Gebben Van Venrooy riders show speed at Maggiora
The iconic track of Maggiora was back hosting racing at the highest level again making a return since last hosting the Motocross of Nations in 2016.
The picturesque track offered up the usual typical Italian conditions of slick nature before a heavy thunderstorm meant the last moto of the day saw muddy and very difficult conditions.
During timed practice all three Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha riders set very similar lap times on a slippery track. Kevin Strijbos set the eleventh quickest time with Cavlin Vlaanderen one spot back in twelfth and Brent van Doninck in fourteenth.
When the gate dropped for moto one it was Brent van Doninck who got the best jump out of the trio as he was fourteenth after the first official lap. The Belgian looked comfortable in the slick, rutty conditions and made some moves to finish a strong tenth. That's the sort of speed van Doninck has showed all season so he finally got his reward with his first top ten moto finish of the season.
Vlaanderen didn't get the best of starts as he was buried outside the top twenty on the opening lap and despite the track being difficult to overtake on he charged his way up to fourteenth which was a good ride under the circumstances.
In the past, Strijbos has had plenty of success at Maggiora but the first moto was typical of his season so far – another bad start after tangling with another rider up the start straight. From being virtually last he was able to work battle through to nineteenth.
After a heavy thunderstorm, track conditions were completely different for race two and there were plenty of vision issues for the riders.
Unfortunately, van Doninck couldn’t replicate his showing from moto one after goggle issues which saw him pull into goggle lane twice and a few crashes didn't help his progress in which he finished twenty-fourth.
A rear brake issue for Calvin Vlaanderen in moto two meant he couldn't finish the race which was a shame as he was running inside the points.
Kevin Strijbos again found himself outside the top twenty but enjoyed the muddy conditions and made several passes to work his way into thirteenth – he clearly had the speed for a top ten result.
The team will now prepare for their home Grand Prix which will take place in the sand at Oss on the 18th of July..
"The day started off not too bad with a fourteenth in timed practice, I mean it wasn't great but it was good enough for a good spot behind the gate. In the first moto I didn't get a good jump out of the gate and was fifteenth on the opening lap. I worked my way up to tenth and I felt really good, I had a good flow going on, felt strong and good on the bike. The second moto with the rain, I pulled into goggle lane twice and crashed a few times. I am a little bit disappointed again because I couldn't do two good moto's. I feel that I can do two top ten moto's or even a little bit better. Let's try again in Oss and let's hope we get nice weather because I'm not a fan of this to be honest (laughs). I hope I can see some home fans at Oss and also being it the team's home GP, it's going to be great."
"I am a bit disappointed. My riding is not too bad but the starts seem to be where I struggle so we have to try and find something for that before Oss. Starts are so important and if you take bad starts like me, it's not easy. I tangled with another rider up the start straight in moto one so I was basically last, I came back to nineteenth but it was hard to pass. The speed from tenth to twentieth speed was almost a similar speed. In the second moto with the rain, I am quite good in the mud and I was looking forward to it but another bad start. I was able to pass a lot of riders and felt good out there, thirteenth was the best I could do as I had goggle issues near the end. If I could find starts it would have been an easy top ten and for that I am a bit disappointed and frustrated. We will work for Oss and hopefully we can make it better."
"It was a tough day at the office today. I wasn’t so happy with my qualifying time setting the twelfth quickest time. In the first race I felt like I got a good start but got boxed in the first corner and came around outside the top twenty. It was not an easy race but I managed to come back to fourteenth. I felt good out there but it wasn’t easy to make passes. In the second race again I didn’t get a good start and it was just survival out there. I was riding around in eighteenth when I lost my rear brake and couldn’t continue anymore. I’m happy with how I’m feeling on the bike but I just need put myself in a good position off the start."
Photocredits - Eric Laurijssen