Romain Febvre of Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP started the 2023 FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship campaign as third-highest points-scorer after the series opener at Villa La Angostura in Argentina. The Frenchman made a strong start in race one to round the opening turn in the top three and concentrated on maintaining this status through the hectic early laps as over-exuberant rivals banged bars around him. By mid-moto he had broken clear of the chasers and settled into a good rhythm to dramatically close down the duo ahead of him; the pressure was rewarded ten minutes from the end of the moto as the rider in second place was forced into a mistake to hand the Kawasaki leader a secure second, less than five seconds down on the leader. Boxed-in at the first turn in race two Romain rode strong opening laps to soon advance to seventh and kept pushing to the end, a dramatic outside pass three laps from the end clinching fifth place. In a tight decider he narrowly missed the race-day podium, but his strong ride in Qualifying, where additional series points are awarded this year, ensured that he heads to round two third on points, just six shy of the series leader.
Romain Febvre: “Of course it’s a little frustrating to miss the podium on the day by two points, but honestly I wasn’t expecting such a good result so soon after three weeks off the bike following my arm surgery. My first start was good and I stayed calm as the track was slippery with the rain; a no-risk second was a good start to the season. In the second race my start was not so good and in the first few laps you can lose a lot of time passing riders as nobody want to give way at the start of the race; fifth is a decent result, but for sure with a better start the podium would have been possible. Anyway I’m happy to show I have the speed and to race both motos with a good rhythm … and with the new points rule I’m third in the championship. Now we fly home; we have some more testing planned before Sardinia.” Teammate Mitch Evans and KRT management decided after morning warm-up that it was better for the Australian to sit out racing rather than risk delaying further his complete recovery from an early-season thumb injury. Antti Pyrhönen (KRT team manager): “Romain did an extremely good job and delivered exactly the start to the series which we were hoping for with consistent riding and results to fly back to Europe third in the points. We knew that it would be difficult for Mitch even before we came here but we gave it a try; his performance in timed training was reasonable with twelfth-fastest time but the pain from his thumb injury was just too much for the intensity of racing on a rough track so we decided not to risk it more this weekend.” The competitiveness of the standard Kawasaki range was emphasized in Argentina as KX450-mounted Joaquin Poli was the leading South American wild card in both motos and his brother Agustin joined him in the points in race two. Romain and Kawasaki are ready for another race weekend, this time in Holland for the Dutch Masters. The pilot will have the opportunity to train and compete with other top level riders in the Harfsen sand on March 19th.