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MXGP, MONSTER ENERGY MXGP OF ITALY - Maggiora, ITALY, 4 July 2021
Stanley Leroux / Pascal Haudiquert
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre retained third in the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship standings with an overwhelming moto victory at Maggiora in northern Italy.
The Frenchman, on the same second as the pole setter during morning Qualifying, controlled the first moto all the way around the dramatic hillside track after taking the KX450-SR to his second consecutive holeshot. Riding immaculately, he was in complete command throughout the moto, decisively opening up a significant gap over his chasers through the early laps before upping his pace yet more after ten minutes to move further and further clear, building such a commanding lead that he had time to acknowledge his pit crew on the final lap and celebrate at the chequered flag with a massive heel-clicker. Minutes before the second moto heavy clouds rolled across the track and rain persisted throughout the remainder of the afternoon to create an unpredictable slippery track surface on the numerous climbs and descents. Rapidly moving forward to seventh from an eleventh-placed start the Kawasaki rider needed just a couple more passes during the remaining half-an-hour to claim overall victory. All appeared to be going to plan until an awkward moment on the treacherous surface cost him two positions; his gloves now covered in mud the Frenchman fell two more times in the closing stages to take the chequered flag twelfth. Fifth overall on the day Romain retains third in the championship standings and has moved three points closer to the series pace-setter. Romain Febvre: "That was a really good first moto! I got the holeshot, led the entire race, had a good feeling and didn’t make any mistakes. I am so grateful for everything the team and our sponsors have done for me; they have all done a really good job and today I could reward them and show I am the fastest. And I know my wife and our baby were watching me from home and would be equally excited. My second start was not so good but I rode two good laps to come back to seventh; then when I was behind Jonass I got so much mud on my goggles and gloves. I wasn’t comfortable and crashed three times; and after the first crash I got so much mud on my gloves that I could no longer twist the throttle precisely. I was in ‘survival mode’ but I didn’t want to stop as I would have lost too much time. Of course I’m disappointed; it could have been a very good weekend after race one. “ Ivo Monticelli lapped less than a second slower than his KRT teammate to secure ninth choice of gate during Qualifying and, clad in special race-kit from clothing sponsor Alpinestars for his home GP, raced confidently in the top ten for the first four laps of the opening moto before a few minor slips pushed him back to finish twelfth. An early incident in the rain-affected second moto saw him back to twenty-sixth at one stage but he recovered with determination to claim the final championship point of the day in twentieth. Ivo Monticelli: “The day started well with a good lap in Qualifying and I was feeling positive after the crashes in Russia and England. I am more relaxed in training but I was riding stiff in the first race to finish twelfth after starting tenth. It rained for race two and I had to stop for fresh goggles after ten minutes; that left me twenty-sixth but I came back a little to make the top twenty at the finish. It’s not the results I want but I remain positive. At least I finally got points; you need to walk before you can run and I know I have the speed so the results will come. “