While a chilly wind took the edge off the direct sunlight at the last round of MXGP in The Netherlands, there was no masking the sun here in Talavera as the soaring temperatures cooked both the paddock and track ready for today’s qualifying heat races of round seven of the FIM Motocross World Championship.
Also taking to the hilly classic style circuit here in Talavera, the European Championships EMX250 and EMX300 battled the heat and each other in contention for the second rounds of their respective series’. CNC KTM’s British rider Steven Clarke took control of the EMX250’s first race ahead of Bud Racing Kawasaki’s duo of Sullivan Jaulin and local hero Jorge Zaragoza.
Meanwhile in the EMX300, GL12 Team’s Lewis Gregory made it a great day in the office for the British European Championship fans, flaunting his true potential after passing red plate holder TM Racing Team’s Samuele Bernardini, who had slid out on lap one, and went on to lead every lap for his first race win of the season.
Meanwhile CEC I.S Racing’s Toms Macuks charged hard from outside the top five to catch the leader, but couldn’t get enough traction to make a pass. Wilvo Forkrent KTM’s Kenny Vandueren made a solid return from injury to round out the top three while the early leader and red plate holder Bernardini only came home in fifth.
Twenty-third pick of the gate clearly didn’t phase the red plate holder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tony Cairoli as he had his KTM350SXF pinned around the outside of turn one to go inside on the following turn and run away with the race win.
Meanwhile, behind the seven-times World Champ, the trio of Belgians were at it once again. Initially it was Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Clement Desalle to look more at home on the harder surface, but that energy only lasted three quarters of the race before fellow countrymen Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek and Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Kevin Strijbos came through to make quick work of him.
After blowing by Desalle, Van Horebeek and Strijbos rode extremely close grained to finish narrowly in that order.
With Desalle dropping off the pace, Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev was able to close in. Although the Russian Bobryshev made up a ton of ground, there weren’t enough laps for him to challenge for fourth, meaning he would have to settle for fifth.
MXGP Qualifying Race top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 24:36.272; 2. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:15.857; 3. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:17.419; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:26.272; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:27.837; 6. Xavier Boog (FRA, Honda), +0:32.569; 7. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:34.814; 8. Rui Goncalves (POR, Yamaha), +0:36.162; 9. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:38.883; 10. Joel Roelants (BEL, Honda), +0:39.955.
Fast becoming one of the best qualifying race racers, Standing Construct KTM’s Valentin Guillod fended off the challenge from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jordi Tixier and Yamaha Factory Racing Christophe Charlier for the entire 20 minutes plus two laps to take his second qualifying heat victory of the season.
Meanwhile behind the Swiss Guillod, two of France’s finest, Charlier, who has just returned from an injury, which occurred at MXGP, round two in Thailand, and Tixier were going head-to-head for second.
Despite putting in a very impressive ride given the circumstances, Charlier couldn’t hold off the wrath of his fellow countryman Tixier and dropped back to third in the final leg of the race.
Fiercely chasing the top three, Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre hunted down and passed the fan favorite KTM Silver Actions Jose Butron who was forced back to settle for fifth while Febvre took home a hard fought fourth.
Struggling to attack the surface with the same intensity as he did on his home soil in Valkenswaard, KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings bit the dust a couple of times which dropped him well outside of the top 20. Nonetheless the Dutch youngster kept on grinding to come home in 16th.
MX2 Qualifying Race top ten: 1. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), 24:57.007; 2. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:04.233; 3. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), +0:07.150; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:13.946; 5. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:15.984; 6. Julien Lieber (BEL, Suzuki), +0:18.463; 7. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:19.462; 8. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +0:22.305; 9. Petar Petrov (BUL, Yamaha), +0:27.367; 10. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Kawasaki), +0:34.229.