MXGP World Champion Romain Febvre finished second yesterday at Mettet for the prestigious annual supermoto ‘Superbiker’. Changing tyres on his YZ450FM and attacking a course at the renowned venue that involves 75 per cent asphalt, 25 per cent dirt and with three jumps as part of the off-road section, the 23-year-old Frenchman¬ grabbed the holeshot but could not hold-off the speed of Marc-Reiner Schmidt.
“It was great to go back to Mettet and race without any pressure and just have some fun…but I’m a bit disappointed, “said Febvre. “To lead for 10 minutes…[and not finish it off]. I knew I needed the holeshot and I made it happen but I started the race hoping for the podium because I was not quite as quick as some of the others.”
The Motocross of Nations winner had precious little time to set-up his YZ before the Superbiker. “I rode once before the race and we had a bit to do,” he explains. “After the wheels we used a different clutch, changed the suspension and front brake. We also had to alter the offset and triple clamp to bring the front end closer. The team gave me another engine – not my motocross race one – better suited to the speed of supermoto. I had my mechanic Manu there and it was great to have his and the team’s support.”
Febvre is a former winner at the Superbiker having taken a brief break from motocross as a youngster to attempt the Supermoto discipline. He walked the top step of the podium in 2012 and also last year at a meeting won by illustrious names like Georges Jobe, Eddy Seel, Stephane Chambon, Mickael Pichon, Broc Glover and Stefan Everts.
“The track was back on the old road circuit and the off-road section was nothing special,” he said. “It was harder for me to make the difference compared to previous years and I knew I’d do well to get on the podium. Anyway it was cool to catch up with the supermoto guys because I usually only ever see them at Mettet.”
Febvre now travels to the Monster Energy Cup as a guest of his personal sponsor and then heads directly from Los Angeles to former Grand Prix venue Sugo in Japan for the final round of the national series. “The team shipped my race bike last week so we are going just to take part in the race and enjoy it,” he said. “I think we might do some testing on Monday after.”