Tanel Leok Honda CRF450R - Photo by Ray Archer - Photo courtesy Honda Pro Racing
Preview - MX1 World Championship, Round 9 Kegums Latvia
Honda riders set their sights on podium positions this weekend in Latvia
Podiums are a real possibility for all those aboard the CRF450R this weekend, following what was a ‘what could have been’ Grand Prix in Germany. LS Motors Honda rider Tanel Leok left Teutschenthal bitterly disappointed, failing to capitalise on the pace he showed throughout the weekend and missing the chance of possible podium position that was certainly within reach.
Bad starts in both motos at the tight and technical East German track meant that an overall position of 10th was all that could be salvaged. His Italian team mate, Davide Guarneri, also failed to capitalise on raw pace. Having set the fastest lap of the weekend in the Qualifying Race, an overall classification of 9th was again not representative of the speed demonstrated by the ultra-smooth Italian MX1 Champion. Both riders will be looking for improvement at Round 9 in Kegums, Latvia and Leok in particular will be keen to impress in front of contingent of Estonian supporters making a short trip over the border.
CAS Honda rider Evgeny Bobryshev was the top Honda in Germany, with an overall classification of 7th and was happy to get back on form after a disappointing weekend at the previous round in St Jean d’Angely, France. He will be looking to step up his performance once more on the soft soil of Kegums. His team mate Gareth Swanepoel was much improved in Germany and seems to be growing in confidence as he becomes more comfortable competing on the world stage. After 11th overall last time out, the South African – competing in only his second year in the MX1 World Championship – will be hoping to start challenging for top 10 positions on a regular basis, beginning with this weekend.
Honda Racing MX Martin rider Jimmy Albertson made a solid return to the GP scene in Teutschenthal. Having been plagued with injury throughout the first half of the season, the likeable American was relieved to finish both motos without any major dramas and get some points under his belt. An overall of 12th in Germany is a good base from which to improve and ‘Albee’ will now be looking to re-kindle the form that he showed in the early part of the season, before several trips to the treatment table disrupted his rhythm.
Australian Dean Ferris who guested in the Martin squad is heading back home this weekend for the next round of the national series. He certainly left an impression on the world stage; an overall of 16th was by no means a bad result in what was his first World Championship GP. The young Australian will be looking to use the experience gained to strengthen his title challenge in the Australian National series. The Martin squad were happy to be back running two bikes and will be using the feedback given from Ferris to continue the development of the CRF450R. Further guest appearances are also being planned within the Martin squad at selected rounds in the second half of the season, so watch this space for more info.
Latvia Honda Elksni racer Ivo Steinbergs is also looking forward to his and the teams home Grand Prix. They will be aiming at a strong outing in front of the home support.
Consistency is what all Honda riders will be looking for this weekend. If this can be found then podium places are sure to follow.
Evgeny Bobryshev Honda CRF450R -
Photo courtesy Honda Pro Racing
Roger Harvey, Off-road Manager:
“We are hoping for a strong showing from all the guys this weekend. The pace shown in Teutschenthal was excellent but the results did not quite tally up.
Latvia will be a different challenge as it is a sandy base track. It is only the second time we have visited here with the World Championship, so nobody has really developed an advantage over the rest of the field. It should be a good, close race.
Leok will be suited to the track and I am sure he will go well as it is effectively his home race this season. Bobryshev’s riding style should also work well but all of the guys have the potential to run at the front this weekend if mistakes can be avoided”.
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Tom Hobbs in the Honda Motor Europe Press Office www.hondaproracing.com