The return of the Spanish Grand Prix was marked in epic fashion, as home hero, Jorge Prado of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing took the all-important overall victory for the very first time in Spain, as he celebrated two race wins on home soil!
Meanwhile in MX2, fellow Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Tom Vialle, had his own success on the hard-pack circuit, as he made his way to the top step of the podium, with two solid results in the races.
Today was the very first time the MXGP and MX2 riders got their chance to test out the hard-pack circuit here in Arroyomolinos, which shaped up well and created some exciting races.
Jorge Prado started the opening MXGP race with a FOX Holeshot, as he led Romain Febvre of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team, Team HRC’s Mitch Evans. JM Honda Racing’s Dylan Walsh and Gautier Paulin of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing also got a good start as they were running fourth and fifth on the opening lap.
Tim Gajser of Team HRC then pushed his way into the top four, while his teammate passed Febvre for second. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer didn’t have the best start to the race and was down in 9th after the first few laps.
Febvre then eventually passed Evans back for second, with Gajser managing to get around his teammate as well, before the Australian crashed out of the race, sustaining a left wrist injury.
Prado then continued to lead the way by 2.361 seconds over Febvre, Gajser and Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle, while further down the order, Walsh dropped a few more positions and was down in 11th.
Standing Construct GasGas Factory Racing Team’s Glenn Coldenhoff was having a good ride in 6th as he applied the pressure onto Paulin. This battle carried on for a couple of laps before Coldenhoff forced his way past the Factory Yamaha rider. Meanwhile Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli and Seewer were also there in 7th and 8th having a fight of their own.
A few laps later, Cairoli made a little mistake which allowed Seewer to close in, though as the Swiss pushed for the pass, a small mistake turned into a big crash. He was able to quickly re-join in 10th just behind Jeremy Van Horebeek of Honda SR Motoblouz.
Walsh then went out of the race with what looked like a broken chain, all while Coldenhoff was looking for another position, as he got onto the rear wheel of Desalle.
After leading every single lap of the race, Jorge Prado went on to take the first race win, with Febvre finishing second and Gajser third.
In race two, Prado repeated his start success from the first race, as he took another FOX Holeshot and led the way with Seewer and Febvre closely behind him. Gajser though was able to quickly move up into second on the opening lap as he started to push for the win.
Walsh had another good start inside the top 10, though had a big crash which saw him pull out of the second race too, which meant that the JM Honda Racing pilot scored no points this time around.
Coldenhoff then started to push Seewer for fourth, though Seewer was able to respond by setting his fastest lap of the race on the fourth lap. By lap 5, the top 10 included Prado, Gajser, Febvre, Seewer, Coldenhoff, Cairoli, Desalle, Brian Bogers of Marchetti Racing Team KTM, Van Horebeek and Henry Jacobi of Yamaha SM Action MC Migliori J1 Racing.
Prado then continued to put in lap after lap as he led the way by just over 5 seconds, as Gajser looked to have settled for P2 in the race, while the battle was heating up between Coldenhoff and Seewer. The factory GasGas rider, eventually took 4th from the Swiss rider on lap 13.
There were no changes in positions for the next few laps, and in the end, Jorge Prado went to take his first ever 1-1, to end the day in a perfect way, as he took the overall on home soil. Gajser crossed the line in 2nd, while Febvre finished third.
The podium looked exactly the same as the second race, as Prado took his second GP victory of the season, while Gajser made it his 8th podium, with Febvre making his 3rd podium of the year.
As it stands, Tim Gajser will now head to Belgium with a 24-point advantage to Antonio Cairoli, while Jeremy Seewer is a further 21 points behind.
Jorge Prado: “It’s a dream for all of us, Spanish guys. Winning in Spain or winning in your home country is always very special. It’s a pity we didn’t have the spectators but anyway to win on home soil it’s still incredible. After the last race in Mantova, I really did some training again, I’m making progress every week and that you can see in my racing so, I’m heading in a good direction and yeah it was just a perfect day”.
“I’m getting closer [in the championship]. I started the season not that great but now I’m getting in shape and getting faster so hopefully in Lommel we can get some points” Prado added.
Tim Gajser: “It was a good day actually; I was enjoying it and I really liked the track in Spain. I didn’t get a good start in both races. The first one I finished third and then the second one, I was seventh out of the gate and by the second corner I was able to make many passes. I then caught Jorge [Prado] and tried to push, I had some nice lines where I was catching him, and I even passed him at one moment, but he passed me back. Then we were quite close together, but then is saw that Romain [Febvre] was not so close and then I finished second. Second overall so I am happy”.
“I’m really looking forward [to Lommel]. There’s still many races to go and of course Lommel is one of the toughest races, so I will give my best and try to be consistent, take some good starts and enjoy”.
Romain Febvre: “It was a good day for us. We managed to sort the starts now so I had really good starts today. I think in Faenza it was the first GP for me on hard pack and for sure it was tough to come back. But now we are there, so for sure it makes the race easier. First race I finished second, I was behind Prado and he was faster. The second race, I had a good start, but Tim [Gajser] passed me two corners later and then I was just third. But they were faster in the second race. For sure I am happy to go to Lommel, last year I almost won and for sure I will do my best.
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 34:13.277; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:07.125; 3. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:09.513; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:16.409; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GASGAS), +0:17.950; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:31.813; 7. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:37.419; 8. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:41.385; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Honda), +0:49.693; 10. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:54.604;
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 34:32.685; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:04.455; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:17.405; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GASGAS), +0:21.940; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:27.027; 6. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:29.646; 7. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:35.318; 8. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:40.176; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Honda), +0:43.221; 10. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:46.577;
MXGP – GP Top 10 Classification: 1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 50 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 42 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 42 p.; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GAS), 34 p.; 5. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 32 p.; 6. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 29 p.; 7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 27 p.; 8. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 26 p.; 9. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 26 p.; 10. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, HON), 24 p.
MXGP – Top 10 World Championship Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 441 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 417 p.; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 396 p.; 4. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 391 p.; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GAS), 375 p.; 6. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 346 p.; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 311 p.; 8. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 294 p.; 9. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 263 p.; 10. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, HUS), 248 p.
MXGP – Manufacturers Classification: 1. KTM, 539 points; 2. Honda, 478 p.; 3. Yamaha, 449 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 415 p.; 5. GASGAS, 389 p.; 6. Husqvarna, 281 p.;
Main Photo: Jorge Prado
Bottom Photos: 1. Tim Gajser; 2. Romain Febvre
As the gate dropped for the first MX2 race of the day, Tom Vialle put his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine out in front, as he led Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jed Beaton and Thomas Kjer Olsen, along with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts.
F&H Kawasaki Racing’s Mathys Boisrame had a good start followed by a tough moment as he crashed twice and would pull out of the race after the first lap.
Vialle then started to come under pressure from Beaton who was keen to go for the win, while his teammate, Olsen, was right there as well, and getting onto the back wheel of the Aussie. This close battle between the top three would carry on for the entire race.
SDM Corse Yamaha rider Ruben Fernandez had a tough race, as he would not do more than a single lap, after an issue with his bike. This was a tough pill to swallow for the Spaniard, who was hoping for a chance to fight for the podium during his home GP.
Back with the leaders Vialle continued to lead Beaton and Olsen, while Geerts was there in fourth. Maxime Renaux of Yamaha SM Action MC Migliori J1 Racing was in 5th, just ahead of Roan Van de Moosdijk, rider for F&H Kawasaki Racing, who was starting to push for higher positions.
With 16 minutes on the clock, Beaton was able to briefly find a way past Vialle, who was quick to respond. Geerts then crashed out of 4th, to re-join in 6th just behind Hitachi KTM Fuelled by Milwaukee rider Conrad Mewse. Meanwhile, Privateer Ashton Dickinson was having a great rider in the top 10, though he was caught by Husqvarna Junior Racing Maddii’s Alberto Forato, and eventually finished the race in 15th.
Geerts then put on a charge to pass Mewse, though after several failed attempts, Mewse was able to find a bit of breathing room from the Belgian, as he held on to fourth.
Back at the font there was no big changes until 3 laps to go, when Olsen was able to find a way past Beaton, while Vialle held a steady gap to the pair and would eventually bring home the win in race one. Olsen confirmed his second place, with Beaton third.
In the second race, it was Jago Geerts who grabbed the FOX Holeshot and was followed by his teammate, Watson. Though Vialle wasted no time to make a move for the lead, and at the same time Fernandez took 3rd from Watson.
Beaton had a problem out of the start and came around the first lap in dead last. Mewse then went down on the opening lap and would fall to last as well, behind Beaton.
While Vialle led the race one again, Fernandez and Renaux were having a great battle for 4th. It looked like Renaux was giving it his all, though he still couldn’t find a way through.
Beaton though was making a good comeback as he moved into the top 10 with 18 minutes plus 2 laps to go.
As the race progressed, Vialle and Geerts were putting in fast laps, lap after lap, but Geerts still managed to find an extra inch, in order to get on to the back wheel of the Frenchman at one point. But Vialle was able to respond pretty quickly, as he upped his game and set another fastest lap of the race as he extended his lead.
Olsen, keen to make up positions after a tough start to the race, was trying to get around Watson for 6th. The two had a close battle until the flag dropped, with Watson holding on to the position.
There was drama towards the end of the race, as Vialle led the way by 3.693 seconds with just 3 laps to go, and would stall his bike moments later, which allowed Geerts to steal the win. Luckily, Vialle only lost one position as he got going before Van de Moosdijk got around him.
In the end, it was Geerts who won the race, with Vialle second and Van de Moosdijk finishing third. Meanwhile, Spanish rider, Ruben Fernandez had a great race to finish in fourth. And despite the mistake in the second race, Tom Vialle was the overall GP winner, with Jago Geerts finishing second and Thomas Kjer Olsen taking to the third step of the box – his fourth consecutive podium.
Tom Vialle: “I don’t know, I was very comfortable with the bike but then bike stopped, and I took a little bit of time to start it again. But I was happy with my riding, I was feeling really comfortable in race two and the whole weekend. Actually, it was a really good day for the championship and now I’m only focused on the next races in Lommel in the sand and I’m happy. I feel really good because as you know is two years that I live there in Belgium, and I ride a lot in the sand”.
Jago Geerts: “Yeah it was a good day, I was second and Tom [Vialle] crashed in the corner in front of me so I took the chance and then I was riding pretty good but I made some mistakes; for sure the riding could have been better. In the second race I took the holeshot and after Tom passed me. I tried to chase him, but I made some mistakes; so finally, I’m quite happy with the final results and now I’m focused on Lommel. It’s always a pleasure to go to your home track and especially in Lommel that is really close to my house and we are looking to get the best result there”.
Thomas Kjer Olsen: “About the podium I’m feeling really good but I’m not so happy about the second race because I made many mistakes and it was difficult to find the good speed. I could have done more in the second race but finally I’m happy for the podium for myself and for the team. I feel really good about my results, I’m feeling more and more comfortable, I think that I can lead every round now; I feel that I’m almost back on the top of my fitness now and the feeling to go racing is amazing”.
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 34:50.753; 2. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:01.273; 3. Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:03.830; 4. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:14.347; 5. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:18.546; 6. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:22.818; 7. Stephen Rubini (FRA, Honda), +0:23.369; 8. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Kawasaki), +0:45.316; 9. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:48.114; 10. Alberto Forato (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:54.709.
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), 35:11.576; 2. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +0:08.515; 3. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Kawasaki), +0:15.395; 4. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Yamaha), +0:19.349; 5. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:23.613; 6. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:24.625; 7. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:28.744; 8. Isak Gifting (SWE, GASGAS), +0:47.004; 9. Stephen Rubini (FRA, Honda), +0:56.900; 10. Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:58.542.
MX2 – GP Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 47 points; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 41 p.; 3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 36 p.; 4. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, KAW), 33 p.; 5. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 31 p.; 6. Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 31 p.; 7. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 27 p.; 8. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 27 p.; 9. Stephen Rubini (FRA, HON), 26 p.; 10. Isak Gifting (SWE, GAS), 23 p.
MX2 – World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 525 points; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 473 p.; 3. Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 379 p.; 4. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 372 p.; 5. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 347 p.; 6. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, KAW), 326 p.; 7. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 314 p.; 8. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 279 p.; 9. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, KAW), 234 p.; 10. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, YAM), 226 p.
MX2 – Manufacturers Classification: 1. KTM, 541 points; 2. Yamaha, 535 p.; 3. Husqvarna, 437 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 408 p.; 5. Honda, 271 p.; 6. GASGAS, 171 p.
Main Photo: Tom Vialle
Bottom Photos: 1. Jago Geerts; 2. Thomas Kjer Olsen