Once again, the final round of the FIM Motocross World Championship was a nail-biter with an intense second race that saw Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle secure his second title in the MX2 class after a hard-fought battle with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts.
The pair entered the final heat of 2022 separated by just one point, with Vialle having the upper hand. Though despite plenty of tense moments and Geerts’ best effort, Vialle was able to get the job done and celebrate in style with the perfect 1-1 scorecard.
Meanwhile, in MXGP, Team HRC’s Tim Gajser rounded out his championship-winning season with his 10th Grand Prix victory, as Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP’s Romain Febvre made his first appearance on the box to place third overall. And there was more to celebrate, as Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado battled his way to the bronze medal position, ending his very tough season on a positive note.
In MXGP race one, the Fox Holeshot went to Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer though Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP’s Romain Febvre was quick to take over the lead during what was a beginning of a very busy first lap!
There were at least three changes for the lead before the riders crossed the finish line to complete the first official lap as Team HRC’s Mitch Evans steered the way ahead of Seewer, Febvre and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Maxime Renaux.
But Seewer fought back before Evans was able to assert himself in the first position. Meanwhile, his teammate Tim Gajser of Team HRC was down in 11th.
Renaux found himself in third after passing Febvre, before pushing past his teammate Seewer as he climbed into second place and then set his sights on Evans. Evans was fast though and set two consecutive fastest laps as he looked to pull away from the rest of the pack.
iXS Hostettler MXGP Team’s Valentin Guillod was looking very impressive too, as he took away fourth from Febvre and set the fastest lap of the race.
Further down the field, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff lost sixth position to Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Mattia Guadagnini and then was later passed by Jorge Prado as well as Gajser. Coldenhoff then crashed and got going in 14th where he remained until the chequered flag.
On lap eight, we saw a change for the lead as Renaux took away first place from Evans, with the Australian beginning to fade. Despite his best efforts, he was passed by Febvre, then Guillod and so on, before finishing the race in 12th position.
An impressive move came from SM Action Racing Team YUASA Battery’s Alberto Forato who passed Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing’s Calvin Vlaanderen, Prado and Febvre all in one go to move up to sixth.
In the final few laps, Gajser managed to get into fourth and began to challenge Guillod for third. Guillod looked solid until a mistake saw him go down on the final lap, which allowed Gajser into third and saw the Swiss drop to sixth.
Renaux won the race ahead of Seewer, Gajser, Guadagnini and Forato.
In race two, for the first time in 2022, the Fox Holeshot went to Renaux who led Febvre, Evans and Prado. But Febvre was quick into the lead and moments later Renaux crashed and only re-joined in 15th.
Evans then crashed big out of second place and did not carry on with the race, while Seewer took fourth from Guadagnini as Renaux looked to enter the top 10 after passing Vlaanderen.
Febvre then set the fastest lap of the race as he extended his lead over Prado to 4.342 seconds, while Gajser began to close in on the Spaniard.
Further down the field, Vlaanderen was looking to take back his lost position from Renaux but made a mistake and went down hard. He did not carry on with the race.
On lap 10, Gajser found a way past Prado and worked his way to catch Febvre. But Febvre held on and took the win and with it secured his first podium of 2022! Gajser ended up winning the Grand Prix tied on points with Seewer who was second and Febvre third.
In terms of the championship, Gajser collected his gold medal, Seewer secured silver while Prado rounded out the top three in the standings after a hard-fought GP.
This season Team HRC are the Championship winning team, while Yamaha wins the manufacturer standings with an impressive 805 points.
Tim Gajser: “It was a good day. Two solid races, finishing third and second for the overall. I was struggling with the start a little bit, with the altitude. But anyway, it was good. Couldn’t wish for a better ending to the season, it’s been an amazing season for us. Huge thank you to my team, we work super hard to be champions, and also everyone around me, the fans that travelled here today and also back home in Slovenia. It was a great season with so many highlights. It was special to start with so many overall wins in a row, then had a bit of a struggle but ending the season on the high note is really important for the next season. So yeah, a lot of highlights so it’s difficult to pick just one”.
Jeremy Seewer: “It was a solid weekend, the track was not my favourite, but I actually enjoyed it, we got the bike right and I was there the whole weekend battling up front. The bike was great in the altitude and I actually didn’t struggle too much on the start. But the second race it didn’t work out, I got squeezed and I had to work through the pack which cost me a bit. Finishing second is very solid, the championship was already decided for me, so I had no pressure and I could enjoy the racing. At the same time, I would like to thank my team, it takes a lot of work behind the scenes which nobody sees, family, trainers, teams, you know, all that kind of stuff. Thanks to everybody in my corner and now after all the silver medals, I think it’s time for a gold one and I will be working hard for that next year to be the best I can be”.
Jorge Prado: “This season was okay. I need to say it was positive in the end because we ended up with the bronze medal. I would have liked to be more competitive in every single round, especially after my injury, but I did some good race and was a little bit up and down, then had an illness in Lommel just when I was feeling good, so yeah, many rounds where I lost points, and the results were not what I wanted. But it’s something we need to learn from, we need to search where we are struggling and then came back next season more prepared and be more competitive. I’m happy the bronze medal and will work hard to be better”.
Main Photo: MXGP and MX2 World Champions pictured with Infront Moto Racing CEO David Luongo, FIM/CMS Director Antonio Alia Portela and FIM President Jorge Viegas
Top Photo: Tim Gajser
Bottom Photos: 1. Jeremy Seewer 2. Romain Febvre
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), 35:35.228; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:04.307; 3. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:09.782; 4. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, GASGAS), +0:14.401; 5. Alberto Forato (ITA, GASGAS), +0:16.034; 6. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:18.931; 7. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +0:23.582; 8. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:25.213; 9. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:26.724; 10. Brian Bogers (NED, Husqvarna), +0:32.646;
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), 35:28.577; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:02.084; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:20.116; 4. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +0:27.183; 5. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, GASGAS), +0:29.654; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +0:33.305; 7. Alberto Forato (ITA, GASGAS), +0:39.836; 8. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:50.034; 9. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +1:00.040; 10. Brian Bogers (NED, Husqvarna), +1:04.134;
MXGP – GP Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 42 points; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 42 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 38 p.; 4. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 38 p.; 5. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, GAS), 34 p.; 6. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 32 p.; 7. Alberto Forato (ITA, GAS), 30 p.; 8. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 27 p.; 9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 22 p.; 10. Brian Bogers (NED, HUS), 22 p.;
MXGP – World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 763 points; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 657 p.; 3. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 589 p.; 4. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 578 p.; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 575 p.; 6. Brian Bogers (NED, HUS), 428 p.; 7. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 395 p.; 8. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 382 p.; 9. Pauls Jonass (LAT, HUS), 350 p.; 10. Mitchell Evans (AUS, HON), 308 p.;
MXGP – Manufacturers Classification: 1. Yamaha, 805 points; 2. Honda, 770 p.; 3. GASGAS, 625 p.; 4. Husqvarna, 565 p.; 5. Kawasaki, 465 p.; 6. KTM, 276 p.; 7. Beta, 265 p.; 8. Fantic, 43 p.; 9. Suzuki, 10 p.;
In MX2 race one, the Fox Holeshot was won by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle who was the leading rider ahead of Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Kay de Wolf, Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Simon Längenfelder and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts.
De Wolf and Längenfelder briefly battled for second, before Geerts was able to get in the middle of that to take over third place and focus on de Wolf ahead in second place.
It looked like Vialle, and de Wolf was settling into a good race pace, which was worrying for Geerts, but he was able to find his rhythm too and made a pass on the Dutchman on the third lap.
With Geerts in second, it was all eyes on the title hopefuls as Vialle got his head down to set the fastest lap of the race and extend his lead to 4.188 seconds.
Diga Procross KTM Racing’s Liam Everts dropped out of fifth and went back to eighth, before quickly finding his way past SM Action Racing Team YUASA Battery’s Andrea Adamo for seventh. He then passed Jan Pancar of TEM253 with two laps to go, to finish sixth.
With Vialle setting the pace in first, the leader did make a couple of mistakes, one of which almost cost him the lead! But he was able to keep it on two wheels, as Geerts continued his charge towards the front.
On lap 10, Geerts crashed but managed to get going just behind de Wolf, which meant that he had to do all the work again to salvage vital championship points. It took the Belgian two laps to get back into second place, but by that point, Vialle was too far in front.
In the end, Vialle secured the race win ahead of Geerts, de Wolf, Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Roan Van De Moosdijk and Längenfelder.
Entering race two, Vialle was one point ahead of Geerts in the championship and a good start was crucial to have the upper hand for the title. This time around the Fox Holeshot went to Geerts who immediately led with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Thibault Benistant right there in second ahead of de Wolf and Vialle.
Though by the end of the first lap, Vialle managed to get himself into second position, as he focused on Geerts ahead.
There was no doubt that the gloves were off between the pair, as Vialle charged down the inside of Geerts in what can only be described as a championship-worthy pass. Geerts needed to re-group, but a couple of mistakes allowed Vialle to pull away.
Vialle made mistakes of his own, which meant that Geerts was straight back onto his rear wheel and was not holding back. The Belgian made several attempts which were almost successful but not quite enough as Vialle was fast to respond.
Around the halfway mark, Vialle crashed which also took out Geerts who was right behind him and had no way of avoiding the Frenchman. Vialle was fast to get going which was a crucial moment for him as he managed to get away from Geerts before he got back on the bike.
The gap was up to 5.094 seconds immediately, but Geerts was on a mission and the purple sectors he was setting proved just that. Geerts was looking to challenge Vialle once again but crashed for the second time which was another tough moment for the Belgian.
The gap was up to 12.186 seconds which eventually Geerts was able to bring down but it was not enough to catch Vialle who won the race and sealed the deal to his second MX2 World title! Geerts crossed the line in second place ahead of Moosdijk, Benistant and Längenfelder.
And there was no denying who the overall winner was, as two race wins saw Vialle on the top step of the podium alongside Geerts and Moosdijk who made his first podium appearance since coming back from injury only a few rounds ago.
In the end, Vialle won the MX2 Championship with a 4-point advantage over Geerts who suffered heartbreak in second ahead of Längenfelder who was third.
Tom Vialle: “It was a great one, I mean I didn’t get the best start in the second race, but I passed Kay and Thibault and was second behind Jago. I felt good actually and then after two laps, I passed Jago on the start straight. Then Jago was pushing a lot, he passed me two times but I passed him back and then I had a little tip over, and I crashed… When I crashed, I thought, this is it, it’s finished, because we were both so fast, but when I saw that Jago crashed with me, I thought “no way” this is not possible and I managed to get going quickly. It was crazy and I was lucky there a little bit, but that is part of the game. It was a long race eventually, I was watching the clock a lot. I am happy, it was a tough season and to finish like this is so nice”.
Jago Geerts: “Honestly, I’m very disappointed. I really can’t believe my luck. I felt good on the track today and gave everything. In the first race I missed the start a little bit and then had a little crash, but still finished second. In the second race, I was just really unlucky with Tom crashing right in front of me and I could not avoid his bike. It cost me a lot of time, and then I had to push so hard to come back that I fell again, and from there it was game-over.”
Simon Längenfelder: “The first race in Matterley was the highlight for me as I went 1-1. It was a busy winter, moving to a different team, living in a different country and then in the first race to go 1-1, it meant that the work we did, and everything worked out in that race. But yeah, for sure this was my highlight… When you win the bronze medal, you try to get better in the next year. I will give my best and work hard in the winter. And yeah, then we will see if we can get the world championship next year”.
Top Photo: Tom Vialle
Bottom Photos: 1. Jago Geerts 2. Roan Van De Moosdijk
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 34:40.047; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:10.015; 3. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:18.089; 4. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Husqvarna), +0:25.823; 5. Simon Längenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +0:29.658; 6. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +0:39.076; 7. Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), +0:44.717; 8. Andrea Adamo (ITA, GASGAS), +0:45.908; 9. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Kawasaki), +0:48.473; 10. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +1:04.158;
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 33:51.211; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:06.022; 3. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Husqvarna), +0:23.505; 4. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:26.610; 5. Simon Längenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +0:27.812; 6. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:37.609; 7. Andrea Adamo (ITA, GASGAS), +0:57.357; 8. Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), +0:59.866; 9. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Kawasaki), +1:03.034; 10. Stephen Rubini (FRA, Honda), +1:24.307;
MX2 – GP Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 50 points; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 44 p.; 3. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, HUS), 38 p.; 4. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 35 p.; 5. Simon Längenfelder (GER, GAS), 32 p.; 6. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 29 p.; 7. Andrea Adamo (ITA, GAS), 27 p.; 8. Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), 27 p.; 9. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KAW), 24 p.; 10. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 24 p.;
MX2 – World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 758 points; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 754 p.; 3. Simon Längenfelder (GER, GAS), 596 p.; 4. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KAW), 527 p.; 5. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 510 p.; 6. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 445 p.; 7. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, KAW), 443 p.; 8. Andrea Adamo (ITA, GAS), 437 p.; 9. Stephen Rubini (FRA, HON), 384 p.; 10. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 310 p.;
MX2 – Manufacturers Classification: 1. Yamaha, 808 points; 2. KTM, 797 p.; 3. GASGAS, 652 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 601 p.; 5. Husqvarna, 496 p.; 6. Honda, 442 p.; 7. Fantic, 15 p.; 8. Suzuki, 11 p.;