The heat of the sun beaming down on the golden soil of Si Racha was nothing in comparison to the heat of the racing during qualifying at round two of the FIM Motocross World Championship.
Reigning world champion Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tony Cairoli appeared to be back to full strength, taking his first pole position of the year while CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy’s Dylan Ferrandis is proving to be a strong force in the MX2 taking home his first qualifying heat win.
When the gates dropped for MXGP’s qualifying race, it was evident the holiday was over for typical MXGP front runners Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s Clement Desalle and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli, when the duo went one two around turn one.
Although it was initially Desalle who led the way, Cairoli made it known he meant business today passing Desalle a few corners in and running away with the win.
While Desalle kept Cairoli honest in the early stages, the moment arrived when he decided to settle for second and let Cairoli go. Back in third, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek was forced to entertain himself with no challenge or defense, while the battle for fourth, a further six seconds back, was looking sharp.
HM Plant KTM UK’s Shaun Simpson was showing that same brilliant form he showed late last year when he held off the wrath of fellow Brit CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy’s Tommy Searle for fifth. The current red plate holder Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Gautier Paulin put in a fantastic ride after his shocking start, to chase his team-mate Steven Frossard home for seventh.
In the MX2 qualifying heat, CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy’s Dylan Ferrandis was put to the ultimate test when he took the holey ahead of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings and Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s Glenn Coldenhoff.
Herlings, who had admittedly put his struggles in Qatar down to his bad starts, was in the prime position to pounce, but bobbled on turn two allowing Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre to sneak through. Quick to respond to his early mistake, Herlings passed Febvre early in lap two and was soon back on the tails of the hard charging leaders Ferrandis and Coldenhoff.
While CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy’s Dylan Ferrandis kept his head cool out front, Glenn Coldenhoff was forced to deal with some serious pressure from the red plate holder, Jeffrey Herlings.
With five minutes plus two laps to go, Herlings found a way around Coldenhoff and charged after Ferrandis only to pass him with two laps to go. A fired up Dylan Ferrandis, who definitely wasn’t lining up for second, charged back at the reigning MX2 world champ, with an impressive pass around the outside.
Ferrandis took back the lead, and rode a strong last lap to win his first qualifying heat of the season ahead of Herlings and Coldenhoff. Meanwhile Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jordi Tixier rode smooth for fourth with BikeIT Yamaha Cosworth’s Max Anstie rounding out the top five.
MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 24:56.883; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:10.168; 3. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:38.661; 4. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:44.039; 5. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:47.785; 6. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:49.718; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:53.359; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:57.074; 9. Davide Guarneri (ITA, TM), +1:02.133; 10. Joel Roelants (BEL, Honda), +1:04.243.
MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), 25:25.891; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:00.783; 3. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +0:05.915; 4. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:07.141; 5. Max Anstie (GBR, Yamaha), +0:09.218; 6. Romain Febvre (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:13.203; 7. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Kawasaki), +0:27.491; 8. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +0:36.962; 9. Petar Petrov (BUL, Yamaha), +0:42.924; 10. Maxime Desprey (FRA, Honda), +0:47.463.