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10 Apr 2012
Frossard in fast form and makes podium appearance in Holland
After their impressive team presentation in front of international media and guests on Saturday evening Monster Energy Yamaha picked up their first silverware of the FIM Motocross World Championship at a grey, rainy and cold Valkenswaard for the Grand Prix of the Netherlands. Steven Frossard finished third overall on his YZ450FM and battled with Antonio Cairoli and Clement Desalle in both motos as the trio led the world through the slippery and rough Dutch sand.
Frossard jostled for pole position with reigning champion Cairoli on Sunday under bright skies but the weather took a turn for the worse on race day. Starting from third and fourth positions in the gates on their YZ450FMs Frossard, David Philippaerts and debutant Shaun Simpson, in thirteenth, got their Grand Prix campaigns underway watched by 23,000 spectators who braved the elements.
The 2011 MX1 vice champion set the pace in the first moto but couldn’t get comfortable with his rhythm and several mistakes allowed Cairoli through. Frossard swapped track space with Desalle in the second race and a better performance despite driving rain saw the Frenchman circulate in a smart and steady third position for a strong start to the six month competition.
Shaun Simpson rode well and confidently on his first Grand Prix outing as a Yamaha rider and on the YZ450FM. The Scot started badly in the opening sprint but cut a path through to eleventh place. A better launch in the second race positioned the former British Champion in the second half of the top ten and he was just pipped to seventh on the last lap. The 24 year old was seventh overall for an encouraging day.
Philippaerts, on his first Grand Prix since last July, was pushing hard in the first moto and grabbed a decent seventh spot for his efforts. A crash through the busy set of turns at the beginning of the second race meant the Italian had to find space and time from the rear of the forty-strong entry. ‘DP’ made it to fifteenth for eleventh position for the Dutch curtain-raiser.
The fledgling standings reflect the final Grand Prix standings and with another two Grands Prix scheduled in April a better picture of the early MX1-GP story will be evident by the end of the month. Monster Energy Yamaha will have a free weekend before back-to-back events in Bulgaria and Italy.
Steven Frossard, 3rd:
“I didn’t ride well in the first moto. I had a few good laps at the beginning but then I had some arm-pump and then pushed a bit too much. I don’t know how many mistakes I made! I went outside the track twice. I was very disappointed because I rode like I did a few years ago in MX2 by pushing too much. I turned the day around and I was happier after the second moto because I rode quite close to how I do in training. The track was strange. In the first moto some parts were very bad but then they were graded too much for the second.”
Shaun Simpson, 7th:
“Coming into this weekend my goal was a top ten finish. I took eleventh in the first one and, unluckily, Paulin passed me on the last corner of the second otherwise I would have had seventh. Eleventh and eighth and seventh in the championship is not a bad way to start the championship. I think my starts could have been better and I showed in the second race that with a decent getaway I can hang ‘up there’. I’m strong at the beginning of the race and also at the end so now I need to work on that middle section a little bit. I’m looking forward to the hardpack in Bulgaria and Italy now. The team have done good work and I feel good on the Yamaha. In the last three weeks we have made a lot of great little changes and it has made the difference. The team atmosphere is good and I find myself wanting to get back to the truck and wanting to talk to people so I’m all smiles at the moment.”
David Philippaerts, 11th:
“I didn’t feel good today and I’m not 100% physically. Those two bad starts did not help me. I broke the clutch in the second race crash. It has not been a perfect day but this is the first race of the season and the first GP for a long time for me. I think Bulgaria will be different both for the track and the condition. We will see what will happen. I’m not so happy with today but we will keep on working. The bike was really good here but the track was bumpy and is a bit special with its demands. The next couple of tracks are good for me so I will hope for better.”
Fontanesi wins Women’s class as Pocock shines in MX2-GP
The Grand Prix of the Netherlands saw a fantastic achievement by Chiara Fontanesi as the Italian won both motos to claim a dominant victory in the first round of the FIM Women’s World Championship. A dark and rainy Valkenswaard circuit saw Monster Energy Yamaha missing the on-track presence of Christophe Charlier, Zach Osborne and Arnaud Tonus, however current MX2 British Championship leader Mel Pocock was able to take his YZ250F to a personal best GP finish of 10th overall.
The opening foray of the FIM Motocross World Championship took place in front of 23,000 spectators and under a cold and wet climate but Fontanesi was unstoppable on her 2012 YZ250F and bounced across the Dutch sand to comfortably control both motos from start to finish. It was her second success in a row after having owned the final event of the 2011 calendar and installs her as a firm title candidate in the eight round series.
Pocock was drafted into the Monster Energy Yamaha world championship frame to bolster the Yamaha ranks in the category and get the factory machinery on the GP stage. The 20 year old was set for competition on the British and European scenes but demonstrated recent progressions with his riding and fitness by racing to a superb set of 8th and 12th place finishes; his best results at this level.
Hopefully Christophe Charlier will be given a green light towards the end of this week to try riding his YZ250FM for the first time since breaking a small bone in his right foot. The Frenchman could well be ready for a debut as a works rider in two weeks for the Grand Prix of Bulgaria. Fontanesi’s next appointment will be round two of the Women’s contest in France next weekend.
Chiara Fontanesi, 1st Women’s World Championship:
“I wanted to get that red plate because last year I tried but couldn’t do it. The track was really nice and I love the sand, especially when it is like that. I have only been riding for a month now because I had a wrist injury but I am a bit more experienced. I am learning all the time and I am trying to be a bit more aggressive with my riding.”
Mel Pocock, 10th:
“I think that was the best day of racing I have ever had. I almost holeshot the first race! I rode out of my comfort zone but I didn’t feel out of control. I made some good laps and went on for as long as I could to finish eighth. It was a mega ride and everyone was happy. The bike was unreal. I didn’t have such a good start in the second race but pushed up to seventh, Jake Nicholls passed me, so I rode the rest of the race out from there. Considering I haven’t been training forty minute motos because I didn’t think I would be doing the Grands Prix this early, I think I rode out of my skin and I’ve upped my game in practically every way.”