Round 8 – MXGP of Emilia Romagna
The FIM Motocross World Championship completed its triple header and Round 8 in Faenza with the MXGP of Emilia Romagna, with Antonio Cairoli riding two consistent races to take his 91st Grand Prix victory in front of a cheering crowd of Italian fans, while claiming the MXGP Red Plate. In MX2 Tom Vialle secured his second consecutive GP win.
Mitchell Evans was the lone Australian rider competing in the MXGP class, fighting his way to fourth in Race 1, but having to settle for eighth in Race 2 after expending so much energy in the first moto. The result sees Evans 11th in the standings, although there’s a 41-point gap to reach the top 10 to overcome at this stage.
“I had another good day again and we’re still improving with sixth overall today. It’s been better each time so I’m happy with that. The first moto I didn’t get that great of a start and pushed really hard to come back to fourth so it was a good moto but I pretty much used all of my energy in that one. In the second moto I had a really good start, almost grabbing the holeshot but I had nothing left in the tank so it was just survival mode after that, with me holding on as best I could. I’m happy that I was still able to keep improving and stay healthy and be moving onto the next GP in a couple of weeks at a track I really like.”
Leading the Aussie riders in MX2 was Jed Beaton, taking fourth in Race 1, just 0.7s off the final podium position, while Race 2 saw Beaton improve to third, for third overall for the MXGP of Emilia Romagna. He now sits fourth overall in the MX2 standings, 12-points off third placed Maxime Renaux.
“It feels great. It’s been a long time coming and it’s great to finally get the monkey off my back and have a great first moto. My starts weren’t the best today but I made it work, especially in the second moto. I’m really happy to finally get onto the podium this season for myself and the team. It’s extra special because it’s my first podium result for Husqvarna. I’ve had a few second-place finishes, but the first moto has let me down so it’s great to turn it around and get on the podium with two good results. My riding was good today. My bike was great so thanks to the team and we’ll build on this ahead of Mantova.”
Fellow Aussie Nathan Crawford had a strong weekend, claiming 11th in Race 1, with a challenging Race 2 seeing him settle for 14th, for 11th overall for the round. He now sits 14th in the MX2 standings as a result of the 17-points collected at Round 8.
Bailey Malkiewicz was just off Crawford in Race 1, coming home in 12th, while in Race 2 he claimed 21st, bringing home nine championship points and sitting 17th overall for the GP. Malkiewicz now sits 24th in the MX2 standings.
In MXGP race one, it was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado with another FOX Holeshot and he then led his team-mate Antonio Cairoli and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer. Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing’s riders Calvin Vlaanderen and Alessandro Lupino both got off to a great start in the opening race and were fourth and fifth on the opening lap.
Team HRC’ Tim Gajser then moved into the top four, as he looked for a quick way to pass Cairoli, though that didn’t work as the two touched and Gajser was left on the floor. Prado then continued to lead the way with Seewer, Cairoli and Lupino right there as well.
Despite crashing a lap earlier, Gajser was already making a strong recovery as he broke into the top 10 on lap 2. Back with the leaders the gap between Prado and Seewer was 2 seconds, though as the race progressed Seewer was looking to take another win in the class as he set his fastest lap of the race and closed in on the lead.
Lupino though was coming under pressure from Team HRC’s Mitch Evans for fourth, with the Australian taking the position not long after.
Gajser then continued to make progress as he moved into 6th place, while Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Arminas Jasikonis searched for a way past Clement Desalle of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team to move in to 9th.
With 10 minutes plus 2 laps on the clock, the gap between Prado and Seewer was just 0.5 seconds, as the factory Yamaha rider put the hammer down for the win. The gap between first and second remained below half a second for the remainder of the race, until Seewer made a mistake and had a huge crash while trying to pass for first place. Though he was able to quickly re-join the race, only losing one position to Cairoli.
In the end, Prado went on to take his very first MXGP race win of his career, with Cairoli second and Seewer third.
In race two, Prado once again proved himself as the master of starts as he added yet another FOX Holeshot to his ever-growing tally. Evans was right there in second, with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin and Gajser in the top 4 too. Seewer was down in 6th.
Gajser once again was wasting no time as he moved into second and was then followed by his team-mate, with Cairoli and Seewer right there too. Paulin then came under pressure from Standing Construct GasGas MXGP’s Glenn Coldenhoff and Romain Febvre of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team.
Febvre was then the fastest guy on track as he continued to chase Coldenhoff, meanwhile Seewer was all over the back of Evans for fourth, as Coldenhoff and Febvre were closing in fast as well.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Arminas Jasikonis then crashed out of 10th, to eventually finish the race in 13th position.
As Seewer moved into 4th, Gajser was all over Prado for the lead. The two looked like they almost came together, as Gajser made a risky move, which paid off, of course, and he was then the new race leader.
Prado then started to come under pressure from Cairoli and a lap later the #222 passed the young Spaniard in the exact same spot as Gajser. Seewer then looked to catch Prado for third, though Febvre sneaked up on him and went for the inside to steal fourth from Seewer.
Febvre then went after the race 1 winner, Prado, as he passed him on the same section as did Cairoli and Gajser. Though Prado immediately fought back and was able to move back into 3rd. This didn’t last long as Febvre responded and clinched 3rd once more.
And things didn’t get better for Prado who was passed by Coldenhoff, and it was again on that same part of the track that the #61 lost positions to Gajser, Cairoli and Febvre a few laps earlier. This dropped Prado to 6th in the race.
As Evans and Paulin battled for 8th, the gap between Gajser and Cairoli was coming down, as it looked like the Italian was going to push for that win. And Febvre was also showing great pace in the race as he pushed for second with 3 laps to go.
Towards the end of the race there was no change with the leaders as Gajser secured the second race win. Cairoli finished second, Febvre was third, Seewer fourth and Coldenhoff fifth.
With two consistent rides, Antonio Cairoli took to the top step of the podium and also became the new championship leader. Meanwhile Tim Gajser finished second overall, with Jorge Prado third. Cairoli now has a 7-point advantage over Gajser in the MXGP championship standings, with Jeffrey Herlings of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing still there in third.
“Of course today I am really happy. Every race I’m feeling a little better with the conditions. This morning in time practice I struggled a lot; I was three and a half seconds away from the pace so for sure it was not a good boost in motivation for the race. But still at the beginning of the race I made some mistake, keep twisting my knee, it was difficult but with the experience I have I know how to handle these situations. I wish Jeffrey a quick recovery, it is a pity that he’s not there. I didn’t start so good but now I wanna go for the championship and this is my goal. I’m really happy about the championship, 8 years is a lot of time but for sure I’m super happy to be there still fighting with those guys for the title. Now I’m 35 years old and this is a thing that I’ve never expected to be there at this age, anyway every time I ride, I enjoy riding at the track a lot. For sure I enjoy riding with young guys, every time I try to improve, it is more and more difficult every time but at the end, I’m really really happy and satisfied.”
“I didn’t have a good start in either moto, they were solid and I tried to make quick passes in the beginning but I would have liked to have been nearer to the front. The first lap of the first moto I came together with Toni and I fell so I was back in the pack, eventually coming back to fifth. I was a bit disappointed but that was the result so I had to refocus for race two. I got a better start in this race and made a couple of good early passes to get into the lead. I pulled out a gap of a few seconds and controlled the race from there to get myself another moto win. It was a tough week of racing and not everything has gone my way but the championship is really close and we are all working hard in Team HRC to get the best results possible. Now there is a weekend off so I will go home and prepare myself for the next race in Mantova.”
“I’m feeling quite good with the bike at the moment. I think speed wise it’s quite good for sure the first twenty-five minutes. But I’m happy that I could get my first race win even if it was a tough day, I’m very happy. I used a lot of energy in the first race, but I really wanted that win. I give my maximum in every single race and that second race I already started with an empty tank. Yesterday was tough for me; I was feeling really bad and stayed in bed pretty much all day so I’m very happy that I can be on the podium. It’s normal that I feel powerless today, so I think I did a very good results in these circumstances.”
“First moto I had a decent start. I had some bar-banging with Tony (Cairoli), luckily we didn’t crash and I won it. I followed (Jorge) Prado for the whole moto and I struggled to pass. He made it very difficult and I couldn’t make a pass stick. I pushed, but I lost all of my energy doing so, and then I crashed because I hit the limit. I didn’t make a mistake really, it was just something that can happen in racing. I still managed third. In the second race I got stuck behind Prado again, but I could make a pass stick this time but I already lost some ground. Honestly, I felt a bit empty. I used a lot of energy in the first race battling for the win, and it just took it out of me. It’s a bummer to miss the podium, but I have taken good points for the championship, and I have no injuries and stuff so that is positive. Now it’s time to recover and keep pushing.”
“It could have been a very good GP but on the second lap of the first race I was surprised to see a big hole in a rut; I tried to avoid it but I went outside the track and crashed. I was nearly last when I got back on the track; I came back to tenth but crashed in a corner as I was still pushing to regain positions. I restarted thirteenth to come back again to finish tenth despite two crashes. It was too much to retain any hope of a podium, but nevertheless I gave everything to come back after a mid-pack start in the second moto; I finished third, close to Cairoli. My speed was again good in both races but we struggle a little with the starts as the chase to turn one is uphill with a different grip between the gate and the first corner! We have some testing planned in our programme next week to prepared for Mantova.”
“The day started good and there were a few track changes to make things different. I was fifth for a long time in qualifying and ended up sixth, but this was ok. I didn’t quite get the best start in race one and then used a lot of energy working my way through the riders towards the front. I had a much better start in race two. Came around the first turn in eighth and then came through to fifth at the finish. I wasted too much time trying to pass Prado, but it was difficult to push as the track was slick and you had to be careful. Overall, I’m not happy with the results, but not devastated either. I’ll continue to work hard and I’m looking forward to Mantova in two weeks.”