MXGP FIM World Championship leader Romain Febvre continues to defy prediction, expectation and the pressure of fronting the premier class of the series in his first season.
With his latest victory in Sweden last weekend the 23-year-old has now claimed four wins in a row, won 50 per cent of the motos and has walked the podium for six GPs in succession.
Despite the excellent run of form there is still some doubt over the Frenchman’s credentials with numerous observers in the paddock disbelieving that #461 has not crashed or sustained injury through his attacking and proactive style.
When asked what he thought of people’s comments about his approach and the fact that he has only suffered two race crashes (Holland and Italy) in 22 motos so far he replied: “I don’t know! I really don’t care what they say. I try to ride smooth. Today I made a couple of mistakes in the second moto but none in the first. You can see by the result how I am doing. For the rest…I don’t care.”
Febvre’s ability to block out the capabilities and threat of his MXGP peers has been one of his strengths. Friendly and unassuming, the Belgium-based athlete – who has risen through Grand Prix at a startling rate since scoring his first podium in MX2 in 2013 after just one learning year – has taken the surge of interest and demands of his profile in his step.
This ability to cope with the spotlight has been a major weapon in his arsenal, according to Yamaha Factory Racing Yamalube Team Principal Michele Rinaldi a man who has overseen title success by the likes of Donny Schmit, Bob Moore, Stefan Everts and David Philippaerts.
“So far he hasn’t felt the pressure and this is unbelievable,” says the Italian. “Not at the French GP, not in Italy…Compared to anybody else I had in the team for 30 years he seems to feel the pressure less, and this is a big advantage for a rider.”