Romain Febvre of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team moved back to second in the points standings at the halfway stage of the 2021 FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship.
But despite leapfrogging Jorge Prado in the series standings, the Frenchman leaves Turkey “disappointed” after spoiling his round nine with the smallest of mistakes that could prove costly in the second half of the championship.
Narrowly missing the holeshot in race one at the Afyonkarahisar facility in central Turkey the Frenchman made second place secure through the always hectic opening lap to patiently settle into a solid pace in a tightly-knit leaderboard with all of the title candidates in contention.
All were clearly aware that a single mistake could prove costly and the early leader was the first to falter on lap five to surrender the lead to the Kawasaki rider.
With a clear track ahead Febvre concentrated on keeping the chasers off his rear wheel without taking risks. Entering the final four laps he upped his tempo, slashing his lap times by half-a-second, and, having ridden a faultless race to that point despite the pressure, appeared to be assured of victory until in one fateful split-second halfway round the final lap a momentary lapse saw him tip over on the exit from the very same turn where had fallen on Sunday.
The leaderboard group were so close that that single lapse relegated him to a frustrated fourth. With so much depending on a good start at the man-made track he faced a difficult second moto as he rounded turn-one sixth with all of his major rivals ahead but he persevered throughout the race to finish fifth for fourth overall on the day.
As a result, he has regained second place in the points standings and maintains his title challenge heading into the second half of the series before the GP of Sardinia on September 22.
“I’m so disappointed as I spoilt my day with this crash in race one,” said Febvre.
“After the crash of Prado I was leading all the race but then I crashed myself on the last lap. I missed a good opportunity to win a moto and gain points over my rivals but finally, I crossed the finish line in fourth.
“Second moto my start was average. I had a good feeling at the beginning but then I started to feel tired – as you know I was sick on Sunday and I simply didn’t have time to recover between the two GPs. I just missed the podium with a fourth position but I scored good points again and we stay close in the points.
“Now I go back home and my first goal will be to recover and prepare for the next rounds of the series.”
Teammate Ivo Monticelli flew back to Italy on Monday and will have soon exams on his shoulder.