Romain Febvre of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team completed the 2021 season an honourable runner-up in the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship with his tenth podium of the year at Mantova.

The Kawasaki ace posted multiple fast laps during morning Qualification to line-up in racing directly alongside his title rival. His reactions and the smooth power of the KX450-SR pulled him clear in the race to turn one in the opening moto as a team colleague of his championship rival took the holeshot and defied every move by the Frenchman through the first four laps. On lap five Romain’s title rival was able to take advantage of the tight duel to dive inside for the lead and establish a cushion before the Frenchman could finally move into second. Time-and-again the Kawasaki leader, dropping his lap times by two seconds on a clear track, closed down his title rival but could not quite find the momentum to reverse the positions again; the title candidates thus went into the thirty-sixth and final moto of the campaign absolutely level on points. After more than twenty hours of pulsating action the season would go to the wire with winner-takes-all ! Another superb start in race two saw the Frenchman round the first turn second before sweeping gloriously to the front halfway round the opening lap. An aggressive pass on lap two saw his title rival move ahead but the Kawasaki man stuck to his rear wheel until a freak moment three laps later as his rear wheel suddenly found unexpected traction leaving a turn and he looped out. The incident cost the Frenchman ten seconds and effectively ended his world title ambitions but he regrouped to finish third for his tenth GP podium of the season and a slender five-point defeat in the individual FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship; his endeavours also ensured second place for Kawasaki in the Manufacturers’ World Championship.

Romain Febvre: “To fall that close is really tough. I gave my best so I have no regrets, but it wasn’t quite enough to take the title. Right now I feel a little mad with myself for sure but that’s racing: it’s a hard way to lose but I gave my all. At the moment it’s really tough but I will get through it and be back to battle for the title for Kawasaki again next year. “

KRT teammate Mathys Boisrame, debuting in the final five MXGPs as fill-in for the injured Ivo Monticelli, raced to a personal-best seventh in race one as he confirmed the pace of his tenth place in Qualifying. The class rookie advanced from a top-six start to fifth after six laps and only surrendered two places in the closing laps to more-experienced opposition as the shoulder he damaged on Sunday became painful. Race two proved more difficult; he recovered strongly to twelfth after being squeezed at the awkward first turn, but sensibly withdrew from the race mid-moto as the pain in his shoulder increased and made it ever more difficult to hold on.

Mathys Boisrame: “It was a mixed day again with a good Qualifying session as tenth and then a good opening moto. I had a good start and could keep a strong pace for most of the moto, but in the last part of the race I had pain in the shoulder I damaged on Sunday. Anyway, seventh was a good result. My second start was not so good but I came back to twelfth before the pain in my shoulder became too intense and I started to make mistakes so it was better to stop rather than crash. It was a great experience to ride a factory bike in the MXGP class; my thanks to the KRT team who offered me this opportunity and now I’ll take some rest to recover from the season.

Words and photos: Kawasaki eu