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Romain Febvre runner-up in Portugal

Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP's Romain Febvre has homed in on the series points-leaders after finishing second in a horrendously muddy Portuguese round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship at Agueda.

Light rainfall throughout the week had left the race track in perfect condition for practice but the forecast heavy storms which swept off the Atlantic over the weekend demanded everything from riders, teams and track crew during the racing. With the rain bucketing down as the first MXGP moto burst into life it was clear that not only speed but also survival would be a key factor. A top-three start for Febvre was an excellent base for success in race one and the leading trio were soon pulling well clear; on lap nine of fourteen the Kawasaki rider took over second as one of his rivals faltered and track conditions were inevitably become more-and-more demanding by the lap as he chased down the leader. Entering the final lap he surrendered second briefly with a crash but he had regained the position until the final corner of the race when another fall pushed him back to third.  A clear second through turn one in race two the Frenchman survived a hair-raising moment when the leader slithered to the ground and, unable to avoid the carnage, he launched over the stricken bike but stayed aboard and within a few corners had regained third position. He relentlessly chased the rival in second and, in the knowledge that a pass would secure the overall GP victory, he mounted an energetic challenge as the race entered the closing stages. A slip just before a sticky climb cost him the hopes of GP victory and also a position in the race but his perseverence ensured second on the day and, more significantly, his forty-six championship score over the weekend has reduced his deficit to the series pacesetter by thirteen points as the top-three at the top of the standings tighten up.
Romain Febvre: "Looking at the big picture this weekend was good for the championship as I pulled back points so I remain positive but I want to win GPs and motos and both were in my hands until I threw it away. All of the crashes were my mistake but at least they happened late in the races when they did not cost too many positions. In the first moto I was second entering the last lap but I cross-rutted on landing over the finish-jump and crashed. I wasn't sure if it had cost me a position at first as I didn't know if Pauls was on the same lap; I passed him back through the waves but my gloves were full of mud and I crashed again at the last corner. I was second through the first turn in race two but Tim slid out and crashed right in front of me. I had no chance to avoid him and I thought I would crash too but somehow I stayed on; I hope Tim is OK. I was soon third and six laps from the end I almost passed Pauls but I crashed again. It was really tough for everybody this weekend so my congratulations to Pauls for the win; he made no mistakes and deserved it. But I remain positive; the points are still close and it's only five down with fifteen to go."
KRT teammate Jeremy Seewer faced a mountain to climb from an outside gate after Qualifying but the Swiss moved decisively through the pack in race one to eighth until the bottomless mud claimed him and his bike. He struck back emphatically in race two with a tremendous start to immediately race into the top-five and stay there all moto. He remains sixth in the championship standings.
Jeremy Seewer: "I think this was our first mud-race of any kind for a couple of years and this was another level of mud; I think the last time we had a race like this was Russia in 2017. I knew it would be difficult to get a good start from far outside after P17 from Qualifying but I was riding consistently and running eighth, with sixth in sight, until the bike stopped in the first race. Anyway I got some consolation with fifth in race two so now I'm looking forward to the next two GPs on consecutive weekends; I'm fit and I recover well so  I hope I can soon be back where I want to be."