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KTM young guns rule in Faenza

Round seven of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Faenza saw Red Bull KTM Factory Racing sweep the podiums in MXGP and MX2 as Jorge Prado and Tom Vialle were victorious in the categories. For Prado this was a special moment as he took his first MXGP career overall win, during his rookie season. Meanwhile his team-mate took his first double race win of the season in MX2.

Though it was a bittersweet day for the KTM squad as one name missing from the races was the MXGP Championship leader, Jeffrey Herlings. The red plate holder crashed during free practice this morning, landing awkwardly on the second jump and taking most of the impact on his upper body. As a result, the Dutchman missed out on the GP after being taken to hospital for further checks as a precaution.

As the gate dropped for the first MXGP race of the day, it was Jorge Prado who claimed the first Fox Holeshot of the day. He was closely followed by Team HRC’s Mitch Evans, Jeremy Seewer of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory RacingMonster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre, Antonio Cairoli of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Tim Gajser of Team HRC.

Evans was looking impressive as he was pushing to pass Prado for the lead, though Seewer was edging closer to the Honda rider and was becoming a real threat in the race.

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Arminas Jasikonis was among a group of riders who crashed out on the first lap and was down outside the top 20 on the opening laps.

By lap 3, Seewer was already in second after successfully passing Evans. Then came Febvre who also passed the Australian and moved himself into P3. Cairoli was next to pass Evans and then came Gajser.

A couple of laps later we saw a change in the lead as Seewer was finally able to find a way to pass Prado and move into P1.

Evans then continued to lose positions, as Alessandro Lupino of Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing was the next rider to pass the factory rider, and then came Glenn Coldenhoff with his Standing Construct GasGas Factory machine, pushing Evans down to 8th.

As Seewer extended his lead to 3.2 seconds, Prado was starting to come under pressure from Febvre, with the top three riders holding a nice gap to Cairoli who was fourth at the time.

With 3 laps to go, Seewer was already 6.6 seconds ahead, with Prado a further 6 seconds or so ahead of Febvre. Meanwhile further down the field, Jasikonis was up in 10th after passing Clement Desalle of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing.

With 2 laps to go, Evans then came under fire from Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin, who pushed the Honda rider down to 9th.

In the end, Seewer went on to take his first ever MXGP race win, as Prado crossed the line second and Febvre third.

The second MXGP race saw Prado and Cairoli out in the lead, with Prado taking yet another Fox Holeshot. Meanwhile Seewer was down in 14th after a difficult start, which left him with a lot of work to do if he wanted to fight for a podium spot.

Prado then led the way as Gajser moved into P2 pushing Cairoli down a position. It then didn’t take long for Gajser to catch Prado and start to apply the pressure for the lead.

Meanwhile, Seewer was working to make up the positions as he moved in 7th and caught on to the back of Desalle. He struggled to pass Desalle for quite some time, and even missed out on a position as Febvre also caught up to the pair and was able to pass both.

On lap 5 Gajser became the new race leader after passing Prado, with Cairoli third and Evans having another solid run in fourth ahead of Coldenhoff and Febvre.

Jasikonis was having a much better start to the race in the second MXGP race as he moved into the top 10 and caught up with Desalle, who he passed on lap 6 for 8th in the race.

Moments later it seemed like Prado was pushing for his first MXGP race win as only 0.7 seconds kept him from Gajser. And as Gajser defended the lead from the KTM rider, his team-mate started to challenge Cairoli, who he passed. Evans then continued to push forward, even setting the fastest lap of the race, which gave us hopes of potentially seeing a HRC 1-2 in the second heat.

As the race progressed, Seewer found himself on the ground, though he did not lose any positions.

Evans then caught on to the back of Prado, but as the race progressed, he started to make a few mistakes as Cairoli switched up a gear and started to go after the Australian. With just 2 laps to, Cairoli was able to move past Evans and finish the race in 3rd.

In the end it was Gajser who took his first race win here in Faenza, with Prado finishing second once again and Cairoli third, on his 250th Grand Prix attendance!

It was a special moment for Jorge Prado who took his first ever MXGP overall victory, with Gajser finishing second and Seewer taking to the first step of the podium despite finishing the race in 7th.

In terms of the championship, despite missing the Grand Prix, Herlings remained the championship leader, with Cairoli a further 22 points back in second and Gajser 4 more points back in third.

Jorge Prado: “Already a podium in Latvia was already a big achievement for me after a rough start to the year and now getting this win. Winning is so difficult because you have to put together two good races together and two good starts and these guys are pushing hard. In every single race you give it all until the last lap. I had two good starts, just two mistakes in both races which maybe cost me a race win. I’m still very happy because that last race was a very tough one, I was pushing very hard and I really wanted to get that win, but I’m supper happy”.

“Just doing a 35 minute race in a track like this is rough and to battle with these guys until the last lap is even more challenging, these guys are pushing at every single lap and you got to stay there and if you go a bit slower they pass you everywhere, if one passes you everybody starts passing you. Last Sunday I got passed a lot so this time I’ve got to stay on two wheels but give it my all and I got the second position for first overall.”

Tim Gajser: “Being back at the front is a good feeling. The last couple of rounds have been a struggle for me with a little bit of bad luck and some mistakes so today I’m quite satisfied, first of all I had a little bit of bad luck but anyway I did my best and finished 5th, in the second one I got the win so I’m happy”.

“I was putting a lot of pressure in the beginning of the season about the championship, so now I just want to go out there and have fun, ride like I know and that’s the goal now for the future”.

Jeremy Seewer: “First of all, the day started really well. In the first race I got a good start, got good flow and could take the lead and finally I won a race. It felt really good to be on the top in the MXGP class. And then the second race started horrible and I can’t even explain why my start was horrible, my bike just dropped completely on the RPM and stood still, had to go through the pack and was around fifteenth. Managed really well but then, Desalle is really hard to pass, I got stuck behind him for a few laps. I played catch-up, started to catch the first group and then I tried to get Romain and had a small crash. That was it, still on the podium and overall still a positive day with a race win and having a good position. I’m looking forward to the next one.”

MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), 35:00.143; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:15.681; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:34.451; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:36.731; 5. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:40.143; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GASGAS), +0:46.374; 7. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Yamaha), +0:48.024; 8. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:49.952; 9. Mitchell Evans (AUS, Honda), +0:50.234; 10. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, Husqvarna), +1:00.342.

MXGP – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 35:30.119; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:04.289; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:05.114; 4. Mitchell Evans (AUS, Honda), +0:07.098; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GASGAS), +0:08.679; 6. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:13.530; 7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:14.697; 8. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, Husqvarna), +0:39.999; 9. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:43.128; 10. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:48.777.

MXGP – Top 10 GP Classification: 1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 44 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 41 p.; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 39 p.; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 38 p.; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 35 p.; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GAS), 31 p.; 7. Mitchell Evans (AUS, HON), 30 p.; 8. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, HUS), 24 p.; 9. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 24 p.; 10. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, YAM), 23 p.

MXGP – Top 10 World Championship Classification: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 263 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 241 p.; 3. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 237 p.; 4. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 217 p.; 5. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, HUS), 210 p.; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GAS), 204 p.; 7. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 197 p.; 8. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 179 p.; 9. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 172 p.; 10. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 168 p.

MXGP – Manufacturers Classification: 1. KTM, 314 points; 2. Honda, 272 p.; 3. Yamaha, 256 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 237 p.; 5. GASGAS, 218 p.; 6. Husqvarna, 213 p.;

Main Photo: Jorge Prado

Bottom Photos: 1. Tim Gajser; 2. Jeremy Seewer

In the first MX2 race, it was Tom Vialle and Jago Geerts of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing who got out in front early during the race. Though it was Vialle who claimed the Fox Holeshot.

As the riders made their way around the circuit, a couple of riders came together which saw F&H Kawasaki Racing’s Roan Van de Moosdijk and Mikkel Haarup both involved. Van de Moosdijk re-joined the race, though his team-mate did not.  

Mattia Guadagnini of Husqvarna Junior Racing Maddii got off to a fantastic start and in the opening lap was able to slip into the lead while Vialle, Geerts and Maxime Renaux of Yamaha SM Action M.C Migliori J1 Racing just behind. Though as Renaux made a move on Geerts, the factory Yamaha then came under fire from the third F&H Kawasaki Racing rider Mathys Boisrame. But Geerts was able to respond and hold on to fourth place.

A couple of laps later and Vialle started to close in on Guadagnini who was having a stellar ride in the lead, though by lap five that 2.7 second gap was starting to come down and just a lap later Vialle was the new race leader.

Guadagnini then came under fire from Renaux, who was trying to also fend off a hard charging Geerts. Geerts then passed Renaux, though the Yamaha SM Action M.C Migliori J1 Racing fought back immediately. The battle for second continued for a few more laps, until Renaux was finally able to pass Guadagnini. Geerts was the next rider to pass Guadagnini, as he moved up into third.

By lap 10 the top then looked like this: Vialle led Renaux and Geerts, with Guadagnini behind getting caught by Boisrame as well as Thomas Kjer Olsen from Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing MX2.

Just a lap later and Vialle was already in the lead by 5.108 seconds, while Renaux was doing a great job of fending off Geerts and Boisrame was starting to apply the pressure for 4th place. By the end of the lap he was able to make the pass stick.

Then Olsen joined in on the fun, as he caught and passed Guadagnini on lap 12 and was going after the #172 of Boisrame. Though at the front of the field Geerts was caught up on the back of Renaux as he started to push for a higher position in the race.

In the end it was Vialle who was victorious in the first heat, with Renaux successfully defending 2nd place and Geerts finishing in 3rd.

In MX2 race 2, Tom Vialle got another flyer out of the gate and was the early leader of the race. Jago Geerts and Maxime Renaux were also there, as Jed Beaton of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing got off to an awesome start and was 4th in the race.

Boisrame then caught on to the back of Beaton, with SDM Corse Yamaha’s Ruben Fernandez and Olsen right there as well. Beaton was able to respond, get closer to Renaux and pass him for P3. Boisrame then did the same and was up in 3rd on lap 3.

As Boisrame moved up a position, he then went after Geerts. He set the fastest lap time of the race on lap 4 and was getting closer to the factory Yamaha rider. Though as Boisrame pushed Geerts, the two quickly caught on to the back of Vialle, who was leading the way by just 1.4 seconds.

PAR Homes RFX Husqvarna rider Josh Gilbert was having a good ride in 11th, ahead of Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee, Guadagnini and Alvin Ostlund of Honda Racing Assomotor.

On lap 8, Renaux was down in 7th and getting caught by Fernandez, while there was drama at the front of the field with Geerts going down. He managed to pick himself up in 13th to eventually finish the race in 9th place. Boisrame moved into 2nd and Beaton was 3rd.

Vialle continued to lead by 5.9 seconds and setting his best lap time in the second half of the race. Boisrame and Beaton were also there, with Olsen and Watson closing in too.

With just a few laps left of the race, Boisrame made a mistake and went down hard. He did not re-join the race.

On the last two laps of the race Vialle was already 11 seconds ahead of P2, with Beaton coming under fire from his team-mate, Olsen, who was keen to get a good result. Though in the end Vialle was the winner, with Beaton holding on to that second place and Olsen finishing in P3.

In terms of the podium, it was Vialle who took to the top step, with Renaux in second and Olsen making a long-awaited podium return in third! In the championship standings, Vialle continues to lead by 21 points, with Geerts second and Renaux third.

Tom Vialle: “Today it was a really good day, I was really focused all day today. In the morning I was ready but not perfect like on Sunday. In the first race I got the holeshot and I passed Mattia Guadagnini after a few laps, I rode the rest of the race to take the win, so it was really good. The second race also it was a bit hard because Jago was pushing me and I was trying to stay focused and not to make any mistakes, the ruts were deep but I was feeling very good. First time going 1-1 was great and I’m really happy”

“There are still some races to do and it’s important to stay focused, actually I don’t look so much at the other guys, I just try to focus on myself, do my best every race and not look so much at the championship”.

Maxime Renaux: “The first race was very good; I managed to get a good start and then move into second position and I tried to catch Tom, but he was already ahead, I didn’t quite manage to do it. Then in the second race, I started good also but then I didn’t find the flow of the race and it just took me some time to get going and then I crashed on the top of the track. I just tried to keep it on two wheels and not to crash and I managed to save fourth position for second overall so that’s a good day for me”.

Thomas Kjer Olsen: “I’ve definitely been struggling all year with injuries and coming back. But I’m starting to be able to ride without pain and it just feels good in general because I can just focus on racing again. It’s just taking a bit of time to get that intensity back of the racing but I’m super stoked with this podium because this morning and even last time I felt like I was getting better and better as I was riding more but was not feeling really good and today was awesome. Just like everybody’s been saying that second race was super tough, and I was just trying to ride smart and to not do anything stupid and it worked out well. I saw a lot of guys going down, so I’m just happy about the podium, I’m happy for the team and happy for myself”.

MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 35:25.198; 2. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:02.327; 3. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:04.570; 4. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:21.659; 5. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:28.291; 6. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:28.668; 7. Stephen Rubini (FRA, Honda), +0:36.988; 8. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Yamaha), +0:38.234; 9. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:39.327; 10. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:51.162.

MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 34:23.246; 2. Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:06.470; 3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:09.420; 4. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:29.500; 5. Stephen Rubini (FRA, Honda), +0:31.200; 6. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:32.208; 7. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Yamaha), +0:37.841; 8. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:42.166; 9. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:47.968; 10. Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), +0:49.582.

MX2 – GP Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 50 points; 2. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 40 p.; 3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 38 p.; 4. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 32 p.; 5. Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 31 p.; 6. Stephen Rubini (FRA, HON), 30 p.; 7. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, HUS), 28 p.; 8. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, YAM), 27 p.; 9. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 26 p.; 10. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 22 p.

MX2 – World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 307 points; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 286 p.; 3. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 236 p.; 4. Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 209 p.; 5. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, KAW), 182 p.; 6. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, KAW), 177 p.; 7. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 161 p.; 8. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 153 p.; 9. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 141 p.; 10. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, YAM), 130 p.

MX2 – Manufacturers Classification: 1. Yamaha, 320 points; 2. KTM, 310 p.; 3. Kawasaki, 249 p.; 4. Husqvarna, 231 p.; 5. Honda, 155 p.; 6. GASGAS, 81 p.