The tenth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship saw intense battles that had the French crowd on the edge of their seats, with local hero Tom Vialle of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing giving his home crowd exactly what they wanted as he secured the Grand Prix win in MX2. While in MXGP, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer celebrated a hard-fought victory, his first of the season.
The French crowd was incredible and got behind their home riders, cheering them on at every corner of the racetrack which made for an incredible atmosphere. And with the predicted rain staying away for the races, the venue was in good condition for some awesome racing.
In MXGP race one, it was Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado who grabbed the Fox Holeshot as he led JM Honda Racing’s Henry Jacobi, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer and Millionair Racing’s Giuseppe Tropepe.
Meanwhile a number of riders got caught up in a first-turn pile-up which included Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and Mitch Evans, along with Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing’s Calvin Vlaanderen, Standing Construct Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff, among others.
Prado led the way, as Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Maxime Renaux got himself into 22nd on the opening lap, while Gajser worked is way up to 15th.
Prado set the fastest lap of the race and was looking to escape the grips of Seewer, as Jacobi remained in third.
Gajser made some more passes as he passed JT911 KTM’s Jordi Tixier and then Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP’s Ben Watson to get himself inside the top 10, and as he pushed to continue with such progress, made a big mistake which took him off line and almost left him down on the ground. He then focused on Honda 114 Motorsports’ Ruben Fernandez who was just ahead in seventh.
Back with the leaders though and the gap between Prado and Seewer began to come down considerably as the duo were separated by less than a second. The Swiss continued to apply the pressure for a number of laps, before being able to find his way through with just two laps to go.
In that time, Riley Racing’s Brent Van doninck also managed to pass Jacobi for third, while Gajser got around Fernandez and Beta SDM Corse’s Jeremy Van Horebeek for fifth.
Seewer won the race, with Prado second and Van doninck third.
In the second race, it was again Prado with the Fox Holeshot but this time he had Fantic Factory Team Maddii’s Nicholas Lapucci behind him, as well as Seewer, Benoit Paturel of Ship to Cycle Honda SR Motoblouz and Coldenhoff, who started much better that time around.
Gajser started down in 13th as Fernandez took fourth from Seewer, as Lapucci dropped down the order which put Paturel into second and Coldenhoff into third.
Pretty quickly, Coldenhoff took second from Paturel who crashed down hard not long after, which allowed Seewer into third.
Fernandez then had Renaux on his case as Gajser looked to join the battle after passing Watson for sixth.
Coldenhoff set the fastest lap of the race as he put up a fight to Prado, with Seewer pushing behind them. The trio battled closely for quite a while, as Renaux made a mistake and got passed by Gajser. The Honda rider then passed Fernandez in the same manner and was up in fourth.
Prado, Coldenhoff and Seewer fought each other intensely and on lap 10 Coldenhoff was able to find an opportunity to strike and get around Prado to become the new race leader. Seewer was looking to do the same as Gajser close in on the leaders too and joined the battle for the win.
Prado went wide, which allowed Seewer and Gajser to get even closer, but Gajser made a mistake and crashed, thus losing ground to the leaders.
Similarly, to race one, Prado got passed by Seewer with three laps to go and then focused on Coldenhoff, but Coldenhoff was able to keep a cool head and stay mistake free to secure the race victory, his first since 2020. He crossed the line ahead of Seewer, Prado, Gajser and Fernandez.
A win and a second gave Seewer the overall victory ahead of Prado and Coldenhoff who was tied on points with Gajser who once again missed the podium. Though the Team HRC rider leads the championship standings by 73 points over Renaux, while Seewer remains third though is just six points ahead of Prado in fourth.
Jeremy Seewer: “[Today was] Amazing. I mean, I started from the outside completely and mentally this was not easy, but we made it happen. It wasn’t only the track, but we also found a little progress in the whole set-up. I felt already yesterday a lot better than previous weeks, as I struggled with a few things for quite some weeks. But now, I’m back. I feel confident. I’m really happy with the GP win, I had to wait way too long. I felt ready way more early this year, but a few things came in between. Still a long season and many races to come. So, I’m looking forward to them”.
Jorge Prado: “Today the starts were good. Even from the outside, I could manage to block the other guys from the inside. I was riding quite ok, and I felt good in both races. The last laps were not the best, but I need to work on that. I felt good. So, I’m very happy with that. Last weekend, it was a pity to not get on the podium at the home GP, so, I’m happy I could bounce back and be here at least in second position. And I need to work a little bit on my physical side, obviously with the injury, I lost a bit. But hopefully soon, I will be back 100%. It’s very vital until the end of the race and I know I have it in the beginning, I just need to find a way to keep it until the end. So yeah, quite happy about today”.
Glenn Coldenhoff: “It’s definitely quite nice. You know, I crashed four times in one lap in the first race, I don’t know what I was doing. But yeah, it was very tough picking myself up every time and fighting back. The speed was good, I had really good lap times which gave me confidence for the second race. But with a 12th in race one I was not expecting a podium… but made it happen with a 12 and a one, which is of course, great, but I think I need to work a bit on my consistency. But the form is there, I feel very comfortable on my Yamaha and the team is putting in quite a lot of effort every time so I’m thankful for them”.
Tim Gajser: “It was a difficult GP. Starting from the outside in both races, so I kind of messed up on the start. First one I went down and had to come through from the back and even making some mistakes and crashing towards the end. Then at the second one, as well, the start was not the best, I was around 15th, but I caught up to the front guys, was able to make a pass but then made a little mistake again. I mean, I’m quite happy with the speed, just need to be more consistent. I’m also happy that I physically feel way better than previous GPs, like Sardinia and also Spain was really difficult for me. But anyway, I’m really looking forward to going to Germany”.
Main Photo: MXGP Start
Bottom Photos: 1. Jeremy Seewer 2. Jorge Prado
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), 34:57.531; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +0:05.336; 3. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Yamaha), +0:14.105; 4. Henry Jacobi (GER, Honda), +0:20.293; 5. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:23.459; 6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Beta), +0:29.766; 7. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Honda), +0:37.291; 8. Ben Watson (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:40.679; 9. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:46.524; 10. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:48.357;
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), 34:11.133; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:01.786; 3. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +0:06.128; 4. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:07.313; 5. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Honda), +0:19.403; 6. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:21.686; 7. Pauls Jonass (LAT, Husqvarna), +0:31.538; 8. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Beta), +0:34.791; 9. Ben Watson (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:36.742; 10. Mitchell Evans (AUS, Honda), +1:00.231;
MXGP – GP Top 10 Classification: 1. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 47 points; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 42 p.; 3. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 34 p.; 4. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 34 p.; 5. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 30 p.; 6. Brent Van doninck (BEL, YAM), 29 p.; 7. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, BET), 28 p.; 8. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 27 p.; 9. Ben Watson (GBR, KAW), 25 p.; 10. Pauls Jonass (LAT, HUS), 24 p.;
MXGP – World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 438 points; 2. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 365 p.; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 339 p.; 4. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 332 p.; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 306 p.; 6. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 272 p.; 7. Brian Bogers (NED, HUS), 243 p.; 8. Pauls Jonass (LAT, HUS), 220 p.; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, BET), 217 p.; 10. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 200 p.;
MXGP – Manufacturers Classification: 1. Honda, 445 points; 2. Yamaha, 443 p.; 3. GASGAS, 360 p.; 4. Husqvarna, 324 p.; 5. Beta, 217 p.; 6. Kawasaki, 198 p.; 7. KTM, 190 p.; 8. Fantic, 11 p.; 9. Suzuki, 10 p.;
In the opening MX2 race of the day, the Fox Holeshot went to Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Simon Längenfelder though F&H Kawasaki Racing’s Kevin Horgmo moved swiftly into the lead. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle was right there in third as Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Thibault Benistant was buried at the back of the field after problems in the start.
Vialle then got himself into second by lap two and then took just another lap before he was able to get around Horgmo for the lead. But he wasn’t able to run away with it as Horgmo, Längenfelder and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts were right there behind him, as the four riders battled intensely for the win.
As Horgmo and Längenfelder continued to challenge each other, Geerts was able to benefit from this as he got around both and went from fourth to second within a few moments.
Further down the order, Benistant was able to get himself into 10th, as Ship to Cycle Honda SR Motoblouz rider Stephen Rubini passed Hitachi KTM Fuelled by Milwaukee’s Isak Gifting for fifth. It’s where he ultimately finished the race.
As Geerts looked to close in on Vialle, he crashed but managed to pick himself up quickly without losing any positions though this allowed Vialle to open up a steady gap. But again, Geerts was on a charge and was able to take some time out of Vialle but could not get close enough by the chequered flag.
In the end, Vialle won the race ahead of Geerts, Längenfelder, Horgmo and Rubini.
In the second heat, the Fox Holeshot went to Vialle, but Benistant was able to find his way into the lead immediately as JM Honda Racing’s Petr Polak followed ahead of Horgmo and Guillen Farres.
Geerts was able to find his way into third early on as Gifting crashed out of seventh place and Längenfelder parked Big Van World MTX Kawasaki’s Mikkel Haarup for eighth. Horgmo dropped back on the opening lap but was ready to fight back as he got around SM Action Racing Team YUASA Battery’s Andrea Adamo for sixth.
Rubini was running well inside the top five during the first couple of laps before crashing and dropping back to outside the top 20.
Benistant was looking comfortable in the lead as Geerts found his way up to second with a couple of fastest laps of the race, while Vialle dropped to third. Vialle then crashed and lost grip on the leaders, as it became a two-man show at the front with two teammates battling each other for the win.
Diga Procross KTM Racing’s Liam Everts was also looking solid in the opening stages before dropping three spots within a lap as Horgmo, Adamo and Längenfelder went by.
Despite his best efforts, Geerts could not find his opportunity to make a pass on Benistant who was being urged on by his home crowd. After numerous attempts, Benistant was able to keep Geerts at bay and secure the race win. Geerts was second ahead of Vialle, Horgmo and Längenfelder.
A win and a third gave Vialle the overall victory, while Geerts was forced to settle for second with a consistent 2-2 result ahead of Benistant who celebrated on the third step of the podium.
As it stands, Vialle is now 11 points ahead of Geerts in the championship standings with Längenfelder down in third.
Tom Vialle: “It was really amazing. The weekend was good, yesterday was pretty tough in the qualifying race and I had seventh position for today. For the start I was pretty safe because the inside was quite good. In the first race I was struggling a little bit, I wasn’t riding fully like myself but I could hear the public and they pushed me a lot to win the first race. And then in the second race, Thibault, Jago and me were pushing quite hard and I had a small crash, so I knew straight away that, that was done because we were riding really fast and I couldn’t catch them again. I didn’t know that I won the GP, but I was really happy when I found out”.
Jago Geerts: “I’m happy about today with the two second places. Yesterday, I didn’t even know if I could ride today, but the physio worked hard on my shoulder and he did a good job and I felt pretty good today. I had good speed and finished second, so I can be happy with this”.
Thibault Benistant: “It was a little bit tough in the first one with the small issue in the first corner, so I started completely last and had to fight really hard to come back. But I pushed until the end because I knew it was a good race, everything is possible. I just gave everything and in the second race I really wanted to make it up to the fans and prove a little bit myself. I was just riding really free and I was feeling good. I pushed and I was able to take the win”.
Top Photo: Tom Vialle
Bottom Photos: 1. Jago Geerts 2. Thibault Benistant
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 35:05.601; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:01.451; 3. Simon Längenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +0:20.877; 4. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Kawasaki), +0:30.875; 5. Stephen Rubini (FRA, Honda), +0:36.804; 6. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +0:40.889; 7. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, Kawasaki), +0:43.714; 8. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:47.257; 9. Isak Gifting (SWE, KTM), +0:55.892; 10. Andrea Adamo (ITA, GASGAS), +0:58.158;
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), 34:01.927; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:01.655; 3. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +0:24.933; 4. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Kawasaki), +0:26.728; 5. Simon Längenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +0:35.451; 6. Andrea Adamo (ITA, GASGAS), +0:54.400; 7. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +1:22.819; 8. Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), +1:26.609; 9. Tom Guyon (FRA, KTM), +1:31.603; 10. Kay Karssemakers (NED, KTM), +1:53.495;
MX2 – GP Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 45 points; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 44 p.; 3. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 38 p.; 4. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KAW), 36 p.; 5. Simon Längenfelder (GER, GAS), 36 p.; 6. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 29 p.; 7. Andrea Adamo (ITA, GAS), 26 p.; 8. Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), 23 p.; 9. Isak Gifting (SWE, KTM), 22 p.; 10. Tom Guyon (FRA, KTM), 21 p.;
MX2 – World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 427 points; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 416 p.; 3. Simon Längenfelder (GER, GAS), 323 p.; 4. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KAW), 295 p.; 5. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, KAW), 281 p.; 6. Andrea Adamo (ITA, GAS), 253 p.; 7. Isak Gifting (SWE, KTM), 232 p.; 8. Stephen Rubini (FRA, HON), 223 p.; 9. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 221 p.; 10. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 211 p.;
MX2 – Manufacturers Classification: 1. KTM, 447 points; 2. Yamaha, 445 p.; 3. GASGAS, 373 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 351 p.; 5. Honda, 272 p.; 6. Husqvarna, 236 p.; 7. Suzuki, 4 p.;