The Grand Prix of Latvia at Kegums hosted a 22,000 crowd enjoying pleasant summer conditions just east of Riga. At a captivating event, Monster Energy Yamaha’s Joel Roelants was able to burst back into the top ten of the premier MX1 class. The eleventh round of the FIM Motocross World Championship saw both Roelants and Steven Frossard battling a surface that was soft and loose but with a hard, bumpy base that constantly demanded much of the motorcycles and punished a lax approach.
After recovering from the impact of a stone to his eye in Sweden Roelants was immediately out of the blocks. Decent lap-times in practice led to a holeshot in the Qualification Heat. The Belgian rode to twelfth while suffering stomach cramps but signalled his intent for Sunday at the venue where he scored his first Grand Prix win last summer. The first moto did not go to plan as the 23 year old slipped to the ground on the first corner. Roelants restarted dead-last and gained confidence from a return to fifteenth.
In the second outing a much better getaway saw ‘34’ planted firmly inside the top ten and an encouraging ninth place finish represented his second best of the year so far.
Steven Frossard tangled with Tommy Searle early in Saturday’s qualification heat and suffered a dislocated forefinger on his clutch hand. The Frenchman went last to the gate on Sunday and in need of painkillers but with typical determination and grit attempted to start both motos. Ultimately he lacked the strength and feeling to reach the finish line.
The factory Yamaha crew now continue their roll east, and during the week will cover several hundred miles to reach Hyvinkaa for the Grand Prix of Finland and the twelfth outing of seventeen on the FIM calendar.
“For sure that was a step back in the right direction, even though the first heat started out pretty bad! I took a really good jump from the gate – I think third or fourth – but then crashed. I got going again twenty seconds behind the last guy. Everything went really good in the race though until I stalled the bike and lost a bit more time. That second incident was frustrating because I believe I could have reached tenth or eleventh. My speed was good enough for the top six or seven. In the second one I was a bit tired from the first race and struggled for a while because it is a long time since I’ve been near the front. After a while I tried following some lines and looking for some feedback and it started to work out well. I closed up to Goncalves. I’m quite happy with the weekend, some bad luck, but I’ll have to take what I can get.”
“Not much to say. I tried today but it was too painful for me. I was very bad out of the gate. I wanted to aim for a good start but it was impossible from where I was. I will try to heal my finger as much as I can for the next weekend and we will see.”
WARNING: Much of the action depictÂed in this magazine is potentially danÂgerous. Virtually all of the riders seen in our photos are experienced exÂperts or professionals. Do not atÃƒâ€šÃ‚Âtempt to duplicate any stunts that are beÂyond your own capabilities. Always wear the appropriate safety gear.
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