Nestled in the Mayenne region of north-western France, the scenic circuit of Ernée hosted round 10 of the 2022 FIM World Motocross Championship this weekend.
Although the start to the weekend witnessed blue skies and scattered cloud, reports of incoming thunderstorms and heavy rain materialised on Saturday, turning a near-perfect track into a morass.
Despite the track conditions the MX2 Qualifying Race went ahead without delay, but the MXGP class was delayed as some opted to skip racing, regarding it too risky to take part, whilst accepting their start-gate choice for Sunday’s races would be compromised.
Team JM Honda Racing’s Henry Jacobi and Ivo Monticelli opted to race. Jacobi lead every lap to win by over 16 seconds.
Shiptocycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Benoit Paturel raced to fifth at the finish. A great result for the Frenchman at his home GP.
Although a little drizzle appeared on Sunday morning, overall the track conditions were near-perfect for Sunday’s races.
In the MXGP class it was drama at the first turn for Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and Mitch Evans as another rider brought down a group of competitors. Gajser rounded lap one in 15th place with Evans down in 27th. Meanwhile, Team JM Honda Racing’s Henry Jacobi (clearly enjoying the French circuit) rounded lap one in third place. Home-boy Benoit Paturel was in seventh and Team Honda 114 Motorsport’s Rubén Fernández was in eighth.
Henry Jacobi rode a great race on his CRF450R. He stayed in third position for 14 of the 17 laps, only to concede one position at the end of the race to finish in fourth. Gajser pushed hard up into fifth place by lap 11, but a small tip-over lost him one position. He regained that position a lap later to finish the race in fifth. Rubén Fernández was seventh and Benoit Paturel was 14th after a crash on lap four dropping him from seventh at that time. Mitch Evans finished out of the points, but was fast enough to circulate with the leaders, albeit one lap down following his unlucky first turn crash.
MXGP race two saw a cleaner start for all riders. Team Honda 114 Motorsport’s Rubén Fernández was in fifth place on lap one and Team HRC’s Tim Gajser was in eighth. Gajser made early progress in the moto and climbed up to fourth on lap seven, but a small mistake whilst battling for third lost the current red-plate holder time and he finished the race in fourth place and fourth overall, tied on points with the first podium finisher.
Rubén Fernández battled well in the race to finish in fifth place and this gave him fifth overall. Fernández is currently sixth in the championship, with nine rounds to go.
Shiptocycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Benoit Paturel had a great start in race two, rounding lap one in third place, but an unfortunate crash put the home-rider out of the race and unable to finish.
Team HRC’s Mitch Evens had mixed fortunes in race two. He started lap one in 14th place and pushed up to 10th by the finish to give the Australian 15th overall after a no-score in race one.
Henry Jacobi had a disappointing race two, crashing out on lap 15 and ending his hopes for a podium result in France today.
In the MX2 class Shiptocycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s home-racer Stephen Rubini had an average start in race one, rounding the first lap in eighth place and set-about a tough push through the field into fifth place on lap eight where he finished the race.
In race two Rubini got off to a better start and came around the first lap in fifth position, but a high-speed crash at the start of lap three meant the home-rider had to retired from the race for medical check-ups, which proved to be clear.