Sunshine blanketed part of the idyllic island of Sardinia last weekend as a clutch of MXGP factory riders and star names gathered for the first of many race starts in what will soon be the longest Grand Prix season on record. The sandy Riola Sardo circuit was host to the first round of three in the Italian motocross Championship and the opening ‘pre-season’ fixture in large-scale events happening in France and the UK in the coming three weeks in the build-up to Qatar and the opening soiree for MXGP in 2017.
Through the sand Monster Energy Yamaha were able to enjoy some encouraging signs via the podium results for Jeremy Van Horebeek (second in the MX1 class on his works YZ450FM) and Kemea Yamaha pair Benoit Paturel and Alvin Ostlund (second and third respectively) in the MX2 competition.
“I was really surprised that it was so easy,” Van Horebeek said. “To be honest I was a bit lost in the Free Practice because I was back in the sand after being in Spain on the clay and hard-pack tracks for the last three weeks, but then in the races I just found my rhythm, I was not even close to going over the edge I was just riding at a comfortable pace.”
The day did not run smoothly for 2015 MXGP World Champ Romain Febvre who suffered a crash and left Riola requiring a scan on his neck before being given the all-clear by medical staff.
The Italian series moves onto the Malagrotta circuit near Rome this weekend while motocross fans’ attention will also shift to Hawkstone Park in the UK where the likes of Monster Energy Kawasaki and other MXGP star players will open their accounts for the year.