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Rider Comments: GP of the Czech Republic

Jeremy Van Horebeek: “It is difficult to explain how this feels. I think this is one of my best days ever. It is a special one but it won’t be my last one. The first moto was pretty good but the start wasn’t great and I had to come through the pack and Kevin had already gone. In the second I was second right away with Tony. I had to fight the whole moto and we were both sliding around and losing control. We were on the limit. With two laps to go I knew I had a great chance but I wanted to do it cleanly. I showed my front wheel once on the uphill just to let him know I was there and then did it. I’m so stoked. It is unbelievable. Once I started to get on the podium every weekend this season I knew I had to work harder and also get the rest I needed. I did a great job and I feel really fit. The bike has also felt better and better because this is my first year with the team and every GP you learn about it [the bike]. I think the combination of my personal development and with the Yamaha made this result. I’m looking forward to Lommel now. Tony is one of the best sand riders in the world and I plan to have something special for my fans. First we’ll enjoy this for a day and then start work for that one.”

David Philippaerts: “I hit a hole that twisted my leg and I went down pretty hard. I knew something was wrong and it felt like my ankle. They made a scan and gave me an injection for the pain and at the moment it might only be the ligaments and maybe also a piece of the bone. I will know a bit more tomorrow but I want to come back on the bike as soon as possible because this season half of the season had been pretty strong.”

Rui Gonçalves: “Definitely not the results I was looking for. We tried our best, and different set-ups with tyres to get the bike working well with the track. I think we learned from what we did even if the results do not show our progress. We need to take the positives through our work and the new stuff we tried in the second moto. I messed up the start and I cannot blame anybody but myself. I’m definitely looking forward to next weekend and getting nearer to the results I know I am capable of. I don’t want to put pressure on myself but everybody knows I can ride the sand. I cannot thank the team enough for their support and giving me everything I need to try and make myself and the bike better.”

Kevin Strijbos: “I felt great in the first moto and had a good start. My pace was enough to do the job. I had a small dip half-way through the second moto and I saw ‘Jere’ pass Tony and tried to do the same on the last lap and I almost got him. It was close. I had some good parts on the track but also some bad ones and I made a few mistakes that meant I had some cramps in my hamstrings. I tried all I could. I have to be happy with second place and being back on the podium for sure.”

Clement Desalle: “I need time off to get this wrist fixed. There are three main ways to let a scaphoid heal and I want to try to avoid an operation. It turns out I had a small fracture after the crash in Maggiora but it was not seen in the scans and I rode and won a week later in Germany! I had another check after Teutschenthal and that was when the damage was found and I could not believe it. I then had the big crash in Sweden. My wrist has been painful since Italy so I suspected something was wrong and it has stopped me riding and training how I want; I could feel that today in the first moto when my condition was not good enough. The solution now is to stop riding and get better. I don’t know how long it will take at the moment but I cannot imagine finishing the season. We’ll see.”

Brian Hsu: “I’m really happy with this win here and prepared well for it. I had a good start in the first moto and grabbed the holeshot. I just kept going. No mistakes and sometimes my lines were not that good but for the most part it [the race] was great. In the second moto I could feel that Ostlund was pushing so hard behind me. I decided to let him go because I didn’t want to go over the limit and just keep a watch. He ended up going wide in a corner and I passed him back. It was great to win.”

Jeremy Seewer: “I had a good feeling on this track and I was really happy with my bike this weekend. I had a good rhythm in the first moto. Charlier was behind me all the way but I managed to keep him there and sixth place is one of the best results for me this season so I’m pleased with this. The gate dropped a bit later in the second Heat – or so it felt – I made a mess of it. I recovered some ground but made a mistake by running off line in the second lap and I lost five or six seconds. Afterwards I had some good speed and made some good passes. Eleventh place is not what I want but I’m really happy with the package right now and that is the most important thing.”

Julien Lieber: “My start was not that good in the first moto and I crashed after a couple of laps. I came back to ninth from 14th; it was not my best ride but I did OK. My second start was better but my pace was not good enough. I lost too many positions and I’m not happy. For me this is one of the most difficult tracks of the year.”

Christophe Charlier: “It’s been a good weekend! It didn’t start so well because I crashed early on and ripped my thumb back. It was pretty hard after that. The first moto start was bad but I pushed all I could to come back to seventh. In the second race I took a better line out of the gate and I was lucky a rider did not come across and take it. I passed Butron and had a great feeling out there. I had fun with my bike and I’m really happy with the result. I was surprised how easy it was to win today.”

Max Anstie: “Some positives today because I was unfortunate yesterday. I was clipped and the pipe was all bent and misshaped and ended up stopping. Obviously that put me last in the gate today. We were on the back foot. We tried a few things on the bike to make it a bit smoother and a bit more torquey and I ended up reverting to my old set-up for the second race. I got out of the gate better but was shuffled back around the first few corners. The bike felt solid and strong and was working well. I can build from this. It is difficult when you don’t get motos under your belt and you are doubting yourself because you don’t have those results on paper but a top ten from last in the gate wasn’t too bad, especially on this track.”

Jordi Tixier: “I’ve been waiting for this GP win since I was a kid. Now I did it and it was my goal. I tried not to think about it but it crept into my head and that’s why I didn’t ride so good in the second moto. Now we go to Lommel and there is no pressure on me.”

Valentin Guillod: “I had two good races today. I made the holeshot in the first and I was fighting a bit with Jordi but I didn’t give everything. Then I made a very bad start in the second race. I really wanted to be on the podium this weekend so I gave it everything I could to come back and I made a great race.”

Antonio Cairoli: “I’m a bit disappointed to lose the GP but happy because my riding was pretty good, especially for Loket, which for sure is not one of my favorite tracks. Now I look forward to Lommel and it’s a track that suits me. Jeremy (van Horebeek) put some pressure on me in the second heat but I also made a mistake. I was pushing as much as I could but he was riding for the win and I was riding not to crash and not to get injured.”

Gautier Paulin: “My goal this weekend was to score a top five result, and with fourth overall I achieved it. I enjoyed to be back racing and to spend time with the team, and I had a good feeling with the bike as we worked on the settings on Saturday. At the start of the second moto I acted like an amateur; the rider next to me hit the gate and I did the same, twice! I was last away but recovered to sixth, so I’m happy with this weekend as I only struggled with arm pump on Saturday and that is usual when you haven’t raced for several weeks. The track was rough for a comeback, but I got the job done even though I trained more on sandy tracks during the past two weeks. Now we have Lommel next weekend; it will be a tough race physically but I’m ready for it.”

Steven Frossard: “After my crash during the qualifying race I knew that today would be difficult as I was last on the grid. The result is not so great, but I’m happy with my second race. The first one was more difficult; I had some troubles to find a good rhythm and then I had some stomach troubles so I couldn’t catch a group of four riders who were not far ahead of me. In the second race my start was better; I got to fifth place but the leaders were a long way away and I had no chance to catch them. Now I will go to Belgium to prepare for Lommel. I have a good feeling with the sand; for sure it will be a tough race physically but I’m ready for this challenge.”

Dylan Ferrandis: “ It was not a good weekend, even if on Saturday I showed that I was the fastest in both practice sessions. But on Sunday I lost all my chances during the opening lap as another rider jumped on my bike and forced me to stop; when I could start again I was last, and the pipe was damaged so I had to stop at the pits to repair it. I tried to come back and I posted the fastest lap time but just missed the points when I finishing 21st. My start in the second race was not as good as the first one but I moved forward to second to show again, as in Sweden and Finland, that at the moment I’m really fast on my bike.”

Tommy Searle: “Last week during a British race I injured my right thumb, and it was really difficult for me to hold the handlebars but I did what I could. I had an injection on Sunday and did my best to get some points in both races. I know that Lommel will also be tough but then we have several weeks without any races, so I will be able to recover.”

Matiss Karro: “Race speed was good this weekend and I didn’t expect such great speed because it’s not one of my favourite tracks. My starts were OK and riding was good but by the end of the moto’s I lost the rhythm and lost some important positions. I’m still really happy to get 10th overall though.”

Shaun Simpson: “It was difficult today. I rode great in the first one and I’m still not sure how! Everything I was doing seemed to work and all my lines were making speed and creating passing opportunities. After that start I never thought I’d have a chance of fifth place. I was motoring. It was really positive and I was pumped for the second moto because I thought it would turn out good even with a mid-pack start but nothing I was doing was working out! After three laps I was ‘I’m over this’. I couldn’t ride. I was protecting lines and not doing so well on the parts of the track that they had graded. It was a grit-your-teeth-and-get-on-with-it job. I still managed to hold Tommy off until the end for fifth overall and the best this year. That made me smile when I found out after. I gained points on both Frossard and Nagl; which is my ultimate goal at the moment. I hope I can get back past Frossard next week. I cannot wait for Lommel.”

Mel Pocock: “Today was pretty good. I fought all day. I hit the gate at the start of the first moto and had to work to reach fifteenth and that wasn’t too bad considering. ‘OK’ start in the next one and was tenth until a rock smashed my middle knuckle and I was in proper pain for a while. I lost a couple of positions but kept going. Overall two solid rides, good aggression and good passes on a slippery track.”

Max Nagl: “I had two really bad starts again today, and actually I don’t know why because we didn’t change anything since yesterday. In the first heat I was tenth at the beginning and could make some good passes to finish fourth so that was quite ok. Then in the second race, the start was even worse, and then I was in the field and Frossard cleaned my front wheel out – I don’t know if he got a kicker or just crossed my line – but he cleaned my wheel out and I crashed. Then the handlebars and other bits were bent and it was difficult to get into a rhythm again, so I’m not so happy.”

Romain Febvre: “After such a strong weekend I’m bitterly disappointed to have missed out on taking my first overall GP win. Finishing first in qualification and securing pole position was a big confidence boost for me on a track that was very slippery and technical. In race one my start was ok but I moved forward quickly and got to second. Race two was much better and I attacked hard knowing the overall win was on the cards. In one lap I went from fifth to third but then I stalled in a corner and fell back to fifth. I recovered immediately and got back into third within one lap to hold onto the virtual overall win. Then in one corner my front wheel washed out and I hit the deck. I’m gutted – that small mistake cost me both the win and a chance of the podium.”

Aleksandr Tonkov: “It’s been up and down for me in Loket. In race one I got taken out off the start and had to play catch up all race. It felt awesome to take the holeshot in race two. I was riding really well and involved in a really big battle for third. Unfortunately I made a couple of little mistakes and I dropped back but it was a good race for me. Next weekend is a home race for the team in Lommel. I like the track and will give it my best shot to improve.”

Dean Ferris: “I feel I’ve rode well on a track that wasn’t too my liking. The ground was rock hard and it was conditions I haven’t rode in for a while. Saturday’s qualification was great and finishing fifth gave me a good gate pick for Sunday’s races. In race one I spent the first half defending my lines too much and sort of lost touch with the front guys. I got into my groove towards the end, improved my lap times but couldn’t reel them back in. Race two was going great. I passed a bunch of guys and was holding onto eight until I crashed with two laps to go.”

Nathan Watson: “Carding a pair of 13th place results has been a positive weekend for me. It was a new track for me and took some time to adjust. The smoother you rode the better it was. I had the 14th gate pick for Sunday but even though my reaction off the gate was good I kept getting boxed out in the first corner. In both races I managed to pick off riders but just wasn’t able to join the top ten group.”

Image: J.P Acevedo/Husqvarna Images

MX Vice Editor || 25

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