It’s all about finding the flow, which is apparently relatively easy around a track as awesome as Matterley Basin, the venue that has set the wheels in motion for the 11th round of the FIM Motocross World Championship, the FULLBACK MXGP of Great Britain.
The racing was once again riveting as Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Anstie lit the candles for his first qualifying race win of the year here on home soil in MX2, while Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser was flawless in his performance, which has put him on pole in the premier class for the sixth time this season.
Meanwhile, GL12 Yamaha Racing’s Brad Anderson is looking good for a podium here at round four of the European Championship EMX300 Presented by FMF Racing after winning Race 1.
The cream of MXGP had their work cut out right from gate drop when the red plate holder, Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser, snuck up the inside of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl and Marchetti Racing Team KTM’s Jose Butron, for the lead at turn two.
From there, there was no looking back for the rookie who controlled the race from start to finish for his sixth Qualifying Race win of the season. “I really like the track,” Tim said. “The guys always do an amazing job with the track, it’s really tacky, grippy, it’s really enjoyable to ride.”
Meanwhile in the early stages of the race it was Butron who appeared to be feeling it as he knocked Nagl back to third and even managed to inch away on the first two laps. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tony Cairoli was also in the mix but got too hard on the gas on the second lap and slid out.
Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev quite happily inherited fourth, hit turbo and caught Nagl who had reeled in Butron. Nagl felt the pressure and passed Butron with ease, which threw Butron off as he messed up heading into the quad and could only triple it. Bobryshev launched the quad and took over third before making light work of Nagl for second.
As Butron dropped back, Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team’s Valentin Guillod chimed in and briefly challenged Nagl and Bobryshev.
Meanwhile, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek was happy chilling in fifth while the real carnage was occurring in the battle for sixth where the former British Grand Prix winners, Tony Cairoli and Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle, bashed bars with Team Suzuki World MXGP’s Ben Townley, Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre was also weaving through that group before he crashed out. Nagl then passed Bobryshev back, forcing Bobby to settle for third ahead of Guillod and Van Horebeek. Cairoli put in an epic ride to get back to sixth after passing Desalle with a few laps to go while the local Tommy Searle finished eighth.
Monster Energy Yamaha’s guest rider Chad Reed finished 15th but he was still smiling. “It was a lot of fun out there,” he said. As for Romain Febvre – he suffered from a concussion and was taken to hospital for further examination.
MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 25:49.192; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:06.439; 3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:08.488; 4. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:12.935; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:17.878; 6. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:21.487; 7. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:23.770; 8. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:29.229; 9. Ben Townley (NZL, Suzuki), +0:31.686; 10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:31.927.
Great Britain’s own Max Anstie launched out of the gate on his Rockstar Energy Factory Husqvarna for a near holeshot but was pushed wide by Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Dylan Ferrandis who started on the inside and drove him wide.
Less than half of a lap in, the kid who was fastest in Timed Practice, Team Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer, was around sixth before dumping it after going into a 180 degree turn too hot and colliding with TM Racing Factory Team’s Samuele Bernardini.
Anstie had the crowd going mental as he pushed Ferrandis for the lead while Wilvo Standing Construct Yamaha’s Aleksandr Tonkov sat back in a distant third before being caught and passed by Seewer who had made a quick recovery from his spill on lap one.
At the halfway mark, Anstie got on the gas and set the fastest lap time three laps in a row before making a pass on Ferrandis. The Frenchman tried to respond but couldn’t quite match the pace of the hometown hero, who managed to take his first qualifying race win of the season with an impressive six-second margin.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings took a while to find his flow after a pretty cruddy first lap. The Bullet came around for lap one well outside of the top 10 but eventually carved his way through the pack for fifth.
Behind him, Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Petar Petrov, Kemea Yamaha MX Official Team’s Benoit Paturel and the remainder of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing riders, Thomas Covington and Conrad Mewse, had a gnarly battle for sixth.
It was tight at the end – in fact Paturel and Petrov were bar-to-bar over the finish line with Paturel being awarded sixth by the narrowest of margins.
Credit also has to be given to the rookie Conrad Mewse who managed to steal eighth from his team-mate Covington.
MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), 25:55.733; 2. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:06.778; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:11.697; 4. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Yamaha), +0:21.954; 5. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:27.465; 6. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +0:28.298; 7. Petar Petrov (BUL, Kawasaki), +0:28.341; 8. Conrad Mewse (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:36.225; 9. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:41.005; 10. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:41.487