Monster Energy Yamaha Factory rider Romain Febvre roared back from a dropped motorcycle on Sunday and went on to win the second moto in Kegums and finish on the podium in Latvia.
The French rider finished third overall and held on to the 2016 World Championship leader’s plate by a one-point margin.
Team-mate Jeremy Van Horebeek built on engine work during the week to finish in the top-five twice and improve his championship standings while Kemea Yamaha Official MX rider Valentin Guillod struggled on the tricky circuit to crack the top 10 in the second moto.
Febvre slipped in the sand early in the first moto on Sunday, and lost valuable time and position despite a quick remount of his YZ450FM. The French rider could not pass higher than fifth and watched as Slovenian rider Tim Gajser gained nine valuable championships points in the sixth round of MXGP.
In the second moto Febvre passed Italian rider Tony Cairoli more than halfway through the race and never looked back, winning by 12 seconds to take back seven points from Gajser. The 2015 FIM Motocross World Champion now leads the world championship by one point with 12 more rounds to go.
Van Horebeek worked with team mechanics and staff during the week to find engine tunings suited to him and quickly demonstrated his improvement in Latvia, with good starts in both motos and a solid pace throughout. the Belgian finished ahead of team-mate Febvre in the first moto and then went on to reach the podium in the late race, but was edged out of a final result by a resurgent Gajser in the final lap.
“In the first moto I made a small mistake, went down and lost a couple of positions,” said Febvre. “It’s disappointing but we made some changes to the engine in between, and in the second moto I felt like the real Romain Febvre. I was turning fast in the corners and playing with the bumps.”
“The team got me back on the podium today, and I’m really happy with the work we did together today here in Latvia.”
Guillod showed a turn of speed in the first moto with a very fast start, and held a solid line through the shifting turns, but the Swiss rider struggled with the unpredictable corners and faded in the first moto. In the afternoon race he came back more determined and cracked the top 10 just ahead of Yamaha Tip-Top 32 privateer Milko Potisek. Guillod finished MXGP Latvia 11th overall while Potisek finished 10th by going 11-11 on the day.
Van Horebeek is now fifth overall in the world champhionship, with three points separating him from riders both in front and behind ahead of round seven in Germany. Guillod holds on to 10th overall with a four-point gap behind him, and Potisek is 14th, three points from lucky 13.