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MXGP, MONSTER ENERGYMXGP OF FRANCE, St Jean D'Angely, France, 18 Május 2024

Romain Febvre defies the pain-barrier to earn pole

Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP's Romain Febvre defied a thumb injury to earn pole for his home round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship at St Jean d'Angely after racing to an overwhelming victory in Qualifying.

The Frenchman was in so much pain from a thumb injury after a nasty incident when he came up short on an uphill triple-jump during morning practice that he was restricted to seventeenth-fastest time in Timed Practice. He even contemplated withdrawing from the remainder of the day's programme to protect his thumb but eventually decided to race Qualifying after a mid-afternoon storm had made the hillside track extremely slippery and rendered it impossible for anyone to launch over the largest jumps. Shrugging off the discomfort he launched his KX450-SR second through turn one in a Green 1-2 with KRT colleague Jeremy Seewer, out-manoeuvering his teammate at turn three and immediately racing clear with the fastest lap of the race to create a near-five-second gap within a single lap. Extending his advantage to ten seconds at one stage, he eventually crossed the finishing-line six-amd-a-half seconds to the good at the end of the twenty-minute-plus-two-lap race and will now have first-choice of start-gate for both GP motos tomorrow.
Romain Febvre: "Today definitely didn't start as planned. I injured my thumb this morning and had so much pain in Timed Practice that my pace was way-off; I couldn't jump everything so I could not post a fast lap. I almost pulled out for the rest of today and would only race tomorrow but luckily for me it rained; I knew that the speed would be slower and I had a chance with a good start so I decided to try Qualifying. I made a great start, passed into the lead at turn two and could pull away. Hopefully tomorrow will be muddy again; I hope my thumb will have improved but I still have quite a lot of pain right now. It really was a mental victory; I never give up but there are always new challenges which present themselves and even at thirty-two years-of-age I am still discovering new strengths. I really don't know how I managed it; I'm speechless, but so happy!"
Jeremy Seewer had been fastest in both dry practice sessions and edged out his KRT teammate at turn one in Qualifying to take the holeshot but was quickly relegated to third on the opening lap as he warily tested the traction of the track-surface in very different conditions to earlier in the day. The Swiss relinquished another position on lap three but fought back magnificently later in the race to claim a strong third, his best Qualifying result of the season.
Jeremy Seewer: "We are definitely making big steps now; P1 in both practices and my best Quali result of the season. A mud-race can always be a little bit of a lottery but it went OK. I nearly crashed on the same jump as Romain this morning and needed to get stitches in my chin; we used to triple-jump it from the middle of the track to the inside but some bare rocks came out, we got wheelspin and came up two meters short."
Bike It Kawasaki MX2 Racing Team's Bobby Bruce showed his potential as he held a secure eighth for ten minutes in FIM World MX2 Motocross Championship Qualifying before he slipped off in the sticky conditions. Remounting fifteenth, he eventually withdrew after falling again and will go to the gate thirty-third in both of tomorrow's GP motos. His teammate Jack Chambers had posted an impressive twelfth-fastest time in a dry Timed Practice but the American from the "Sunshine State" Florida was clearly not comfortable in the damp greasy conditions which greeted the riders in Qualifying as he finished fifteenth after being pushed off-track at turn one by an errant rival. Kawasaki-mounted French youngster Quentin Marc Prugnières qualified sixth.
Jack Chambers: "Another muddy race. We hoped the rain would hold off but it came just before our Qualifying. We get those mid-afternoon storms back home in Florida too but we don't have these hills and dirt. Anyway, I earnt a decent gate-pick for the GP motos; hopefully tomorrow will be dry."