The Qualifying Races of the MXGP of Leon-Mexico graced the Mexican soil yesterday. At the end of the qualifying races Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Covington found the required speed to take the pole position for Sunday.
Team HRC’s Tim Gajser made his way past the KTM of Glenn Coldenhoff before they completed the first lap to move into the lead. He eventually pulled a comfortable gap which he maintained to the chequered flag. Gajser later in the press conference stated: “I’ve started enjoying racing again, I felt good and I will do my best tomorrow.”
It was the second qualifying race in a row that Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff rocketed into the first turn to claim the holeshot over the rest of the field, Coldenhoff battled for the lead with Tim Gajser until a costly error took him out of the race.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin had a good start and he was third on the first lap before he moved to second on lap 4 after Coldenoff’s issue. Gautier stayed in a lonely second throughout the race, earning himself second gate pick for Sunday’s Race 1.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Anstie put another Husqvarna in the top three for qualifying. After starting in fifth he gained ground throughout the first half of the race on Clement Desalle. Anstie passed Desalle on lap 6 of 12 putting himself into third for the rest of the session.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle started in fourth and after a battle with Anstie he felt pressure in the closing stages of Qualifying from Jeremy Van Horebeek. Desalle was, however, able to keep Van Horebeek outside of striking distance maintaining the fourth place which could give him the start he needs to reach Sunday’s podium.
Meanwhile Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek had a solid qualifying performance to follow up on his podium from the last round in Patagonia – Argentina. Van Horebeek started in seventh place but moved into fifth on lap 5 where he had pressure from Antonio Cairoli for several laps. The Belgian responded by closing on Desalle in an attempt to move into fourth but it was a little too late as he would finish fifth.
In addition Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tony Cairoli worked his way past a couple of riders, including Red Bull KTM Factory Racing teammate Jeffrey Herlings. Cairoli was ninth on the first lap but sixth at the finish while Herlings qualified eighth after battling with Marchetti Racing Team KTM’s Jose Butron.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre ended up pulling out of the race due to a mechanical issue.
MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 24:43.336; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:09.848; 3. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:12.509; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:19.891; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:22.259; 6. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:26.986; 7. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:31.353; 8. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:36.451; 9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:37.847; 10. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:38.402.
The MX2 qualifying race started with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Covington taking the holeshot. The American lead every lap and by the end of the session he had a 12.5 second gap on the competition.
This win marks the first qualifying victory for Thomas Covington on the same track that he won his first MX2 race and his first Overall back in 2015.
When asked about his race in the press conference Covington said: “After the start I just found some good lines and rode smooth after that. I had my regular training last week, I spent time with family and that puts me in a good place mentally.”
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass was third off the start but he made a pass on lap 6. Jonass settled for second as Covington’s gap was too vast to conquer.
LRT KTM’s Julien Lieber had a great start as he was second on the first lap. He was passed only by the factory KTM of Pauls Jonass. His good start and solid riding allowed him to qualify in the third spot.
HSF Logistics Motorsport Team’s Calvin Vlaanderen appeared to be feeling good in Mexico. Vlaanderen started the day fastest in free practice and after a good start, fourth on lap 1, he maintained his momentum and start position in qualifying. Coming into Sunday he will be the fourth rider to line up at the gate potentially setting himself up for another good race.
Kemea Yamaha MX Official Team’s Benoit Paturel wasn’t able to make the moves he most likely wanted after his sixth place start, but he did move forward and he comes into Sunday prepared to battle for the podium.
Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Vsevolod Brylyakov showed speed in free practice with the third fastest time and he was second in time practice, however errors cost him as he finished ninth.
While Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki teammate Darian Sanayei fell on the first lap and then pulled off the track, Sanayei has now shifted his focus to rebounding for tomorrow’s racing.
Red plate holder and Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer finished eighth in qualifying but maintains his motivation for Sunday’s gate drop.
MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), 25:45.756; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:12.553; 3. Julien Lieber (BEL, KTM), +0:19.422; 4. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, KTM), +0:21.458; 5. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +0:23.701; 6. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:28.780; 7. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Yamaha), +0:31.274; 8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:34.516; 9. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, Kawasaki), +0:42.712; 10. Adam Sterry (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:57.101.