2015 MXGP World Champion Romain Febvre took full advantage of the two-week break in the current calendar and before this week’s Grand Prix of the Netherlands to refine engine settings on the factory Monster Energy Yamaha YZ450FM.
This year Febvre has missed some of the start gate prowess that assisted with his remarkable rise in the premier class last summer and the 24-year-old has been in Italy riding and testing three days with his crew in the wake of the Swiss GP where he grabbed his ninth podium of the campaign. “I need to catch up some of the conditioning I lost,” #461 said after Frauenfeld. “I’m looking forward to Assen as it’s where I took the title last year. It will be tough but I want to try for the win.”
“We had three days to try some things after the Swiss Grand Prix and it was a test that we originally had planned after Mantova [Grand Prix of Lombardia] but Romain was injured,” said Team Manager Mino Raspanti. “Our idea was to look for some improvements for the start and I think we made some good work. Romain should already use the upgrades for the last Grands Prix. He is at a similar speed to Tim Gajser, who has been really strong out of the gate; Romain knows that if he is not first, or second just behind him, then it is already a tough race.”
Raspanti also revealed that the early start to the MXGP season means that factory teams now have to get ready earlier and earlier for the following term. “2017 tests have to be done close after the season or even before – normally it might be around this time of the year – because you cannot afford to get anything wrong and arrive at Qatar in February having made a mistake with the set-up. For sure we also test during the winter and suspension upgrades are normally not available until this time but we have to think ahead and be prepared in the best way.”
Febvre is currently fourth in the standings after being forced to miss motos in Britain and Italy due to the concussion he suffered in qualification at Matterley Basin (where he was trying to come through the pack after a poor launch). He trails Gajser by 145 points and Cairoli and Nagl by 46 and 10 respectively with just 150 points left to win this year.