(Photo copyright : Kawasaki Racing)

MXGP of Spain 

MXGP 2023    Round 6 

Fernandez fights hard for home GP podium

After just missing out at the two previous rounds, Team HRC’s Ruben Fernandez got the podium position he so richly deserved with five-two results at the MXGP of Spain – his home GP. Cheered on by a huge crowd at the Arroyomolinos circuit near Madrid, the Spaniard did exactly what he needed to do in race two and secured his second podium of this extremely impressive 2023 MXGP campaign.

There is always a lot of pressure at the home GP, and after narrowly missing out last weekend at his ‘local’ GP in Portugal, the Honda CRF450R rider was determined not to let that happen again and he rode excellently for the duration of both races to put himself on the third step of the podium.

In race one, a bad start left him with a lot of work to do, but he quickly moved forward into sixth place on lap one. With the rutted track proving very difficult to make passes on, Fernandez was only able to make up one more spot in the rest of the race, receiving the chequered flag in fifth place. In Argentina, he also finished fifth in race one before going onto win the GP so he knew it was possible, but he knew he had to get out of the gate much better in the second moto to stand a chance.

And that’s exactly what he did, missing out on the holeshot by a few centimetres, but quickly moving into the lead right after the line. From there, he led the first half of the race, but not quite being able to break away from the chasing pack and at the midpoint he relinquished the lead. He tried to follow as best he could and by doing that, pulled out a little gap to third. For the rest of the race, he was cheered on by the vocal Spanish crowd and when he crossed the line, he was delighted to know that would be given a chance to stand in front of all of them on the podium.

Not only that, but the 38-points he secured was enough to move him into third place in the championship which is an excellent achievement after just six rounds of the series. We now have a weekend off before resuming in Villars-sous-Ecot, France on May 20-21 where Fernandez will once again be looking to continue his great form and cement his position in the MXGP standings.

Ruben Fernandez   70

It is great to get up on the podium at my home GP. I knew I had to ride really well after the fifth in race one, and that’s what I did. I got out front early and led for a good amount of time, eventually finishing in second which was good enough for third on the podium. All the support I received really helped and I heard it all around the track when I was riding so that gave me that little bit of extra boost that I needed. After two fourth place finishes in a row, I really wanted to make the podium happen and it was just an amazing feeling standing there with all the fans cheering my name. It is something I’ll never forget. A big thanks to all the team for helping me and I’m really looking forward to the next round in France.

Marcus Pereira de Freitas

HRC General Manager – MXGP

Ruben once again proved that he is one of the best riders in the world, leading laps and riding smart and consistent pace. We are all so happy that he was able to enjoy a home podium, and it is great that he also moved into third place in the championship as well. It 

Renaux Withdraws from Spanish Grand Prix 

Currently fourth in the MXGP Championship Standings, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Maxime Renaux has withdrawn from the MXGP of Spain, round six of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Madrid, after sustaining a foot injury in the Qualifying Race yesterday. 

Despite not falling during the incident, the 23-year-old Frenchman could not continue racing and immediately sought medical attention. The evaluation confirmed he had fractured his right foot.

Renaux will now travel home to France, where he will consult with a specialist to determine the best course of action for his recovery.

Romain Febvre looks forward positively to France

Romain Febvre and the Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP remain positive for the upcoming round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship in France after being forced to miss this weekend’s GP in Spain.

The Frenchman returned to the Arroyomolinos track today after extensive medical examination both at the track Medical Centre and at the hospital in Madrid confirmed that he had sustained only bruising to the muscles and no broken bones in his shoulder but FIM medical protocol after a serious accident meant that officials could not permit him to race. There is no round of the series next weekend but both team and rider are confident of a complete recovery in time for the next GP, at Villars-sous-Ecot in Romain’s native France, on May 20-21. Despite taking no points away from Spain the Kawasaki leader holds fourth place in the series standings.

Romain Febvre: « I feel bad; I feel sad. I had quite a big impact in the crash yesterday with a small concussion and I landed on my shoulder. I feel a little pain in my shoulder today but nothing serious and nothing is broken. I thought it would be more painful in the neck and the head this morning but I feel pretty good so it’s just the shoulder and nothing is broken, mainly just bruising to the muscles. I would have liked to race today but the medical protocol meant that I could not ride here in Spain; I will be good for France in two weeks’s time. I couldn’t see the crash in Qualifying coming; I had a good start with Prado but he moved over a little to prepare to turn and I was close so I also had to move a little. I didn’t see the guys coming from the outside flat-out; first we touched elbows then my front wheel. It’s bad for the championship because I was not far from the two guys in front and I had started to gain some points again with a good GP in Portugal but now I lose a lot this weekend. Of course everything will be possible but I don’t wish bad luck to anyone so it will be tough for the championship. »

KRT team colleague Mitch Evans persevered as he recovers endurance after an early-season thumb injury had interrupted his training. An outside gate-pick from Qualifying left him with little chance of a good start but decisive opening laps saw him fifteenth during the early stages of each race; he battled to an eventual thirteenth each time to be classified twelfth overall.

Mitch Evans: « We’re not where we want to be but this weekend was definitely a step in the right direction. Our goal going into the weekend was top-fifteen and we managed that, now I’m looking forward to more in France after two more weeks training. My starts weren’t good all weekend. I feel I’m over-thinking at the gate; I just need to get back to basics and be more aggressive when the gate drops. »

GP win and red plate for Courtney Duncan in Spain

Big Van World MTX Kawasaki’s Courtney Duncan took over the series lead in the FIM World WMX Women’s Motocross Championship with victory for the third consecutive year at Arroyomolinos in Spain.

The New Zealander was once again dominant on her production KX250 Kawasaki as she raced to her first double-moto victory of the season and her twenty-first career GP victory to place her equal-first in the all-time series records. She was closed down by her gate rival out of the gate but, secure in the knowledge that her strength, endurance and speed would serve her well, she didn’t panic. Quickly fifth in sticky conditions with deep ruts building in many turns due to the track-watering necessary to combat the intense heat, she chose her lines cleverly to avoid coming together with her rivals, picking them off one-by-one to move to the front on the fourth of eleven laps, eventually cruising home to victory by seven seconds. The Kiwi girl now takes a ten-point lead to the next round of the series at Villars-sous-Ecot in France in two weeks’ time while Kawasaki also extended the lead in the FIM Manufacturers’ Championship to sixteen points
courtesy of Duncan’s double-moto victory.

Courtney Duncan: « Obviously I’m really stoked. Two wins and the red plate; I couldn’t hope for a whole lot more. I felt my start wasn’t all that good, especially round the first corner, but I made a few positions through the next two turns and rode patiently. We didn’t really have a warm-up this morning and the track was completely different to yesterday so I wanted to find my lines before I worked my way to the front. It’s nice to have the series lead but there’s a lot of racing still to be done; roll on France in two weeks’ time and hopefully we can keep the momentum rolling. »

Lotte van Drunen narowly missed the podium for the first time this season but the Dutch teenager handled the pressure of carrying the series-leader’s red plate despite her tender fifteen-years. She rocketed out of the gate to take over second at turn two but was immediately under constant pressure with multiple line-choice through many long rutted turns and by lap three she had been pushed back to sixth. Responding defiantly, with regular positional changes on the leaderboard as she recorded the fastest lap of the race, she eventually came home fifth in moto for the same result over the weekend and is now third in the series points-standings, nineteen points behind Kawasaki colleague Duncan.

Lotte van Drunen: « Yesterday was tough but I told myself last night I just needed to have fun today and see how it goes. I woke up this morning with a good feeling; I saw on the sighting lap that the track was rough with many lines and I was able to go around everyone for second at turn two. I got pushed back to sixth at one point but then I had a good battle with the girls in front of me, switching places several times to finish fifth. My riding was good and I rode the fastest lap of the race so that gives me confidence for the next round in France; I’ve never been to Villars but I’m sure I can do good there too. »

Bonacorsi Continues Podium Streak & Extends EMX250 Championship Lead in Spain

Hutten Metaal Yamaha Official EMX250’s Andrea Bonacorsi continued his fine form at the MXGP of Spain, claiming an emphatic race win and a sixth-place finish to celebrate the fourth round of the EMX250 Championship from the second step of the podium. As a result, the Italian has extended his lead in the series to 37-points. 

Following a remarkable victory in Portugal, Bonacorsi kept the momentum going at the Xanadu-Arroyomolinos circuit in Madrid, Spain. The 20-year-old led every lap in Race One and successfully fended off a strong challenge from Marc Antoine Rossi to take his fifth race win of the season.

Race Two presented different track conditions, with the course being flatter and wetter after overnight grooming and watering in preparation for the premier class races later in the day. Despite starting outside the top 10, Bonacorsi demonstrated the same determination that has taken him to the top of the championship, fighting through the pack to finish sixth after a minor fall on lap eight.

Hutten Metaal Yamaha Official EMX250 rookies Karlis Reisulis and Ivano van Erp showed significant progress throughout the weekend. Both riders powered their GYTR kitted YZ250Fs to the front in both races. As they continue to hone their skills in the highly competitive EMX250 class, Reisulis finished ninth and Van Erp 18th. In Race Two, however, Van Erp pulled a holeshot and finished fourth place, while Reisulis achieved a career-best top-three finish.

After a sweltering weekend in Spain, Bonacorsi maintained his flawless podium record and now leads the championship by 37 points. Reisulis finished fifth overall and moved up to sixth in the championship standings, while van Erp finished ninth, maintaining his ninth place in the championship.

The EMX250 series will enjoy a three-week break before resuming in Kegums, Latvia, on the weekend of June 4th.


Collarbone Injury Sidelines Elzinga 

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2’s Rick Elzinga sustained an injury to his right collarbone during practice on Wednesday, May 10th, and underwent surgery yesterday, Thursday May 11th.

Due to this setback, Elzinga, who currently ranks 11th in the MX2 World Championship Standings, will miss the upcoming MXGP of France, which is scheduled to take place in Villars Sous Ecot on the weekend of May 20-21.

However, the young Dutchman remains optimistic about making a comeback at the MXGP of Latvia, which will be held in Kegums on the weekend of June 4th