Round 11 – MXGP of Europe – Mantova
The MXGP of Europe concludes the 11th round of the FIM Motocross World Championship, marking the second of the three Italian triple-headers this season, as three rounds have been held at Mantova across a 10-day period.
The MXGP of Europe saw Team HRC’s Tim Gajser make his return to the top step of the podium, as he took the overall win in MXGP for the first time this season.
Gajsers 1-2 result was enough to finish the round six-points ahead of Tony Cairoli, who went 5-1, with Glenn Coldenhoff third for the GP with a 2-5 result. Aussie Mitch Evans had a strong weekend, with a fourth place finish in the first race, with eighth in race 2, leaving him fifth overall.
The MXGP standings see Gajser in the lead from Cairoli, 399 to 388, with Jeremy Seewer third overall on 369-points. Mitchell Evans sits just outside the top 10, in eleventh, 14-points off Desalle.
“Today was a good day and a bit of a disappointing day too. In the first moto I got a good start, made a few passes and was in third for most of the race. I ended up fourth but it was still a good moto and I enjoyed running with the top guys. In moto two I didn’t get the best jump which made things difficult because it was still hard to pass, but I got back to eighth for fifth overall. This was the same as in Matterley Basin at the first GP of the year, so I’m pleased with that. I did really want that podium today but it didn’t quite happen but there are still seven more rounds to get it done and that’s what I’m focusing on when we head to Spain.”
Meanwhile in MX2, Jago Geerts also made a comeback to the top, as a second and a race win was enough to put him first on the podium, marking his fourth overall victory of the season.
Tom Vialle narrowly missed the round overall, also finishing the round on 47-points, which each rider taking a win and a second place each. Thomas Kjer Olsen was third overall, with Australian Jed Beaton sixth overall after two consistent fifth place finishes.
Vialle retains a sizeable lead in the MX2 standings, with Jago Geerts 46-points in arrears, while Beaton is third overall, with a seven-point lead over Maxime Renaux, while Olsen is a more distant fifth.
“Today wasn’t quite what I was looking for. I know I had the speed but just wasn’t able to get among the top guys. It certainly wasn’t the worst day but wasn’t the best either. I’m now back in third in the standings so I just need to work on starts, get up front early and try to get some more wins to finish the season off strong.”
MXGP Race 1
As the gate dropped for the first MXGP race of the day, it was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado who led the way, as Team HRC’s Tim Gajser, Romain Febvre of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team and JM Honda Racing’s Dylan Walsh followed him into the first corner.
There was drama on the first lap as Prado and Febvre went down, which allowed Walsh to move into the first place and lead the way in MXGP. Gajser was second with his teammate Mitch Evans and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli just behind him.
Walsh then led the field into the second lap of the race, as Gajser was searching for a way past, with Evans, Prado, Cairoli and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer right there as well.
Keen to make a recovery, Febvre moved around his teammate, Clement Desalle, for 7th in the race, while things were getting heated at the front as Walsh tried to keep Gajser at bay. At which point, Gajser was looking impatient as he pushed to pass Walsh, with Walsh blocking him and the pair banging bars.
Prado was then all over Evans, with the Spaniard eventually finding a gap to move past the Honda rider for third. And then after several attempts, Gajser was finally able to get around Walsh and become the new race leader.
The battle in the top 10 was crazy, with lots of action and a lot of changes in positions. Walsh dropped to 9th within a lap, as Gautier Paulin of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing passed Brian Bogers of Marchetti Racing Team KTM to move into 10th.
Gajser then extended his lead to 3.041 seconds, as Seewer pushed to pass Evans, though he needed to keep guarded, as Febvre, Standing Construct GasGas MXGP’s Glenn Coldenhoff and Cairoli were also closing in.
Febvre then crashed out of 5th, as Evans backed off from Prado, while Seewer got passed by Coldenhoff and Cairoli, dropping down to 6th in the race. Evans then came under pressure from Cairoli, as Prado was also coming under pressure from Coldenhoff for 2nd place in the race. The Dutchman was able to pass the Spaniard eventually, with 2 laps to go.
In the end it was Gajser who won the opening race, with Coldenhoff second and Prado third. Mitch Evans took a clear fourth.
MXGP Race 2
In race two, Prado got another good start but this time it was the FOX Holeshot, with Gajser and Cairoli there in the top 3. Though Gajser wasted no time, as he quickly moved into the lead on the opening lap.
Prado then crashed out of P2, picking himself up way outside the top 20, which no doubt made for a very difficult race.
As Gajser pulled his gap to 3.268 seconds, a small mistake caused him to wash the front of his factory Honda. Cairoli then inherited P1, with Gajser able to re-join just behind him, ahead of Febvre and Seewer. Cairoli then led the race by 2.186 seconds, while Seewer was trying to fight his way into the top 3.
With 12 minutes and 2 laps on the clock, Gajser was able to catch on to the back of Cairoli as he whittled away at the gap. And despite catching the #222 and keeping him there within a second or so, Gajser still struggled to find a way past the Italian.
Further down the field, Prado was up in 18th and would only pick up one more position before the chequered flag.
With a few laps left, Seewer continued to go after Febvre, with the Swiss rider eventually finding a way through on the final lap.
Despite catching onto the back of the race leader, Gajser just ran out of time as Cairoli took the race win, with Gajser having to settle for second and Seewer third. Mitch Evans had to settle for eighth for Race 2.
In terms of the podium, Tim Gajser claimed his first overall victory of the season, while Cairoli occupied 2nd and Coldenhoff making another podium appearance to finish 3rd.
Tim Gajser – P1
“It’s just an amazing feeling, I won many races this year, but I wasn’t able to win an overall yet until today so I’m super happy. First race I had a little bit of arm pump but after I felt ok; the second race I had a really good start and I was able to pass Prado immediately in the first or second lap and I take the lead. When I was leading, I made a little mistake and I fall, Tony passes me and after we had a really nice battle for the victory, we were both pushing really hard but at the end I finished second and first overall so I’m happy about that. I’m really looking forward to going to Spain because it’s news track and a new event so I’m quite excited about that.”
Antonio Cairoli – P2
“I’m of course happy to win but I didn’t feel so well during all the weekend, my knee is still giving me a lot of issues. On Friday I had to go to the hospital and see a doctor that took away some fluid and inject some grease inside. Anyway, I’ll have to go another month of races and try to hold on very hard and see if I can push hard until the end that is our goal. I’m happy about the overall, in the first race the start was ok and then I was riding carefully because we made some changes on the bike and I couldn’t really feel the brake; I finished fifth that is ok but of course that is not what we want for the championship also because Tim was in front. In the second race we had some changes, and we felt better with the bike. Overall, I’m happy with this second place. I gave everything but of course we want to win so this is our goal for next race, we are going to Spain that is a completely new track and new venue.”
Glenn Coldenhoff – P3
“The podium is always good. The first race I took a very good start and lately I’m working on that but after I don’t know what I was doing because I got from second place to ninth place and of course that was not very nice. I pushed really hard and I finished second really close to the win. The second race was not so good for me because I think that I spent so much energy in the first race, so I have to work on the second race because I’m not very happy about that. Like I said being up here again I think is good, being on the podium I feel like I need still to look forward to a win and I hope I’ll do it one day this year.”
Jeremy Seewer – P4
“Honestly, my body wasn’t feeling the best today. It wasn’t my best day so I feel like I did well. Okay, I lost some points in the first one, but luckily, I didn’t crash, didn’t make any big mistakes. Could have finished fourth and that would have put me on the podium, but anyway, I know what I have and now my main focus is to regroup and to try to get my body back to normal. I think I still have good speed, a good bike and good crew to bounce back and be up front. It was still a solid day, solid points and many races still to go. It’s still a long season and now it’s starting to get really tough for everybody. We are still looking good, we will regroup and be ready to bounce back in Spain.”
Romain Febvre – P6
“It was a tough day; it’s difficult to accept such a day after winning the previous GP here on Wednesday. In the first race I had a good start but, when Prado stalled his engine on the first lap, I was so close that I hit him and crashed. It was impossible to avoid the crash. Then I was coming back behind Seewer; he was making some mistakes and was slower than me; there were not many places to pass on this track and unfortunately I crashed when I tried to pass him on the inside so I finished tenth. My second start was again good and I rode almost the entire the race in third but I was confused at the end; I thought the race was over when I crossed the finish line but there was still one lap to go and I surrendered one position. That was frustrating! There were some positive points today but overall I’m not really happy with my results.“
Jorge Prado – P9
“The day started quite good but I gave myself some work when I stalled the bike; five guys passed me and I had to get them back to finally finish 3rd, which was OK. I felt good but we changed a couple of things for the second moto and on the Sighting Lap I thought ‘this is my race’ because I was feeling fit, recovered and that the bike was better. I had a perfect jump out of the gate and Tim passed me. I was close but his roost blinded me for a moment and I could not see an edge on the berm coming out of the chicane. I hit it with my back wheel and it sent me sideways. I banged my hip on the bar and also my head on the ground. I was last when I stood up and tried to restart. There was a problem with the front wheel because it was locking a bit on some jumps and also in some corners. The front brake was damaged as well so I could not use it. So, the rest of the race was really difficult. I did what I could, and I actually don’t know where I finished! We’ll heal-up this week and try to be ready for Spain.”