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Sunshine & showers bring qualifying race wins for Febvre & Coenen at MXGP of France – Race Report & Results

Sunshine & showers bring qualifying race wins for Febvre & Coenen at MXGP of France – Race Report & Results

After a sunny morning on the Saturday of the Monster Energy MXGP of France, thunderstorms and heavy rain hit the hillsides of St. Jean d’Angely, making the previously perfect racing surface decidedly wetter for the afternoon’s RAM Qualifying Races!

Word and Images by Infront Moto Racing

There were concerns for the local favourites during the Practice sessions, as Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre came up short on a big uphill triple jump and hurt his thumb. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 star Thibault Benistant suffered a crash on a downhill and was treated for concussion, meaning he will sadly miss tomorrow’s races. We wish him well in his recovery.

Romain’s Kawasaki Racing Team stable-mate Jeremy Seewer showed some great speed in the practice sessions, setting the fastest time in both Free and Time Practice, with Jeffrey Herlings in second for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing ahead of World Championship leader Jorge Prado, who put an early fast one in for Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing.

Despite the pain from his thumb, Febvre lined up hoping that the conditions would help him tough to get some points. However, as the sun came out to shine over the French hillsides, it also shone on their star rider as he avoided three separate crashes to dive past his teammate Seewer in the second corner! The crowd roared for their former World Champion, as Tim Gajser was forced briefly off-track with his Team HRC Honda just after the first turn!

It was briefly a Kawasaki 1-2, but Prado nipped past the Swiss rider into second place on the opening lap. Mattia Guadagnini had got up to a fine fourth for Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing, but crashed on an uphill jump and would finish 15th.

Gajser put on a majestic charge to get up to fifth by the end of the first full lap, and by the end of lap three he was flying past Seewer for third! Two laps later he caught Prado, who ran wide in the corner after the finish line, allowing the Slovenian through! The reigning Champion would drop to fourth behind Seewer two laps later, and that was how they finished!

Kevin Horgmo put in a season-best finish of fifth for Team Ship-to-Cycle Honda Motoblouz SR, lifting himself past his teammate Valentin Guillod into ninth in the Championship! Jeffrey Herlings had worked his way up to seventh, but dropped to tenth on the final lap, putting him now 58 points off the top!

The loudly hailed victory for Febvre was his second RAM Qualifying Race win of the year and puts him just 28 points behind the leaders of the Championship. And that’s not a typing error, we have joint Championship leaders as Gajser’s second position puts him level with Prado on 305 points going into tomorrow’s Monster Energy MXGP of France!

Romain Febvre: “This morning, I injured my thumb and I was way off because I had too much pain. But when it started raining, I thought that it was my chance to be in the points at least. I actually took a very good start and passed first in the second turn so then it was the case of ‘let’s ride and see where I am’. I managed to pull away and I don’t know how I managed to do that as I nearly pulled off today to ride tomorrow. I’m speechless! I think I’m quite strong in the end and it made the difference.”

MXGP – RAM Qualifying Race – Classification: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), 24:56.195; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:06.656; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Kawasaki), +0:14.755; 4. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +0:44.402; 5. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Honda), +0:45.597; 6. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:49.634; 7. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +1:02.116; 8. Brian Bogers (NED, Fantic), +1:05.095; 9. Ben Watson (GBR, Beta), +1:08.094; 10. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +1:16.739

MXGP – World Championship Classification: 1. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 305 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 305 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 277 p.; 4. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 247 p.; 5. Pauls Jonass (LAT, HON), 217 p.; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, KAW), 201 p.; 7. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 196 p.; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, FAN), 179 p.; 9. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, HON), 121 p.; 10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, HON), 120 p

In Free Practice it was the brothers at the top, with Sacha Coenen fastest for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, ahead of Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Lucas Coenen. In Time Practice, Sacha was looking good for the pole again, but a late run from his teammate Liam Everts stole it from him, with Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing star Simon Laengenfelder taking third.

The MX2 class had the worst of the weather, and it poured down as the gate dropped! Lucas Coenen emerged with the holeshot as his brother lost control into the first corner and went down, holding up Lucas’ teammate Kay de Wolf in the process! Sacha’s teammates Andrea Adamo and Everts were well up the order, but Marc-Antoine Rossi moved into second early on for Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing, putting in a brilliant effort on home ground.

De Wolf spent the first half of the race on a comeback through the pack, working his way past Adamo for fourth by lap 6 of the eventual 12. Further back, Quentin Prugnieres was having his best RAM Qualifying Race of the year, finishing sixth just ahead of Simon Laengenfelder, who lost further ground in the Championship, albeit still second for Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing to De Wolf.

Kay would not get any further than fourth, as Everts passed Rossi for second and took the flag in that position. However, he was docked two places after the race for jumping over the finish line past a waving yellow flag, putting Rossi up into second, the best finish yet of his young career! De Wolf was also promoted, up to third, increasing his series lead to 48 points.

Ultimately though, there was no catching Lucas Coenen, who brought it home 38 seconds ahead of Rossi, a result that brings him past the absent Benistant into fourth in the Championship, only 4 points behind Everts!

All of the riders will wonder what the elements will bring us for tomorrow’s races after a hasty clean up this evening, but the 2024 MXGP World Championship continues to bring the shocks and surprises as it advances through its seventh round!

Lucas Coenen:The track is brutal out there and with the water quite slick but I managed my race quite well. Bob made the goggles perfectly so thanks to him! Only at the end I struggled a bit because one guy pit me in the goggle and couldn’t see but I still managed to win it. It’s good even if it’s just the RAM Quali Race and tomorrow we’ll try to do the same so let’s go!”

MX2 – RAM Qualifying Race – Classification: . Lucas Coenen (BEL, Husqvarna), 25:45.416; 2. Marc-Antoine Rossi (FRA, GASGAS), +0:32.848; 3. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:45.228; 4. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +0:21.632; 5. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), +0:56.564; 6. Quentin Marc Prugnieres (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:59.726; 7. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +1:13.266; 8. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, Triumph), +1:18.668; 9. Ferruccio Zanchi (ITA, Honda), +1:19.013; 10. Oriol Oliver (ESP, KTM), +1:40.215

MX2 – World Championship Classification: 1. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 300 points; 2. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 252 p.; 3. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 237 p.; 4. Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 233 p.; 5. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 226 p.; 6. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 217 p.; 7. Rick Elzinga (NED, YAM), 190 p.; 8. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, TRI), 185 p.; 9. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), 141 p.; 10. Camden Mc Lellan (RSA, TRI), 126 p


SUNDAY: 09:15 EMX125 Race 2, 10:25 MX2 Warm-up, 10:45 MXGP Warm-up, 11:30 EMX250 Race 2, 12:20 MXE Race 2,  13:15 MX2 Race 1, 14:15 MXGP Race 1, 16:10 MX2 Race 2, 17:10 MXGP Race 2.