Courtesy of Tom Jacobs
The second international training race in Axel again attracted a strong rider lineup in the 500cc class. After Arnhem and his victory in Switzerland Benoit Paturel proved that he is ready for the restart of the MXGP world championship next weekend in Latvia. The Frenchman finished eighth in Axel -jointly seventh with Calvin Vlaanderen- teammate Julien Lieber had a day of bad luck.
Just like in Arnhem no fans were allowed in Axel. The organising club, RES Axel and the Dutch motorcycle federation KNMV kept a close eye on the follow up on corona measures. JM Honda Racing headed to Zeeland with the same duo as last week. Artem Guryev chose to sit out yesterday’s race to give his minor knee injury more time to heal completely.
In the short time practice session in the morning Paturel and Lieber set a 9th and 14th time on the tables respectively. Benoit had an excellent start in the first moto. Unfortunately race one was soon aborted due to an unfortunate crash of Freek van der Vlist at the start. However Paturel once again reacted quickly after the gate dropped.
The #6 JM Honda Racing circulated almost the entire race in fifth position but had to surrender one position on the final lap when Glenn Coldenhoff passed him. Lieber had a clean getaway. The talented Belgian rounded the first lefthander in fourth but had to abandon the race early on due to a stone blocking his clutch.
Bad luck kept chasing Julien because he went down at the start of the second moto. After a pit stop where he had the clutch lever quickly replaced, Lieber went back on track. The JM Honda Racing rider was relegated to an intense training session, nevertheless he managed consistent top-10 lap times.
Paturel started his race inside the top five again. However this time around he was less effective on the gnarly sand track and had to settle for ninth, 54 seconds behind race winner Romain Febvre.
Benoit Paturel: “In general I am quite satisfied. I always had good starts and the first moto was a smooth one. The feeling was good and I didn’t suffer painful arms. The second race was not as good as the first but we know what to do. Consistence is everything, so we have to keep working and improving. In any case, the bike was excellent and the team did a great job as well. On to Latvia!”
Julien Lieber:“My starts were pretty good and I felt okay on the bike, only it’s a pity that I had so much bad luck the last two races! In the beginning of the second moto Jeremy Seewer just fell in front of me and I couldn’t avoid him. After that I took the rest of the moto as training, be it with a new clutch lever. It was disappointing that I had those little problems at this moment because I really needed to get more race rhythm. However, I’m sure it will get better and better and that my shape will further improve in the coming weeks”.
The MXGP world championship resumes next Sunday in Kegums, Latvia.
RESULTS KNMV TRAINING RACE AXEL
Race 1 500cc
1. Jeffrey Herlings, 2. Romain Febvre, 3. Jeremy Seewer, 4. Glenn Coldenhoff, 5. Ivo Monticelli, 6. Benoit Paturel (FRA-JM Honda Racing), 7. Arminas Jasikonis, 8. Calvin Vlaanderen, 9. Micha boy de Waal, 10. Petar Petrov, 11. Brian Bogers, 12. Henry Jacobi, 13. Joel van Mechelen, 14. Cornelius Tondel, 15. Tallon Verhelst, 16. Lars Griekspoor, 17. Kay Ebben, 18. Heikki Geens , 19. Manolis Kritikos, 20. Paul Uhlrich DNF Julien Lieber (BEL-JM Honda Racing) 1
Race 2 500cc
1. Romain Febvre, 2. Brian Bogers, 3. Arminas Jasikonis, 4. Glenn Coldenhoff, 5. Jeffrey Herlings, 6. Jeremy Seewer, 7. Calvin Vlaanderen, 8. Henry Jacobi, 9. Benoit Paturel (FRA-JM Honda Racing), 10. Petar Petrov, 11. Ivo Monticelli, 12. Micha Boy De Waal, 13. Alessandro Lupino, 14. Cornelius Tonel, 15. Lars Griekspoor, 16. Joel Van Mechelen, 17. Tallon Verhelst, 18. Kay Ebben, 20. Manolis Kritikos… 25. Julien Lieber (BEL-JM Honda Racing)
500cc classification Axel
1. Romain Febvre 47, 2. Jeffrey Herlings 41, 3. Glenn Coldenhoff 36, 4. Jeremy Seewer 35, 5. Arminas Jasikonis 34, 6. Brian Bogers 32, 7. Calvin Vlaanderen 27, 8. Benoit Paturel (FRA-JM Honda Racing) 27, 9. Ivo Monticelli 26, 10. Henri Jacobi 22, 11. Petar Petrov 22, 12. Micha Boy De Waal 21, 13. Cornelius Tone 14, 14. Joel Van Mechelen 13, 15. Lars Griekspoor 11, 16. Tallon Verhelst 10, 17. Alessandro Lupino 8, 18. Kay Ebben 7, 19. Heikki Geens 4, 20. Manolis Kritikos 3… 26. Julien Lieber (BEL-JM Honda Racing)