The seventh round of the 2023 FIM Motocross World Championships at Villars sous Ecot, in France, featured a redesigned circuit that would increase overtaking and deliver a fantastic show in general.
And who would this suit best?
At the end of the day it was Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Jeremy Seewer who got on the top step of the podium overall for the first time this season while home rider Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre (pictured here) managed an emotional second place in his home country with a win in race two.
Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado was back on the podium in third place, but he retained his overall series lead in the premier MXGP class.
In MX2, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team’s Thibault Benistant made the French public go wild with a dominant first GP win at home. On the second place was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Andrea Adamo who is edging closer to getting the leader’s red plate.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Liam Everts managed a second podium in third place.
The MXGP of France has delivered an outstanding show with many French riders rising to the occasion to spoil the devoted and passionate French public.
In MXGP race one, it was Seewer who got the fastest start as he clinched his fifth holeshot of the season. Prado quickly took the lead of Seewer after few turns while Febvre got to third on lap one.
Seewer demonstrated great qualities on a track that seems to suit him as he made a charge on Prado on lap five and took the lead.
Seewer kept riding strong and rode to victory for his first race win of the season. Behind the battle for second place raged between Prado, Febvre and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings who placed himself fourth on the turn of lap one.
Febvre made a move on Prado and even took the second place for few turns but Prado took his place back right away.
It was then the turn of Herlings to show his immense talent as he set the fastest lap mid race and closed on Febvre on lap 12. The speed of the ‘bullet’ was too quick as Herlings passed Febvre for third on lap 12. Herlings’ run was not finished as he continued his effort to put pressure on Prado quickly and managed to pass him on lap 14 with three laps to go.
Herlings finished the race second while Prado could not keep Febvre behind him on lap 15. Febvre went on to pass Prado to finish third. Prado settled for fourth in the end.
Team HRC’s Rubén Fernández spent a much less eventful race as the third-ranked rider in the championship standings managed to stay fifth throughout the whole race. He was followed by Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Mattia Guadagnini who also kept his rank into sixth during the race.
Ship to Cycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Valentin Guillod showed a good pace as he started at the top but found himself eighth on the turn of lap one. He managed to capitalise on SM Action Racing Team Yuasa Battery MXGP’s Alberto Forato crash to get up to seventh. Forato, who continued on his marvellous effort from Saturday, was sixth when he completely fell off his bike on a jump and unfortunately had to retire from the race.
Team Gebben Van Venroy Yamaha Racing’s Calvin Vlaanderen made a good start and quickly passed JM Honda Racing’s Brent Van doninck for ninth and kept a good pace behind Guillod.
He eventually also benefitted from Forato misfortune to finish in eighth. Van doninck keeps showing impressive skill as the Belgian rode solidly into the top 10 the whole race to settle 10th in the end.
The great performance of the race went to Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Glenn Coldenhoff as the Dutch rider did not start well and found himself 13th on lap one but eventually picked up his rhythm to overtake MRT Racing Team Beta’s Ben Watson,
MRT Racing Team Beta’s Alessandro Lupino and Standing Construct Honda MXGP’s Brian Bogers early on, to get to 11th on lap three.
He kept going to get to a good ninth place. Lupino settled for 13th in the end.
Race two started similarly to race one with Seewer clinching the holeshot and kept going with the lead.
It looked like he was going for the perfect 1-1 but Febvre was determined to win his first race of the season at home. Febvre took his time but managed to get on the back of Seewer with the home crowd on their toes waiting for that moment.
On lap 12, Febvre got on the inside of the Swiss and go through in a turn to let public erupt of excitement. With six laps to go it was a done deal as Febvre managed to enjoy the last lap and celebrate with his famous heel clicker.
Seewer was happy to get 1-2 for his GP win of the season.
Prado went to ride strongly and throughout the whole race in 3rd position getting an excellent 4-3 to get up to the podium.
Prado knew that getting these points were vital after the Herlings retirement of the race on lap three as he had a disastrous chain of events.
The GP wins record man first got a problem with his goggles that broke and hindered his vision. Following a stop to the goggle lane to change them, Herlings had already a mountain climb when on the following lap his foot peg also broke on a landing.
This unlikely series of bad luck got him to retire from race two and miss on vital points for the championship.
Fernandez experienced another quiet but successful race as he managed to keep his fourth place from start to finish for a consistent 5-4 to bring good points along the way.
Similarly, Vlaanderen also went 5th on lap 1 and kept his rank until the end to go 8-5 for a good fifth overall. Coldenhoff also showed good speed in this second race as he managed to pass the always consistent Guillod on lap nine to finish sixth in the end. Guillod settled for seventh.
Van doninck is another efficient rider that is showing a lot of great ridings so far this season as he finished eighth for eighth overall. Riding at home seemed to suit French rider Benoit Paturel as he finished ninth, while showing very skills on this demanding track.
It was a good overall Grand Prix for KTM Kosak Team’s Tom Koch who emerged in the top 10 with five laps to go as he went from 14th on lap one to finish in 10th position.
With a 14-10 the German finished 11th overall. Standing Construct Honda MXGP’s Brian Bogers is getting his rhythm back as he managed to get a 11-11 for a good 10th overall for the Dutch rider.
Guadagnini unfortunately had to retire following a crash while he was on his way up in 7th position. The Italian had to go to the medical centre on site to make checks.
Further updates will follow in due time.
Jeremy Seewer:” Of course I wanted to win the second race also but Romain (Febvre) was very quick, anyway it is amazing after all to win the GP in front this incredible crowd. I want to thank everybody, my team and my family because it is a lot of hard work behind the scene. We keep going and it gives me some energy again and I’m now looking forward for the next GPs.”
Romain Febvre: “I feel I deserve that place after what happened in Spain. We thought that the season could have been over and I am now here nearly winning a GP which is fantastic for the team, my family and everyone involved. Let’s keep working and try to reduce the gap with the lead.”
Jorge Prado: “Overall it was a good weekend, I felt very good in the first race even if I lost a couple of places and in the second race third was the best I could do, I give my 100% as the guys in front were riding very fast. We extended the lead in the Championship which very important and another podium that shows consistency which is the key. I’m super happy and thanks to my team and everyone supporting me.”
© Photo courtesy Kawasaki Europe
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RESULTS AND STANDINGS:
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), 34:42.224
2 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:11.698
3 Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:16.251
4 Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +0:17.890
5 Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Honda), +0:38.763
6 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, GASGAS), +0:43.210
7 Valentin Guillod (SUI, Honda), +0:44.762
8 Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:47.466
9 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +0:51.200
10 Brent Van doninck (BEL, Honda), +0:54.588
MXGP- Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), 34:16.825
2 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:03.497
3 Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +0:11.894
4 Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Honda), +0:14.569
5 Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:17.885
6 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +0:32.387
7 Valentin Guillod (SUI, Honda), +0:37.670
8 Brent Van doninck (BEL, Honda), +0:39.518
9 Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +0:43.845
10 Tom Koch (GER, KTM), +0:58.783
MXGP – GP Top 10 Classification:
1 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 47 points
2 Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 45 Points
3 Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 38 Points
4 Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 34 Points
5 Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 29 Points
6 Valentin Guillod (SUI, HON), 28 Points
7 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 27 Points
8 Brent Van doninck (BEL, HON), 24 Points
9 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 22 Points
10 Brian Bogers (NED, HON), 20 Points
MXGP – World Championship Top 10 Classification:
1 Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 342 points
2 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 318 Points
3 Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 263 Points
4 Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 263 Points
5 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 243 Points
6 Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 226 Points
7 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 217 Points
8 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, GAS), 203 Points
9 Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 202 Points
10 Valentin Guillod (SUI, HON), 162 Points
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), 34:36.427
2 Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +0:02.293
3 Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), +0:04.080
4 Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:08.514
5 Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Husqvarna), +0:29.061
6 Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Kawasaki), +0:33.430
7 Lucas Coenen (BEL, Husqvarna), +0:42.962
8 Marc-Antoine Rossi (FRA, KTM), +0:47.649
9 Mikkel Haarup (DEN, KTM), +0:56.041
10 Isak Gifting (SWE, GASGAS), +1:04.219
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Lucas Coenen (BEL, Husqvarna), 34:07.689
2 Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:06.117
3 Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), +0:15.877
4 Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +0:22.410
5 Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:32.554
6 Marc-Antoine Rossi (FRA, KTM), +1:03.755
7 Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Husqvarna), +1:15.735
8 Ferruccio Zanchi (ITA, KTM), +1:23.286
9 Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Kawasaki), +1:25.539
10 Quentin Marc Prugnieres (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:35.089
MX2 – GP Top 10 Classification:
1 Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 47 points
2 Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 40 Points
3 Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 40 Points
4 Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 39 Points
5 Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 34 Points
6 Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, HUS), 30 Points
7 Marc-Antoine Rossi (FRA, KTM), 28 Points
8 Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KAW), 27 Points
9 Ferruccio Zanchi (ITA, KTM), 23 Points
10 Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), 15 Points
MX2 – World Championship Top 10 Classification:
1 Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 319 points
2 Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 318 Points
3 Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 307 Points
4 Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 303 Points
5 Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 259 Points
6 Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, HUS), 254 Points
7 Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 235 Points
8 Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KAW), 201 Points
9 Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 196 Points
10 Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), 149 Points