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Romain Febvre at the 2017 Grand Prix of the Netherlands

Febvre sand storms Assen for MXGP second step

Sep 102017

Seven months, eighteen grands prix, thirty-five motos, sixteen countries and finally the 2017 MXGP FIM World Championship wrapped in the rippled sand of Assen in the Netherlands as Tony Cairoli laid his hands on a ninth crown. The Sicilian confirmed his success thanks to a second position finish in the first race under the warm sunshine as Jeffrey Herlings went on to win the penultimate round of an epic series. Monster Energy Yamaha’s Romain Febvre ploughed through the terrain to again hoist a trophy and ended a sunny day as runner-up.

For the third year in a row Assen was the focal point for the Dutch stop on the MXGP trail and a spectacular but slippery layout placed on top of the historic road racing asphalt. The paddock had a narrow escape after the USGP in Florida last week; the climate was also fairly unstable in Europe with heavy rain eventually being replaced by bright blue skies for raceday in northern Holland.

It was Cairoli who soon calmed his bluster through the 2017 competition with celebration scenes after the first race on Sunday. The Italian then raced without pressure or qualm later in the afternoon but didn't quite have enough speed to displace the rampaging Herlings. Febvre was seething after the first moto. Max Anstie just had enough momentum to rob third position on the drive to the finish line. Fired-up, the 2015 champion responded with a strong run to third place in the next outing: job complete.  


“I was really disappointed about being passed for third on the finish line jump and so wanted a solid second moto to make the podium and did that,” he said. “I was really close to finishing second actually but second overall means a good weekend.”


“I think my form is good at the moment,” he added. “Not perfect, but good. Also people can see that I can ride and push at the front.”


“France is always special and I was close to the podium last time at Ernee this summer,” he added on his upcoming home event.

Assen saw Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle take another stride towards full race fitness in the first moto but was hit out of the second race in a pile-up on the second turn and limped back to the paddock with a smashed ankle. Febvre’s teammate Jeremy Van Horebeek bravely ignored back pain from a scary first moto crash to take fifth place but Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Clement Desalle was taken to hospital after a first race spill that left the Belgian with an injured lower back and likely to miss the remainder of the season.


2017 WMX is still agonisingly close. Nancy Van de Ven went 1-1 in front of her partisan crowd at the second-to-last race in the series and where a two-lap duel between Livia Lancelot and Kiara Fontanesi for second position was one of the action highlights of the meeting.

The defending champion classified as runner-up with the Italian just off the podium in fourth and New Zealander Courtney Duncan also in the top five. Van de Ven, Duncan, Lancelot and Fontanesi are divided by only five points and with everything very much on the line for the closing Grand Prix of Pays de Montbeliard on the steep hillside of Villars sous Ecot in seven days time.