Febvre and Prado Run Pole in Russia.
The first day at the 2019 PATRON MXGP of Russia was a wild one full of action in Orlyonok. The seaside venue and warm weather combined MXGP and MX2 Qualifying action with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Romain Febvre and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado victorious.
The Russian round also included racing from European Championship classes of EMX250 and EMX2T presented by FMF Racing. Today saw the first of the two races in each category and while tomorrow will host the overall deciding results championship points were both gained, and lost, this afternoon.
EMX250 Race 1 was led by the #711 of KTM Junior Racing’s Rene Hofer but the F&H Racing Kawasaki of Roan van de Moosdijk came for around fourth off the start to take the lead and subsequent win. Team Maddii Racing Husqvarna’s Alberto Forato crashed while trying to come through the pack to eventually finish 14th dropping his points lead over Honda Redmoto Assomotor’s Stephen Rubini to only 5 after the Frenchman finished in 3rd. EMX2T presented by FMF Racing on the other hand had a new winner after Todd Kellett took the lead off the start and led all the way the finish for the first win of his career.
With defending MXGP World Champion Jeffrey Herlings returning on his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine interest was high as the gate dropped for today’s qualifying. Herlings was however beat out on the start by another former champion just back from injury, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Romain Febvre. Herlings then fell on the first lap putting him well outside the top 20.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle, who has won this event the past 2 seasons, was in second behind Febvre. Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP’s Gautier Paulin ran third while Team HRC’s Tim Gajser made it past both Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli and Team VHR KTM’s Jordi Tixier.
Cairoli and Standing Construct KTM’s Max Anstie also were quick to get by Tixier. By the 6th lap Herlings had made his way up to 19th while his KTM teammate, Cairoli, applied pressure to Gajser for 3rd after they both had passed Desalle. On the next lap Cairoli hit the ground hard just ahead of Desalle who also crashed while trying to miss the wayward KTM. Cairoli was slow to get up but rode back to Pit Lane and is expected to race tomorrow.
Desalle was passed by Anstie and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Jeremy Seewer as a result of the fall but remounted his Kawasaki to hold on to 6th. Gajser took over 2nd from Paulin in the meantime but Febvre scored the win, his 2ndqualifying win of the rounds he has competed in this year.
Herlings managed to get up to 16thwhile Russian MXGP superstar Evgeny Bobryshev took 11thon his BOS Factory bike in front of the home crowd. Cairoli’s fellow Italian, Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki Racing’s Alessandro Lupino, also crashed out of today’s qualifying but his status for tomorrow is unknown.
Romain Febvre, “I felt good today, this week I was really sick again, but today I felt much better since the morning. I had a good day, second in time practice, and a really good start which on this kind of track to get a holeshot is really helpful and after I could chose my lines and just ride my lines without risk since I had no one in front of me.”
Clement Desalle, “It was good to win the last two years here. It is a nice race, the first year was in mud last year I won in dry conditions, so it is good. Today a made some mistakes and also Antonio Cairoli crashed big right in front of me and I had to brake hard then I had a big crash as well, I had bent handlebars but I could finish 6th which is a good spot for the start tomorrow.”
Evgeny Bobryshev, “For me it is important to race here, and I am happy that I could make it, especially after Argentina and taking two months rest missing so many races. I am quite happy I finished 11th. It is really nice to be in Russia and I haven’t been here for over 6 months so coming here with my own language, Russian food, and many friends I am really enjoying life and riding.”
Jeffrey Herlings, “I almost took the holeshot but Romain went a bit wide so I was back in 4th place and then going down the hill my front end washed away. It is good to be back racing though and it has been three weeks I have been on the bike. I think it is normal, you can’t expect after such a long time off the bike and then only a short time back on the bike to compete with these guys who are the best in the world. I think it is important to just be smart and take these next three races as training then towards the end of the season be back on the podium and back winning.”
MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), 24:57.281; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:01.614; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:12.408; 4. Max Anstie (GBR, KTM), +0:23.785; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:28.076; 6. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:31.789; 7. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, Husqvarna), +0:34.015; 8. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:37.227; 9. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +0:40.573; 10. Pauls Jonass (LAT, Husqvarna), +0:43.399.
MX2 Qualifying started with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle leading but the young Frenchman made a mistake on the uphill losing momentum and allowing BIKE IT DRT Kawasaki’s Darian Sanayei to take over the lead.
The American’s time at the front was short lived however as he tipped over in a rut giving Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha Official MX2’s Jago Geerts the top spot. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado was in second but before the next lap was complete, he took the spot from Geerts.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsen was in third but also moved past Geerts. Sanayei was then caught by a handful of riders first losing 4thto Vialle before Yamaha SM Action MC Migliori’s Michele Cervellin and Honda 114 Motorsports’ Mitch Evans dropped him further back to 7th.
Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha Official MX2’s Ben Watson would have been the next rider to challenge Sanayei but instead lost control of his Yamaha on the takeoff of the finish jump crashing hard and later rejoining the race in 28th.
Sanayei did however lose one more position to Honda Redmoto Assomotor’s Mathys Boisrame 6 laps later. Evans pushed his way past Cervellin and Vialle to take 4th in the late stages of the race while Prado took the win ahead of Olsen and Geerts, Vialle eventually finished 6th, Sanayei 8th, and Watson 25th.
Jorge Prado, “Today was a good day and I felt good already in the Free Practice. I had a good start which was important, a top 5, and then I made my way up to first with a good rhythm so I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 23:33.278; 2. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:09.086; 3. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:20.662; 4. Mitchell Evans (AUS, Honda), +0:25.820; 5. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Yamaha), +0:31.700; 6. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +0:34.378; 7. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, Honda), +0:41.274; 8. Darian Sanayei (USA, Kawasaki), +0:42.056; 9. Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:42.340; 10. Henry Jacobi (GER, Kawasaki), +0:43.477.