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MXGP, MXGP OF ITALY - Maggiora, Italy, 16 Settembre 2023

Romain Febvre qualifies third at Maggiora

Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP's Romain Febvre was fastest all day in the Italian round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship at Maggiora but a difficult start restricted him to third in Qualifying.

The Frenchman was the fastest man in every session - both practices and the Qualifying race - but heavy track conditions after rainfall at regular intervals since midweek made a good start essential in racing and his gate neighbours ruthlessly closed the Kawasaki rider down during the first few meters out of the start. Riding an immaculate tight line at turn one and railing the outside at turn two he was quickly back to sixth but further progress was always going to be difficult as a single dry line soon developed through the otherwise muddy morass. After a quick pass for fifth already on the opening lap he needed a further three laps to launch a spectacular uphill pass for fourth. Reeling the leaders in at two-seconds-per-lap he was soon in contention and both he and his championship rival gratefully accepted a position when the ex-champion they were chasing fell; on several occasions Febvre pulled alongside his title rival but was defied each time at the next turn to take the chequered flag third. He heads into tomorrow's two GP motos sixty-eight points shy of the series leader with one-hundred-and-ten still on the table.
 Romain Febvre: “We had a lot of rain last night and this morning, but I had a great feeling with the track even during the Timed Practice session when it rained hard again to secure the pole position. I was again the fastest in the Qualifying race, but my start was not that great even if I could avoid the chaos in the first few corners and came back quickly to fifth. I could gain two further positions, but when I was third behind Prado I couldn’t find a solution to pass him, as there was mainly just one line. I'm disappointed with the result but happy with my riding and confident for tomorrow."
F&H Kawasaki Racing Team's Kevin Horgmo qualified fifth for tomorrow's penultimate round of the FIM World MX2 Motocross Championship. The Norwegian, fifth in the muddy Timed Training, gated well in the Qualifying race but collided with another rider at turn one before sweeping back into sixth around the outside of turn two. Maintaining concentration on the treacherously slippery surface he raced ever further clear of the chasers and his persistence paid dividends when he was rewarded with fifth on the penultimate lap at the expense of the previous race-leader even though he was delayed himself in the confusion. The six world championship points thus earnt have taken him to within a single point of sixth in the series standings.
Kevin Horgmo: "It was difficult with a lot of rain during the day but it started to dry out on the main line in Qualifying so I knew a good start was important. I got a good jump at the gate but I hit with somebody in the first turn and that cost me some ground; I had a good line at turn two to come back to sixth but it was difficult to move further as the track was really one-line and full-mud outside that line. McLellan crashed and I advanced to fifth, so I have a good position on the gate for tomorrow."
Jack Chambers, the young American returning from injury for Big Van World MTX Kawasaki one week before the team's home GP in England, made a superb start in Qualifying from gate nineteen to power into turn one in the top-six before being cannoned to the ground from behind; remounting at the back of the pack he rode a solid race to pull back to eighteenth at the finish.
Jack Chambers: "I travelled back over two weeks ago; we decided I wasn't ready for Turkey but I raced the British championship last weekend. I got a third and posted the fastest lap-times in both motos, but today was a mud-bath and I just tried to survive. I had a great start ... until the first turn. Somebody ran into the back of me and I went down; after that I couldn't really see but I made it back to eighteenth. It was a gnarly race to come back so I hope it dries out a little for tomorrow and I can put down some good laps before the team's home GP at Matterley next week. I'm also super-excited to be chosen to race the Nations for Puerto Rico, the same as my trainer Zach Osborne did when he was riding for Steve Dixon. I watched the Nations for the first time last year; it was cool so I'm looking forward to racing it this year."
F&H Racing's David Braceras was another victim of the chaotic opening lap; the Spaniard was in the top-ten entering turn two but the rider immediately ahead of him fell and he slithered to the ground too as he tried to switch lines. He eventually recovered to twenty-first at the finish.
David Braceras: "It just wasn't my day. I started around seventh in Qualifying but at turn two the rider in front of me crashed; I tried to change line but I lost my balance and fell too. It took a long time to stand up so I was right at the back. But tomorrow is a new day."