Evgeny Bobryshev currently lies third in the World Championship, but will attack the Grand Prix of Europe this weekend with even more vigour having recently taken a double win in the opening round of the Dutch championship in Axel.
It adds to Bobby’s impressive scorecard already this season – Italian International MX champion, leader of the Dutch championship, and third in the MXGP standings with third place in the Qatar opener and tied on points for the podium in round two but just missing out on count-back.
Held earlier in the season this year, the Valkenswaard encounter is the first European of the year, sandwiched between a pair of overseas flyaway races. Owing to a bank holiday weekend, the traditional schedule has been shifted one day later with racing happening on Monday 28 March.
The 1550m long sand track, located just north of the Belgian border, is known for being tough and physically demanding for the riders, and with an absolutely packed weekend schedule incorporating European and youth series, the track will only get tougher and more rutted throughout each day.
Notable by his absence will be Gautier Paulin on the #21 machine, as he is forced to sit out this Grand Prix after fracturing his vertebra and breaking a rib in a practice crash in Lommel two weekends ago. He is undergoing assessments and checks before starting a carefully calculated rehabilitation plan.
Making it harder for the Frenchman will be the knowledge that Valkenswaard was the venue of his dominant victory on the Honda CRF450RW last year.
On track action for the GP of Europe will start on Sunday with free practice at 1045hrs local time, culminating in Monday’s two races which kick off at 1415hrs and 1710hrs local time.
Evgeny Bobryshev 777
“I feel really good at the moment and very comfortable. I’m really looking forward to this weekend and very happy to be back in Europe. It’s always easier to be here in Europe in terms of our training and preparation. I’m excited for the race this weekend, too. Axel was good for training and pre-Valkenswaard preparation so I’m feeling ready. The weather looks good so I hope the track should be ok. There are a lot of bikes on track though so I hope they do some extra work to the track during the day otherwise it will be tough. Rui is working with the organisers this year on the tracks so this is a big help for us as we can communicate through him. He is also a rider so he knows what we want, so I hope this will help as last year the track got really bumpy and was very hard. Coming back to Europe just for one race is not so easy for the riders and also the teams as we just get back into our home routine before going overseas again, but that’s how it is so we deal it. Still, I’m excited about this weekend.”
HRC General Manager – MXGP
“Valkenswaard has changed over the years and it’s now sort of hard pack underneath the ground surface. It’s different to what we knew a few years ago, but there are so many classes and bikes this weekend I expect it will be very very rough. The organisers will have some hard work to manage it I think. We will only run Bobby this weekend as Gautier continues to recover. Bobby’s been practicing in the sand recently and won the Dutch championship round so he’s got good form, and is on something of a roll after a hard winter of preparation that’s paid off and allowed him to build good momentum. It’ll be a hectic weekend, but I’m confident we’ll see Bobby up there on Monday.”