News 19 Jul 2016

Febvre back for Grand Prix of Czech Republic

Defending MXGP World Champion returns to racing.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Words: Adam Wheeler

Yamaha broke news that reigning MXGP World Champion Romain Febvre returned to competitive action with an appearance at the final round of the French Elite Championship last weekend.

The Monster Energy Yamaha factory rider has subsequently spoken for the first time on his crash and concussion during qualification for the British Grand Prix last month that ruined his bid for back-to-back titles.

The 24-year-old Frenchman sits third in the standings, 124 points behind Tim Gajser and 32 away from Tony Cairoli in second place after missing the motos at Matterley Basin as well as the Grand Prix of Lombardia at Mantova in Italy, plus having initially trailed his Honda rival by just 24 points prior to his collision with Ben Townley.

“My reactions and sight is almost like before, almost 100 percent, but I lost a bit of condition because it was a month without being able ride and train so my physical shape is not perfect,” he commented exclusively. “I need some time to be fully race fit but I’m nearly there.”

Febvre will contest this weekend’s Grand Prix of Czech Republic at Loket on the YZ450FM after making an initially slow, but steady recovery from the spill in the qualification heat in the UK.

“With the MRI scan afterwards we didn’t see any issues with the brain but the nerve behind the eyes had some compression and I could not see so well behind the right eye,” he recounts. “I visited many doctors for advice and they told me to be patient and wait but that it could also be three weeks or three months! It was hard to concentrate or ride or cycle. So I had to just stop. I tried riding once before Mantova but after one lap I pulled in because I didn’t have any balance.”

‘461’ had been part of a close and entertaining tussle with rookie Gajser up until the incident and had to bitterly accept that his principal goal for the year has now practically evaporated. The points gap to the Slovenian – who has yet to miss the podium in 13 rounds this year – is vast with a maximum of 300 remaining.

“It was difficult to accept,” Febvre said. “It was not something that was my fault or Ben Townley’s. The problem was not like a broken bone where you can feel the recovery and know a return date. It also made the championship almost impossible but it is a situation I cannot change. Anything can still happen with Gajser but I guess the situation is about second place with Cairoli and there is a group of us quite close together in the standings.

“I want to get fit as soon as I can and then try and win as many of the last GPs as possible. I think Loket will be easier because the hard-pack is not so demanding physically but then we go to Lommel two weeks later and that will be tougher!”