Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP leader Romain Febvre opened his 2023 campaign with an impressive moto victory and two third places in the prestige international motocross at Hawkstone Park.
A typically fresh early springtime day under bright skies in the United Kingdom greeted the teams, riders and spectators for the first major shakedown race of the season at the famous sand track in central England three weeks before the opening GP and Kawasaki’s French ace immediately made his mark as he holeshot the opening moto, leading impressively from start-to-finish.
Dutch sand expert Glenn Coldenhoff came close at one stage before the Kawasaki rider moved away again during the closing stages of the 25-minute-plus-one-lap race.
Former world champion Febvre got caught up in traffic at the first turn in each of the later motos after spinning at the gate but carefully avoided any danger of collisions as he carved his way through the pack to cross the finish line third each time.
Significantly, he recorded the fastest lap in the final race of the day as he chased through to even challenge for the lead before he sensibly backed off again at the close as the lack of riding in recent weeks following a recent precautionary operation to relieve arm pump became evident.
“I came here with no real expectations as I was three weeks without riding the bike after my arm surgery and I didn’t expect to ride so well, either in terms of speed or physically,” said Febvre.
“For sure winning my first race of the season is a boost, and it was good for me mentally too! In the second race I started in the pack after slipping on the metal grid and I came back to third, then in the Superfinal several of us did the same again at the start.
“I was fourth at first but came through to second and at one point I was almost side-by-side with Coldenhoff for the lead but I couldn’t manage to take the advantage and right at the end of the race Brent Van Doninck slipped past me. I was feeling the lack of riding and in the last five laps I got a little tired, which was to be expected after three weeks off the bike.
“It’s the first time I have been to Hawkstone Park; it’s a beautiful natural track with turns of so many different types and the big uphill where you can use the power of the motorcycle; it’s a beautiful circuit, especially when the weather is nice like today.”
Photo courtesy Kawasaki Europe
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