The weekend was the very first time the MXGP and MX2 riders got their chance to test out the hard-pack circuit in Arroyomolinos, which shaped up well and created some exciting races. The return of the Spanish Grand Prix saw Jorge Prado take a clear win from Tim Gajser and Romain Febvre in MXGP, claiming 50-points, while the runner ups had to settle for 42-a-piece.
As a result Prado closes in on Gajser, who still holds the championship lead on 441-points. Tony Cairoli is second overall on 417, while Jeremy Seewer is third on 396. Prado is fourth on 391, with injured Aussie Mitch Evans sitting in 11th with 228 points, despite being knocked out for the weekend.
Mitch Evans had to retire from the first race at the MXGP of Spain due to a left wrist injury, which he sustained whilst running in fourth position. The Australian misjudged a landing and came down in an awkward position causing him to immediately pull off the race track. The Honda CRF450RW rider will now get further medical assessment in order to know the extent of the damage, which will then decide his plan for the rest of the season.
“Shitty day! Over jumped a double and the landing was so hard it blew both hands off the handle bars and broke my left wrist in the process. Gutted but that’s the way she goes sometimes. Looking at the positives, we came back once and we will do it again!”
MX2 also saw a KTM rider claim the win, with Tom Vialle the front-runner, but not without a race 2 challenge from Jago Geerts, who was second overall. Vialle went 1-2, while Geert’s 5-1 result was enough for second overall. Thomas Kjer Olsen was third, while a strong first race in third for Jed Beaton, was followed by a Race 2 10th, for sixth overall. Bailey Malkiewicz finished 15th in Race 2 to collect six championship points.
Vialle currently holds a significant championship lead with 525-points, with Geerts second on 473. Jed Beaton is third overal on 379-points, with Maxime Renaux nipping at his heels on 372.
“The day started off really well. I felt great in the first moto, track was fast, but it was coming around. I was in second and briefly led the race, which was good but I just wasn’t able to make another pass. I was confident going into race two. My speed and fitness are on point but going into the first turn a few of us came together and I had a pretty big crash… and smacked my head pretty hard, 15 mins into the race my vision started going all funny and the last four laps were just survival had a lot of sketchy moments not being able to see exactly where I was going… I was lucky to not be injured and it was disappointing, but I came back to 10th for sixth overall so, not bad for the championship. I’m still third so I’m hoping for two strong races next weekend.”
MXGP Race 1
Jorge Prado started the opening MXGP race with a FOX Holeshot, as he led Romain Febvre of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team, Team HRC’s Mitch Evans. JM Honda Racing’s Dylan Walsh and Gautier Paulin of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing also got a good start as they were running fourth and fifth on the opening lap.
Tim Gajser of Team HRC then pushed his way into the top four, while his teammate passed Febvre for second. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer didn’t have the best start to the race and was down in 9th after the first few laps.
Febvre then eventually passed Evans back for second, with Gajser managing to get around his teammate as well, before the Australian crashed out of the race, sustaining a left wrist injury.
Prado then continued to lead the way by 2.361 seconds over Febvre, Gajser and Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle, while further down the order, Walsh dropped a few more positions and was down in 11th.
Standing Construct GasGas Factory Racing Team’s Glenn Coldenhoff was having a good ride in 6th as he applied the pressure onto Paulin. This battle carried on for a couple of laps before Coldenhoff forced his way past the Factory Yamaha rider. Meanwhile Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli and Seewer were also there in 7th and 8th having a fight of their own.
A few laps later, Cairoli made a little mistake which allowed Seewer to close in, though as the Swiss pushed for the pass, a small mistake turned into a big crash. He was able to quickly re-join in 10th just behind Jeremy Van Horebeek of Honda SR Motoblouz.
Walsh then went out of the race with what looked like a broken chain, all while Coldenhoff was looking for another position, as he got onto the rear wheel of Desalle.
After leading every single lap of the race, Jorge Prado went on to take the first race win, with Febvre finishing second and Gajser third.
MXGP Race 2
In race two, Prado repeated his start success from the first race, as he took another FOX Holeshot and led the way with Seewer and Febvre closely behind him. Gajser though was able to quickly move up into second on the opening lap as he started to push for the win.
Walsh had another good start inside the top 10, though had a big crash which saw him pull out of the second race too, which meant that the JM Honda Racing pilot scored no points this time around.
Coldenhoff then started to push Seewer for fourth, though Seewer was able to respond by setting his fastest lap of the race on the fourth lap. By lap 5, the top 10 included Prado, Gajser, Febvre, Seewer, Coldenhoff, Cairoli, Desalle, Brian Bogers of Marchetti Racing Team KTM, Van Horebeek and Henry Jacobi of Yamaha SM Action MC Migliori J1 Racing.
Prado then continued to put in lap after lap as he led the way by just over 5 seconds, as Gajser looked to have settled for P2 in the race, while the battle was heating up between Coldenhoff and Seewer. The factory GasGas rider, eventually took 4th from the Swiss rider on lap 13.
There were no changes in positions for the next few laps, and in the end, Jorge Prado went to take his first ever 1-1, to end the day in a perfect way, as he took the overall on home soil. Gajser crossed the line in 2nd, while Febvre finished third.
The podium looked exactly the same as the second race, as Prado took his second GP victory of the season, while Gajser made it his 8th podium, with Febvre making his 3rd podium of the year.
As it stands, Tim Gajser will now head to Belgium with a 24-point advantage to Antonio Cairoli, while Jeremy Seewer is a further 21 points behind.
Jorge Prado – P1
“Exactly what I wanted to do today. This was my goal here in Spain. My first 1-1 in MXGP! I felt I was the best out there and I was really excited when I crossed the finish line. The second race was really good. The first laps were intense with Tim and the track was very technical and a lot of ruts. You had to be very precise and smooth, no mistakes. It was an amazing day.”
Tim Gajser – P2
“It was a good day today, and I really liked the track here in Spain. I didn’t have a good start in either race but I was still able to finish third in race one and second in race two. The second moto, I was especially happy with the line I chose for the second corner as I swept all the way from seventh into second. I then tried to push, had some nice lines, and briefly passed Jorge before he passed me back. We stayed together for quite a lot of the moto but then I saw that Romain wasn’t so close behind me so I finished second, for second overall. The championship gap has increased but my focus for Lommel is to go out there and have fun. A big thanks to the team who have worked hard, and I hope that Mitch will recover quickly because he was riding really well.”
Romain Febvre – P3
“It was a good GP for me with two top-three moto finishes and an overall podium; that’s important for both the team and myself. I was very happy with my starts today; we have worked hard with the team to find the solution and when you start twice in second position it makes life so much easier! In the first moto I felt good; I was not far from Prado and I thought that it would be possible to go for the win in moto two when I got another good start but in the first few corners Gajser passed me and after ten minutes I saw that he and Prado were a little faster than me. I tried new lines but that didn’t change anything; I had a very good feeling but they were simply faster than me so I had to be satisfied with third.”
Glenn Coldenhoff – P4
“I’m happy with today. I felt really good on my bike all day, which really helped. The level in MXGP is really high so starts are important and in race one I was able to start in third. In turn three though, everyone bunched up and I had to stop to avoid crashing. It was frustrating as I went back to ninth. I found some good lines and I moved up to fifth so, this was ok before race two. My jump in race two wasn’t great, but I stayed out wide, missing all the ruts and chaos and was fifth after a few corners. I passed Seewer when he made a mistake and finished fourth. Not bad. Good points and onto Lommel for three in a row so I know I’ll be better there.”
Clement Desalle – P5
“It was another good day for me, starting with a fifth in the timed practice session. My first start was not good at all but I made many passes in the first few corners to come to eighth and I was sixth by the end of the first lap; I passed two more riders during the next three laps to finish fourth; that was positive. My second start was better but I made a mistake at the third corner and that dropped me to eighth; I was soon seventh and came close to Cairoli but it was very difficult to make the difference as there was mainly one line on this track. I’m getting better results each weekend; that’s encouraging.”
Tony Cairoli – P6
“A bad start in the first moto and I managed to make it back to 7th place. It wasn’t so easy to pass here but I didn’t want to lose many points so I had to make it happen. I wasn’t too happy, but the second moto start was better. I tried to do the second corner aggressively but caught my knee and it felt painful for a while. I pushed again. I lost some positions and won some but finished 6th. Not really a good weekend but we can re-group to make a push in the last six races. There are still plenty more points on the plate. We go to Lommel now and a lot can happen in the sand.”
Jeremy Seewer – P7
“Result wise, of course this is not what I want, 10-5 is one of the worst results I’ve had this year. I feel like I still made the most out of this day with my second race. We came from some tough times and struggling but luckily the team, especially the mechanics, and myself, we were able to make some positive changes. It’s always tricky on race-day to adapt the bike but it worked out well and I could finish fifth in the second moto which is solid. Although, top-three is my goal but there are 18 GP’s and this is racing. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Now we put this one behind us and move to the next one.”
As the gate dropped for the first MX2 race of the day, Tom Vialle put his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine out in front, as he led Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jed Beaton and Thomas Kjer Olsen, along with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts.
F&H Kawasaki Racing’s Mathys Boisrame had a good start followed by a tough moment as he crashed twice and would pull out of the race after the first lap.
Vialle then started to come under pressure from Beaton who was keen to go for the win, while his teammate, Olsen, was right there as well, and getting onto the back wheel of the Aussie. This close battle between the top three would carry on for the entire race.
SDM Corse Yamaha rider Ruben Fernandez had a tough race, as he would not do more than a single lap, after an issue with his bike. This was a tough pill to swallow for the Spaniard, who was hoping for a chance to fight for the podium during his home GP.
Back with the leaders Vialle continued to lead Beaton and Olsen, while Geerts was there in fourth. Maxime Renaux of Yamaha SM Action MC Migliori J1 Racing was in 5th, just ahead of Roan Van de Moosdijk, rider for F&H Kawasaki Racing, who was starting to push for higher positions.
With 16 minutes on the clock, Beaton was able to briefly find a way past Vialle, who was quick to respond. Geerts then crashed out of 4th, to re-join in 6th just behind Hitachi KTM Fuelled by Milwaukee rider Conrad Mewse. Meanwhile, Privateer Ashton Dickinson was having a great rider in the top 10, though he was caught by Husqvarna Junior Racing Maddii’s Alberto Forato, and eventually finished the race in 15th.
Geerts then put on a charge to pass Mewse, though after several failed attempts, Mewse was able to find a bit of breathing room from the Belgian, as he held on to fourth.
Back at the font there was no big changes until 3 laps to go, when Olsen was able to find a way past Beaton, while Vialle held a steady gap to the pair and would eventually bring home the win in race one. Olsen confirmed his second place, with Beaton third.
MX2 Race 2
In the second race, it was Jago Geerts who grabbed the FOX Holeshot and was followed by his teammate, Watson. Though Vialle wasted no time to make a move for the lead, and at the same time Fernandez took 3rd from Watson.
Beaton had a problem out of the start and came around the first lap in dead last. Mewse then went down on the opening lap and would fall to last as well, behind Beaton.
While Vialle led the race one again, Fernandez and Renaux were having a great battle for 4th. It looked like Renaux was giving it his all, though he still couldn’t find a way through. Beaton though was making a good comeback as he moved into the top 10 with 18 minutes plus 2 laps to go.
As the race progressed, Vialle and Geerts were putting in fast laps, lap after lap, but Geerts still managed to find an extra inch, in order to get on to the back wheel of the Frenchman at one point. But Vialle was able to respond pretty quickly, as he upped his game and set another fastest lap of the race as he extended his lead.
Olsen, keen to make up positions after a tough start to the race, was trying to get around Watson for 6th. The two had a close battle until the flag dropped, with Watson holding on to the position.
There was drama towards the end of the race, as Vialle led the way by 3.693 seconds with just 3 laps to go, and would stall his bike moments later, which allowed Geerts to steal the win. Luckily, Vialle only lost one position as he got going before Van de Moosdijk got around him.
In the end, it was Geerts who won the race, with Vialle second and Van de Moosdijk finishing third. Meanwhile, Spanish rider, Ruben Fernandez had a great race to finish in fourth.
Bailey Malkiewicz came home in fifteenth to claim six championship points.
Tom Vialle – P1
“I was riding well all day. Just in that second motothe back wheel came up and I stalled the bike under braking. I was a little bit angry because it was on the last lap but we still took the overall and made some more points in the championship. I’ve been riding a lot in the sand and I really like it so I hope we can do well at Lommel.”
Jago Geerts – P2
“The first heat I had a good start, but someone crashed in front of me and I lost some places, I finished fourth. The riding was okay, it could be a little bit better. In the second heat, Tom (Vialle) passed me and I just chased him the whole moto, then he made a small mistake and I could win. I am happy with how the day went; it was pretty good so now I am looking forward to the next round in Lommel. It’s always nice to go there because it’s really close to my home and I like the track.”
Thomas Kjer Olsen – P3
“Another great day for me. The first race I felt really good, really relaxed and able to ride my own lines. It actually felt easy and when I moved into second I tried challenging for the win but couldn’t quite make it happen. It’s taking a while to get used to the one-day format and my second motos need to be better. I’m in good shape so I just need better starts. I banged bars down the start straight in race two but quickly got into seventh, but the more I pushed the more mistakes I made so it felt like hard work. Overall, I’m happy. Another podium, four in a row so I’m looking forward to finishing the season strong.”
Roan van de Moosdijk – P4
“The day started well again with second position in the timed practice session but in the first moto my start was not that good. I couldn’t find my rhythm all moto long due to a lot of arm pump; in the past I didn’t have so much trouble and even if I try to relax it doesn’t seem to help. My second start was not really that good either but in the first few corners I made some smart passes which helped me to get in the top five and after one lap I was third behind Vialle and Geerts. It was a good result with a fourth overall, only three points from the podium; now I need to put two good motos together to get back on the box.”
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