The Frenchman showed an immediate liking for the revised track layout as he posted fourth-fastest time in practice and was disputing fifth place when he spun out in a slick left-hander on the opening lap of the Qualifying race to be pushed back temporarily to seventeenth. Undeterred he responded admirably to slice his way through the pack to claim fifth place, just a second short of fourth, at the chequered flag.
Romain Febvre: “I immediately had a good feeling on the track, posted good results in the practice sessions and was fourth in the timed practice period but that was OK for the start. I had a good start together with Prado but we touched out of the gate; I could regain a few positions on the inside of the first corner so I was fifth or sixth but they watered so much the track that I was surprised and crashed during the first lap. The bike was not in a good position so I lost a lot of time to re-start in seventeenth but my rhythm and riding was good so I could come back to fifth, not far from the fourth position. I’m happy with my riding, and I’m confident for tomorrow.”
KRT teammate Mitch Evans, making his return to GP action for the first time since the opening round of the series in Argentina after recovering from a broken thumb, showed he already has the pace as he set the eighth-fastest time in practice and KX450-SR power saw him storm through turn one eighth. The Australian maintained this position for five laps before the recent lack of race-action saw him throttle back to bring home a solid sixteenth.
Mitch Evans: "It wasn't fun sitting at home so I'm happy to be back with the team at the GPs now my thumb is fully-healed. After Argentina we made the decision to heal up completely as I was in pain but I've been riding three-times-a-week now for the last couple of weeks riding and I'm ready to be back. I knew my speed was decent from riding with other GP riders on the practice tracks in Belgium and I got a good start and first few turns in Qualifying but of course everyone else is already in race-mode and I haven't ridden at that intensity since the Nations at the end of last year. It's just bike-time and doing all the laps at the races I need now."
In the FIM World MX2 Motocross Championship Jack Chambers showed already during morning practice that he continues to build his pace as he becomes increasingly settled on the Big Van World MTX Kawasaki since flying over from his Florida base last month with fifth-fastest time, and the young American made a lightening start in the Qualifying race to run seventh for two laps before a slip cost him four places. Undaunted he fought back to finish tenth.
Jack Chambers: "I really like the track; I immediately felt at home even though it's completely different to anything I ever raced before and that showed with fifth-fastest time in free practice. I washed out the front end over a roller in timed practice, went over the bars and took a good hit but I could still get a top ten start in the Qualifying race and soon worked my way to hold seventh until I washed out the front end again; I got up quickly but I lost five positions just like that to guys who were right behind me. I came back to tenth with some good passes but then there was no-one to chase in front of me so I just managed my race from there."
The F&H Kawasaki Racing Team duo of David Braceras and Kevin Horgmo had a frustrating day. The Spanish rookie once again raced just outside the top ten throughout to finish thirteenth, while his Norwegian teammate, fifth in timed practice, faced a difficult race after falling on lap three but he battled hard to recover from twentieth to fourteenth at the chequered flag.
BUD Racing Kawasaki's Quentin Marc Prugnières stormed up the leaderboard in the first moto of the FIM European EMX250 Championship round to claim fourth place five laps from the end with a dramatic inside-pass. Fifteen-year-old Australian Liam Owens posted a solid twenty-third on his debut for the French team against significantly-older rivals.
Quentin Marc Prugnières: “My start was not quite as good as usual, and I wasn't totally happy with my riding even though I was able to come back from tenth to fourth, which is pretty positive. Tomorrow will be another day and I'm already focused on the second moto; the track is fun to ride even though there are not too many ruts, and some sections are really hardpack so you have to be careful."