Gajser and Olsen take Qualifying Wins in Britain.
The 2019 MXGP of Great Britain at Matterley Basin has seen its first day of racing action with a full schedule and a stacked field of the world’s best motocross riders. Today it was Team HRC’s Tim Gajserand Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsenwho made the most of Matterley Basin taking their respective MXGP and MX2 Qualifying Race wins.
The grass carpeted hillsides of the venue were topped by the even more impressive conditions on the track as the long list of sessions were completed throughout the day. The MXGP and MX2 Qualifying was held alongside the Qualification and first races of the talented classes of EMX250 and EMX2T presented by FMF Racing.
EMX250 racing was dominated by Team Maddii Racing Husqvarna’s Alberto Forato after he took away the early lead from SDMCORSE-YAMAHA EMX250’s Ruben Fernandez. Meanwhile it was not just the first race of the season that took place for EMX2T presented by FMF Racing but also the first ever in the new championship. Taking the win was Verde Substance KTM’s Brad Andersonand he did so after taking away the lead from his former 300cc rival, Team Ecomaxx Fuels’ Mike Kras, in front of his home fans.
MXGP action was first underway early in the day with the Free and Timed Practice sessions taken by Team HRC Tim Gajser with Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle setting almost identical lap times.
When the Qualifying race started off Gajser spun on the gate and was at the back of the pack while Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairolitook the lead. Desalle also suffered misfortune early as he fell coming into turn 3 and was clipped by another rider.
Both Gajser and Desalle were able to rebound however but Gajser in the most impressive form coming from essentially last in turn 1 to the top 4 by the end of the first lap. While Cairoli led Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Jeremy Seewerwas in second but after only a couple of laps the #243 of Gajser took over. Seewer then lost another spot to a Honda but this one was piloted by Honda SR Motoblouz’s Jeremy Van Horebeek.
2 Laps later the factory Yamaha of Seewer was passed by Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP’s Gautier Paulinwhich sandwiched Seewer between the Frenchman and the other Wilvo rider Arnaud Tonus. All the while Standing Construct KTM’s local hero Max Anstie was working his way forward from an unfortunate opening lap to catch Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing’s Julien Lieber.
As the last lap got under way Cairoli looked in control and ready to cruise to the qualifying win but a still pushing Gajser keep the Italian on his toes. Eventually Cairoli fell with half a lap to go which surrendered the lead to Gajser who takes his first win since almost exactly 1 year ago. Also making a last lap pass was Anstie which gave the Brit 7th while fellow British rider Shaun Simpson from RFX KTM Racingtook 12th and BOS Factory’s Tommy Searlewas unable to complete a full lap due to a bike issue.
Tim Gajser, “I tried to fight hard to pass as many guys as possible… then I passed Jeremy (Seewer) for second place and it was just Tony (Cairoli) in front of me so I tried to close that gap but on the last lap he made the mistake and I took the win. I am really happy and looking forward to tomorrow, I think we are going to have some good racing.”
Max Anstie, “I came through from quite a way back up to 7th and I felt solid so I got good gate pick for tomorrow. The track is good, the weather is good, I’m back at home so I’m ready to go out and rock and roll tomorrow!”
MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 26:05.801; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:08.020; 3. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Honda), +0:19.843; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:22.694; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:29.642; 6. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +0:31.455; 7. Max Anstie (GBR, KTM), +0:32.561; 8. Julien Lieber (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:36.612; 9. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:47.480; 10. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki), +0:53.543.
MX2 is expected to host some of the most interesting and intense racing tomorrow and today showed exactly why. With the current points leader and defending champion Jorge Prado from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing missing the action this weekend the winning desire of every other MX2 rider is stronger than ever.
Today’s intensity started off with BIKE IT DRT Kawasaki’s Darian Sanayeishowing massive speed with the holeshot and lead but the American’s energy quickly wore off as he is still recovering from an illness, nonetheless his speed was impressive and worthy of note. Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha Official MX2’s Ben Watsoncame into today with added stress of racing at home but worked it to his advantage fighting for the lead early.
Watson battled with the German F&H Racing Teamrider Henry Jacobi aggressively but then lost his position to Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsen. Olsen was on a charge forward after a mid-pack start but after getting by Watson for 2nd on lap 2 the Dane then went after Jacobi for the lead.
The battle for the premier spot though relatively was definitely not easy and extremely intense as the pair went all out. The racing was so close that the duo actually collided just prior to the takeoff on one of the fastest and biggest jumps on track, an uphill quad.
The encounter provoked Olsen to charge past Jacobi shortly after and then dispatch the German and create a gap. While the exchange for the lead occurred Honda 114 Motorsport’s Mitch Evans progressed from 7th to 4th and British rider Conrad Mewse from Hitachi KTM UKpushed from 11th to and impressive 5th passing new Red Bull KTM Factory RacingMX2 rider Tom Vialle 2 laps prior to the finish.
As the race winded down Watson and Jacobi went back at and though Watson took 2nd from the #29 at the midpoint it didn’t last. Jacobi impressively regrouped, followed Watson’s lines, and passed his way back into the runner up position. Olsen’s Qualifying win makes him 2 for 2 this season and well likely give him addition confidence prior to tomorrow’s gate drops.
Thomas Kjer Olsen, “I just worked my way up and wanted make quick moves because the roost was gnarly out there, the track is really good for passing and I worked up to first. Then I just really tried to focus on putting in good laps and I tried some news lines, but I can’t wait for race day tomorrow and hopefully we can get another win!”
MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), 26:42.516; 2. Henry Jacobi (GER, Kawasaki), +0:06.037; 3. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:07.161; 4. Mitchell Evans (AUS, Honda), +0:23.161; 5. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:24.648; 6. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +0:31.087; 7. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:32.579; 8. Davy Pootjes (NED, Husqvarna), +0:37.963; 9. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Honda), +0:39.057; 10. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:42.40