The Qualifying races of the Bitci MXGP of Turkiye have concluded in Afyon with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Maxime Renaux and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle taking victories in MXGP and MX2.
Both of the qualifying heats saw intense battles between Renaux and Team HRC’s Mitch Evans in MXGP and Vialle and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts in MX2, which gave us a taste of what can be expected during the Grand Prix races tomorrow where points will be on the line.
Geerts and Vialle are locked in the battle for the title as just two points separate the pair, while Renaux has the chance to go for the bronze medal in the MXGP standings and will need to score top points.
Today we also witnessed the crowning of the first Champion of the weekend. JD Gunnex KTM Racing Team’s Jose Butron secured the EMX Open title in race one, while the WMX Championship crown will be decided tomorrow together with the MX2.
In the MXGP qualifying race, it was Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Maxime Renaux who was the early leader ahead of his teammate Jeremy Seewer as well as, Team HRC’s Mitch Evans, Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Mattia Guadagnini and iXS Hostettler MXGP Team Valentin Guillod.
Evans was quick to pass Seewer and was eyeing up Renaux moments later, with the Australian taking over the lead on the opening lap of the race. Evans led briefly as a small mistake allowed Renaux back through.
Guillod then got around Guadagnini for seventh place, where he remained for the rest of the heat, as Evans set the fastest lap of the race and was looking to close down the 1.920-second gap to Renaux.
Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado did not have the qualifying race that he would have hoped for, as he started in 14th and eventually finished there too.
On lap nine, we saw Evans take over first place from Renaux, as the pair continued to battle each other. But another small mistake from Evans was the opportunity that Renaux was searching for as he passed him back on the final lap of the heat.
Renaux ended up securing his third qualifying race victory of the season, as Evans finished second ahead of Seewer, Honda 114 Motorsports’ Ruben Fernandez, Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff.
Maxime Renaux: “It’s good to start the weekend like this, you know, every year, I enjoy my time here, so today was very good. I had a great start. Unfortunately, did not get the Holeshot plate, but I’m going to work very hard for it tomorrow. And that was really important to know that I could get in front early, but then I made a small mistake and Mitch passed me, but I could get him back and pass on the last lap so that was a really great qualifying”.
“The goal is to get the medal definitely, so we’re going to give it all and work hard for that. Let’s see but I’m going to give it all”.
Main Photo: Maxime Renaux
Bottom Photos: 1. Mitch Evans 2. Jeremy Seewer
MXGP – Qualifying Race – Top 10 Classification: 1. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), 23:49.609; 2. Mitchell Evans (AUS, Honda), +0:04.114; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:08.819; 4. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Honda), +0:10.953; 5. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:12.864; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +0:15.745; 7. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:15.954; 8. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:23.306; 9. Pauls Jonass (LAT, Husqvarna), +0:25.772; 10. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:28.698;
In MX2 qualifying, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle was the leading rider into the first corner ahead of Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Kay de Wolf and Roan Van de Moosdijk, as well as Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts.
Geerts then passed both Moosdijk and de Wolf to get into second, while Ship to Cycle Honda SR Motoblouz’ Stephen Rubini crashed early on in the race, which also caught out Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Simon Längenfelder.
de Wolf then landed heavy but managed to stay on and keep the third-place spot, as Geerts and Vialle battled closely in front. The pair traded in the fastest laps for much of the heat which was a taste of how intense tomorrow’s races can be expected.
As the race progressed, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Thibault Benistant closed in on De Wolf and managed to pass the Dutchman three laps from the end, as Moosdijk remained fifth.
In the end, Vialle claimed his sixth qualifying race win of the 2022 season ahead of Geerts, Benistant, de Wolf and Moosdijk.
Tom Vialle: “It was a good day. I felt really good on the track and had a great start and led every lap. Jago, I think was already on the second or third lap behind me. I think it’s going to be a nice fight tomorrow because he will start at the second gate and we will both be at the front and it will be a good fight for sure, so I am ready for it! I feel really good on the track so let’s see what will happen tomorrow.
“[My approach tomorrow] actually, it’s a little bit like today on a great start, just ride as fast as possible. I felt so good on the bike today, so hopefully tomorrow I have the same feeling and I think it’s going to be a good day”.
Jago Geerts: “Yeah, it was quite a good day. Quite a good start. I was fifth and then after a few laps, I was in second behind Tom and just felt quite good on the track. The track was really fast today. So, I hope it will be a little bit more rutty and more rough tomorrow but yeah, feeling good and ready to battle tomorrow. The start will be important so I will just try to get a good start and go for the win. I think that’s the only option we have”.
Top Photo: Tom Vialle
Bottom Photos: 1. Jago Geerts 2. Thibault Benistant
MX2 – Qualifying Race – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 23:58.567; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:04.311; 3. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:21.155; 4. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:24.057; 5. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Husqvarna), +0:25.101; 6. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +0:26.212; 7. Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), +0:36.148; 8. Andrea Adamo (ITA, GASGAS), +0:38.386; 9. Simon Längenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +0:42.608; 10. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Kawasaki), +0:44.373;
WEEKEND TIMETABLE (Local Timing UTC+3)
SUNDAY: 09:40 EMX Open Race 2, 10:25 MX2 Warm-up, 10:45 MXGP Warm-up, 11:30 WMX Race 2, 13:15 MX2 Race 1, 14:15 MXGP Race 1, 16:10 MX2 Race 2, 17:10 MXGP Race 2.