Temperatures were significantly lower than at the weekend as the championship returned to the demanding track an hour’s drive from the Latvian capital Riga for the second time in four days. A difficult Qualifying saw Romain only earn twelfth choice of start gate but he was able to avoid difficulties in turn one to emerge thirteenth and start a remarkable ride up the leaderboard. Ninth after five minutes, he was in the wheeltracks of his teammate Clement Desalle for sixth five minutes later, moved into third three laps from the end and raced into second place on the penultimate tour. Eleventh at the second corner of race two Romain was again making rapid strides into the top ten until he was taken out in a rude attack from the defending world champion, whom he had already passed, which dropped the Frenchman to twenty-fifth. By half-distance he was thirteenth and ten minutes from the end was eleventh but, feeling the exertions of two hard races, he had to settle for that position at the chequered flag. Fifth overall in the GP he is now eleventh in the series standings despite missing the opening two GPs through injury.
Romain Febvre: “This morning the track was rough and I didn’t want to take risks and push too much; even though I finished twelfth I was only just over one and a half seconds from the pole. The first start was strange as Prado cut across the pack and forced us to cut the gas in the first corner, otherwise we would have crashed. My starts were average in both motos but in the first race I had a good rhythm and was able to come back to second; it was a great result and I was confident for the second moto. Prado again had a strange reaction at the start; I had a good first lap to pass several riders but during the second lap Gajser hit me and I crashed. The pack was still close together so it cost me many positions. I came back to eleventh, but it’s just a shame that I missed the GP win due to this crash as my speed was very good during both motos.”
Clement Desalle put a disappointing GP on Sunday behind him with two decisive rides to sixth place in each moto and also the overall GP classification. Eighth in Qualifying the Belgian quickly moved into the top ten on the opening lap of race one and advanced to sixth after ten minutes, a position he maintained to the chequered flag in an intense tussle with many other leading players. Eighth at the start of race two he again moved forward to sixth within eight minutes to complete a solid day which consolidates his seventh place in the series standings, just eleven points shy of fourth.
Clement Desalle: “It was a decent day, much better than last Sunday. It was me on the bike today! I got a decent gate pick and my first start was OK but then I made a small mistake and lost some positions during the first lap. I was eighth but I came back to sixth with a good rhythm. My second start was similar but again I made a mistake during the first lap; this race was my best since we arrived here; I had a good rhythm, a good feeling and ended the day with two top six results so I’m happy with the improvements.”
The world championship will continue on Sunday with the third GP in eight days at Kegums