Riders rolled back into Lommel for Round 14 of the 2020 MXGP Championship, with the MXGP of Limburg run mid-week and witnessing a KTM double as Jorge Prado and Tom Vialle took the MXGP and MX2 round overalls respectively. Racing saw mixed conditions, with rain, sunshine and wind adding to the challenge of the deep sand of the Lommel course.
In MXGP Jorge Prado took the round overall over Tim Gajser by just two-points, with a 2-1 result clinching the deal, to Gajser’s 1-3. Antonio Cairoli was third overall, going 2-5, tied on points with Romain Febvre who missed out due to his 3-4 result. Jeremy Seewer completed the top five overall.
Tim Gajser still holds a generous lead in the standings on 533-points, with Cairoli on 478, while Prado is just two points further back on 476, as he closes down that gap. Aussie Mitch Evans sits 12th, on 228-points despite still being out recovering from injury.
Tom Vialle took the MX2 win with a 2-1 result, with Yamaha’s Ben Watson and Jago Geerts second and third overall. Watson posting a 3-2 result and Geerts claiming the win in Race 1, but back in seventh in Race 2. Gas Gas’s Isak Gifting was fourth overall, Maxime Renaux fifth and Jed Beaton was top Australian with two tenth places for ninth overall. Fellow Aussie Bailey Malkiewicz was 15th, going 14-19.
The MX2 standings now see Vialle in the lead on 616-points, to Geerts’ 555. Maxime Renaux is third on 438, with Jed Beaton now fourth on 429-points. Malkiewicz sits in 17th, on 107 points.
Jed Beaton was lucky to escape unscathed following a high-speed start straight crash in the opening MX2 moto. Re-joining the race, he caught up to the pack moving past eight riders to regain 19th, before forging his way back to 10th. A fall in Race 2 also saw Beaton drop down the order, before fighting for another 10th place.
“Not good. I had a big crash going down the start straight in race one. It was a bit of a chain reaction and I didn’t see it coming so that was a big one. Something hit my arm pretty hard because it was numb for a little bit. Feeling started to come back as I got going and I then put my head down. Getting run over before two motos around Lommel isn’t the one but we’re back for more on Sunday so I’m hoping to end this week on a positive note.”
MXGP Race 1
Jorge Prado made his eight-podium appearance during the MXGP of Limburg today after some close battles in both races, where he finished second and third to secure his first GP overall in Lommel, in the premier class.
After running off track and taking some time to get going again in race two, Team HRC’s Tim Gajser, had to settle for third in the second heat, after a race win in the opening race, which gave him second overall today, as the Slovenian continued to show impressive form in the sand.
While, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli made his return to the podium, since Mantova, as a fifth and a second in the races was enough to put him on the third step of the podium, an improvement from the previous round here in Belgium.
In the first race, it was Prado who claimed the Fox Holeshot, as he led Gajser, Romain Febvre of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team, then followed by Jeremy Seewer from Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing and Marchetti Racing Team KTM’s Brian Bogers, who continue his impressive form, after setting the fastest lap in timed practice.
Prado then continued to lead Gajser and Febvre, with the Frenchman looking to close in on the pair ahead. Gajser then made a mistake and was lucky to keep it on two wheels, though in the process lost second place to Febvre.
Febvre then bettered his previously set fastest lap of the race, as he got within 1.980 seconds to Prado and continued to work away at the gap as he closed in on the leader.
Home rider, Jeremy Van Horebeek of Honda SR Motoblouz then crashed out of sixth place, and was able to re-group in 16th, though he eventually came home in 11th position.
Febvre then lost second to Gajser on lap five, as Seewer continued to fend off a hard charging Bogers. The Swiss then managed to break free of the Marchetti KTM rider, and even had Febvre in his sights for a top three finish.
Prado then led the way by 3.399, though by the following lap the gap was down to 2.028 and then he was on the rear wheel of the Spaniard. All while, Bogers lost fifth to Cairoli.
And with a few laps to go, Gajser took the lead away from Prado and opened up a 2.129 second gap. At the same time Seewer had caught onto the back of Febvre, though was not able to find a way through and in the end had to settle for fourth.
With a lap to go, the gap was just 1.376 between the factory Honda and KTM riders, though in the end it was Gajser who claimed the opening race win, while Prado crossed the line in second and Febvre third.
MXGP Race 2
In race two, Prado got another flying start, behind him though was Cairoli, Gajser and Seewer. And Gajser wasted no time to get himself up into second and then into the lead on lap 5. Cairoli was also looking to do the same, as he pushed to get around his teammate.
Seewer then made a mistake and fell down to sixth in the race, as Febvre charged to get around Bogers for P4.
Gajser didn’t lead for long as by the next lap, the Team HRC rider found himself off track, and took some time to get going again. The Slovenian re-joined the race in 7th.
Prado was the new race leader, as he led the 9-time world champion, Cairoli, by 1.065 seconds with 11 minutes on the clock. The two then battled closely together with one another until the end of the race, as Cairoli briefly was able to pass into the lead, though the Spaniard was able to respond quickly on each occasion.
Febvre then started to close in on the pair, and while pushing to get closer, made a small mistake and went down. Meanwhile, Gajser was down in 6th and closing in on Seewer, who made a small error, which allowed the championship leader inside the top 5.
In the end it was Prado who was the winner, with Cairoli second and Gajser third.
Gajser now leads the championship by 55 points, as we head into round 15 of the FIM Motocross World Championship this weekend, for the final race here in Lommel.
Jorge Prado – P1
“It was a tough day and I didn’t feel 100% but I fought as much as I could. Tony and I had a good race in the second moto and I gave my ‘all’ for that victory; I’m really happy to have made it. The injuries at the start of the season meant that I missed bike time and I was racing without preparation. Now I am starting to feel better and I think it’s normal that it takes some time to get to a good level. Now we have to recover and get ready to go again on Sunday.”
Tim Gajser – P2
“Overall, I’m quite happy with the day. My riding was good and my speed was good in both motos, I just made that small mistake after I passed Prado to go into the lead in race two. I didn’t even crash, I just went off the track into the banners and lost 20 seconds. After that, I regrouped for a lap before picking up the speed and passing guys in front of me. My laptimes were a lot faster than the leaders and I closed right up, it’s just a shame I ran out of laps. So yes, it was a good day, winning a race and showing speed again in race two. I am very much looking forward for Sunday as I’m really enjoying riding in the sand and hopefully I can continue to get up onto the podium again.”
“I liked today. Last weekend was an ‘ugly copy’ of me because everyone knows I can ride the sand. Today was still not my best day on this surface but the second moto was good, and I had a nice feeling on the bike. I made some mistakes but got closer to the front. I was a little bit faster than Jorge in some places but was already out of roll-off so I didn’t get the chance to overtake him again and [Romain] Febvre was closing in. I was trying to go for the win but Jorge was strong. He deserved the overall. We’ll try to be better on Sunday and go for the win, for sure.”
Romain Febvre – P4
“I can’t really say that the day went as I planned! In the first race I passed Gajser when he made a mistake but then he passed me back when I also made a mistake; then I had some arm pump and lost contact with him but I could secure my third position. My second start wasn’t so good. The first corner was quite unpredictable but I came back to third; then I had a crash which cost one position but I came back third behind Cairoli again and on the last lap I saw him make a mistake before the waves section. I tried to pass him but I crashed, losing one position and the podium; too bad but I have no regrets as I had to take the chance. That’s racing; let’s hope that I will be able to put all the pieces together on Sunday.”
Jeremy Seewer – P5
“Even though it rained quite a bit this morning, the track had quite a bit of flow because they made some changes that took a lot of little obstacles away. I felt better on the track this morning, I had quite a decent first moto, I had two good starts. I battled for third in the first race but decided to settle for fourth and go for the second race. This strategy didn’t work at all because I made some bike changes between in the break between races but somehow went completely the wrong way, so I struggled with that and then I couldn’t find my flow and I felt empty in terms of energy. The season is getting long so it’s getting really tough to stay mentally and physically 100%. I gave it my all, I can’t blame myself and now up to the last one on Sunday.”
It was a great day for Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing MX2 squad who claimed another double podium, as Ben Watson occupied the second step on the box, after some impressive racing that saw him fight back from down the order to top point scoring positions, as he finished the races 3-2.
Third was his teammate and home GP rider, Geerts, who had a mixture of a day, after a couple of big crashes made things that much more difficult for the factory Yamaha rider, as he continued to chase an overall victory on home soil.
In the opening race, the Fox Holeshot went to Michael Sandner of Diga Procross GasGas Factory Juniors. The GasGas rider led Geerts, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsen, though F&H Kawasaki Racing’s Roan Van de Moosdijk wasted no time to slip into third place within a couple of corners.
The second factory Husqvarna rider, Jed Beaton, had a tough start to the race, as he picked himself up and got going on quite far behind on the rest of the field. Though he was able to get his head down and fight through up to 10th which is where he finished.
His teammate, Olsen, also went down in the opening few laps and was outside the top 20 too.
Geerts then set his best lap of the race, as he extended his lead over Vialle to 1.679 seconds and the gap between the pair remained tight for quite some time. The championship contenders were closely followed by van de Moosdijk, who pushed to stay with them and even gain some ground to go after the win. And as he edged closer, a bike issue forced him out of the opening race.
Geerts then went out of the lead, as he had an awkward crash, which gave a clear way for Vialle to lead the race. Meanwhile, Watson battled his way back up the order, after a poor start and was all over Ruben Fernandez of SDM Corse Yamaha for fourth place. After several attempts, the Brit was able to make a pass stick, though he then had quite the gap to go after Rubini. All while Vialle led the way by 12.121 seconds.
Watson then started to take a load of time out of Stephen Rubini of Honda Racing Assomotor who was having a great rider in 3rd place.
The gap between second and first then started to come down drastically, as Geerts was taking a load of time out of Vialle every lap until he was on his rear wheel. The two then had a few brief moments of running alongside one another, though with three laps to go, the #193 was finally able to claim back P1.
Watson also passed Rubini for 3rd, with the Honda rider coming under further pressure and losing out two more spots to Fernandez and Isak Gifting of Diga Procross GasGas Factory Juniors.
In the end it was Geerts who claimed the win, with Vialle second and Watson third.
MX2 Race 2
In race two, it was Geerts who got the Fox Holeshot as he led Van de Moosdijk, Gifting and Vialle. Though Van de Moosdijk was not about to sit around, as he quickly moved into the lead, while Vialle passed Gifting for third on the opening lap.
Geerts then had to work hard for eight laps to get around Van de Moosdijk as the Kawasaki rider put up a good fight. But as Geerts got into P1, he had a big crash and was stuck under his bike for a few moments, which cost him valuable time as he was only able to re-group in 7th.
Watson then made his way back up once again and eventually caught onto the back of Maxime Renaux of Yamaha SM Action MC Migliori J1 Racing and by lap 11 was able to pass the Frenchman for third as Gifting also lost a couple of positions after making a slip-up.
There was then 3.483 seconds separating Watson from second place, as he only had 4 laps to get closer to Van de Moosdijk for a few more points. Two laps later, the Brit was all over the back of the Dutchman and with a single lap to go was able to move into second after an incredible effort.
Though it was Vialle who won the race, as he crossed the finish line in first, with Watson second and Van de Moosdijk third. Geerts could not manage to pick up anymore positions and finished the race in 7th which was costly to his championship chase.
Tom Vialle – P1
“A fantastic GP for me again. When Jago crashed in the first race I lost my rhythm a bit. I thought ‘he must be far behind’ and in fact he wasn’t! My lap-times went off and I had arm-pump. I enjoyed the second moto much more and I’m really happy with the set-up of the bike. It is such a difficult track – physically also – so it’s important to stay on the bike and don’t do crazy stuff. I’ll be focused on that on Sunday.”
Ben Watson – P2
“I had a really good day. I achieved a personal best. To go one step higher on the podium feels really good. I took two terrible starts today and made it really difficult for myself, but I felt really strong through the races especially at the end, I could keep pushing to the flag. I was able make a lot of passes today. I was in such a rhythm today and feeling really strong. Overall, it’s been a really fun day.”
Jago Geerts – P3
“In the first heat I was feeling really good and riding really good but then I made a small mistake, but I still came back to win the moto, so I was really happy with my speed and with my riding and feeling on the bike. In the second heat I could make a pass for the lead and then I had a really big crash, I don’t know what happened, but I got stuck under my bike. I got back up in seventh and finished there. It was a really difficult race but in the end, I am okay and I will get ready for Sunday here again.”
Isak Gifting – P4
“It’s an amazing feeling. Eighth overall and now fourth overall, I’m really happy. I knew from my qualifying time that I was on the pace, and I know my fitness is good so I was confident ahead of both races. Even with crashes in both races I was fifth place so it has been a great day for me. I did get a little tired towards the end of race two but I stayed on the gas until the end. We’re making some really great progress so I can’t wait until Sunday.”
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