A rousing Grand Prix of Argentina, round three of 18 in the FIM Motocross World Championship, saw Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek collect some positive feelings with a hard fought sixth position overall at Neuquen in the depths of Patagonia.

Idyllic surroundings of lakes and mountains close to Villa La Angostura housed a brand new racing circuit that was wide, bumpy, fast and formed from volcanic earth that gave the ground a dark, fine almost-sandy texture. The first visit by MXGP to Argentina this century drew a hefty 30,000 crowd as many fans from Chile – only a short distance away – also flocked to Neuquen.

Van Horebeek was looking for a lively response to the disappointment of the Grand Prix of Thailand three weeks ago where a crash and knock to the head eventually caused a double DNF. The Belgian had won the opening round of the Dutch national series as well as the Belgian domestic championship before coming to Argentina in a more buoyant and determined mood.


In the first moto he was circulating in a top five position and looking to settle into a rhythm until he lost rear-end traction through the ‘waves’ section and fell. He was able to remount and salvage ninth with a broken front brake lever and a sore left hand. The second race was better for the 2014 runner-up as he maintained a consistent run to fifth place throughout the eighteen laps. His moto was far from easy as team-mate Romain Febvre kept pushing and the Belgian had the enticing prospect of Ryan Villopoto just ahead. Fifth spot equalled JVH’s best of 2015 so far and represented a step nearer to a podium celebration.

Febvre was busy throughout the Grand Prix. The Frenchman made the official GoPro preview lap together with brand-mate Valentin Guillod on Saturday and was also the second guest on the MXGP Studio TV Show. When it came to the race action ‘461’ took a decent sixth place in qualification. On Sunday and in cooler temperatures he made a good start and followed Ryan Villopoto into the top five. While holding fourth place Febvre made a mistake and fell losing three positions. He then lost two slots in the final three laps with another error and classified eighth. Frustrated, the 2014 MX2 State of Goias GP winner pushed for more in the second moto. He briefly battled with Van Horebeek for a berth in the top five and the duo swapped positions several times before he set a rhythm just behind the ’89’ machine, and collected sixth for seventh overall for the Grand Prix.

DP19 Yamaha Racing’s David Philippaerts rode to twentieth and fifteenth for seventeenth in Argentina. ’19’ struggled to get a handle on the terrain throughout Saturday. The ground was unlike anything the riders tend to find in Europe and the veteran experimented with different tyres and settings to improve grip. A fall at the start of the first moto put him towards the back of pack and he managed more speed in the second race but was still adrift of the lap-times and classification that the former World Champion desired.

Febvre is sixth in the MXGP points table with Van Horebeek in ninth and Philippaerts fifteenth. After events in Qatar, Thailand and Argentina, Yamaha’s MXGP crew can jet back to Europe and down tools for a few days. The next Grand Prix will take place in Italy and Trentino (at the compact Arco di Trento facility) on April 19th.

“Not too bad today but I had a big crash again in the first moto while I was up near the front,” said Jeremy van Horebeek. “I don’t know why it is happening at the moment because I feel much better and I know I have the speed. It was a big one and I twisted my thumb. It is really painful but I think it will be OK after some rest. I was riding without a front brake and it was very difficult but I pulled myself together and the result was not too bad. The second moto was good because I had a lot of pain and no power in my thumb; Tony and Nagl were just a bit faster. This year the level is very high. I’m not satisfied about today but I’m pleased with my speed.”

Romain Febvre commented: “In the first Heat my start was not so good but I was fast in the first few laps to reach fourth behind Villopoto. I was close to him but made a mistake and lost the front wheel so I crashed. I was sixth, almost the whole moto behind Bobryshev but then made another mistake with three laps to go. I lost a lot of time. The second Heat was better in the start but my riding wasn’t great! I recovered to swap some places with my team-mate and then together we started to catch Villopoto. Overall my speed was good but I’m disappointed with the first moto. Perhaps I was too aggressive because the mistakes were stupid.”

“It was a hard day, hard weekend,” says David Philippaerts. “I couldn’t find a solution with the set-up and changed the bike a lot in each session. I found something in warm-up, which we hoped would be better, but the times did not come. I was four-five seconds away from the leaders and normally it is one or two. It was too much compared to the others. It was difficult and I didn’t find the lap-times. It is strange and I’m quite angry with how it went.”