Monster Energy Yamahas Steven Frossard finished second twice at the difficult Kegums circuit for the Grand Prix of Latvia to walk the runner-up step of the overall MX1 podium with the YZ450FM. He was able to lift his fifth trophy of his rookie campaign in the premier class.
The tenth round of fifteen in the 2011 calendar took place in sunny and warm conditions and watched by a 21,000 attendance. Frossard was a key player in the tussle for victory but team-mate David Philippaerts was also pro-active and his excellent flight from outside of the top ten to fifth in the second moto was a stand-out performance.
Instead of the soft and shifting sand from previous years Kegums was hard and laden with small bumps. The jumpy and physically-demanding course split opinion with many racers finding the terrain an intense drain of concentration while others enjoyed the open lines and big jumps. The conditions meant experimentation with bike set-up to find the best traction and both riders altered their engine configuration (for smoother power) and adjusted suspension configuration.
Frossard kept a strong pace in the first moto until the closing stages of the 35 minutes and 2 laps when he was able to increase his speed and close on the battle for second, sweeping past Evgeny Bobryshev and Max Nagl. The Frenchman set-off in hot pursuit of Antonio Cairoli and with both having to move through a gaggle of backmarkers, Frossard was able to haunt the rear wheel of the Sicilian but just ran out of time. Three tenths of a second split the pair at the finish. In the second moto 183 kept Cairoli close-company for half the race but a broken plastic chain runner on the swing-arm caused a strange feeling and meant the 24 year old exercised caution and settled for second spot.
David Philippaerts managed to hold onto the back of his team-mate and Clement Desalle for almost all of the first race but struggled a little to find effective lines and passed the flag in fifth. Later in the afternoon the Italian was able to trouble the top ten in his usual aggressive and impressive manner. The former world champion started badly but rode from a slot of thirteenth on the first lap to capture fifth again and the same classification overall.
Anthony Boissiere made a good start to run in the top ten during the second moto but the Frenchman is still lacking a sharp edge of race fitness and eventually posted two thirteenth positions to lie twelfth at the end of the day.
The MX1 World Championship table shows both factory riders in the top six of the standings. Frossard holds third place and is still in contention for the title in his first season in the class. He stares at a distance of 46 points from Cairoli with a maximum of 250 to be won in the five remaining events. The French and Swedish GP winner is just 4 points behind Clement Desalle in second. Philippaerts is sixth and 29 away from the top five.
After six meetings in seven weeks Monster Energy Yamaha will now be able to enjoy a small break before back-to-back races in Belgium and Czech Republic starting on July 31st. The meetings will provide two diverse challenges as the sand of Lommel is considered one of the toughest surfaces of the year and will be followed by the greasy and stony hard-pack of Loket.
Steven Frossard, 2nd and 2nd for 4th overall, “I had a bad start in the first moto and for around twenty minutes I didnt have a good feeling on the track and was getting some arm-pump. I looked for the better lines and I was able to get faster and smoother. I came back very well even though it was difficult to pass the other riders. I almost caught Antonio but couldnt manage it. Anyway I was happy. I felt fit and ready for the second moto and passed Antonio on the first lap but he got me back. I started to look at the lines and kept with him but when I heard a couple of noises from the bike I focussed on taking second and making the finish. I was able to play on the bike and with the track this weekend and I hope it will be the same next time in the sand.”
David Philippaerts, 5th and 5th for 5th overall, “I’m happy with today because last year I found the track very difficult but this time I was riding fast. I think it was possible to finish in the top three during the second moto but I made a mistake at the start with Nagl and I was held back. My lap-times were good after that even though the state of the track meant it was hard work. This is not my favourite place so Im happy to have form like this. I took some risks to pass but I overtook a lot of riders and this was something else positive. My condition is good and this is important ahead of Lommel and Loket. The bike was working really well today. With Fabio we made a few changes to the suspension and they worked out. We will have a weekend off now but we will be in Belgium getting ready in the sand.”