Rui Gonçalves and the Honda World Motocross team put on a fighting performance that didn’t reap the deserved overall result today in Loket, Czech Republic for round 12 of the MX1 World Championship with the Portuguese racer going 11-5 for seventh overall.
In the opening moto of today it was Evgeny Bobryshev who got a fairly good start from his outside gate position, which he was forced to accept after retiring from yesterday’s qualifying race with a damaged radiator, while Gonçalves got caught up in the pack after missing the start and gated outside the top 20.
Bobryshev, who was 10th after lap one, pushed hard in the opening stages and passed Shaun Simpson for eighth on lap seven of the 35-minute plus two-lap moto. The 24-year-old Russian tried to make further progress around the notoriously difficult and hardpack Loket track, although Simpson made a charge in the final stages, demoting the Honda pilot to ninth at the chequered flag. Gonçalves rode hard throughout to work his way back to 11th place, despite the track being incredibly difficult for making passes, and maintained his position while fending off Tanel Leok.
In moto two Gonçalves stormed out of the gate into sixth position at the end of lap one aboard his factory CRF 450R. In the intense heat the Portuguese star made a pass on lap two for fifth place, which he retained with some strong riding until the chequered flag, setting his fastest laps in the final stages, for seventh overall. Bobryshev gated into 10th place, and although he lost out to Kevin Strijbos on lap nine, the Russian star regained his top 10 moto finish for 11th overall.
The races were won by Antonio Cairoli, and the Honda World Motocross team has a week off before heading to the Honda Xtreme Academy training school for young Honda riders in the UK prior to the Grand Prix of Great Britain on the 18th and 19th of August in Matterly Basin.
Rui Gonçalves #999: 7th overall
“It was a positive weekend. I was riding well and I felt good all weekend. In the first moto I messed up my start. (Davide) Guarneri was next to me and he moved before the gate dropped, so I moved as well and I almost hit the gate. I started pretty much behind everyone, and I wasn’t in the top 20. I made my way through to 11th, but it was really difficult to pass. I got close to the top 10, but it was even harder to pass them. I was pretty happy with how I was riding, and my lap times were good, which was important for the second moto. I had a good rest between motos, and in the second one I had a good start, a good pace and a good rhythm. The guys behind me were pushing, but I didn’t give up; I kept pushing and in the end I came close to the pack ahead of me. Fifth was okay, and it’s a shame for the first moto, as the overall could have been a different story, but it’s been a positive weekend. I’m happy to be here again after two good races in Latvia and Russia. We will keep focussed until the last round, and I’d like to thank the team, everyone behind me, and everyone who still believes in me.”
Evgeny Bobryshev #777: 11th overall
“It hasn’t been good here for me. I don’t like the track so much, as it’s stoney, slippery and there’s few lines, as well as it being difficult to pass. It’s just one speed, so what you get on the start is pretty much where you finish, or you can maybe make up one or two places. I had a good start in the first race, and in the middle of the race I struggled to find my lines. (Shaun) Simpson passed me and then I got back into it again, so I got close to pass him back, but it wasn’t enough. In the second race I had a bad start and only made up a few positions. I am looking forward to Matterly Basin, as although I didn’t race there last year, I do know the track and I like the ground. Here the ground is unique, so it’s difficult to train on anything similar to improve, but at Matterly t here is grip and that’s more for my style.”
Paolo Martin: Honda World Motocross Team Owner
“I think the races were very good. I can see Rui is improving a lot, and he is being rewarded with good results for his efforts. His focus is good and he wants to be in the front. Normally he starts well and then struggles to keep going forward, but in the last few races we’ve really seen him fight for the positions. He has in the past been riding tight, but today we saw him with quick responses from the body, so I feel that it’s getting better and better. With Bobby, his condition is not good enough, and he’s really only riding with his heart. With a bit longer on his training schedule, and a little bit of luck, we will see him back at the front of the pack. It takes time to improve the condition after so many injuries. We want to be back in the same level of last year, we’ve just had a tough year and we will keep working; our riders have needed recovery time, which ha s been put back each week with more injury. Now we are injury free must improve the condition to get back to the front.”
(Image credit Sarah Gutierrez)