Standing behind the starting gate and alongside 2015 MXGP World Champion Romain Febvre while he and his mechanic readied the works Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team YZ450F for the final moto of the 2016 season at Glen Helen Raceway, I couldn’t help think about how much the 24 year-old’s fortunes had changed in a year’s time. The overall winner at the 2015 Glen Helen USGP, it had been a fantastic, breakout season for the native of Epinal, France, the class rookie stacking up eight Grand Prix victories and fifteen moto wins in a resolute march to his first FIM Gold Medal.
And the 2016 season started off in much the same fashion, the No. 461 rider placing second to new MXGP newcomer Tim Gajser at Qatar, and then winning big at rounds two and three at Thailand and Valkenswaard, Holland, respectively. But then two big things happened: Tim Gajser caught fire, going on a moto winning rampage, and then at round eleven, Febvre got of big in a qualifying crash at the MXGP of Great Britain and was forced out of action for two Grands Prix. When he returned to action at Loket and the MXGP of the Czech Republic, he fared well with a podium score, but for the reminder of the season, never really returned to the form which made him a threat at each and every GP. As we all now know, it all came right for Febvre and Team France at the recent Motocross of Nations at Maggiora, Italy.
The star of the show that Sunday, it was Romain’s smooth, methodical riding which allowed the French to keep the Peter Chamberlain Trophy in their homeland for another year. A few days out from the inaugural running of the Monster Energy Riders’ and Manufacturers’ Cup at the 61,673-seat Veltins-Arena soccer stadium in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, we made contact with the MXoN ace and got his take on 2016 and beyond. Finishing off ’16 on a very positive note, Febvre will now look to an off-season of testing, training, and at times, racing to make a run at Tim Gajser and company come 2017..