Don’t judge a book by its cover. The track in Kegums has a warm brown sandy appearance that looks light and fluffy and a load of fun, at least for those that stand trackside. For those that are out on the track racing, it is an entirely different beast as the hard base is deceivingly slick in places and gets extremely rough with massive high speed braking bumps into the turns, and sharp acceleration bumps out.
Although the track got the better of Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser back in 2014 when he broke his back at the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations, that certainly wasn’t playing on his mind today as he snatched the lead from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tony Cairoli in the final stages of the race to take his third consecutive Qualifying Race win. Meanwhile, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings remains unbeaten making it six from six.
Adding to the action of the sixth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship was the first races of second round of the European Championship EMX250, which was won by Bodo Schmidt Husqvarna’s Thomas Kjer Olsen and the second round of the EMX300 Presented by FMF Racing which was won by Mike Kras.
In addition, the first round of the European Championship EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing took place with Sahkar Racing KTM’s Jago Geerts winning the opening race.
There was carnage at the start of the MXGP Qualifier as the two riders that were fastest in Timed Practice Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev and Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle crashed three-quarters of the way down the start straight after Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser tagged Bobby and ripped the ‘bars out of his hands.
Searle rejoined the race but crashed again on his own a little bit later, while Bobby was less fortunate and looked uncomfortable as he walked towards the medical centre.
Gajser wasn’t collected in the crash and came out of the first turn in second behind Cairoli who went on to lead the entire race except the final three laps.
Meanwhile Team Suzuki World MXGP’s Kevin Strijbos kept the leaders in check for the most part of the race while a tight battle for fourth took place between Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s duo of Jeremy Van Horebeek and Romain Febvre and Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Shaun Simpson.
When Febvre sees huge kickers, he just hammers the throttle, which is exactly the technique he used to get around Simpson for fifth.
In the latter stages of the race Gajser unleashed the beast, pinning it through the waves and up the inside of Cairoli to take the lead and his third consecutive qualifying heat win. Van Horebeek on the other hand, hit the boost button on the final lap and took third making his fellow Belgian, Strijbos the filling in a Yam sandwich as Febvre rounded out the top five.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Max Nagl looked awesome in Kegums as he launched the ski jumps bigger than anyone else on his way to sixth from outside the top 10, while Team Suzuki World MXGP’s Ben Townley made his return to the championship with a seventh ahead of Simpson.
MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 24:20.229; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:01.633; 3. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:04.146; 4. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:05.302; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:11.279; 6. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:20.021; 7. Ben Townley (NZL, Suzuki), +0:34.507; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:35.725; 9. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:36.502; 10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:40.339
Team Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer was revved up when the gates dropped for the MX2 Qualifying Race.
He got a killer jump and pulled across on Herlings, who was on the inside of him, to nab the holeshot.
Chasing the duo was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass, HSF Logistic Motorsport KTM’s Brian Bogers and Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team’s Benoit Paturel.
Back to Seewer, he put in an epic ride for the first two laps complete with big whips before ‘The Bullet’, scrubbed past him for the lead. Jonass soon got around Seewer as well but couldn’t match the lap times of his team-mate to even think about challenging for the win.
In the meantime, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Max Anstie was on the gas and blitzed past Paturel and Bogers to take over fourth and then chomped down a hefty gap to challenge Seewer for third.
Anstie threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Suzuki rider but in the end couldn’t get the job done and had to settle for fourth.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Dylan Ferrandis had a good race considering it’s his first since the season opener in Qatar. The doctor only gave him the okay to ride one week ago, nevertheless, he was pinned and came from outside the top 10 to finish fifth.
MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 23:57.717; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:18.347; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:19.756; 4. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:28.318; 5. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:54.432; 6. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, KTM), +0:58.671; 7. Petar Petrov (BUL, Kawasaki), +0:59.859; 8. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Yamaha), +1:00.204; 9. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +1:04.700; 10. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Honda), +1:09.890.