Career best MXGP finish for Calvin Vlaanderen at a brutal Riola
The MXGP World Championship travelled to Sardinia for round ten of the MXGP World Championship with the sand track of Riola presenting a rough and bumpy ride for the riders.
It was a good day for the Gebben van Venrooy Yamaha team with Calvin Vlaanderen in terrific form all day. The day started well by setting the third quickest time in qualifying and he took that into the races with him. In race one, Vlaanderen was just outside the top five but riding with a great flow and speed it didn't take him long to get into third. Unfortunately, right at the end Romain Febvre made a move but fourth was a superb result.
Belgian rider, Brent van Doninck showed he had a lot of speed but didn't have the best of luck. After an average start he worked his way into tenth but then on the last lap he ran out of fuel which was a real shame, but he still got classified in eighteenth to at least secure points.
After starting outside the top twenty, Kevin Strijbos rode well to recover to fifteenth and was battling with some big names around the gnarly sand track.
In the second moto, Vlaanderen had another blinder of a ride coming from seventh to fourth. 4-4 on the day meant he ended up fourth overall which is his career best MXGP so far – on another day it could have been a podium with his superb riding.
It was a bad start for van Doninck in moto two but he was able to charge from eighteenth to eleventh so the speed is certainly a positive.
Unfortunately, Strijbos had no energy after the first moto just like in Turkey so will get some checks done to see if there's a problem because it's not normal for the experienced Belgian to feel like that.
There's now a week off in the MXGP calendar but van Doninck will represent team Belgian at the Motocross Des Nations event at Mantova next weekend.
"It was another difficult day. It was the same as Turkey. The first moto was so so and then in the second moto I had no energy again. I will do some check-ups on the body to see where it comes from because this is not normal that I can’t ride two moto’s anymore."
"What a day. Right from free practice I felt good with the track and I managed to get a good time in qualifying on lap one because I knew the track was going to get rough and the lines would get blown out. I was third fastest in timed practice which I knew was important for the start. I managed to take a good start in the first race in sixth or seventh. I made some good passes on the riders in front and was riding in third the whole race feeling comfortable. I was trying to hit all my marks but then I started to think a little too much maybe and then I ran out of energy the last five minutes but I'm happy with fourth in the first one. In the second race I had an alright start but I had a really consistent race, I did nothing stupid and hit my marks the whole race. I found a good flow around the rough track so 4-4 for fourth overall, I am super happy. I want to say thanks to the team and everyone around me for believing in me. Now we have a problem because we will expect this every week but I'll try my best to do this for the rest of the season."
" I don’t think I've ever had so much bad luck in one day. It already started in timed practice when I had to take the second bike and then I had a crash, my boots were full of oil, and I slipped off the foot pegs. Unfortunately, Tony was down for about 10 minutes, so everyone already had a fast lap before that, and I still had to make one which made timed practice tough. In the first moto I came from fifteenth to tenth and then with two corners to go I ran out of fuel, I had to walk the whole way back and I was just done, I was so tired from the race. It is a shame because I was doing good, and it would have been another top ten result. In the second moto, I had a terrible start, but I came from twentieth to eleventh. Overall, it was a good day with my riding, but I was just unlucky. I have lots of positives to take because I feel good and physically, I am in good shape. I think this was one of the toughest GP's I've ever done to be honest with the heat and the track was so heavy. I am looking forward to the MXoN now, it's going to be busy for me now as I don't have a free weekend until the 10th of November but let's keep going."
Photo credit: Bavo