Tommy Searle makes a successful MXGP return on home soil to the delight of British fans, while Arnaud Tonus consolidated his second place in the FIM World MX2 Motocross World Championship after finishing runner-up in the British round at Matterley Basin.
CLS Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle returned to GP action for the first time since injury 12 weeks previously in Thailand with a stunning fifth place overall from 6-5 moto results. The British rider has worked hard on his physical condition in recent weeks but was lacking race practice and confidently expects to challenge for podium finishes in the near future once he has refound his race rhythm and had time to optimise bike settings together with the CLS technical staff.
“Since Valkenswaard I’ve been able to train and physically I feel much better,” said the popular British pilot. “I had two strong rides today, and it was great to race at home with all this public supporting me. A fifth overall is not so bad for my first race in 12 weeks but I know we can do a lot more. We need now to move forward and work with the team and try to improve my feeling with the bike for the coming races.”
In MX2, Swiss rider Arnaud Tonus did not get such a good start in the opening moto, after another rider took the gate which he had prepared, but he quickly settled down to convert his initial 13th position into fifth at the chequered flag.
A strong ride in race two saw Arnaud stay close to the leader for several laps as he held second place throughout and this result secured second overall over the weekend and consolidated yet further his second place in the championship standings.
“This track is nice to ride and I always enjoyed racing here,” said Tonus. “I had a very bad start in the first race, and was only 13th after one lap, but I found a good rhythm to advance to fifth, which was not so bad after such a bad start.
“The second race was much better; I finished second and during the first part of the race I could stay close to Herlings; he was a little faster but I’m happy with my ride and my speed. Next weekend we’ll move to St Jean for the French GP; it’s a kind of home GP for me and I always got good results there.”
French team-mate Dylan Ferrandis had a less fortunate weekend. After a strong second place during qualification he suffered as a result of a collision leaving the start in the first GP moto and had to be content with seventh place at the finish despite a strong ride from 12th place.
An incident as he battled for third place in the second moto cost him ten places and he was only able to recover one of these before the chequered flag. Dylan now holds fifth place in the championship standings, but is only 15 points away from third in the series.
Dylan Ferrandis commented: “I had a good qualifying race on Saturday with a second position, but today was not as good. In the first race I had a bad start as Herlings moved over on me from the left and I had no place to go; I was 12th on the first lap and recovered to seventh.
“My second start was better and I was fighting for third position, but then I stalled the engine and that put me down to thirteenth; after that the engine didn’t run normally at times and I could only finish twelfth. It was a frustrating Grand Prix for me.”
American teenager Thomas Covington continues the learning curve in his rookie GP season. He was restricted to 17th place in the opening moto after a poor start, but performed much better in race two, a series of thrilling passes taking him from an initial 17th to finish 11th in the moto and 14th overall in the GP. This was his best result since the opening GP in Qatar and has confirmed his top 15 series ranking.
“Another experience this weekend; it’s a learning year even if I raced on this track last year,” says Covington. “My first start was not good and then the race was tough; my second start was not the best, but I made some good passes in the opening laps and finished eleventh, fighting for the tenth position until the finish flag.”