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Team #suzuki Press Office – June 18.
Team #suzuki World MXGP’s #bentownley was part of a frantic six-rider fight for the top-five in a captivating Qualification Heat for the British Grand Prix and round 11 of 18 in the 2016 FIM Motocross World Championship at Matterley Basin today.
The New Zealander recovered from a ‘so-so’ start for the 20-minute and two-lap chase around the fast and wide English layout to take ninth position on his first Grand Prix appearance since Trentino two rounds previously.
Cloudy skies but warm temperatures greeted the first day of action at Matterley Basin near Winchester, 70 miles south-west of London. A bounteous crowd filled sections of the huge site that had coped well with some heavy summer showers in the build-up to the Grand Prix.
Townley was feeling good on the RM-Z450 but was frustrated in the Free and Timed practice sessions that his sensations with the factory machine were not translating into rapid lap-times. He made positive progress in the Heat race in the afternoon however and swapped track space with Antonio Cairoli, Clement Desalle, Jeremy Van Horebeek and Romain Febvre; a collision between him and the world champion sent the Frenchman to the floor. Townley finished in ninth spot and also circulated after the flag to check-up on the condition of the stricken Febvre. Looking to refine his set-up for the Grand Prix motos tomorrow Townley could take some encouragement from his efforts and will roll into the gate for Sunday.
In MX2 Jeremy Seewer was on the pace and was quickest in both practice sessions with the RM-Z250. The Swiss didn't enjoy the best start in the qualification dash and dropped his motorcycle on the opening lap but then set excellent times to recoup ground and rise to third place. Team-mate Brian Hsu, in his first heat outing of the season and since recovering from a broken wrist, was a decent 13th.
Cloudy but dry conditions are forecast for the motos tomorrow where EMX250 European Championship rider Bas Vaessen will also be in action.
“If practice and timed practice weren’t timed I would have thought I was ‘the man’! I feel great and good on my bike but it just isn’t translating into speed right now. I guess that's just the combination of small injuries and lack of race time recently. In the qualifying race I was chasing a bit of set-up to be honest and we’ll have a meeting about that tonight. I did ‘my usual’ by starting in the middle of the pack and coming back to fourth and then I couldn't capitalise on that. I didn't ‘feel’ it. With Romain I came out of the corner ahead of him and he was almost an exact bike length behind and to the side. My back wheel skipped out and took his front wheel. I guess he face-planted into the jump. I’m really sorry about that. It was a #racing incident and there was nothing intentional whatsoever. For tomorrow I think if we do a bit of work with the bike then we can have a solid day and have something to build-off this weekend.”
“Really good today. I love this track and enjoyed it a lot. I was first in free practice and timed practice. I was quite relaxed and riding the track smooth and fast; rolling it. I didn't get the start I needed in the qualification race and will try and improve that for tomorrow. I crashed on the first lap because I went to pass [Samuele] Bernardini. It was a bit of bad luck but I recovered well and I could do those lap-times without any risk. I think it will be a good day tomorrow.”
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