Hot sunshine baked a massive crowd at Maggiora for the Grand Prix of Italy and Monster Energy Yamaha’s Christophe Charlier moved up to fourth position in the MX2 GP points table after a solid sixth position overall for what was a well-received ninth round of 17 in the 2013 FIM Motocross World Championship.
The majority of the 38,000 spectators had reason to shout for FIM Women’s World Champion Kiara Fontanesi as the Italian comprehensively rode to her third double from three rounds in 2013 and a 100% perfect record so far on her YZ250F.
The Italian circuit enjoyed a Grand Prix reawakening as it welcomed the FIM series for the first time this century. The steep hills housed a typically hard-pack terrain but the corner ruts were still long, deep and hard and the bumps ensured a degree of technical challenge under high temperatures.
Charlier set the fastest lap in the second moto as he rode similar races – recovering ground from top ten starts to make some effective overtaking moves and registering fifth and sixth positions. The Corsican needs a little more aggression in the vital formative phases of the motos to vie for his second podium of the season but his consistency has become a strength and he now holds fourth in the championship – 24 points from his goal of reaching a top three slot.
“I’m pretty happy. Although I didn’t make the podium again my speed was fast here and I picked up good points to move up a place in the championship. I just need to work on the first parts of the motos and I know the really good results will come,” said Charlier.
Dean Ferris was less than two seconds from a second consecutive pole position on Saturday but was still able to enjoy the second pick in the gate for the 35 minute and two lap motos. The Australian had a problem with his front suspension in the first race that prevented him forcing a top five result – ending the distance in seventh. Ferris pushed in customary fashion in the next sprint and again breached the top seven with the same ranking. He is sixth in the MX2 table.
“In the first moto I had a few issues with the bike and was fighting the whole time. I finished seventh in that one. I had a terrible start in the second and then had my best first fifteen or twenty minutes of the year; I passed loads of guys coming through. I don’t know what happened then. The other boys might have stepped it up and I couldn’t really move with the rhythm I had. Everyone pulled away, said the Australian.
Ferris added: “Physically I feel fine and there aren’t any problems there. I think it was one of the better tracks we’ve had from the last few rounds and the times were close in qualifying. It was a bit disappointing to drop off the pace like that. I got more points than last week, so that’s a positive but my goal is to get a final podium position in the championship and I can’t keep riding like this in order to do that.”
Mel Pocock was limping around the paddock with a sore right heel as a consequence of his accident at the French GP last week. The British rider lodged a decent top ten finish with eighth place at the first time of asking but suffered a big ‘one’ in the second moto descending one of the downhills and managed to arrive to the chequered flag in 16th and holds 11th in the MX2 standings.
Pocock said: “In the first race I managed to push through a little bit and reached eighth. I dropped off because of the heat at the end though. I was comfortably inside the top ten during the next race but I landed awkwardly on one of the downhills and the rear end skidded out. I came down pretty hard and I then struggled to get back into a rhythm.
“My heel is still sore and I really hope I can get it sorted out; I’m tired of riding injured, the British rider added.”
Maxime Desprey was unlucky to suffer a mechanical glitch in the first race and then struggled to cope with the track after a mediocre start and registered just one point for 20th. The French youngster is 15th in his rookie GP term.
“A hard weekend for me. We had an engine problem in the first moto and I didn’t finish,” said Desprey. My start was not so bad in the second moto but my riding was not very fast or effective, so I feel a bit disappointed right now. The track wasn’t so easy, with many sharp bumps, but I guess this is part of racing.”
Maggiora also entertained round three of seven for the women and Kiara Fontanesi faced little opposition in her quest for a perfect first half of her FIM title defence. Maggiora went crazy for their local star and ‘Fonta’ responded in kind with a confident and error-free run to a memorable victory. She now leads the standings by 32 points.
Fontanesi said: “When you win a GP it is always emotional. The emotion can be different each time but here in Italy it is special. I was doing the sighting lap and to see all the people cheering for me made me really happy. I’ve won again and that’s great because I want to push to win all of the rounds this year. I took two good starts and was riding safely and smoothly. All this motivates me and being here at Maggiora was important. It was so special to win here, in front of friends and all these people is even better.”
The Uddevalla circuit north of Gothenburg will once more host the Grand Prix of Sweden and round ten of the series on July 1.