Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre curiously cut a frustrated figure in the paddock in Neuquen after last Sunday’s Grand Prix of Argentina.
The MXGP rookie has impressed many people with his speed and fearlessness on the works YZ450FM after just three events but the 2014 State of Goias MX2 GP winner was not impressed by two crashes that meant an eighth place finish in the first moto.
It was his worst result of 2015 so far and in a young campaign in which he has almost usurped team-mate and 2014 MXGP championship runner-up Jeremy Van Horebeek.
Febvre’s ire tells a lot about the 23 year old who only entered Grand Prix back in 2012 and collected his first podium finishes in 2013. In truth he cannot feel too downcast about his performances to sixth, fourth and seventh overall so far and is easily the best of the 2014 MX2 ‘graduates’.
The former KTM and Husqvarna rider is also still learning the limits of the Yamaha machinery and his possibilities against largely new opposition.
“Maybe I was too aggressive but the speed is good and I think the team are happy about that,” was his evaluation eventually on Sunday afternoon in Argentina. Febvre has applied pressure to Van Horebeek both on and off the track with his pacey rate of adaptation so far.
“I wanted to pass Jeremy for sure,” he said of the second race where the Yamahas ran together for the third time in 2015. “I closed the gap when he made some mistakes and then he did the same to me. The track meant it was hard to make a big difference over the others.”
Febvre is one of the leading athletes in the ‘second phase’ of riders behind the likes of Clement Desalle, Tony Cairoli, Max Nagl and Ryan Villopoto who have all taken moto victories so far.
He is presently sixth in the standings and just one point behind HRC’s Gautier Paulin. #461 provided a bit of insight into the level of competition out on the dirt: “I think the top six were separated by twelve seconds or something like that in the second so it is really close and a mistake can mean so much.”