World champ Tim Gajser threw away the win in the MXGP qualifying race at Valkenswaard when his HRC Honda expired while he was holding a big lead. And the man expected to win, Jeffrey Herlings, had a poor first few laps, regrouped then got into the lead, then was caught and passed by Arminas Jasikonis!
Gajser led from the start with Jeffrey Herlings soon on his tail from Gautier Paulin, Pauls Jonass and Jorge Prado. Paulin nipped by Herlings who immediately tried to hit back but then had Prado trying to squeeze through. The Spaniard went through on the second lap, the Jonass and Jasikonis demoted the red plate holder to sixth as Gajser pulled away at the front. Jeremy Seewer, Shaun Simpson, Glenn Coldenhoff and Tony Cairoli rounded out the top ten.
Prado got through to second as Paulin had his hands full with the attacking Husqvarnas of Jonass and Jasikonis. With nine minutes to go, Herlings seemed to find his groove then picked off Jasikonis. Later that lap he picked off Jonass and lined up Paulin, passing him half a lap later to take third.
With six minutes to go, Gajser’s seven second lead came to nothing as his bike expired, handing the lead to Prado – three seconds in front of charging Herlings. Prado then made a mistake, allowing Herlings to close right in on him. A lap later Prado made yet another error, allowing Herlings to get into the lead on lap nine.
But Jasikonis was right on their heels and made a lunge by Prado, then attacked Herlings. The Husky man eventually passed Herlings with three laps to go, who had a nervous look over his shoulder. Jasikonis then eased away as Herlings didn’t chase too hard, to take his second ever career qualifying race win by 1.1 seconds
Prado was third from Jonass, Simpson, Coldenhoff – who lost a place on the last lap to the Scot – Seewer, Van Horebeek, Desalle and Cairoli. Paulin dropped back as he had a bike problem.
“It’s been a long tome since I won and I’m so happy. I had some arm pump but I made it work,” said Jasikonis.
Belgian Jago Geerts took a start-to-finish win in the MX2 race, 14 seconds in front of Red Bull KTM’s Tom Vialle with Bas Vaessen third for the British Hitachi KTM team.
Two Brits put in storming rides through the pack after disastrous starts, where they both out of the top 20. Ben Watson made it through to the top ten but then had another issue when he was docked five places for failing a noise test and took 14th place while Conrad Mewse was 11th. Josh Gilbert was 20th, Ashton Dickinson 25th and James Carpenter 27th.