|Nine-times world champ Tony Cairoli broke his nose and lost the red plate while MXGP ‘rookie’ Jorge Prado captured his fourth podium result of 2020 and his third in a row with 3rd place overall at the Grand Prix of Lombardia. Then the Spaniard was denied a second victory with the KTM 450 SX-F after penalization for jumping while yellow flags were waved in the second moto at Mantova.
MXGP gathered at the narrow, bumpy and shallow sand of the Tazio Nuvolari circuit in Mantova for the third ‘triple header’ of 2020 and the first of three attempts at the Italian venue this week. Red Bull KTM were without Jeffrey Herlings and Rene Hofer for the sunny but windy Grand Prix of Lombardia.
MXGP Jorge Prado – The Spaniard made his customary fast start in the first moto and slotted in behind Jeremy Seewer. He tried to pressurize the Swiss and minimized mistakes across a track that was bumpy and rippled. Prado, the winner of the 2019 MX2 GP at Mantova, brought the KTM 450 SX-F home as runner-up. In the second race Prado defied intense pressure from Romain Febvre and scored another well-earned 2nd place. The 2-2 was enough for his second overall victory, however the double MX2 World Champion was later demoted to 4th position after having been judged to have jumped while yellow flags were waved. The new ranking of 2-4 bumped Prado to 3rd on the rostrum. Tony Cairoli – The championship leader leapt away from 13th place in the gate and tussled for the top four in the opening corners of the first moto. #222 did not have the speed to chase Prado and Seewer but his rhythm kept him out of reach of Glenn Coldenhoff and he confirmed 3rd position. In the second moto Cairoli made a mid-pack start but suffered two crashes, the second leading to a broken nose. He still managed to complete the race in 15th spot for 8th overall. Cairoli slips behind Tim Gajser in the standings but is just 5 points away from the Slovenian.
Jorge Prado: “The victory was in my hands today. I feel I deserved it. It was a very good day and to win twice in this very tough class in my first year is something to be happy about. I sweated my shirt in that second moto to stay in second place. My speed wasn’t quite as good as the first moto but I’d made steps in recent weeks with my physical condition and the bike was working so well. I can take confidence from the way we finished.”
Tony Cairoli: “Today started good and I was happy with the third place because the track was pretty sketchy. It was positive to take those points. My start wasn’t so bad in the second moto but when I was coming across some riders to make positions I clipped the wheel of another and crashed. I had to come back from last and use the Goggle Lane because my roll-off was finished. I was feeling great and pushing. Then I had another fall when I went sideways on the first uphill and hit my face quite heavily. I wanted to keep going for some points. Of course, it is not the result we want – and we must avoid mistakes. I broke my nose but it could have been worse. We didn’t keep the red plate but we’ll be ready to go again and try for the podium on Wednesday.”
Tom Vialle – Another brilliant holeshot and escape from the rest of the MX2 pack gave Tom Vialle his eighth moto win of the year on the KTM 250 SX-F. The Frenchman could not repeat the start in the second race and contact in the opening stages of the moto caused damage to his front wheel. Vialle nursed his bike to the flag for 14th and 6th on the day. His persistence was rewarded: his championship lead has now increased to 30 points.
Tom Vialle: “A holeshot and good first moto win even though the track was quite difficult and sketchy in some places. In the second moto I had contact with another rider and that gave me a problem with my front wheel and it didn’t feel so stable. I just rode to take some points. I need to work on two good starts for Wednesday. At least we took more points for the championship: that was important. We need to keep focused for the rest of this week.” The Tazio Nuvolari circuit will stage round ten – the Grand Prix Citta de Mantova – on Weds 30th.