Romain Febvre has been gradually improving as the MXGP season has progressed. The former world-champ and the hard-working crew at Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing have been working hard to find an award-winning setup on his YZ450FM, the type that enables him to get off the 'new' mesh start-line quickly while still producing the type of power delivery he likes during the race. Finally, the puzzle seems to be coming together for the Frenchman and he proved that with an emphatic race win in the final race at the MXGP of Sweden less than two weeks ago. His race win was the first in 14months, and it landed him on the podium for the first time since the MXGP of Switzerland 2016 - 1 year ago.
Febvre is currently sixth place in the MXGP Championship Standings - 12-points shy of the defending MXGP World Champion Tim Gajser - while his teammate Jeremy Van Horebeek is sitting in seventh place. At the most recent round of MXGP - in Sweden - Van Horebeek's final comment of the day was that he is looking forward to finishing the season strong and that there are plenty of opportunities left to make a return to the podium. In 2016, he landed in the USA and rolled up to the Charlotte Motor Speedway with some new-found speed and aggression. He was one of the fastest riders all weekend long and managed to land on the box for the second time in that season. The Belgian ace is hoping to bring that sort of intensity to the Monster Energy MXGP of The USA this weekend, at the unfamiliar track and venue in Jacksonville.
One of the most exciting ventures for Yamaha has been redesigning the all-new 2018 YZ450F - and this weekend, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing USA's Cooper Webb will be making his debut on the cutting-edge machine, while Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP's Shaun Simpson will be lining up for his second Grand Prix on the new piece of kit.
Using the data, information and feedback from both, their factory riders and their rich racing heritage, Yamaha have redesigned the YZ450F from the ground up, and it is unrivalled in 2018 as the first-ever and only motocross racing machine that can be tuned via a smartphone with the new 'Yamaha Power Tuner' app which is free can be downloaded on any iPhone or Android device. The bike can be fired up at the push of a button with the all new electric start. It has a redefined high traction engine with an all-new cylinder head, cam profiles, crankshaft, high compression bridge-box piston design and more. In addition, it also has optimised ergonomics with a completely overhauled frame design and fully adjustable KYB suspension.
The 2016 AMA Lites Champion Cooper Webb - who won the MX2 Grand Prix of America's in Charlotte last year after a gripping battle with Jeffrey Herlings - has just completed his rookie season in the premier AMA 450cc National Championship. He finished seventh overall.
Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP's Arnaud Tonus will miss this round of the FIM Motocross World Championship as he is still experiencing an immense amount of pain from the broken rib he suffered at his home Grand Prix in Switzerland three-weeks ago.
There weather forecast is indicating a chance of thunderstorms, while the thermometer should be hovering around 30 degrees Celsius. Cooper Webb will be on the LIVE Studio Show which can be viewed on the official MXGP Facebook page at 12:20pm. The first race of the weekend will be the Qualifying Race which will kick off at 4:10pm on Saturday 2nd of September. Race 1 will take place at 1:15pm on Sunday 3rd of September followed by Race 2 at 4:10pm. All times are local, Eastern Time.
6th MXGP Championship Standings, 441-points
I am really excited to go to the USA. I think it will be a nice track, the only challenge will be the weather. I expect it to be hot and really humid so the conditions will be challenging, but I am still looking forward to racing, and I am confident it will be a good weekend."
Jeremy Van Horebeek
7th MXGP Championship Standings, 377-points
"I have been training in Lommel. It was good because we have Assen coming up, so it's good to ride in the sand. I don't think it will be extremely hot, I think only around 30 degrees Celsius, so I think we have been riding in worse heat already this year. It's always tough when it's hot, but I think it's manageable. I haven't seen the track, I don't even know what kind of dirt it is, whether it is hard-pack or sand, I have no clue. It doesn't matter, we have to ride it anyway. So I am looking forward to going there, it's somewhere new and it should be good."