After a period of adaptation, work and development, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Max Anstie is ready to start targeting Grand Prix silverware this weekend with a visit to Ernee in France for the eighth round of 17 in the FIM Motocross World Championship.
The British youngster has used the two-week break after the GP of Brazil to gain further testing mileage and hone his factory-backed RM-Z250 in terms of suspension set-up to find a potent mix for the steep, narrow hillside stretches of the Ernee layout this weekend. Anstie, who will compete at Ernee for the first time on Sunday, is currently seventh in the MX2 World Championship standings and knows there is better to come as the season nears the midway point, even if ‘#14’ will carry the Grand Prix responsibilities of the team largely on his own shoulders with Julien Lieber recovering from a knee reconstruction and talented Swiss Jeremy Seewer aiming for a very realistic title shot at the European EMX 250 competition; the series that feeds into MX2.
“France is where it starts for me,” enthused Anstie. “I got a lot of things sorted out over in U.S. with the time I had there after Brazil. We also did a real good three-day period of testing where I feel we have made some important changes and improvements last week.
“I feel really good and am looking forward to this weekend,” he added. “We have 10 races left; let’s go racing!”
Ernee is welcomed back to FIM MX World Championship status for the first time since 2009 and is no stranger to major motocross events as a perennial venue in the French national series, and the well-established permanent infrastructure hosted the Motocross of Nations in 2005. The circuit itself is a more extreme and sheer version of the amphitheatre setting enjoyed at St Jean D’Angely – the preferred site of French GP racing for the past three years – and with the tight and winding track sprawled on one hillside with the public packed onto the banking opposite, the location normally provides a busy and vibrant atmosphere. The ground is likely to be hard-pack if the positive weather forecast stays in place (temperatures above 20 degrees) but renovations to the surface have softened the terrain in places in an effort to open more racing lines and increase the technical demands. “I have never been to Ernee but France is France and it seems like most of the tracks are hard/ rocky/ slippery so that’s what I’m expecting,” said Anstie.
The Grand Prix of France will also be noticeable for the second round of the European EMX 250 schedule and will see exciting Spaniard Jorge Zaragoza joining Seewer on the RM-Z250 for his first appearance this season after recovering from a broken arm.