Gebben van Venrooy Racing making more progress in the MXGP of Riga
After making progress at the MXGP restart during the weekend, the Gebben Van Venrooy Racing were looking forward to the fourth round of the series at the same track at Kegums. Some minor changes were made to the track, but it still presented a rough and choppy circuit with plenty of bumps and holes for the best riders in the world.
The day got off to a brilliant start for Calvin Vlaanderen who is clearly in a good place at the moment since the return to racing. In timed practice he held the fastest lap until the last few moments but he still secured the third quickest time to take a great gate pick. Alessandro Lupino set the thirty-third quickest time but was only 3.8 seconds off pole – the times were incredibly close. Posting the thirty-first quickest lap time was Thomas Covington but he wasn’t far off the pace of Paturel, Gole and established MXGP riders.
In the first moto of the day, there was carnage around the first corner and Vlaanderen was caught in the middle of it. It gave the MXGP rookie plenty of work to do but he worked his way through from virtually dead last all the way to fifteenth in what was a solid ride.
Thomas Covington didn’t get a good start but he had a solid ride coming from twenty-ninth to twenty-second – not scoring championship points yet but it’s a good sign. As for Alessandro Lupino he got caught up in the first corner pile up and later suffered from another crash – a frustrating moto.
Thankfully in the second moto, Vlaanderen was able to avoid any trouble on the opening lap as he found himself in ninth. The opening laps are very intense and something Vlaanderen hasn’t seen so far this year so he did lose a few positions to the likes of Tim Gajser and Arnaud Tonus. After a few laps, Vlaanderen was able to find a good rhythm and repassed Tonus as well as making a move on Prado. There was a five-way battle going on for seventh and in the end Vlaanderen had to settle for eighth with the Factory Yamaha of Paulin just ahead of him – he just couldn’t get around the French rider. Eleventh overall is another good result in the bag.
Italian rider, Lupino was caught up in a second moto start crash which saw him buried down the order, but he managed to come back to twenty-third. It’s not the result he’s looking for, but it shows how important a good start is needed in MXGP at the moment. Unfortunately, Covington had bike issues forced him out of the race, but he’ll be looking to put it right this weekend for round five of the MXGP series.
"I’m happy with today. I improved a bit from the weekends race. Already in qualifying I felt really good and could push and ride how I wanted. I almost had the pole position which was a nice confidence boost for the motos. Unfortunately, in the first race I crashed in the start and could only fight back to 15th. Second moto I had a bad start but luckily could get through the first corner okay and was fighting around 10 the whole race and finished P9. Good step again and learnt a lot racing the top guys."
"I had a really tough day. I was feeling faster today and good on the bike but I never got a good feeling with the track. I had to really fight to find a good feeling I never got. I crashed at the start with the other guys in the first moto and then I crashed again so then I stopped. In the second moto again I crashed at the start so it’s a day to forget. I’m very disappointed and also for the team, I’m sorry about it. I feel I can do more but it’s hard because I haven’t showed it, I hope on Sunday I can do a better race."
"Today in the first moto I felt a little more comfortable and I feel like we have things going in the right direction. It’s been a tough 2 races but just focusing on progressing each race. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to finish moto 2 because of a bike issue but looking forward to the last race in Latvia on Sunday to take another step forward."