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Weekend – Rider Comments

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Antonio Cairoli, Clement Desalle, Jorge Prado, Jeremy Van Horebeek, Arminas Jaskonis and many more enjoyed some success over the weekend. Here are some comments and more to come later today.

Antonio Cairoli: “We had another good weekend here in Ottobiano and we got five wins and a second in these first races, so I’m really happy about how everything is going. The preparation with Glenn (Coldenhoff) and the team has been very good and we’re looking forward to the first GP. It’s important to get the wins but most important is the see that you feel great, the bike is working very well, you feel confident and that you’re happy with your riding.”

Jeremy Van Horebeek: “I had a really good day yesterday, my YZ450FM was perfect. I didn’t have to make any changes at all” he said, “in the first race I had to pass Tony Cairoli for the lead, and when I did, I just pulled away. In the second race, I got the holeshot from gate 21! I got passed by Tony, but I just stayed with him and decided not to take any risk because the track was pretty sketchy is places.”

Romain Febvre: “This weekend wasn’t exceptional, but it was okay. The result wasn’t really good but I came from outside the top 20 to finish 4th in the final race so I felt good on the bike, and we also found some things to work on over the next two days. I will stay in Italy for two or three more days to test, and then I will go home to Belgium to train before I fly out to Qatar next Wednesday.”

Glenn Coldenhoff:
“We’ve had some good races here and I’m happy that I raced all three rounds. We learned a lot and it was good training and good tracks so it was perfect preparation for the GP season. We did a good job and the bike is working well so I go to Qatar with quite a lot of confidence. I know I have the speed and everything just needs to come together.”

Benoit Paturel: “I had a really good feeling yesterday, the bike was working perfect, and it’s good to get a win before flying out to round 1 of the world championship in Qatar, I’m ready for battle!”

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Arminas Jasikonis: “It was an awesome day. I didn’t expect to feel so good on a hard pack track, but I managed to adapt to the track quite quickly. If you look to last year, these tracks were my weaknesses, but Sunday I showed that we made big progress on that. It’s still a very long way to improve, to collect experience, but for me this is a big motivation to work even harder. Especially in the second moto I didn’t have a good start, but I managed to pass some guys on quite a tight track and I even took the win. This proved that my training all winter long has paid off! “But of course, without Stefan and Harry, I would be far away from this result, they are the ones who showed me the right way of working. I’m very happy to get the best advice from the best people. The bike worked super, we managed to set-it-up quite quickly. Thanks to the whole team, they are all working so hard. I hope that this proves a little bit that they don’t work for nothing.”
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Kevin Strijbos: “It was quite a good day. It was already a long time ago that we rode on hard pack so at first we really had to adapt a bit to the track. In general, I’m happy with how the day went and my riding went better and better. In the Superfinal I was riding well, especially at the end of the race. I finished three times fourth, so that’s consistent and good. Hawkstone and Lacapelle were two really good preparations for the season. For sure I will still get better during the last two weeks before Qatar, since I haven’t ridden a lot yet. I’m looking forward to Qatar!”

Gautier Paulin: “It was good to race in front of my home fans. It was my first race in hard-packed terrain aboard the FC 450 and I felt we made some great progress. My highlight for the day was the opening MX1 moto, where I managed to get third. Overall, what I definitely take out of this race is the fact that now I feel a lot more confident to push in any kind of condition on my new bike. All the members of the team have been giving their best since day one and now I’m a lot more familiar with the bike. The MXGP season that starts in two weeks will be a long one. The goal is to take one moto at a time and push hard to reach the top.”

Max Nagl: “This weekend we decided to focus on testing different race set-ups without overly stressing ourselves about the results in any of the motos. Our goal was to try new things and see what suits us the most. I’m really happy that we managed to find a really good set-up that we tried during the combined MX1/MX2 Superfinal. Most probably this will be our base set-up for the opening round of the MXGP series in two weeks’ time. The plan now is to take some time off the bike so that both physically and mentally I’m 100% ready for the Qatar GP.”

Jeremy Seewer: “In the first moto I didn’t have the best start, but I recovered really well and I was second after a few corners. I was following Pauls Jonass but he crashed, so suddenly I was leading. It was close between me and Paturel but I managed to win, so that was good. In the second moto I got the holeshot and ended up finishing second. In the Superfinal I had another really good start and did a decent race. I finished seventh, which was ok, I’m happy with that.”

Jorge Prado: “I got the holeshot today in the first race and I was able to make a big gap to the second rider but towards the end I got some arm pump and had to slow down a bit and finished second. I wanted to see where I am at the moment. I took the holeshot but the first three riders passed me pretty quickly. I had a long fight with Butron and we passed each other quite a few times. Then Febvre made the pass with just two laps to go. Top five against the big bikes is good for me. I’m feeling confident and I think I’ve learned a lot, so I need to keep my feet on the ground and keep working.”

Max Anstie: “It might not have been the perfect day for me, but overall I felt we took some more steps in the right direction. My goal for the weekend was to try new things with the bike and with my riding on the big FC 450, and I’m glad everything worked well. It was a great training event and a good way to wrap up our pre-season preparations before Qatar. With the racing now done, we have two weeks to perfect some small details. The work never stops so we will try to make the most of the time left to get the best out of the bike and myself before the start of the MXGP season.”

Thomas Kjer-Olsen: “It was a good day and a great event. We got two good starts and that was very important. Overall, I’m happy I showed once again I can battle for the top. In the opening moto I got a good start but had a small crash in the back part of the track that dropped me to 10th. I got back on the bike and started passing people to finish sixth. Considering the track was one-lined, I think it was great I could make passes. Then in moto two I had another good start and battled my way to third at the chequered flag. We will continue working hard and I’m really looking forward to the start of the World Championship in Qatar.”

Conrad Mewse: “I felt good on my bike this weekend. All the hard work during the winter is slowly paying off. I know the speed is there and I now need to work on some small details such as my starts. I had a good jump out of the gate in the opening moto and pushed hard to end third. I missed the start in moto two and had to work my way from outside the top 10 to eighth. I feel that we made some good progress in that kind of hard-packed terrain. We still need to work more in fine-tuning our set-up and suspension, but we now have a good base for the first GP of the season in Qatar.”

Damon Graulus: “I definitely have mixed feelings about this race! In terms of pace I was pretty happy. Obviously I knew from practice that my speed was not too bad. However to place where we did in qualifying on a standard motorcycle came as a complete surprise! Those typical Mistral winds had caught more riders off guard but I honestly don’t know what I have could done differently. Shaun Simpson who was behind me told me how he’d seen me literally being carried away for meters!
I was quite a bit shaken after that. But all in all it could have been so much worse. I thought I was fit enough to line up for the second moto. In hindsight that was a stupid move. I never felt myself like I did before in that race. Luckily all of that should be forgotten quickly with a couple of days rest. I’m looking forward to continue the development with the new bike!”

Thomas Covington: “I’m satisfied with the progress made this weekend. Despite not having fully recovered from my sickness I raced two strong motos to get 7/4. Unfortunately, in the Superfinal I felt the effects of my illness and decided not to take any unnecessary risks. My speed was good during the whole day and I even managed to lead the second MX2 moto for a while, before some small mistakes dropped me to fourth. It was another good test for all of us and now we will be focusing on doing the best we can to start the World Championship with a good overall result in Qatar.”