FLY Riders Show Speed in Valkenswaard SandApril 24, 2017 - 9:30 PM
Arnaud Tonus was the highest placing FLY MXGP rider in The Netherlands with a 12th place. Photo: Elliot Spencer/RaceFX.
Following four flyaway events to start the season, a short trip from Italy to The Netherlands for the sixth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship was welcomed by those contesting the series. The sand of Valkenswaard is often labelled as one of the toughest races of the season but, despite that, the FLY Racing riders excelled yet again.
Arnaud Tonus made a splash immediately aboard his Wilvo Yamaha MXGP machine, as he romped to the fastest time in the pre-qualifying practice that took place on Saturday afternoon. A crash on the first lap of the qualifying heat stopped him from turning that gate pick into an exceptional result, but he still charged forward from thirty-first on lap one to sixteenth at the chequered flag. Shaun Simpson, the second rider on that team, showed great pace too, as he moved forward from eleventh to seventh and pushed for a position inside of the top five.
The start of the first MXGP moto was not overly kind to the Wilvo Yamaha MXGP duo. Tonus crashed at the end of the first complete lap, so once again had to fight through the field that consisted of forty riders. ‘4’ eventually crossed the line in fourteenth. Simpson was not much better off, as he ended lap one in twentieth and crossed the chequered flag in twelfth after a small fall. Both riders, however, ran lap times that were competitive with those vying for a spot in the top five.
The pair benefitted from better starts in the second moto, as they each ended lap one right on the verge of the top ten. Tonus made great progress, as he advanced to ninth at the chequered flag, whilst Simpson was restricted after stalling his machine on lap three. Tonus ended the weekend in twelfth overall, whilst Simpson recorded a thirteenth in moto two for fourteenth on the day.
Caleb Ward, of the Husqvarna 8Biano Racing team, was impressive in the first half of MX2 moto one, as he ran within the top ten with ease and captured the attention of those present. His results are not a true representation of how well he performed, however, as he failed to score points. His teammate, Ivan Petrov, could not match his haul of points from a week ago either, so had to settle for thirty-ninth overall.
Tanel Leok finished 13th on the day in the Valkenswaard sand. Photo: MXVice.com
The two MXGP riders on the Husqvarna 8Biano Racing team had consistent outings. Tanel Leok was twelfth and thirteenth in the two motos, which left him thirteenth overall on the day. Rui Goncalves, on the other hand, added three points to his total, so he now sits eighteenth in the series standings. Leok sits sixteenth.
Arnaud Tonus: “There are some positive points. My speed has been very good all weekend, but I just need better starts and to put everything together. It is hard. When you fight back in the pack in the first few laps anything can happen. I had some crashes and was pretty far back, but I gave it my all. Maybe I paid for that in the second moto, as I lost some time, but we’ll keep working and try to get better in Latvia.”
Shaun Simpson: “The weekend promised a little more than what we delivered. I didn’t really gel with the track yesterday, so made a lot of changes and struggled to find any sort of rhythm. We ended up finding something that worked quite good yesterday, but today I made two mistakes in both of the motos. I crashed in the first one, then in the second one I ended up stalling it. There is no room for error with the way that the field is at the moment.”
A weekend off will now tackled by the Grand Prix contingent, before they head to Latvia for round seven of the FIM Motocross World Championship.