The 14th round of the FIM Motocross World Championship wrote a story of drama and excitement as Lommel’s brutal track conditions put the best of MXGP to the ultimate test at the Fiat Professional MXGP of Belgium.
The experienced riders finally got the upper hand on the younger stars this weekend with Team Suzuki World MXGP’s Kevin Strijbos, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tony Cairoli making up the podium.
Belgian fans eat, sleep and breathe motocross, so for Strijbos to take his first grand prix victory in nine years on home soil was definitely something special, not only for him, but for his Belgian-based team, Team Suzuki World MXGP, which is now owned and managed by Stefan Everts.
It’s official. Nagl has an epic dirt bike riding skillset.
The German star rocked-up to Lommel, fresh off of a double moto victory on the hardest of clay at Loket, and won the first race and almost the overall. Unfortunately, he stacked it in the second race, and that cost him the win. Regardless, it looks like there is some wind behind his sails and he could be the one to watch over the next four rounds.
Cairoli has a killer style in the sand and is typically THE guy to beat, but today he looked a little rusty in Race 1. Despite a slow – at least by Cairoli’s standards – start to the day, he seemed to come to grips with the track in Race 2, which landed him on the third step of the podium. “I’m not so happy because normally on this type of track I can ride better,” he said. “In the first race the feeling was not there and I made some little mistakes and fell back to sixth.”
While Cairoli may have felt like he had a rough day, he wasn’t the only one. Lommel got the better of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle who crashed out of a podium finish and had to settle for eighth, while the defending champ Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre had a day to forget with a bunch of spills dropping him down to 15th overall. Luckily for the guys in blue, Jeremy Van Horebeek put in two solid rides for fourth.
Most riders have a love-hate relationship with Lommel. When you’re feeling good on a track this gnarly, there is no better feeling in the world than timing the sand waves to perfection, but to the contrary, when you have a rough day, it’s the last place you want to be. Ask Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser. The 19-year-old Slovenian has been flawless this year, but even the best fall down some times, which is what happened to Gajser in Race 1 where he finished 15th.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the current championship leader though – he bounced back with a vengeance as the winner of Race 2.
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), 34:19.494; 2. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:09.152; 3. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:13.700; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:16.852; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:18.247; 6. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:18.848; 7. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:38.021; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:40.038; 9. Tanel Leok (EST, KTM), +0:43.251; 10. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:55.033.
MXGP Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 34:41.636; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:13.289; 3. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:36.471; 4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:40.503; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:47.864; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:53.330; 7. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +1:00.924; 8. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, Suzuki), +1:04.634; 9. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:08.197; 10. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:16.375.
MXGP Overall Top Ten: 1. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 40 points; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 39 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 37 p.; 4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 32 p.; 5. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 31 p.; 6. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 31 p.; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 29 p.; 8. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 29 p.; 9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 26 p.; 10. Tanel Leok (EST, KTM), 22 p.
MXGP Championship Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 607 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 504 p.; 3. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 490 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 464 p.; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 445 p.; 6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 417 p.; 7. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 292 p.; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 277 p.; 9. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 273 p.; 10. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 264 p.
MXGP Manufacturers: 1. Honda, 620 points; 2. Yamaha, 556 p.; 3. KTM, 522 p.; 4. Husqvarna, 505 p.; 5. Kawasaki, 374 p.; 6. Suzuki, 302 p.
The absence of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings left a handful of riders in MX2 licking their chops at the thought of a potential grand prix victory.
Most bench racers would have put their chips on Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Anstie for the win since he has won the grand prix here for the last two years. Anstie said: “I wasn’t sure I could make it happen this weekend. Everyone was telling me I should win, I crashed in the qualifying race, and I didn’t sleep last night.” Nevertheless, the Brit went 1-1 for his first victory of the season, yet his third GP win at this track. “I do love it here,” he added. “I was pushing hard and I’m glad to get this result for my team.” His team is based right around the corner and his win marks the first ever for Husqvarna here in Lommel.
Team Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer has put to bed his previous struggles in the sand. The Swiss rider hit a career milestone with his first ever qualifying race win. Never in his wildest dreams would he have thought he would do it at Lommel, the craziest sand track in the world. Anyway, he did it, and backed up that outstanding achievement with two second place finishes for second overall.
No-one actually LOVES Lommel except Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Petar Petrov who seems to step it up here every year. Petrov managed to lead a few laps today which was exciting for him, maybe a little too exciting. “I’m not used to leading, so I tightened up a bit,” he said. The Bulgarian took home his first piece of silverware this season with a 2 – 6 finish.
HSF Logistics Motorsports’ Brian Bogers was lightning quick all weekend. The Dutchman set the fastest lap of the day in MX2, which was in Race 1 where he led a few laps before crashing. He finished fourth overall with a 5 – 4 result.
If anyone spiced things up, it was Kemea Yamaha MX Official Team’s Benoit Paturel. Like Seewer, Paturel is not really known for his sand skills, but he seems to be heading in the right direction. Paturel went 3 – 7 for fifth overall. He is now only 10 points shy of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass in third.
MX2 Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), 36:12.881; 2. Petar Petrov (BUL, Kawasaki), +0:11.777; 3. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +0:15.189; 4. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:20.081; 5. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:20.819; 6. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), +0:42.291; 7. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, KTM), +0:46.331; 8. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), +0:52.785; 9. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Honda), +0:54.990; 10. Alvin Östlund (SWE, Yamaha), +1:04.456.
MX2 Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), 35:16.537; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:09.198; 3. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:16.432; 4. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:17.172; 5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, KTM), +0:49.525; 6. Petar Petrov (BUL, Kawasaki), +1:04.026; 7. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +1:06.321; 8. Lars van Berkel (NED, Husqvarna), +1:33.680; 9. Ivo Monticelli (ITA, KTM), +1:36.713; 10. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Honda), +1:40.398.
MX2 Overall Top Ten: 1. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 50 points; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 40 p.; 3. Petar Petrov (BUL, KAW), 37 p.; 4. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 34 p.; 5. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 34 p.; 6. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, KTM), 30 p.; 7. Michele Cervellin (ITA, HON), 23 p.; 8. Lars van Berkel (NED, HUS), 21 p.; 9. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 20 p.; 10. Alvin Östlund (SWE, YAM), 19 p.
MX2 Championship Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 597 points; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 510 p.; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 403 p.; 4. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 393 p.; 5. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 378 p.; 6. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 366 p.; 7. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, YAM), 320 p.; 8. Petar Petrov (BUL, KAW), 319 p.; 9. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), 294 p.; 10. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 280 p.
MX2 Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 660 points; 2. Kawasaki, 527 p.; 3. Suzuki, 510 p.; 4. Yamaha, 484 p.; 5. Husqvarna, 456 p.; 6. TM, 294 p.; 7. Honda, 264 p.