Much like Jeffrey Herlings, Romain Febvre has struggled to make an impact at the head of the field thus far this year. Everyone has questioned what is wrong with the Frenchman, who has finished on the moto podium just once this year, so we tracked him down post-race in Mexico to get his take on all that has happened.
MX Vice: It looked like you were going to turn things around this weekend, but obviously the qualifying race wrecked the whole weekend for you. You had a bad gate pick and the starts were so important here. Are there any positives you can take from this, moving forward?
Romain Febvre: Yeah, the only positive thing is that, like you said, I was last on the start so when Saturday went bad I could keep up on Sunday. That’s the only thing. I was not feeling so great on the track that is for sure. I struggled all weekend long. Also I had a good start in both motos, even on the last gate.
I did not have the speed to be, I think, better where I was. Like I said, the track was not great so it is like this. Now I’m happy to go to Europe again, because of the four overseas GPs honestly only one was good. I think they need to do something on the preparation, like Qatar was not great. In Indonesia it was raining, but it was the rainy season so they should know that. Argentina was good, like always, so that was the only track that I can prove my riding style and my speed. So let’s see what in Europe I can do.
Are you frustrated at this point? Obviously you have lost a fair few points through the first four rounds. You haven’t really shown the speed that we know you have got either. Are you confident you can turn it around once you get back to Europe or are you kind of questioning parts of your programme?
No, it is always a challenge not a question. My fitness is good. The bike? I don’t want to change anything on my bike, because everything is working really well. Just like I said, the first four rounds I was not feeling the tracks. Only in Argentina I was really good, but at the rest I didn’t feel comfortable at all. So I think if I want to be better then I should take some risks, but I didn’t want to. It is only the first four rounds but, for sure, I lost already many points. It is like this. I cannot do anything. I just need to be better the next time.
Obviously a lot of people have been wondering what’s up. A lot of people have been saying it might be to do with your crash last year, when you hit your head. Does that have anything to do with the fact that you didn’t want to take risks through these rounds?
No, I forget about that for sure. It’s all fixed from already last year when I got back racing. I’m not scared or something like that just, like I said, I was not feeling the track. I don’t want to take any risks, because the season is really long. For sure I lost many points to the leader, but it’s like how it is. I cannot change now. It’s too late. I don’t want to risk to make some mistakes and again to have a bad championship. So if we see the championship I’m far and I lost some points every race, but I’m not really worried about this. It’s a long season. Hopefully I’ll be better in Europe.
This track has been great for you in the past, so what was different this weekend?
I never enjoy this track, even if I was winning two years ago, and then last year I had the same points but I finished second. I never liked this track. Last year was not so bad, but this year I don’t know what they do on the track. They should know that, already the track, the dirt is not good. They should know that they need to have some better machines. Honestly it is what I say to everyone; it is not just because I rode bad, but this track when I was amateur and I was riding like the small federation the track was much better than this now. But, honestly, I say that but yesterday I was in a press conference and I told the same.
Everyone was like, ‘what he say?’ Then I keep going and then after the press conference was finished, all the photographers and journalist came to me and they said, “Oh, yeah, you are right. You are 100% correct and everything." I was like, ‘yeah, but nobody say it.’ Then I know that even if we say that it is not going to change. It is bad. It is the world championship. It’s the top elite of the class of the world and we are riding like, it is just still like this. It is not normal. I hope they will change again. Like I said, last year everyone said, I hoped last year it would be better but it’s not going on a good way so hopefully they try to find something.
I saw that while you were in America you were working with Ryan Hughes. Was that always the plan or was that just something to help you find your flow and get back up to speed?
Yeah, it was the opportunity to go there in US between the GPs. Honestly the first reason was to not have the jetlag again. Always traveling, the flight is so long. The weather in Europe, we did not know how it will be so we said we stay in US. Then I had the contact with Ryan Hughes. It was honestly good to have some experience to take. He taught me a few things on the bike, on the technique and on the physical side also. I learned many things. I think it was good to be with him. Like I said, it was completely new. I am always training by myself at home alone, so to be with someone was different and I like it. I could not show this weekend that was better from before, but he gave me some good advice for the championship and on my technique. It is good.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Yamaha Racing