Drizzle has been a constant over the past few days and hasn’t shown a lot of signs of clearing up either. Luckily the amazing circuit of Kegums is sand, one of the only terrains in motocross that is rideable regardless of what the weather is doing.
Making a solid start to the 12th round of the FIM Motocross World Championship were two of the most predictable pole position candidates, Team HRC’s Gautier Paulin and Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Max Anstie.
The Final of the European Championships EMX85 and EMX65 also kicked off with Rick Elzinga and Kay Karrsemakers dominating the first races of the weekend in their respective classes.
Also taking place today was the seventh round of the European Championship EMX250, which saw Kemea Yamaha Yamalube’s Damon Graulus take his fourth race win of the season.
It was an impressive start to the Qualifying race for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s team of wounded riders Tommy Searle and Tony Cairoli. Searle held a tight line around the inside to take the holeshot while Cairoli only had 22nd pick at the gate but railed the outside line and emerged in third behind Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Todd Waters.
Cairoli, who is still struggling with a fractured elbow, went right to work on Waters for second. The duo rubbed plastics a couple of times which resulted in Cairoli nudging Waters out of the main line while going wide open through a fast section of the track. As they headed into the following turn, TC222 went in too hot, buried the front end and was thrown off of his bike. After another crash later in the race, 18th was the best he could salvage.
Soon after Cairoli’s mishap, Waters hit a kicker on the tabletop heading into the waves and went down like a ton of bricks, which allowed Team HRC’s Gautier Paulin, who was being hounded by Yamaha Factory Racing Yamalube’s Romain Febvre and his team-mate Evgeny Bobryshev, to inherit second place.
After leading the early stages of the race, Searle started to fade ever so slightly which gave Paulin the opportunity to pounce with a textbook move up the inside as they entered a 180 degree turn. Febvre capitalised on Paulin forcing Searle off line and went by too.
Paulin and Febvre then went neck and neck all the way to the finish with less than a second separating them at the flag. GP21 took his second qualifying heat victory of the season, while Febvre had to settle for a close second but can sleep easy tonight knowing he made a solid statement as the fastest rider in the race in terms of lap times.
Bobryshev eventually got around Searle, who had a few hairy moments, for third while Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s rookie Glenn Coldenhoff put in a solid ride to round out the top five.
MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), 24:54.038; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:00.359; 3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:26.663; 4. Tommy Searle (GBR, KTM), +0:27.892; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +0:28.298; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:30.087; 7. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:31.388; 8. Tyla Rattray (RSA, Kawasaki), +0:38.978; 9. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:40.011; 10. Filip Bengtsson (SWE, Honda), +0:46.458
With the gates slamming to the ground for the MX2 Qualifying Heat it was Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Max Anstie who put the sand skills he boasts to good use. The last time Anstie won a qualifying race in the FIM Motocross World Championship was at the MXGP of Belgium last year, which he ended up winning out right for his first ever MX2 grand prix overall.
Chasing Anstie all the way to the finish was Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser who is yet to prove himself in sand this year after having a shocker at the MXGP of Europe in Valkenswaard back in April. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass also got off to a killer start and rode a lonely third all the way home.
Meanwhile back in fourth, Dutchman, HSF Logistics Motorsport Team’s Brian Bogers put in a solid performance as he tried his best to hold off two of Switzerland’s finest – Standing Construct Yamaha Yamalube’s Valentin Guillod and Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Jeremy Seewer.
Guillod used his super smooth style and scrubbed around the outside of Bogers for fourth, while Seewer left it until the final hour but finally managed to make a pass stick with less than a quarter of a lap to go to round out the top five.
MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), 25:08.559; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:07.435; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:18.068; 4. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:21.383; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:30.081; 6. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:31.857; 7. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +0:49.053; 8. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), +0:51.361; 9. Julien Lieber (BEL, Yamaha), +0:54.881; 10. Ben Watson (GBR, KTM), +0:56.436
MXGP of Latvia Timetable
Sunday: EMX65 Warm-up 08:50; EMX85 Warm-up 09:05; EMX250 Warm-up 09:20; EMX65 Race 2 09:50; EMX85 Race 2 10:30; MX2 Warm up 11:10; MXGP Warm up 11:30; EMX250 Race 2 12:00; MX2 Race 1 13:15; MXGP Race 1 14:15; MX2 Race 2 16:10; MXGP Race 2 17:10.