Following a heavy fall in Race 2 at the opening round of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Patagonia, Argentina, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Romain Febvre will undergo surgery next week to repair a severely broken ankle.

After taking the first Qualifying Race victory of the season, Febvre was looking in top form to put chase to his second MXGP World Title. The former World Champion finished third in Race 1 and was running in third-position in Race 2 when he unfortunately caught an edge in the wave section and was thrown from his YZ450FM. He landed heavily on his right ankle and was immediately taken to the Medical Centre for examination. While he was cleared from injury in Argentina, he was in an immense amount of pain and decided to see another doctor for a second opinion upon arrival in Belgium, the country in which the Frenchman resides. 

Earlier today, the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP star went to the University Hospital Antwerp (UZA) where top Orthopaedic specialist Dr. Geert Peersman confirmed he has broken his Talus (ankle) in two places. The injury requires surgical repair, which is scheduled for Tuesday 12th March, and is expected to take six weeks to heal after the date of the operation.

Romain Febvre

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Rider

“Sad news today. I broke the Talus bone in my ankle. I feel really sad, not only for myself but for my entire team and all of the people involved. This is how it is; these things are part of our sport. Now I need to focus on getting it fixed with an operation next Tuesday, and then I can start my rehabilitation. I will try to be back on the bike as soon as possible, right now they are saying around six weeks more or less, but even when I get back on the bike I will have lost a lot of time and physical condition with no training. I will see when I am back on the bike how things are going and what I am focusing on, until then I can not say too much. The main goal is to get my foot fixed.” 

Massimo Raspanti

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team Manager

“Obviously we are really saddened to hear this news, also for Romain. He worked really hard this winter. Things were looking really positive for him. In Argentina he was fast in both practice sessions and then he won the Qualifying Race so we were really excited for the races and the rest of the season. He was riding well in the races, he set the fastest lap of the GP, so he is very unlucky to crash and be in this situation now. Now we will focus on getting him healthy and back to 100% and hope to come back and finish the season strong.” 

Words and Photos: Yamaha Racing

A dramatic MXGP season opener saw Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Romain Febvre return to his winning ways with an incredible Qualifying Race victory followed by an impressive top-three finish in Race 1. Unfortunately the tenacious Frenchman was unable to finish the Grand Prix after a heavy fall in the closing stages of the final race. Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP’s Gautier Paulin stole the show as he utilized the impeccable power and handling of his YZ450F to finish inside the top-five after falling at turn one. Paulin was fifth in the overall classification only 3-points shy of the podium, while Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Jeremy Seewer finished ninth.

Romain Febvre was the man to beat this weekend. After topping the charts in Time Practice, the former World Champ charged to a stunning victory in the first Qualifying Race of the season.

As the pole man, the 27 year-old chose gate number one in both races, which gave him the inside line going into the first sweeping left-hand corner. In Race 1, he entered a raging battle with Antonio Cairoli for the first fifteen minutes, and controlled second place for all but three-laps with Gajser taking advantage of a slight error in the latter stages. 

Behind the gripping action at the front of the field, Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP’s Gautier Paulin started inside the top-seven and showed some good speed as he forced his way into the top-five. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Jeremy Seewer got off to a good start but after more than 3-weeks off the bike, he was sucked back to tenth-place by the time the flag was waved. 

After spinning up on the start-gate, Arnaud Tonus’ start was less than perfect. Nevertheless, the Swiss rider ran a hot-pace as he charged from outside the top-fifteen and up into the top-ten before he spectacularly high-sided on a fast-paced section of the track. Fortunately, he was not injured in the crash, it only cost him championship points as he lost too much time after the shake-up and did not finish the race. 

Tricky conditions caught out a number of riders this weekend. The final race started with Paulin and Seewer being hit by the bike of another rider, while Febvre fell heavily from third place with 6-laps to go. 

Bouncing back from the chaos of the opening lap, Paulin brought the crowd to their feet as he used his masterful line-choice to surge from the back of the pack and up into the top-five, which was enough for fifth overall. Seewer, who also fell at turn-one had to dig deep as he fought back to eleventh. He was rewarded for his efforts with ninth in the overall classification. 

To the amazement of the highly animated crowd, Tonus lined up for Race 2 after his enormous crash in Race 1 and managed to finish inside the top-ten. With no points scored in the first race, he wrapped up the MXGP of Argentina in 16th.

Febvre has been taken to hospital for further medical examination. An update on his condition and his return to racing will be published when available. 

The next round of the FIM MXGP World Championship will take place at the popular Matterley Basin circuit in Winchester, England, on the weekend of March 24th.

Gautier Paulin

5th MXGP Overall, 5th MXGP Championship Standings

“The bike was working good today. We have been working hard this winter and we had to put the bike in the crate even with some more things to work on. But today, I just had to put my helmet on and go racing. We know there are things we still need to improve but it is what it is. The bike is working really good. The chasis is awesome on the Yamaha, I really enjoy it, and the engine too. With the little improvements we can make, I am really looking forward to it, and I need to keep working myself also. I feel like I had a good weekend, just had bad luck with another rider hitting me in the first turn. I think his bike hit my bike and I went over the ‘bars big time. But overall I feel strong and fifth place to start the season, close enough to the podium is a good start. I really enjoyed the racing.”

Jeremy Seewer

9th MXGP Overall, 9th MXGP Championship Standings

“The weekend was tough as expected. Today was better than yesterday. We have some positives to take away, like my starts were good. My endurance is not so bad, I just struggle with the quick laps especially in Time Practice. I am missing some riding hours, but starting the season inside the top ten is good points on the board and we have some weeks now to get stronger for the next GP.”

Arnaud Tonus

16th MXGP Overall, 16th MXGP Championship Standings

“It was a difficult Sunday for me. I had a huge crash in the first moto. I made a small mistake and went a little bit off the track on a really fast part of the track and had a really big crash. I didn’t know if I was going to ride the second moto, but Yamaha’s physiotherapist worked some magic and helped me a lot to line up for the second race. It was not easy, but I am glad I was able to line-up again. I finished tenth, and like I said, I am happy I went back out there, it was like a mental test and it’s all good.”

Words and Photos: Yamaha Racing

Round 9 – AMA Supercross Championship Atlanta – March 2, 2019

In an exciting three-way battle, KTM riders swept the 450SX podium on Saturday for Round 9 of the AMA Supercross Championship in Atlanta. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing teammates Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin captured first and third, respectively, while Rocky Mountain ATV/MC – WPS – FLY – KTM’s Blake Baggett took a stellar second-place finish in the Main Event.

450SX

Webb further extended his championship points lead to 13 after another top night in the premier 450SX division, claiming his fifth victory of the season in Atlanta. After qualifying fourth, Webb captured a third-place start in 450SX Heat 1 and battled behind his teammate Musquin for most of the race. On the final lap, Webb made a move past Musquin to overtake second for a solid transfer into the Main Event. As the gate dropped for the Main Event, Webb powered his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION to the holeshot and early lead as he worked hard to break away from Musquin back in second. Webb rode his own race and managed to hold off the hard-charging competition to lead from start to finish and ultimately secure the win by a little more than one second.

Webb: “Atlanta was a great night for me. The Main Event was awesome! I got a holeshot and led from start to finish. I had a lot of pressure from Marvin and also a lot of pressure from Baggett, so it was cool to stay comfortable, stay loose and get another win. The fifth win of the year is incredible and I’m just blessed to be in this position at the halfway point, it’s exciting.”

Musquin, the second-place qualifier, got off to a second-place start in 450SX Heat 1, where he battled in second between KTM riders Blake Baggett and Webb. On the final lap, Musquin got passed by Webb for second, where he took the third-place transfer into the Main Event. Musquin shot off the line in the Main Event and right into an early battle for the lead with Webb. Applying great pressure on Webb, Musquin blitzed through the whoops and accidentally came into Webb, which caused him to almost go down and lose time on the leader. After getting back on-track, Musquin made another mistake in the sand section, which allowed Baggett by for second and he ultimately secured third for the night.

Musquin: “It felt like it was going to be a better race for me – I had a great start so I was running second, which was good but I was eating a lot of sand in the sand section it was definitely tough. I was pushing really hard – I was better than Cooper in some areas of the track, so I was able to really put pressure on him in some areas but then I would go through the sand and I had to go in the main line because it was the safest and the quickest line but you kind of had to follow. I made a mistake and went off the main line and then Baggett got me. At this point, I just could not make the pass on Blake, even though I showed some really good speed. It’s only a third place tonight and I’m not very happy with the result.”

Rocky Mountain ATV/MC – WPS – FLY – KTM’s Blake Baggett won 450SX Heat 1 to put himself into a favorable start position for the Main Event. In the Main, Baggett injected himself into the lead battle early on as he battled behind Musquin in third for a majority of the race. With seven laps to go, Baggett made his way around Musquin where he ultimately secured a second-place podium position.

Next Race: Daytona Beach, Florida – March 9, 2019

Results 450SX Class – Atlanta 2019
1. Cooper Webb (USA), KTM, 26 laps
2. Blake Baggett (USA), KTM, +1.167
3. Marvin Musquin (FRA), KTM, +2.141O

Standings 450SX Class 2019 after 9 of 17 rounds
1. Webb, 199 points
2. Roczen, 186 points
3. Musquin, 182 points

Results 250SX East/West Showdown Main Event – Atlanta 2019
1. Adam Cianciarulo (USA), Kawasaki, 20 laps
2. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA), Yamaha, +04.821
3. Austin Forkner (USA), Kawasaki, +11.301

Standings 250SX East Class 2019 after 4 of 10 rounds
1. Forkner, 99 points
2. Cooper, 81 points
3. Sexton, 79 points

Standings 250SX West Class 2019 after 6 of 10 rounds
1. Cianciarulo, 140 points
2. Ferrandis, 125 points
3. McElrath, 123 points

Words and Photos: KTM Media

The first round of the 2019 world motocross championships starts this weekend at the picturesque track in Villa La Angostura, Argentina where all three Team HRC riders are excited to get the season underway. MXGP riders Tim Gajser and Brian Bogers, as well as MX2 rider Calvin Vlaanderen come into the year with a good pre-season under their belts and are excited for the first gate drop on Sunday 3rdMarch.

With Gajser fresh from a victory in the MX1 class at the last round of the Italian championship, hopes are high that the Slovenian rider can repeat his impressive 1-1 performance that he achieved at the 2017 MXGP of Patagonia, while Bogers and Vlaanderen are also hoping that they’ll get good results from round one.

In its fifth year of running, this event is known as a real favourite to both fans and riders, with the wide track layout providing plenty of opportunity for some great racing action for the always enthusiastic Argentinian crowd.

The on-track action will get underway on Saturday 2nd March with the first free practice for the MX2 class at 10:45 local time (GMT -3), while the four races are scheduled to begin at 12:15 on Sunday 3rd March.

Tim Gajser   243

I’m really forward to going to Argentina. The start of the season is finally here after a long winter break, and it’s great to be heading down to that beautiful area. The preseason races went well, and I’m happy with how everything else has gone in preparations for this year. I’m feeling ready and I love this track, with the big jumps and the fast speed and I can’t wait to start the 2019 season.

Brian Bogers   189

I’m happy with how the preseason went and the training that I did this winter and I feel ready for this first round in Argentina. I’m looking forward to getting back down there, because I missed last year with my injury, but this year I’m fit and healthy and I hope for some good results and it’s also nice to be back at an MXGP with the whole team.

Calvin Vlaanderen   10

It’s been quite a long wait since we last had an MXGP so the nerves are quite high, but I can’t wait for that gate to drop this Sunday. The expectations are quite high so there is a bit of pressure that goes along with that, but I’m looking forward to having some fun out there. It’s a bit a cliché, that you can’t win a championship in the first round, but you can lose it so the goal is to ride consistent the whole weekend and to fight for the podium. I feel like I’ve done everything that I needed to do this preseason and I’m feeling the best I’ve ever felt so now it’s just a case of putting it all together this weekend.

Marcus Pereira de Freitas

HRC General Manager – MXGP

It’s always an exciting time, to be heading to the first MXGP of the season and with all three riders riding well and feeling good, I am even more excited for the start of the 2019 campaign. The entire Team HRC has worked really hard over the winter to make sure the Tim, Brian, Calvin and the bikes are as prepared as possible and I can’t wait for the action to begin.

The pendulum has swung back in favour of the New Zealanders.

The Kiwi hosts came under fire from the Australian invaders at the second round of four of the 2019 New Zealand Motocross Championships in Rotorua just over a week ago, but the Kiwis hit back hard at round three near Pukekohe on Sunday.

Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper and Gold Coast rider Kirk Gibbs had been level on the premier MX1 class points table at the start of racing at the MR Motorcycles Raceway at Harrisville at the weekend, but Cooper compiled a 1-1-2 score-card on Sunday, and Gibbs responded by finishing 2-2-1 in the three MX1 races and so Cooper now enjoys a three-point advantage as the Fox apparel-sponsored competition now heads to Taupo for the final round in two weeks’ time.

It was a similar story in the MX2 (250cc) class, with West Auckland’s Hamish Harwood finishing 2-1-3 in his three outings, while his nearest challenger, Cairns rider Wilson Todd, won the day’s first MX2 race but then crashed out of race two and did not start race three.

This means Harwood, from Royal Heights, has boosted his lead at the top of the class from three points over Todd to now be 35 points ahead of the new second-ranked rider in the class, Mangakino’s Maximus Purvis.

Meanwhile, dual-class ironman Harwood remains unbeaten in the 125cc class and he is now a whopping 57 points clear of his nearest threat, Ngatea’s Ben Broad, meaning (with a race win worth 25 points) Harwood now has more than two races up his sleeve with just three more to come in the class at Taupo’s final round.

“All-in-all I had a pretty good day, except that last MX2 race, when I blew the start and was back in about 15th position,” said Harwood. “It’s a really hard track to pass on and so I was pumped to be able to fight my way through and catch up to the leaders. In an ideal world, I’d like to go on now and win both titles. That’s the aim anyway. I’m looking forward to Taupo.”

Purvis continues to lead the MX2 class battle-within-a-battle for Under-19 age group honours and he is now 13 points ahead of Australian Morgan Fogarty, with Hamilton’s Reef Wheki still third.

As an exciting extra feature for the Pukekohe weekend only, the inaugural Yamaha YZ65 Cup competition was included in the senior championship programme, with an impressive line-up of 24 young riders given the thrill of sharing the spotlight with the seniors. Best of this bunch was Tauranga’s Levi Townley, followed by Hastings rider Charlie Schaw and Featherston’s Teddy Shaw.

There is just a two-week break before the fourth and final round of the Fox New Zealand Motocross Championships, set for Taupo’s Digger McEwen Motorcycle Park on March 10. 

Harrisville’s round three of the Fox 2019 New Zealand Motocross Championships was additionally supported by Ebbett Pukekohe. Yamalube is set to support round four at Taupo. 

The series is sponsored by FOX Racing NZ, Suzuki NZ, Yamaha NZ, Blue Wing Honda, Aon Insurance, ICG Print and Pirelli.

Words and Photo by Andy McGechan

West Auckland’s Hamish Harwood, seen here flanked by Australian riders Kyle Webster (K) and Wilson Todd (W), now with his position strengthened in both of the two separate bike categories he’s contesting.