Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle took a strong second place in the GP of Europe, penultimate round of the FIM World MX2 Motocross Championship, at Faenza in northern Italy.
The Floride Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit team leader battled hard all day to twice chase home the new champion Jeffrey Herlings in stifling heat around the tricky hillside track. With one round remaining in Germany in two weeks time, Tommy can no longer win the title, but he is almost certain to finish runner-up in the series as he needs just eight points to make it secure.
A midweek injury prevented Maxime Desprey from taking over the bike of Joel Roelants, but late replacement Loic Larrieu showed great resolve in his first race for nearly two months to secure eighth overall from 8-9 moto finishes after battling hard with regular top ten riders to reinforce the competitiveness of the Kawasaki KX250F.
Dylan Ferrandis of the Rockstar Bud Racing Kawasaki team suffered a most unfortunate crash during the qualification race on Saturday and will now miss the remainder of the season. The GP rookie broke a femur and was put in plaster at the local hospital so that he could return to Lyon where he will be operated this week. The injury means that he has surrendered his eighth place in the standings.
Teammate Valentin Teillet had two strong races to tenth and sixth to finish the GP seventh overall despite the discomfort of a twisted ankle which cost him several positions in the opening moto.
Kawasaki also played a prominent role in the final round of the European MX2 championship as Benoit Paturel of Rockstar Bud Racing Kawasaki and Team NGS Junior Kawasaki newcomer Jordan Lacan both recorded a podium finish. Indeed the two French youngsters had finished 1-2 in the opening moto with Lacan leading home Paturel after a thrilling duel.
Tommy Searle: “It was a so-so GP for me. I got 2-2 but Herlings was fast all weekend to clinch the title. We gave our best and I’m not disappointed with my season, but I couldn’t look at the championship celebrations. Now it’s time to regroup and head for Germany in a fortnight looking for a win to end the GP season.”
Valentin Teillet: “It’s good mentally to get some good results, and I’m happy with the second moto. In the first race my start was pretty bad and later I twisted my ankle; I had quite a lot of pain but I still managed to get a tenth position. Between the two motos I worked with Jacky Vimond on the lines, and we strapped up my ankle; I was about tenth at the start, but I had a better feeling with the track and set some good lap times to move forward to sixth. Of course the thoughts of the entire team were with Dylan today, it’s always tough to have a bad injury and let’s hope that he will come back next year even stronger.”
Loic Larrieu: “The team called me on Thursday, and I only tested the bike for one hour on Friday. Since I left the GPs I have been practicing at home on a 450 Kawasaki, but it didn’t take me too much time to get used to this 250 during the training sessions. I had two good starts and then was happy to battle with Tonus and Nicholls in both races; the last ten minutes were pretty rough as my last race was two months ago in Belgium, but this GP was a great experience and I will be stronger physically in two weeks for the GP of Germany.”
Benoit Paturel: “My start in the first moto was not so good, but I recovered to second, very close to Lacan, and it was a great boost as I had missed several rounds of the series due to injury. The start in the second race was similar but again I came back through the field to third and that earn the second place overall. That’s a great reward for the team Bud racing who is behind me, but also for my trainer who helped me to be stronger this season; we’ve worked hard to reach another level, and now the goal is to find a team to compete again in the European series next season.”
Jordan Lacan: “My goal was to get a podium for my first race with the team, and I managed it so I’m happy. I got the holeshot in the first moto and then battled with Pocock; he passed me, then I saw that I was catching him up again and I passed him to win. What a feeling! My second start was not so good, but I made some good passes early in the race; then I also made some mistakes and crashed twice, but I eventually fought back to fifth and reached the podium. The bike was so good and I want to thanks all the staff of the team, who was so nice with me, for this great experience.”