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No Suzuki MXGP class riders at this weekends French GP

Team Suzuki World MXGP/ MX2 will be looking to Jeremy Seewer to renew his podium streak on the RM-Z250 as the FIM Motocross World Championship heads to the St Jean D’Angely circuit for the Grand Prix of France and round 10 of 18 this weekend. Seewer will be the sole GP runner from both factions of the factory set-up as Ben Townley and Kevin Strijbos will miss the French meeting due to left wrist injury problems that require more time to heal.

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The narrow, hard-pack hillside track last hosted a round of MXGP in 2014 and renowned as one of the premier venues in France; entertaining the Motocross of Nations twice this century. With the passionate Gallic crowd grouped on one side of the ‘valley’ setting, St Jean is one of the most atmospheric sites on the calendar and is distinguished through some steep uphill drags and step-downs. A good start is again an essential component for constructing a brace of motos to vie for podium silverware.

Jeremy Seewer will have this aim on Sunday after missing out in the previous two fixtures despite his usual impressive pace. “My speed is good and I don’t have to worry about that,” the Swiss said after finishing seventh overall last weekend in Spain, mainly due to a first lap crash in the opening moto that left him in last place and needing to fight back to 11th. Seewer claimed eighth at St Jean in 2014. “The track is similar in some ways to Talavera but then different in others and actually it is a place I really like and have had some good results,” he commented. “It is going to be fun and I want to get back to being consistent. We know we need to improve our starts.

“I lost some points in Spain but you cannot escape the fact that we are just half way through,” he added. “It is the end of the season that counts but having said that I’m keen to defend second place and get closer to Jeffrey [Herlings] like we did a few races ago.”

St Jean D’Angely will run the sixth stop of 10 in the EMX250 European Championship and where Bas Vaessen will be hunting more podium possibilities. A blameless second race crash and subsequent broken front brake ruined an excellent chance of glory in Spain. He had scored a second position in the initial sprint. “Riding on the hard-pack is going well now,” the Dutchman said. “We could still improve and make a lot of seconds but we made a big step already. I’ve never ridden at St Jean so it will be a blank canvas for me.”

The MXGP element of the team were downhearted to learn on Thursday afternoon that Kevin Strijbos was advised by doctors not to compete in France after the repercussions of his two crashes in Spain on Sunday. The Belgian has limited mobility due to swelling of the joint capsule of his left wrist and there is a danger that a fracture could become bigger and more serious if he tried to race at St Jean. He will have an MRI scan today (Friday) to determine the exact extent of the damage. Ben Townley also made a late call on his possibilities to race (another injured left wrist) and the team will at least have two full weeks to get the riders healthy and happy before round eleven in the UK.

“We’re very disappointed that we won’t have any representation in MXGP this weekend but we know that this can be the price of the sport,” said General Manager Stefan Everts. “Our hope is that in two weeks the guys will be healthy and ready to go for the British Grand Prix. Kevin was sore, painful and swollen and after seeing the doctor it was very risky for him to think about competing. Ben is still not ready either so we have to accept the situation.”

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