Mathis Valin digs dep for another podium in Portugal

Mathis Valin took another podium finish on his Bud Racing Kawasaki in the third round of the FIM European EMX250 Championship at a rain-hit Agueda in Portugal to retain second place in the series standings.

Third in the timed practice session on Saturday, Mathis was initially in the top-ten at the start of the first race on Saturday, as heavy rain swept inland from the Atlantic but he was soon displaying grit and determination to push forward to fourth by lap two. With the ruts getting deeper by the lap he finally broke down the defenses of the series points-leader three laps later before immediately moving clear to chase down the rider ahead of him, claiming his eventual second place with three laps remaining. Excellent trackwork overnight had repaired the rain damage from Saturday but the going was still heavy and unpredictable when light drizzle returned as EMX went to the line. Valin was keen to make an early move with a good start in 2nd position but his plans were dealt a blow within half a lap as he cross-rutted and flew over the bars. He remounted quickly in seventh but was clearly shaken by the crash and needed a couple of laps to settle before advancing decisively back to fourth at the finish despite pain in his left leg. His determination was rewarded with his second podium of the campaign and he retains second in the series headed to the next round on home soil in France at St Jean D’Angely on the weekend of May 18-19.

Bud teammate Benjamin Garib had been impressive and got his best result in Qualifying Practice to post seventh-fastest time but the Chilean was soon involved in collisions with other riders which cost him so much time that, rider and bike covered in greasy mud, he had to be content with thirty-first at the finish. On Sunday at race two he joined his teammate in the top-ten off the start, but his hopes of a good placing were soon negated as a second lap crash pushed him down to twenty-sixth; a difficult race saw the Chilean twenty-second at the finish.

Mathis Valin: “It’s nice to be back on the podium even if the second moto was not what I wanted. This year is a learning year for me in the 250 class so to get podiums is great, but without the crash in the second moto I could have done even better. I knew that the start was important due to the track conditions and I got that today but unfortunately during the first lap I had a huge crash and felt a lot of pain in my left leg. I really don’t know how I could manage to come back to fourth as I couldn’t even put my leg out in the left corners! But a return to the podium is a great reward; we have a weekend off now before the French GP so I will have time to take care of my leg.

Benjamin Garib: “The weekend started well with good times in practice but the first moto yesterday was so muddy; I had problems with vision so I had to stop for fresh goggles and it was impossible to get back in the points from there. I made a decent start in race two but crashed on the second lap. I’m just feeling disappointed at the moment but we will keep working and I’m looking forward to St Jean d’Angely; I like that track so much.

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