Gajser and Prado Go Pole in Trentino.
The 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship continued today with Qualifying races of MXGP and MX2 taking to the amazing circuit of Trentino, Italy. Finding the first wins of the weekend were Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado.
Along with the World Championship Qualifying day it was also the Qualifying and first races of FIM Europe’s EMX250 and EMX125 presented by FMF Racing classes. The second round for the two European Championship’s started out with nearly 200 entries between the two categories. Once the qualifying practices refined the field down to 40 rider each it was time for Race 1 of EMX125 presented by FMF Racing where hometown points leader Mattia Guadagini had another dominant performance leading each of the 15 laps for the win.
EMX250 Race 1, following the timed practice sessions of MX2 and MXGP, started in dramatic fashion with pile ups in both the first and second turn. Leading the first lap was Creymert Racing’s Kevin Horgmo but Honda Redmoto Assomotor’s Stephen Rubini took over from the second lap and led until a mistake on lap 10 letting the red plated Maddii Racing Husqvarna of Alberto Forato by who went on to claim his 3rd race win of the 3 races so far in 2019. The second races of both EMX250 and EMX125 presented by FMF Racing will start the action Sunday prior to the world championship races of MXGP and MX2.
Most eyes this weekend are on Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli as both the Italian favorite at home and the MXGP championship leader. However, Team HRC’s Tim Gajser is nearly as popular with many Slovenian fans making the trip to see the country’s motocross superstar in action.
Today the pair proved their hype was real as Gajser took the holeshot and lead while Cairoli ran in 2nd. The third-place rider, Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP’s Arnaud Tonus, was off to his best performance of the season on the start.
Much to the Italian crowd’s delight 3 Italian were fighting in the top 5 with Cairoli 2nd and Standing Construct KTM’s Ivo Monticelli leading Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki’s Alessandro Lupino in 4th.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass was in 6th with JWR Yamaha’s Anton Gole having a surprising ride in 7th. Gole did lose his spot to Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP’s Gautier Paulin on lap 2 however.
Paulin then would catch Jonass for 6th but the Latvian MXGP rookie proved to be a hard customer to pass slamming the door in Paulin’s face several times. Lap 7 was the lucky one for Paulin who finally found his way around the #41 on his former colors.
Meanwhile the battle for the lead intensified as the race approached its conclusion. A gap that was over 2 seconds quickly shrunk to less than a second with only two laps to go. Cairoli applied pressure to the Slovenian with the roar of both riders‘ fans pushing them on. On the final lap Gajser stayed strong and took the win over Cairoli by only 0.549 seconds! Tonus took third while Monticelli took a well-deserved 4th ahead of Paulin.
Tim Gajser: „I have a good Saturday behind us. I had good speed today and the start was good so I’m really happy and we’re looking forward to tomorrow. It’s a great atmosphere here and tomorrow we expect even more fans from Slovenia, it’s just unbelievable and I’m really thankful to have so many supporters here.“
Antonio Cairoli, „It’s very nice to race here in Italy because you see a lot of people that you don’t normally see, a lot of fans but even people who used to ride with me when I was riding on small bikes in the Italian Championship. I really enjoy these Italian GPs. In the qualifying race we had very good battles and some very nice racing.“
Ivo Monticelli: „I had a really good winter with my team, so I trained a lot and I feel really good with the bike. For me it’s really important to stay at least 10 minutes with the top riders, then take this feeling and keep the speed of these guys. I’m happy about today, I had another good race and a good start. My goal for tomorrow is just to have a good start and do my best… no set position, just do my best, not crash, and not make any mistakes.“
MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten:1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 23:45.731; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:00.549; 3. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +0:29.478; 4. Ivo Monticelli (ITA, KTM), +0:44.067; 5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:44.983; 6. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki), +0:51.535; 7. Pauls Jonass (LAT, Husqvarna), +0:55.993; 8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:57.021; 9. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:59.128; 10. Anton Gole (SWE, Yamaha), +1:03.049.
The MX2 Qualifying started out with a jump off the grid from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado with BIKE IT DRT Kawasaki’s Darian Sanayei entering the first turn right alongside. Red Bull KTM teammate Tom Vialle was quick to fill in the position between Prado and Sanayei on lap 1.
Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha Official MX2’s Jago Geerts made his intentions clear by taking 3rd from Sanayei on lap 2. The pass put Sanayei into the view of his fellow American and newcomer to MX2 with BUD Racing Kawasaki, Mitchell Harrison.
Harrison made a pass on Sanayei two laps later in an impressive qualifying race debut with the new team. MX2 points leader Thomas Kjer Olsen from Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Racing came from 11 on the first lap up to 5th by lap 6. Olsen the continued to build momentum after a winning a battle over 4th with Harrison.
Geerts was also continuing his mission to the front with his pass on Vialle to take over second place. Further back Sanayei was fighting to hold onto 6th as both Yamaha SM Action MC Migliori’s Michele Cervellin and Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha Official MX2’s Ben Watson applied the pressure.
At the finish Prado took the win 9.8 seconds ahead of Geerts followed by Vialle, Olsen, and Harrison. Meanwhile Cervellin used the home GP advantage to get 6th from Sanayei while Watson settled for 8th.
Team HRC’s Calvin Vlaanderen show he had the pace with the fastest lap time in MX2 Time Practice but shortly after the Dutchman twisted his ankle. Vlaanderen lined up for Qualifying despite the injury but then withdrew prior to completing a single lap. Wether or not Vlaanderen will race tomorrow is not yet known
Jorge Prado: „At this track I have always been riding pretty good, and had good races, so I’m very confident. Today I felt very good as well and I had a very good start, we’ll see how we do tomorrow.“
MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten:1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 24:19.805; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:09.852; 3. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +0:15.416; 4. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:26.906; 5. Mitchell Harrison (USA, Kawasaki), +0:38.553; 6. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Yamaha), +0:40.656; 7. Darian Sanayei (USA, Kawasaki), +0:42.192; 8. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:43.572; 9. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:46.522; 10. Brian Strubhart Moreau (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:47.343.