Following our story in the week about Romain Febvre we were keen to sit down with the 2015 world champion to hear his side of the story.
Charming and professional, Romain was honest about the issues he’s had this year when we sat down with him after the qualifying race in Ernee, where he looked much more like the fast and aggressive champion of 2015, cheered into a second-place finish by a sea of adoring French fans.
Dirt Bike Rider: Romain, congratulations on the race today. Herlings’ gate didn’t drop in the first one so they red-flagged it and re-started the race. Did you benefit from the re-start?
Romain Febvre: I think it was the same. I was fourth before the red flag. The second start I got the holeshot but [Clement] Desalle passed me in the second corner from the outside then I made a mistake so I was fourth, so it was similar with almost the same guys on the front. I came back in the second with good speed so it’s good for tomorrow.
DBR: It looked like you were chasing Desalle for pride because here the second gate pick is okay.
RF: No, it’s not important [gate pick] but I didn’t ride this week because of my ankle that I injured in Germany so I wanted to push a bit and see how I felt. I’m not scared to be tired because I didn’t ride this week, just some physical training.
DBR: Is the ankle okay now?
RF: Yeah, in the boots it’s okay, standing with shoes like this (pointing to his trainers) it’s tricky, I need to take care where I put my foot, but with the boots it’s easy, almost didn’t feel pain until now *laughs*.
DBR: So, the last time we were here in Ernee you had just become world champion, then you won a race and the Motocross of Nations here in front of your home crowd. You must have some special memories coming back here for this GP.
RF: Yeah for sure. Like I said already, the home GP is always important, it’s always good to lead and coming here to Ernee is special.
Like you say, we won the Nations for my first year and I was world champion at the same time so it was a really nice moment. But it’s passed and I’m happy we’re here now, we made some changes with the bike before Germany and it’s much better now. Before that, we struggled.
When you struggle every moto and you can’t get a good start then it’s difficult. After the changes we made for Germany, now I’m feeling faster and better and fitter. It’s a shame that I couldn’t ride more this week but it seems to be okay at the weekend.
DBR: The season didn’t start how you wanted and after the Italian GP you said on Instagram that you didn’t have the speed and didn’t know why. Today it looks like 2015 Romain is back. Is that because of the changes to the bike, your conditioning or confidence?
RF: Last winter we made some big changes and it was mainly to be better on the start because it’s the piece we were missing last year. We changed that but it affected the riding. But I say ‘okay’, I have all winter in front to be riding the bike and get the feeling and just be better with the bike.
The training went good and then when we started the Italian championship, I have a crash, it was a big crash!
I still rode, the training was good but in the races, I struggled a lot to ride. The first few rides I struggled but I think ‘it’s coming from me’ so I didn’t complain about the bike because I did the change [bike settings]. It was my choice to go like that.
Then, I made some changes to my training and also between overseas GP I went training with Ryno Power in America to find something different because I was thinking it’s coming from myself, but in the end after a few GPs in Europe we saw it’s not coming from myself, it’s more about the bike.
It’s like that, it’s my fault but we are still in the middle of the season so hopefully it will turn good at the end.
DBR: Good luck for this GP and the rest of the season Romain.