Mid-pack starts and a first-turn crash resulted in another tough weekend’s work for REVO Husqvarna’s Martin Barr at Ottobiano for the MXGP of Lombardia in Northern Italy.
Heading into the seventh round of the EMX250 championship in third place, Martin was still in the title hunt.
Martin and his team-mate, Mel Pocock, both showed they have the speed on their FC 250s to run at the front but poor gate picks following average times in qualification put them on the back foot in both motos.
With the start vital on a track where passing was difficult Martin made life tough for himself.
Martin was sixth in the opening moto but a crash in the first turn of race two left him almost dead-last. In soaring temperatures he came back to 12th but the damage was done and he ended the day 11th.
Martin has retained third spot in the series but needs to get back to the sharp end at the next round in Lommel.
“The last couple of rounds we’ve struggled in qualifying and Mel and Martin really need to focus on this,” said Team Principal, Mark Yates. “They don’t need me to tell them how important it is because qualifying position determines gate pick which can have a massive impact on where they are exiting the first turn and at the moment it’s their starts that are letting them down.
“I’m confident that they’ve got the speed but if they can’t gate in the top handful of riders it is always going to be an uphill battle for them.
“It’s not the end of the world yet – there are four rounds left and Mel’s only 19 points behind and Martin’s just 13 points further back – but they’re making it hard for themselves when they have to fight through from the back. The next couple of weeks we’re going to focus on starts and also putting in fast laps.
Martin Barr: “It was another pretty poor weekend. The last two rounds have been very testing with bad luck and poor results which is not what I’ve been working hard for.
“In race one I made an average start and it was a very hard track to pass on but no excuses, it was the same for everybody. I managed to get back to sixth at the flag which is okay but not what I’m after. The championship leader was in front of me which means he pulled more points on me.
“Race two I wanted to make amends with a better start but I crashed on the first corner and gave myself a lot of work to do – I think I ended the first lap in 26th – so I had to put my head down and eventually got up to 12th.
“It was a frustrating weekend. From leading the championship to being 32 points behind is very hard to take in but I’m not going to let it beat me. Lommel’s next and I’ll be looking to turn things around and take the championship down to the wire.”