In what can be deemed an entirely successful pre-season period in anticipation of the FIM Motocross World Championship – commencing at Losail, Qatar on March 1st – Yamaha Factory Racing closed the three round Italian national series at Montevarchi on Sunday with Jeremy Van Horebeek and Christophe Charlier lifting both the MX1 and MX2 titles respectively.
The Belgian and Corsican steered their works YZ450FM and YZ250FM machinery to another set of solid results at the former Grand Prix venue in what was an exciting finale to the Italian competition with a raft of fellow factory riders in attendance.
Van Horebeek took part in two motos in front of a sizeable crowd and in pleasant conditions for racing by facing Gautier Paulin, Steven Frossard, Max Nagl, Tommy Searle, Todd Waters and more recognised names.
He overtook Frossard to secure second position and was close to the rear wheel of Paulin by the chequered flag of the MX1 affair. A problem for chief rival in the standings, Antonio Cairoli, meant that the runner-up slot was good enough to grant ‘JVH’ the Italian MX1 crown.
The second sprint – dubbed the ‘Elite’ class for the mix of 450 and 250 motorcycles – again saw Van Horebeek in contention. The 24 year old ran to a safe third position for his final race of pre-season and before all attention switches to Losail.
“It was a good day, good weather and good racing,” said Van Horebeek. “Tony didn’t finish the first moto and I don’t know why but it meant that we got the points we needed. I’m stoked for the team. This Italian championship is important for them and for me it is a great end to all the hard work we have done this winter and through all three races in three weeks.”
“This was my last race before the GPs start and I feel ready,” he added. “I’ll head home now and do some more training this week. A few more hours working out will be good. I need to work on that last 10% but overall I feel really good, the bike is awesome and we are in a very decent place for the start of the season proper.”
In the MX2 class Christophe Charlier was in a determined mood. #23 didn’t get the best of starts – around mid top ten – in the MX2 chase but rode aggressively and fast in the formative stages.
His tactic had its pros and cons but fourth place delivered the points to seal the Corsican’s second career Italian Championship. In the Elite he made a fantastic start on the YZ250FM against the bigger bikes and was troubling the top six. A small crash cost him a lot of positions so he rode out the distance to 12th. “I felt fast and confident on the bike and the track today and maybe pushed a bit too much in the first moto,” he said. “Anyway we got the job done and we were working for this.”
“I’m very happy,” commented Team Manager Mino Raspanti. “After three events and on some good tracks and in front of plenty of people we did what we wanted. The purpose of these races was to continue our preparation for the world championship but also manage the results we knew we could achieve and it has turned out well. To summarise it has been a very positive build-up and we’re ready to go.”
DP19 Racing’s David Philippaerts took his YZ450F to fifth positions overall in the MX1 and Elite Championships and now embarks on his first MXGP term as owner and master of his own team.
Yamaha Factory Racing can now finish the rest of the freight and travel plans for Doha with the first round of eighteen in the 2014 Grand Prix year just around the corner.