The KTM Enduro Factory Racing Team was in Fabriano, Italy, this weekend for two days of competition in what is the penultimate race weekend of the 2016 World championship series. And while injuries have made it a difficult season for the ‘Orange’ lead rider Christophe Nambotin, he came away with a confidence boosting class win in E2 and EnduroGP on Saturday. He then followed up with a good fourth place in E2 on Sunday.
Christophe Nambotin, who had already announced he would cut his season short to undergo surgery to correct an old aggravated knee injury, said his win on Saturday on the KTM 350 EXC-F was both special and important.
Nambotin: “It’s been a very difficult season for me, struggling with injury, so to finally show that I still have the speed to win was great. Like all GPs I knew that it would be a difficult race, so I took my chance and pushed hard to win on day one. The slippery conditions were good for me, and in general I felt very comfortable throughout the day. I knew that day two would be hard, and it was. My physical condition isn’t good enough to push hard for two days, so I found it tough. I felt ok but made some mistakes, so it wasn’t possible to win again.”
The French rider confirmed he would undergo surgery on his left knee next Wednesday. “I will take the time I need to make a full recovery. I have a stretched ligament, which feels unstable so we have to fix this.”
Racing with Nambotin in the E2 class, Taylor Robert, the factory team’s American recruit found conditions difficult this weekend and wrapped up his race weekend with a pair of fifths in the class.
Robert: “It’s been a pretty frustrating weekend for me. Like everyone I found the conditions slick at the start of day one, but throughout the day I didn’t make any big mistakes. I made plenty of small mistakes and just couldn’t quite ride like I wanted to. The second day wasn’t too bad but again I just lacked a little speed. I enjoyed the tests, which makes it a little more frustrating.”Robert also finished eighth in the EnduroGP class on Day 1 and 12th on Day 2.
The Italian round also presented problems for the second factory team’s rookie, British riderNathan Watson and his first day proved difficult with a number of crashes and a fifth place finish. In fact Watson crashed more times on Saturday that he has done in the previous six rounds, where he has been both consistent and quite successful on a range of terrain. He was fast in the Extreme test but lost too much time on the Enduro and Motocross tests and the podium was out of his reach on the opening day. While the young Brit agreed it had been his worst day this season, he was relieved and pleased to bounce back on the second day for a podium second on the KTM 250 EXC-F in the class.
Watson: “I really tried hard to remember all of the Enduro test, but it was so, so long that I found it impossible. After all the rain we had, the first Enduro test was incredibly slippery and I had a pretty big crash and banged up my arm. I lost loads of time and then crashed on the second, third and fourth tests. The harder I tried the worse things became. It was just one of those situations that I wasn’t able to turn around. The second day was good, and I was really pleased that I was able to bounce back from the disappointing first day. I find the conditions in Italy difficult so I’m pleased to end the event with second in my class.”
Watson trails class leader Eero Remes by 17 points in the E1 title fight, but there are still 50 points on the table when racing resumes for the final round in France in September.
Watson’s veteran E1 teammate Ivan Cervantes got the job done with a 6-9 in the class, adding that he always enjoys riding in the GP of Italy.
Cervantes: “I really enjoyed the difficult conditions on day one and I felt good. The Enduro test was unbelievable – so technical in places and also very long.” Cervantes added that the GP in Italy was a great event. “I really enjoyed it,” he said.
Team Manager Fabio Farioli said riders and team members would now take a break before the final round of the World Championship in France, however some would compete in various national championships. Regarding the weekend in Italy, he commented: “Nambotin did very wellon Saturday but because of his injury problems he doesn’t have his usual level of fitness, so he got tired on Sunday. Nathan (Watson) had a difficult day on Saturday and he had some problems with what was a very flat MX test. Taylor (Robert) also struggled a bit and I think he needs to generally be a bit more aggressive.”
Final Rounds: September 10-11, 2016 – Cahors (FRA)
Results EnduroGP Fabriano 2016
1. Steve Holcombe (GBR), Beta (3-1)
2. Eero Remes (FIN), TM (5-2)
3. Christophe Nambotin (FRA), KTM (1-9)
4. Mathias Bellino (FRA), Husqvarna (4-4)
5. Loic Larrieu (FRA), Yamaha (7-3)
10. Taylor Robert (USA), KTM (8-12)
11. Nathan Watson (GBR), KTM (20-7)
21. Ivan Cervantes (ESP), KTM (21-24)
Standings EnduroGP after 14 of 16 rounds
1. Matthew Phillips (AUS), Sherco, 198 points
2. Holcombe, 183
3. Remes, 181
4. Bellino, 172
5. Watson, 151
8. Robert, 123
13. Nambotin, 38
20. Cervantes, 10
Results E2 Fabriano 2016
1. Larrieu (4-1)
2. Nambotin (1-4)
3. Bellino (3-2)
4. Alex Salvini (ITA), Honda (7-3)
5. Robert (5-5)
9. Marco Neubert (GER), KTM (10-9)
Standings E2 after 14 of 16 rounds
1. Phillips, 234 points
2. Bellino, 199
3. Larrieu, 178
4. Robert, 177
5. Salvini, 161
10. Nambotin, 54
Results E1 Fabriano 2016
1. Remes (1-1)
2. Watson (5-2)
3. Alessandro Battig (ITA), Honda (3-5)
4. Mikael Persson (SWE), Yamaha (4-7)
5. Daniel McCanney (GBR), Husqvarna (10-3)
6. Rudy Moroni (ITA), KTM (7-6)
7. Cervantes (6-9)
Standings E1 2016 after 14 of 16 rounds
1. Remes, 252 points
2. Watson, 235
3. D. McCanney, 166
4. Cervantes, 140
5. Pascal Rauchenecker (AUT), Husqvarna, 130
7. Moroni, 123
8. Victor Guerrero (ESP), KTM, 103
19. Taddy Blazusiak (POL), KTM, 13