Hitachi ASA KTM UK’s Conrad Mewse finished eighth overall at the 2018 MXGP of France while it was a less successful weekend for team-mate Graeme Irwin as he fought hard, but ultimately finished just out of the points in the MXGP class.
Despite tough conditions on the technical Saint Jean d’Angely track, World MX2 pilot Conrad Mewse was truly back at the sharp end with fifth in the qualifying session and then fighting hard to recover after a poor start in the first moto.
Down in 16th place at the start, #426 swiftly started making up places – up to 12th by lap two and fending off a sizeable group.
Some further hard-charging and aided by a late tumble for Henry Jacobi Mewse worked his way to eighth. A strategic last lap move on Michele Cervellin gave him seventh place.
Graeme Irwin continued his MXGP comeback with a hard-fought opening moto in France. The #55 rider had qualified 20th and held station at the start of the race – not getting much of a chance to improve.
A large part of the first moto was spent in close company of Jose Butron and Tanel Leok before Irwin had to give up the chase and settle for 23rd place.
Some of the mud had cleared by the time the second MX2 moto got underway but after a good launch out the gate, the first lap chaos dropped Mewse back towards the end of the top 20.
Mewse found himself with championship leader Pauls Jonass, who had an early tumble from the lead. Mewse tried to keep on the Latvian’s tail as they made their way back through the field and by lap nine he was knocking on the doors of the top 10.
The British rider was on fire for the final half of the race and made light work of a five-second gap to Simone Furlotti and Stephen Rubini to finish ninth.
The second MXGP moto offered a drier surface but the different conditions were not much help to Irwin, with a difficult start forcing him to stage a comeback from 28th.
Irwin pulled back four places within six laps and there was a doable gap to the rider ahead, but a significant 13 seconds to find to get any closer to the top 20.
A steady ride for the rest of the moto gave Irwin a 21st place for 24th overall.
What’s next for Hitachi ASA KTM?
The team returns to action this weekend, June 17, for Round 11 of the FIM Motocross World Championship in the picturesque setting of Lombardia, Italy.