The MXGP of Europe has concluded the 11th round of the FIM Motocross World Championship, and with it the second of the three Italian triple-headers this season.
Over the last 10 days, the three rounds here in Mantova, have showcased some intense and very exciting races, that saw three different riders take to the top step of the podium in MXGP.
This time around, during the MXGP of Europe, Team HRC’s Tim Gajser made his much-awaited return to the top step of the podium, as he took the overall win in MXGP for the first time this season. Meanwhile in MX2, Jago Geerts of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing, also made a comeback to the top, as a second and a race win was enough to put him first on the podium. This was his 4th overall victory of the season.
As the gate dropped for the first MXGP race of the day, it was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado who led the way, as Team HRC’s Tim Gajser, Romain Febvre of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team and JM Honda Racing’s Dylan Walsh followed him into the first corner.
There was drama on the first lap as Prado and Febvre went down, which allowed Walsh to move into the first place and lead the way in MXGP. Gajser was second with his teammate Mitch Evans and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli just behind him.
Walsh then led the field into the second lap of the race, as Gajser was searching for a way past, with Evans, Prado, Cairoli and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer right there as well.
Keen to make a recovery, Febvre moved around his teammate, Clement Desalle, for 7th in the race, while things were getting heated at the front as Walsh tried to keep Gajser at bay. At which point, Gajser was looking impatient as he pushed to pass Walsh, with Walsh blocking him and the pair banging bars.
Prado was then all over Evans, with the Spaniard eventually finding a gap to move past the Honda rider for third. And then after several attempts, Gajser was finally able to get around Walsh and become the new race leader.
The battle in the top 10 was crazy, with lots of action and a lot of changes in positions. Walsh dropped to 9th within a lap, as Gautier Paulin of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing passed Brian Bogers of Marchetti Racing Team KTM to move into 10th.
Gajser then extended his lead to 3.041 seconds, as Seewer pushed to pass Evans, though he needed to keep guarded, as Febvre, Standing Construct GasGas MXGP’s Glenn Coldenhoff and Cairoli were also closing in.
Febvre then crashed out of 5th, as Evans backed off from Prado, while Seewer got passed by Coldenhoff and Cairoli, dropping down to 6th in the race. Evans then came under pressure from Cairoli, as Prado was also coming under pressure from Coldenhoff for 2nd place in the race. The Dutchman was able to pass the Spaniard eventually, with 2 laps to go.
In the end it was Gajser who won the opening race, with Coldenhoff 2nd and Prado 3rd.
In race two, Prado got another good start but this time it was the FOX Holeshot, with Gajser and Cairoli there in the top 3. Though Gajser wasted no time, as he quickly moved into the lead on the opening lap.
Prado then crashed out of P2, picking himself up way outside the top 20, which no doubt made for a very difficult race.
As Gajser pulled his gap to 3.268 seconds, a small mistake caused him to wash the front of his factory Honda. Cairoli then inherited P1, with Gajser able to re-join just behind him, ahead of Febvre and Seewer. Cairoli then led the race by 2.186 seconds, while Seewer was trying to fight his way into the top 3.
With 12 minutes and 2 laps on the clock, Gajser was able to catch on to the back of Cairoli as he whittled away at the gap. And despite catching the #222 and keeping him there within a second or so, Gajser still struggled to find a way past the Italian.
Further down the field, Prado was up in 18th and would only pick up one more position before the chequered flag.
With a few laps left, Seewer continued to go after Febvre, with the Swiss rider eventually finding a way through on the final lap.
Despite catching onto the back of the race leader, Gajser just ran out of time as Cairoli took the race win, with Gajser having to settle for 2nd and Seewer 3rd.
In terms of the podium, Tim Gajser claimed his first overall victory of the season, while Cairoli occupied 2nd and Coldenhoff making another podium appearance to finish 3rd.
Tim Gajser: “It’s just an amazing feeling, I won many races this year, but I wasn’t able to win an overall yet until today so I’m super happy. First race I had a little bit of arm pump but after I felt ok; the second race I had a really good start and I was able to pass [Jorge] Prado immediately in the first or second lap and I take the lead. When I was leading, I made a little mistake and I fall, Tony passes me and after we had a really nice battle for the victory, we were both pushing really hard but at the end I finished second and first overall so I’m happy about that. I’m really looking forward to going to Spain because it’s news track and a new event so I’m quite excited about that.”
Antonio Cairoli: “I’m of course happy to win but I didn’t feel so well during all the weekend, my knee is still giving me a lot of issues. On Friday I had to go to the hospital and see a doctor that took away some fluid and inject some grease inside. Anyway, I’ll have to go another month of races and try to hold on very hard and see if I can push hard until the end that is our goal. I’m happy about the overall, in the first race the start was ok and then I was riding carefully because we made some changes on the bike and I couldn’t really feel the brake; I finished fifth that is ok but of course that is not what we want for the championship also because Tim [Gajser] was in front. In the second race we had some changes, and we felt better with the bike. Overall, I’m happy with this second place. I gave everything but of course we want to win so this is our goal for next race, we are going to Spain that is a completely new track and new venue”.
Glenn Coldenhoff: “The podium is always good. The first race I took a very good start and lately I’m working on that but after I don’t know what I was doing because I got from second place to ninth place and of course that was not very nice. I pushed really hard and I finished second really close to the win. The second race was not so good for me because I think that I spent so much energy in the first race, so I have to work on the second race because I’m not very happy about that. Like I said being up here again I think is good, being on the podium I feel like I need still to look forward to a win and I hope I’ll do it one day this year”.
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 34:17.344; 2. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GASGAS), +0:01.263; 3. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:04.925; 4. Mitchell Evans (AUS, Honda), +0:08.675; 5. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:09.994; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:11.544; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:19.247; 8. Ivo Monticelli (ITA, GASGAS), +0:20.654; 9. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:21.495; 10. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:21.844.
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 34:09.190; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:02.652; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:06.339; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:08.174; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GASGAS), +0:20.703; 6. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:26.332; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:30.752; 8. Mitchell Evans (AUS, Honda), +0:33.840; 9. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:35.952; 10. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:37.138.
MXGP – GP Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 47 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 41 p.; 3. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GAS), 38 p.; 4. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 35 p.; 5. Mitchell Evans (AUS, HON), 31 p.; 6. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 29 p.; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 28 p.; 8. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 24 p.; 9. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 24 p.; 10. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 23 p.
MXGP – World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 399 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 388 p.; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 369 p.; 4. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 341 p.; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GAS), 341 p.; 6. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 304 p.; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 285 p.; 8. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 263 p.; 9. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 262 p.; 10. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, HUS), 248 p.
MXGP – Manufacturers Classification: 1. KTM, 489 points; 2. Honda, 436 p.; 3. Yamaha, 418 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 373 p.; 5. GASGAS, 355 p.; 6. Husqvarna, 277 p.;
Main Photo: Tim Gajser
Bottom Photos: 1. Antonio Cairoli; 2. Glenn Coldenhoff
The first MX2 race of the day saw Tom Vialle of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing take the FOX Holeshot and lead the way ahead of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts, Michael Sandner of DIGA Procross GasGas Factory Juniors and Yamaha SM Action M.C Migliori J1 Racing’s Maxime Renaux.
Meanwhile, Alvin Ostlund of Honda Racing Assomotor, didn’t get off to the best beginning in the race, as he went down on the first corner. F&H Kawasaki Racing’s Roan Van de Moosdijk also struggled in the start and was down in 17th on the opening few laps. Despite working his way back up, Van de Moosdijk did not finish the race.
Geerts and Renaux then caught on to the back of Sandner, as the pair pushed to pass the GasGas rider. Renaux then pushed a tad too hard and went down.
Very early on in the race Vialle already had a decent 6.004 second gap to Sandner and Geerts, though it didn’t take long for Geerts to find his way through into second and set his sights on the win. Sandner then dropped another position, as Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee rider Conrad Mewse caught on to the back of him and passed him for 3rd.
Following his earlier crash, Renaux was down in dead last which made for a very tough opening race of the day. Meanwhile further up the field, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jed Beaton and Thomas Kjer Olsen were up in 4th and 6th, edging closer to the top 3.
Vialle then focused on his own race, as he extended his lead to 8.586 seconds. Geerts was still in 2nd, with Mewse 3rd, Beaton 4th and Isak Gifting of DIGA Procross GasGas Factory Juniors, who was having a great ride inside the top 5.
Olsen then went after Gifting, who he passed not long after, while the second Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing rider Ben Watson, was also catching the pair as he pushed for higher positions.
Mewse had a fantastic ride in 3rd as he kept with Geerts throughout the race. And as the race progressed, Vialle made a mistake which cut the lead down to just 2 seconds with 9 minutes and 2 laps to go of the race.
Olsen then took 4th from his teammate, as Geerts continued to go after Vialle for the win. For the next few laps of the race, Geerts worked hard to pass Vialle, though was unable to make it stick which gave Vialle the first race win of the day. Geerts settled for 2nd while Mewse crossed the line just behind in 3rd place.
In the second MX2 race, Watson was the rider to time the start perfectly and reach the first corner in the lead as he claimed the second FOX Holeshot of the day. Van de Moosdijk, Vialle and Geerts were right there as well.
Vialle then slipped into 2nd as he went after Watson, who he was able to pass not too longer after. Geerts then went after his teammate as well, who he caught and passed too.
Further down the field Mewse was attacking Beaton for 6th as the two were close. Though back at the top end of the field, Geerts was getting close to Vialle, though a small mistake from the Yamaha rider, gave the championship leader a tiny bit of breathing room.
Bas Vaessen of Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee, was forced out of the race as he pushed his bike back to pitlane.
Geerts then caught Vialle once again, who was able to quickly respond and set the fastest lap of the race at the time. The gap then was 1.278 seconds. But Geerts then put the work in to go fastest himself and passed Vialle on lap 9.
As Geerts led the way, Olsen found a way to move past Van de Moosdijk, which also put him on the podium at the time. He then went after Watson who was further ahead in 3rd, though he eventually ran out of time.
And despite his last lap effort, Vialle could not get the better of Geerts, as the factory Yamaha rider took the win in race 2. Vialle crossed the line 2nd, with Watson 3rd.
A 2nd and a race win was enough to put Jago Geerts back on the top step of the podium, while Vialle had to settle for P2 and Olsen making another podium appearance to finish 3rd.
Jago Geerts: “It was a really good day for me as the last few races weren’t that good, as I made a lot of mistakes. I’m happy to win today and to be back on the podium. I got two good starts. In the first race, I spent a little bit too long behind some of the other riders in the beginning and I was a little bit too late on Vialle, so I finished second. And then in the second race, I was really happy with the result”
“I struggled a little bit with the bike set-up in the last few races and then we changed some things and it’s worked out really well already in the second race on Wednesday, but then I had a small crash and today it all clicked and it was very good” he added.
Tom Vialle: “It was actually quite a good day. I started the morning feeling good on the bike and the first race was good. I got a good start and then after two or three laps I already had a big gap, but then made two mistakes on the waves so I lost a lot of time and Jago [Geerts] could catch me. But I was strong all race and felt good, so I managed to win. I was really happy. In the second one, I got a good start and I was second. I passed Ben Watson pretty fast, Jago was behind me and after a few laps he passed me. On the last three laps I tried to really push, and I was pretty close to Jago on the last lap before the waves but yeah overall, I’m actually pretty happy to finish second today. I didn’t lose any points, so it was quite a good day actually”.
Thomas Kjer Olsen: “Yeah maybe I expected a little bit more, but I was quite happy with my performance today. I really gave it my all, but I was just a bit off right from the morning. That’s how it is sometimes and some days you feel really good and other days you’re a little bit off and I felt a little bit off today, didn’t make it easy on myself again with the starts but if I want to run with those guys I need to up there, so I’m super happy with the outcome let’s say. The three rounds here I picked up some good points and I think I’m back up to 5th in the championship which is nice”.
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 34:19.566; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:01.423; 3. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:04.773; 4. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:16.055; 5. Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:28.127; 6. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:30.314; 7. Isak Gifting (SWE, GASGAS), +0:47.738; 8. Alberto Forato (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:49.364; 9. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Yamaha), +1:01.210; 10. Bas Vaessen (NED, KTM), +1:07.256.
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), 34:04.896; 2. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +0:00.982; 3. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:17.392; 4. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:19.448; 5. Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:23.091; 6. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:38.099; 7. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Kawasaki), +0:48.261; 8. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KTM), +0:52.212; 9. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +1:01.791; 10. Alberto Forato (ITA, Husqvarna), +1:05.437.
MX2 – GP Top 10 Classification: 1. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 47 points; 2. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 47 p.; 3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 36 p.; 4. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 35 p.; 5. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 35 p.; 6. Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 32 p.; 7. Alberto Forato (ITA, HUS), 24 p.; 8. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, YAM), 22 p.; 9. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KTM), 20 p.; 10. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, KAW), 19 p.
MX2 – World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 478 points; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 432 p.; 3. Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 348 p.; 4. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 341 p.; 5. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 311 p.; 6. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, KAW), 293 p.; 7. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 287 p.; 8. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 252 p.; 9. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, KAW), 234 p.; 10. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, YAM), 208 p.
MX2 – Manufacturers Classification: 1. Yamaha, 494 points; 2. KTM, 494 p.; 3. Husqvarna, 401 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 375 p.; 5. Honda, 245 p.; 6. GASGAS, 148 p.;
Main Photo: Jago Geerts
Bottom Photos: 1. Tom Vialle; 2. Thomas Kjer Olsen