon lost some time and also Olson could get through. Vaessen crashed in the last lap and Damon finished fourth, followed by Kouwenberg in fifth.

This was enough for the overall and Damon took his first win of the season. On top of that he narrows the gap with the leader in the championship to 15 points. With two races to go, everything is still possible.

Paturel rode a solid qualifying race on Saturday and had 7th gate pick on Sunday for the races. Brent didn’t find a good rhythm on the sandy track and finished 15th.

After a mediocre start in the first moto on Sunday, both KEMEA riders had a hard time moving up through the pack on the tricky track. Benoit started the race in 12th and ended this moto in 11th position. Brent crossed the finish line in 22nd after the first lap and got back to 15th.

In the second moto too, both had a hard race. Benoit crashed in the first lap and was in last spot. He lost a lot of time halfway through the race he went down again. He would end the race in 22nd. Brent was 19th after lap 1 and worked his way up to 12th.

Brent got 15th overall, followed by Benoit in 16th. In the championship standings Paturel is now 12th with only 3 points difference to place 10. Brent is now in 16th.

"It’s good to have an overall win but I’m not satisfied at all. Yesterday everything went according to plan but today was not good at all. My starts were good in both moto’s, but today I made a mistake in the first lap so Van Berkel could get by. I followed him and although I was faster, I took over his pace. When he started slowing down I couldn’t pass him and all of a sudden Hsu and Vaessen were there. Hsu had a great line after the waves and in the last lap Vaessen hit me, so also Olsen got by. I should have won this one, but in the end I make up quiet some points on Kouwenberg. I have nothing to loose and the pressure is in his camp, so I will give it all in those last two races."

Damon Graulus

"I had an off weekend… I had the same feeling as in Germany, the pace and speed weren’t there and only the last 15 minutes of the final moto I felt allright. Maybe I put too much pressure on myself. When you got these top 6 finishes you want to be there every weekend, but when it already goes wrong on Saturday I start riding too tensed. It makes me realize I still need to learn a lot and although they feel bad, you still learn a lot on those days."

Brent Vandoninck

"I had a really bad weekend. The starts were bad and after I could not find a good pace. Second moto I crashed twice and lost a lot of time to get started again. A weekend to forget but this motivates me to work harder for the next one..."

Benoit Paturel

Full results can be found here.

Images: Bavo/CDS