As we approach the halfway point of the World Championship season, Max Nagl has shown his speed and ability while adapting to the factory Dunlop-shod Honda CRF450R, but frustratingly for the German racer, he has yet to take his first podium finish with the team, despite being agonizingly close.
Nagl, a Honda World Motocross racer finished on equal points to the podium last time out at the Grand prix of Brazil and after coming so close he now has his eyes firmly set on the goal of his first Honda rostrum finish this weekend in Ernee, France for round eight of the MX1 World Championship.
With this in mind, and having been so close to a top three finish in Brazil just over two weeks ago, Nagl is keen to make amends at the Ernee track, which has been omitted from the calendar for a number of years, but is an undulating hardpack circuit that the 25-year-old racer enjoys.
Max Nagl #12
“I am looking forward to getting back into things in France. I like the track; I don’t know if they have changed anything, but in the past I’ve gone okay there. I had a weekend off after Brazil, and I did a race in Belgium last weekend to keep us on top of things.
Obviously the physical training has continued after a few days recovery from the travelling, and we’ve done some riding training on the bike in the last week. I was feeling a little bit tired after getting back from Brazil, as it was such a long trip, but with a good rest and preparation, I’m feeling good again now.
It has been a few years since we raced in Ernee, but the ground there is hard and stoney, so we’ve been training on the harder ground and I feel ready. I am still chasing the podium, especially after being on equal points as third in Brazil, which was a huge disappointment, but we did make another step forward and the starts were generally better throughout the weekend. I hope we can put it right in France.”
Ernee is situated in the North of France, not far from the famous Le Mans road race circuit, and the track should also be well suited to Nagl’s team-mate, Evgeny Bobryshev, who has had a good opportunity to get back up-to-speed following injury earlier in the season with two weekends away from grand prix racing. The 25-year-old Russian racer showed some good form last time out, but lacked bike fitness physically and was still suffering in the right hand turns with the healing fracture in his right fibula.
With a number of weeks recovery, Bobryshev is ready to take on the France circuit, which is more old-school than the track in Brazil, as it is situated on a hillside and the Honda pilot will be looking to reiterate his position as one of the fastest racers in the World Motocross series, although his ankle is still not yet one hundred percent.
Evgeny Bobryshev #777
“After Brazil I’ve been training hard while working on my foot with the continuation of our program to make everything strong again. I’ve been working in the gym and doing special exercises, more specifically on the damaged area, to try and build the strength back that I am missing. We did some training on the bike and I did the Belgium championship race last weekend.
I was third in the first race, but I made a mistake in the second moto, although the main thing is I was happy with my riding and it’s been coming back to where it needs to be. In the last few days heading to the France race I have done some practicing on the hardpack ground, and I am really getting the feeling back with my foot, while finding the confidence on the bike.
I still have some pain; I am still finding it a little difficult on the right corners, as it hurts a little when I put my foot down, but with some painkillers I have found some more confidence than before. I am really looking forward to Ernee, as I like the track, the design and I think it will be a good event. I have also had a little time with the family in the last few weeks, so I’m feeling very positive, but I have really been concentrating on keeping my head up while again trying to recover from injury. I am certainly looking forward to being with the team this weekend.”
Video: Honda World Motocross Ernee, France preview – round eight of the MX1 World Championship