Steven Frossard returned to the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team with a sixth placed finish in the Latvian round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship at Kegums.
Signed to replace the retired Ryan Villopoto for the remainder of the MXGP season Frossard had no opportunity to test the Kawasaki KX450F-SR before arriving in Latvia at the weekend.
But the Frenchman quickly became acquainted with the bike to post eighth-best time during practice before an unfortunate incident with another rider during the Qualification race restricted him to 15th choice of gate for the GP motos.
Making the most of Kawasaki power he took a ninth-placed start in the opening moto and advanced to sixth by the chequered flag. Despite feeling ill during the second race he advanced from an initial 11th to finish eighth for sixth overall.
“I already have a good feeling on the bike, even though I didn’t ride it before coming here, so for this first race back I’m happy with a sixth overall,” said Steven Frossard.
“Yesterday I soon felt confident on the bike, but Philippaerts hit me during the Qualifying race so I had a very bad gate for the GP races. It was not so easy to start from the fifteenth gate and today I missed some rhythm during the first few laps and in the second moto I felt sick so physically I was not at my best. I missed the top five but I’m happy; now we have time to do some more testing to prepare for the hard pack of Loket.”
Team-mate Tyla Rattray had a good Qualification to finish eighth, but was caught out by a soft patch of dirt at the first corner of the opening GP moto after track conditions had been altered dramatically by overnight rain.
Despite a painful hand injury he persevered to finish 18th; a post-race medical examination revealed a broken bone in the thumb. Tyla attempted to race the second moto, but was forced to withdraw after 20 minutes. He now holds 14th place in the series standings.
“It was a tough weekend and the track changed so much from Saturday to Sunday due to the showers,” said Tyla Rattray. “On Saturday I earned the eighth gate choice for the GP races and was confident, but at the first moto I found such a soft surface that I crashed in the first corner. I lost a lot of time to restart, and did the entire race with pain in my hand; after the finish I got it examined and that revealed a broken bone in my thumb. I wanted to start the second race, but it was so painful that I had to retire halfway through race. I will see my doctor this week and we’ll see what we can do.”