World champ Jorge Prado shook off his shaky start to the year in yesterday’s opening qualifying race by taking two unchallenged wins in the MX2 GP of Argentina, the first round of the 2019 world championship.
In the first race he quickly got by holeshot man, his new teenage team-mate Tom Vialle, to take the win. And in race two he pulled the holeshot and was never challenged as he cleared off to an easy double win.
Prado said: “It was a great day. It was a perfect weekend, I felt very good. The track was tough as it’s so fast so it’s difficult to make up any ground.
‘To start a season in the top three would have been good enough, but to go 1-1 means I’m super happy.”
Thomas-Kjer Olsen took a clear second overall with two second places despite not having the greatest starts.
“It’s a god start to get second place. I wanted to be first but it’s only the first round and it’s a long season. I have some things to work on and I’m going to go home and keep training,” he said.
And it was a stunning GP debut for Aussie Mitchell Evans who ended up third overall, mainly thanks to a stunning third place in moto two on his privateer Honda.
He said: “It’s an unreal feeling in my first GP! I’m speechless! I had some tough days in the pre-season but I’m stoked to be here on the podium.”
But it wasn’t the perfect start to the season the Brits had hoped for, despite Ben Watson and Adam Sterry both running near the front in both races, whole Conrad Mewse struggled with bad starts.
Watson ended up top Briton with sixth and seventh place finishes while Sterry had eighth and ninth, and Mewse and ninth and 12th.
In the opening moto, Prado quickly took the lead from Vialle, Henry Jacobi, Jago Geerts, Calvin Vlaanderen, Mitchell Evans, Adam Sterry, Ben Watson and Thomas-Kjer Olsen with Conrad Mewse 15th.
As Prado began to pull away, Kawasaki man Jacobi puts lots of pressure on Vialle and eventually got by.
Watson put the pressure on fellow Briton Sterry and eventually made his way by. But none had the pace to match Olsen who came through the leaders, picking them off one by one. He was up to fifth by lap five, then picked off Vialle for third on lap seven. He battled hard with Jacobi but eventually got by and set off in pursuit of leader Prado but could make no impact and had to settle for second. Jacobi held on for third from Vlaanderen and Evans in his first ever GP moto.
Watson eventually battled his way past Sterry and put pressure on his team-mate Geerts who slipped off. Watson took sixth from Vialle with Sterry eighth while Mewse came through to ninth place.
Second time out it was a start-to-finish win for Prado who was in dominant form. Aussie Evans tailed the Spaniard off the gate, from Watson, Vlaanderen, Olsen, Vialle, Davy Pootjes, Mikkel Haarup and Sterry with Mewse 17th.
Watson ran off the track and lost a couple of places, and soon made another mistake and dropped back outside the top 10. He put on a string charge to come back to seventh.
Olsen was the man on the move, getting by all his rivals as he moved up to second place. But Again Prado was gone and the Dane had to take second.
Evans took a strong third place in a stunning debut ride, from Vlaanderen, Jacobi and Geerts.
Adam Sterry was holding a strong fifth place but then ran off the track, and later fell, with the bike pining him down. He remounted and took ninth while Mewse came through to 12th.