45,000 fans made plenty of noise around the tree-lined inclines of Villars sous Ecot in western France for the second atmospheric Grand Prix in a row for the FIM.
The hills of the Maggiora circuit provided the first mud race of the 2015 FIM Motocross World Championship as the Grand Prix of Italy was hit by thunderstorms and heavy rain yesterday. On a slippery and technical stage Monster Energy Dixon Racing Team Kawasaki’s Max Anstie pushed through the ruts and bumps to take sixth position overall.
The Brit attacked a drier and faster hard-pack course to run as high as fourth on Saturday but an engine problem meant that he dropped back and failed to finish the Qualification Heat, thus lined up with the 35th pick of slots in the gate for the two thirty minute and two lap Grand Prix motos.
The rain created difficult conditions but also presented an opportunity with starts and consistency the key ingredients to ensure a positive overall classification. Anstie faced a handicap with his gate position and through needing to thread through the pack while trying to avoid the waves of roost.
In the first outing he rounded the first corner and through the ooze of Maggiora in the second half of the pack and jumped past the finish line on the first lap in eighteenth spot. Anstie then exercised caution through a steady ride. The terrain away from the main racing line was slushy and perilous and this meant a processional affair. Anstie worked his way to twelfth.
The second race took place on a drying and varied terrain, offering more possibilities to the riders. The 2014 Belgian GP winner was able to excel and from a better launch into the top ten kept his head, his handlebars horizontal and made ground to move up to fourth place. ‘99’ harried the back of Jeremy Seewer for third position in the final laps of the race but found the Swiss youngster a stubborn opponent.
210 points for 2015 means that Anstie now sits eighth in the MX2 standings at the halfway mark of the 2015 campaign. Round ten of MXGP will take place next weekend with the hard-pack off-cambers of Teutschenthal set to stage the Grand Prix of Germany.
Qualifying – 35th
MX2 Race 1 – 12th
MX2 Race 2 – 4th
MX2 Overall – 6th
Max Anstie : “I’m happy with how today went considering my gate position. I made some nice passes in the second race and kept on pushing. It is all steps in the right direction…we just need to sort out qualifying and get ourselves on the inside of the gate. I’m looking forward to Germany now.”
Steve Dixon, Team Owner/Manager : “From an outside gate Max had a pretty good start in the first one and caught up back to twelfth in a good steady ride. The second moto was exceptional; to get into the top ten and make his way up to fourth while setting the fastest lap. Max almost snatched third. We were really pleased and we were the top Kawasaki runners. It was a good effort from Max and the team. On Saturday we had a couple of issues which we are well aware of and we are managing the situation with some new parts on the way.”