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MXGP, MXGP OF FRANCE- Villars Sous Ecot, France, 21 Toukokuu 2023

Romain Febvre back with a moto win and podium

Romain Febvre of Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP bounced back into contention in the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship title chase with a dramatic moto victory at Villars-sous-Ecot in his native France.

Just two weeks after a heavy fall had forced him to sit out the Spanish GP the Kawasaki number one inevitably needed time to get back into his usual rhythm on Saturday but he already gave notice of his intentions on race day with second-fastest time in morning Warm-up. The KRT crew had clearly found an optimal set-up for the physically- and technically-demanding hillside track as the Green leader narrowly missed the holeshot through turn one in the first moto to come home a strong third after all of the title contenders had fought an enthralling battle for honours. But even more was to come in race two; again narrowly missing the holeshot he settled quickly into a secure second place and shadowed the leader, carefully weighing up the line-options before soaring past on the twelfth of seventeen laps and immediately opening up a significant lead with the fastest lap of the race. It was a truly emotional affair as the home favourite and his countless fans saluted each other all round the final lap, a massive heel-clicker over the big jump on the last stretch through the valley raising the roof. It was also a poignant success as Romain had scored his maiden MXGP victory at the very same venue in 2015. The impact of the points surrendered in Spain still sits deep but the second moto victory and overall podium have lifted him back to third in the championship standings; he is seventy-nine points shy of the current leader but, with twelve of the nineteen-round series still to run, there is still everything to play for.
Romain Febvre: "As everyone knows I crashed in Spain two weeks ago and it was quite hard with the concussion. I took a week off and even this week I felt very second-hand when I rode; it was difficult to analyse my speed but I was determined to do everything to race here. Yesterday the track was even tougher than today, particularly for me because I was struggling a little with concentration, but I stayed positive and I felt much more comfortable today. The atmosphere in the second moto when I took the lead was tremendous. Physically I am good and I pushed to the end. On the last lap I saw I had a gap and I could celebrate for the fans; I was born just one hour and thirty minutes from here so it was especially nice to make something for everyone who turned up to support me. I'm not 100% and I still need to take some time to recover but I feel I deserved that moto win after what happened in Spain. Two weeks ago we thought the season was over but now I almost won the GP and the championship is long. This success today is fantastic not only for me but also for the team and Kawasaki; let's keep working to make it happen!"
KRT colleague Mitch Evans continues to make advances as he recovers from his pre-season injuries and subsequent long absence from racing. The Australian had little chance of a good start from the outside-gate handed to him in Qualifying and completed the opening lap in each moto only just inside the top-twenty but he continued to push for the entire thirty-five minutes of each race to take the chequered flag twelfth and fifteenth for thirteenth overall.