Monster Energy Yamahas Zach Osborne was able to celebrate a second successive MX2-GP podium finish after confirming third position overall at a stuffy Matterley Basin and in front of 35,000 spectators for the British Grand Prix.
Once again the Matterley Basin bowl (hosting its third FIM Motocross World Championship event) was a rutty and tricky but spectacular track for the Grand Prix stars to get their teeth into. Osborne flew to third position in the qualification heat on an equally hot Saturday of action for what was the thirteenth round of sixteen in the campaign.
The Americans impressive pace was a good sign for the two 35 minute and 2 lap motos on Sunday. Osborne worked hard to reduce a six second gap to the rear wheel of Jeffrey Herlings and second position in the first race but was not able to get close enough to the Dutchman to affect the duel for the lead. In the second race another solid but lonely run to fourth spot made sure of his second trophy in a row.
Arnaud Tonus made his Grand Prix return after recent wrist surgery and although a crash on Saturday meant a lowly gate slot for Sundays races the Swiss was consistent across the board to collect two sixth positions and the same ranking in the MX2 classification at the end of the day. Tonus dealt with a slightly stiff back but was encouraged that the recent surgery on his wrist seemed to have relived some of the discomfort he had been experiencing in the middle phase of the season.
Michael Leib entered his first meeting on the YZ250F since recovering from Epstein-barr virus. The American had not seen GP duty since June and the enforced break clearly showed in his stamina levels to last the motos. The Californian attempted both races but did not have the condition to make the chequered flag.
On Saturday Kiara Fontanesi wrapped up her first FIM Womens World Championship with first and third positions in the motos on her YRRD-equipped YZ250F. Her remarkable 100% podium record that includes four overall GP victories from the seven rounds held so far and fourteen motos without dropping out of the top three means she was able to confirm the crown with a 72 point advantage and just 50 left to win with the final round in Germany next month.
A second corner crash for Mel Pocock in the first of the two European MX2 motos on Friday left the Briton with a lot of work to do. The twenty year old dashed back from dead-last and some distance behind the pack to finish a noteworthy tenth. In front of a bumper crowd on Sunday Pocock took second place to earn fourth overall and miss the podium for the first time this season. The current British Championship leader still holds the red plate after five rounds of seven in the series with a 34 point gap over Stefan Olsen and races in Holland and Italy to go.
The Grand Prix of Benelux will constitute round fourteen of the FIM Motocross World Championship and will take place through the rough sandy ripples of Lierop on September 2nd.
It was a great weekend for me and I gelled with the track straightaway. In the first moto I didnt get such a good start but I closed down a five or six second gap to Jeffrey. I have only done three GPs and it is hard to come back on these guys when they have already done more than twenty-five motos. Im happy with the result I had this weekend and Im continuing to build my fitness and come back to a good level.
I made a mistake on Saturday and had a bad crash. I hurt my back a bit and felt lucky to be able to ride today. I felt good with my arms and that was a positive thing, especially as I didnt have much preparation time for this race. I had two consistent motos and it was hard to get a good jump out of the gate with the position I had. Anyway, the rhythm came back to me today and I was strong at the end of the motos. I will keep on working and hope to be better and better each GP.
I underestimated myself coming back to the GPs early. The plan was to get through the weekend and finish both motos and that wasnt the case and it was a bit more than I expected. I need to crack down and follow my original goal of being able to do well in Italy and Germany. This is not the start I wanted so I just have to put it behind me. My fitness will be better just from the riding I did anyway and it would have been pointless pushing through the limits after the sickness Ive had.
Obviously Im gutted. I wanted to win here. I was taken out by Olsen in the first moto and it was a hard track to come back from that far down. I was also getting some arm-pump which is really weird. Basically I wasnt myself this weekend and thats disappointing because I had such amazing support. Anyway looking at the bigger picture I got some more points with second place in the second moto and now we go to Lierop and I consider myself more of a sand rider.