Xavier Boog ninth in Latvia
Xavier Boog took a ninth-placed finish in the first heat of the FIM World MX1 Championship at Kegums in Latvia, but bad luck prevented further success for the Frenchman or his fellow Kawasaki riders. On a difficult track which would punish the slightest mistake all of the world elite had to approach racing cautiously and the start was vital. Boog had finished ninth in the qualifying race on Saturday and this was the basis for an identical result in the first moto of the GP as he started eighth and lost just one place to the Belgian rider Ken De Dycker, a recognized expert on this type of track. Hopes of a similar result to maintain his challenge for eighth in the championship were shattered when he collided with a number of other riders entering the first turn, a further crash leaving him too far behind to have any chance of scoring points.
His Kawasaki Racing Team colleague Jonathan Barragan had never raced the Kegums track before so the Spaniard had no personal data to fall back on in the all-important bike set-up. Unhappy with the settings he had chosen for the opening race Jonathan pulled out after a few laps, but he put the lessons learnt to good effect to find a more suitable set-up for race two, where he maintained a leaderboard place all race to finish eleventh.
Davide Guarneri of Kawasaki Bud Racing had been the most successful Kawasaki rider during the Saturday qualification but two difficult starts on race day meant that he was restricted to finishes just outside the top ten. He fought his way forward from 17th to eleventh in race one, and appeared to be on his way to ninth in race two until the demanding track and heat took its toll in the closing stages to see the Italian drop to an eventual twelfth place.
Guarneri's teammate Gregory Aranda continues to seek his known form after recent injuries and operations and inevitably could not perform at his best on this rugged track. Nevertheless he showed great fighting spirit to finish the first race 14th but wisely withdrew from race two as track conditions worsened rather than risk an unnecessary set-back in his recovery.
Xavier Boog: "I have been frustrated with my performances for a couple of weeks now; I don't understand why I can't get better results and this weekend was the same again. I qualified ninth on Saturday, and then in the first race I had a pretty good start but lost a few positions during the first lap to finish ninth. Many people would be happy with such a result, but Kawasaki has every right to expect something better from me. At the second start I touched wheels with some other riders before the first corner and crashed. Then I crashed again in the waves section and in the end I pulled into the pits when it was obvious that I had no chance to get back into the points. I was expecting much more, but now we'll continue to work and prepare for the next rounds of the series."
Jonathan Barragan: "It's the first time I have ever raced here in Latvia, and right from the first practice session it was difficult to find a good feeling with the suspension. We worked on the settings, but I never felt confident with my bike throughout Saturday. The first race was difficult; I was fighting the bike and nearly crashed several times so I retired rather than taking unnecessary risks. We change some settings for the second race and I felt a lot better on the bike even though the track was getting worse."
Davide Guarneri: "Several things happened to prevent me getting the results I would have wished for this weekend, but one really positive thing which I can take from this GP is the fact that I finished both races for the first time in many weeks. We worked on the suspension this week and I had a good feeling with the bike already on Saturday; I got the fourth position in the timed practice session, close to the pole, and then finished seventh in the qualifying race. My first start in the GP wasn't so good; I started nineteenth but fought through to eleventh, close to Ramon. In the second moto I was eleventh at the start and moved up to ninth, fighting with Philippaerts, but maybe I was pushing too hard because in the last five minutes of the race I felt really tired and had to surrender three positions. The result is not fantastic but it was a good step; my speed was OK and I had a good feeling with the bike."
Gregory Aranda: "The track was not so rough when I came here two years ago but this weekend it was bumpy and hard. My first start was average but I fought back to fourteenth; that was not so bad even if I am looking for better than that after the surgery on my arms. I was twelfth at the start of the second race but the track was getting rougher and rougher and I was no longer happy with my suspension settings. Because of my injuries we didn't have so much time to test on tracks like this as the French tracks are not so rough. Now, after my wrist surgery, I've a better feeling and we will work on the settings; for sure Lommel will be difficult, but then we have a couple of GPs at tracks where I can show what I am capable of."
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