In sharp contrast to the vicious sand of Valkenswaard where the last round of MXGP took place, MXGP of Spain in Talavera de la Reina presented a much harder surface, more elevation and warmer temperatures for round six of the FIM Motocross World Championship.
In what was yet another dramatic and action packed round of racing, egged on by a rambunctious crowd, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli took his first MXGP overall victory of the season. Meanwhile in MX2, Standing Construct Yamaha Yamalube’s Valentin Guillod put in a superb and gripping performance to land on the top of the box for the first time in his MX2 racing career.
It was a well overdue MXGP round victory for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli and an emotional one at that. The last time the Italian eight-times FIM Motocross World Champion won a grand prix was back in August last year at the MXGP of Belgium. This victory marked the seventy-third overall win of his career and is one that he dedicates to his father, the late Benedetto Cairoli. “My father was here last year and after that I didn’t see him anymore so I dedicate this win to him,” Cairoli said.
Speaking about his decision to race the KTM 450 SX-F, Cairoli said: “Yeah, I think it is the time to make some changes and get some new motivation. We test a lot with the new 450 and I like it a lot. I was sure I should ride with it from the first race (of the season) but I was not so fit. I still had some injury problems from the Nations (MXoN). The ‘350’ (KTM 350 SX-F) was our ‘baby’ and we brought it to the top. I won a lot of races and championships with the bike, but its time for new challenges.”
Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl added one more ‘holeshot and race win’ statistic to the books with his performance in race one where he blitzed everyone after taking his sixth FOX Holeshot of the season.
Max Nagl: “It’s been another fantastic weekend. Ok, winning would have been perfect but we tied on points for the victory, so that’s close enough. I know I say it a lot but I can’t thank my team enough for their tireless efforts. They worked so hard on Saturday to make the bike perfect for race day. Taking the holeshot helped so much and I felt like I had good control of the race. In race two I made a small wheelie out of the gate and wasn’t able to get the holeshot. Then a rock broke the roll-off system on my goggles so I had to be careful with my vision. Antonio had the pace in that race and I couldn’t match him and Romain was riding great too, so I’m happy with third. Although I didn’t win the GP, I still extended my point’s lead, so everything is working in the right direction. I’m looking forward to the next round in Matterley Basin.”
It was always just a matter of time for Yamaha Factory Racing Yamalube’s Romain Febvre, who has been beyond impressive in his rookie year, to finish on the podium. Now just six rounds in, the Frenchman was able to uncork his first bottle of bubbles. “It is an amazing feeling for me and that second moto was almost the same as when I won my first GP last year. In the first race my start was not so good but I made a couple of passes and just held fourth place. The guys ahead were faster than me and Paulin was far behind so I rode to save some energy for the second race. I had a pretty good start in the next heat and passed the guys quickly. When I was in the lead I knew I had to try and pull away from Tony but I made a mistake and stalled the bike. Cairoli closed the gap and got me back. I lost a bit of the feeling for the track but could confirm second place. You know, when you are leading it is not always easy but it was easier today than riding in second because it was so difficult to pass! I kept smooth with my lines… and I need to learn from my mistake. I’m really happy for the team. It is not only my podium but theirs as well because they work so hard everyday to get on the box.” Febvre said.
A gnarly crash in race two put a damper on Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP’s Clement Desalle and an end to his podium streak. Despite the craziness of his crash, the Belgian managed to salvage fifth in that race and combined with his second place in race two finished fourth overall.
Clement Desalle – “The first moto was good and my starts were not holeshots but in the top three. I was actually running the same speed as Max but the track was very hard for passing. Later, I got a kicker on the take-off and went over the front. I almost saved it. I bent the handlebar. I restarted to finish fifth but it was very hard physically. It was still two top-five results today…but I want to win! We will keep working and see next time.”
It wasn’t the easiest day in the office for Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev who had to come from behind in both races. Nevertheless, Russian Bob is not a quitter and he made that evident with his solid fight forwards in both races for fourth and fifth place results which landed him in fifth overall here at MXGP of Spain in Talavera de la Reina.
Evgeny Bobryshev – “It’s been really hot this weekend and the track is not my compound so it’s been a tough weekend. Here it’s really tight and hard places so I was struggling a bit with the speed. But anyway, in the first race I had a bad jump so I was really in the back but squeezed between some riders to be in ninth. Then I managed to come through to sixth, but then there was a gap already so I couldn’t do any more so I just paced myself to stay in sixth. The second race went pretty well though. I was good in the first few corners so I made some places and was fifth. Then after a few laps I moved into fourth and then could stay there until the end. I was trying to move forward, but I couldn’t get on well with this track and for me it was difficult to find one second a lap and keep it without making some mistakes so I was just controlling the pace behind me. For sure I wanted to get to the podium but I’m really happy I had consistent races and all day with the bike. We have done some changes since yesterday so big thanks to the team and we’re getting there.”
Similar to his teammate, Team HRC’s Gautier Paulin also had two bad starts. In race one GP21 managed to finish fifth while his most impressive performance was in race two after he went down in the first corner and managed to go from last to seventh.
Gautier Paulin – “In the second corner I got hit by Waters in race two. I don’t know what he did, but he had like a high-side crash and hit me really hard and I went to the ground. I wasn’t so far from the good position so I’m so frustrated by that. It’s pretty much the same scenario as in Thailand where we have good qualifying but on Sunday we just couldn’t finalise it. It was a little more technical in race two because it was getting more rough so there was more difference between riders. I was riding one second off the pace of the leaders even when passing riders as I was coming from the back so I think this was really not too bad. The feeling is there, I don’t need to prove anything, just we need to start at the front on a track like this where once you’re at the back it’s almost impossible to come through the field. I did my best but I couldn’t fight with the riders I want to fight with, at the front. I’m not happy about my Sunday and when I know I could do something here, it’s pretty frustrating.”
Australian Todd Waters finished a strong ninth in the opening moto but failed to finish the second moto after damaging his clutch lever in an early crash. Todd Waters remains inside the top ten in the championship standings with his 104-points staging him in ninth place between Shaun Simpson and Tyla Rattray.
Todd Waters: “Race two put a dampener on what should have been a better day. I rode well in race one after getting a great start. The pace was hot and heavy up front but I gave it my all and placed ninth. It went a bit pear shaped in race two when I crashed at the start and broke my clutch lever. I got going again but it was hard on those hills with no clutch. It cost me a much better result.”
Countryman Dean Ferris continued his progress back to form following his 2014 season ending leg injury, the Husqvarna rider claimed a top three start in MXGP race 1. Hindered by arm pump, he fought on to take 14th. Fighting for 10th in race two, a crash saw him drop back to 18th. Regrouping, he improved his pace in the latter stages to climb back up to 14th.
Dean Ferris: “I got a great start in race one and held third early on. But I think I sort of tensed up a bit and my arms turned to lead. I could barely hang on with arm pump. I was a bit gutted because I’d finally got the start I needed. Fourteenth and 16th aren’t the results I want but now that I’ve got my starts figured out hopefully I can begin racing at the sharper end of the field.”
As for the Spaniard’s, Marchetti Racing Team KTM’s MXGP rider José Butron managed to wrap up his home round in fourteenth.
Yamaha’s Valentin Guillod was unreal this weekend. The super stylish Swiss already snatched up a ton of attention for the epicness of his scrubs, but what really got people talking was his flat-out speed. Without losing his fun and playful style, the Swissman put in the ride of his life to win the second race for his first ever MX2 grand prix victory.
Valentin Guillod – “It is such a great feeling but I really have to thank the Standing Construct Yamaha Yamalube team, my team manager Tim, my trainer Yves Demaria, mechanic, my family and everybody next to me. We worked really hard these last few weeks because things were not going how we wanted but finally we found the right set-up and it was great out there. When I came over the finish line I did not know I had won the GP. I knew I had the race… but when they said the GP then that was awesome. I was riding next to Dylan and I tried to pass him but couldn’t. I tried to find a solution and finally could make it happen. I came here wanting to get top fives but to win the GP is ‘sick’!”
Even in defeat Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings is still a hero. The two-times FIM MX2 World Champion demonstrated maturity beyond his years in the first race as he held his composure despite the pressure he received from Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Max Anstie which saw him take the victory. But, what was most extraordinary was his performance in race two after he had a very ugly crash which left his bars bent out of shape. Nevertheless, The Bullet soldiered on and managed to charge from twenty-first back to seventh for second overall.
Jeffrey Herlings: “I definitely had a good start in the first moto, won it and stayed out of trouble. I didn’t have such a good start in the second and was around tenth. I worked my way up to sixth and then I had a big crash. But I came back from the back of the field and almost won the overall. There’s some work to do, but I still got some good points for the championship.”
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jordi Tixier was pretty solid in taking home third and fourth place finishes for his third consecutive podium finish this season.
Jordi Tixier: “It’s always nice to be on the podium, even if everyone knows that I’m not at my best when it’s so hot. I did a good qualifying race yesterday despite a crash on the last lap, and today I had pretty good starts in both races. I was not feeling so good during the first ten minutes of the opening race, but then I found a good rhythm. In the second moto everything was OK during the first ten minutes, but then I started to get stomach cramps and couldn’t hold the pace. That’s it, we’ll continue to work to be stronger in the next rounds.”
After sitting on the heels of Herlings for the entire duration of MX2 race one, it looked to be the turn in results that Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Max Anstie was looking for. Although he put in an amazing performance in that particular moto, the Brit made his life extremely difficult when he started well outside of the top ten. After missioning it forward on an extremely challenging circuit, Anstie managed to wrap up eighth which left him walking away from the grand prix of Spain with fourth overall.
Max Anstie: “ I had a very solid day, and got some good points in the championship. I had a strong first race, but I wanted to conserve some energy for the second race and didn’t push too hard; it was difficult to know what was best. I thought to myself “do I try to attack, but you need to be aggressive to pass here, or do I just conserve the energy”. I wanted to keep energy for the second race but it was not the same track. It was a mess; they watered the track so much. I got smashed up at the start and then nearly went down when Jeffrey crashed. We know what we can do on a hard pack, and we will continue to work on the bike to be ready for Matterley Basin.”
His teammate Dylan Ferrandis bounced back from a mechanical DNF in the opening Moto with a third place in the final bout. Dylan Ferrandis: “I felt confident during the practice sessions, but in the qualifying race I crashed pretty hard on my head when I tried to pass Jordi. I don’t remember exactly what happened, and then this morning I hurt my knee and had some pain all day long. My first start was not so good but after I passed Zaragoza the rear brake disk broke though I can’t explain when and where! I was very happy to get the holeshot in the second race, but on the third lap I again hit the ground with my painful knee and couldn’t maintain the same rhythm. I go back home now, and will have further examinations to my knee.”
Rounding out the top five, Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser rebound from his average result in race one which came about because of a crash to finish second in race two for fifth while his Teammate Honda Gariboldi’s Jorge Zaragoza finished twentieth on his MX2 debut.
Aleksandr Tonkov also had a strong ride on his FC 250, finishing a competitive sixth overall.
Aleksandr Tonkov: “The track was very one lined this weekend and the result was that pretty much everybody was running the same sort of pace. My FC 250 was perfect out of the gate in race one and I grabbed the holeshot, I led for a bit but made a few little mistakes and slipped back to fifth. I was pushing for another holeshot in race two but too much wheel spin saw me get boxed out in the first corner pushing me way back to 14th. Getting up to eighth was a good recovery.”
MX2 Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:17.908; 2. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:05.881; 3. Jordi Tixier (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:15.416; 4. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:19.547; 5. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +0:23.827; 6. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:26.871; 7. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Yamaha), +0:34.683; 8. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:54.741; 9. Julien Lieber (BEL, Yamaha), +0:57.055; 10. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:57.866
The third round of the European Championships EMX250 and EMX125 and the second round of the EMX300 championship took place in Talavera de la Reina, Spain this weekend where Bud Racing Kawasaki Monster Energy’s Maxime Desprey and Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Racing’s Yentel Martens took their second round victories in the EMX250 and EMX300 while the local hero KTM Factory Juniors’ Jorge Prado made his nation proud with his first ever EMX overall victory in the EMX125.
Bud Racing Kawasaki Monster Energy’s Maxime Desprey was in a league of his own this weekend. The Frenchman took the holeshot in both races to wrap up his second EMX round overall with a perfect fifty points score.
Maxime Desprey: “It has been a great weekend for me with two race wins, and a strong comeback in the standings as my main rivals didn’t had such a good day here in Spain. I got the holeshot in the first race, then felt some arm pump and let Graulus pass me. I looked his lines while I recovered, and was able to pass him again to win this race. I got another holeshot in the second race, and built a good gap to control the race. The track was nice to ride, now we’ll go to the team working this week with Jacky Vimond to prepare for Matterley and then my return to GP racing at the French round.”
With Desprey checking out in race two, the battle to watch was between Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s David Herbreteau and Kemea Yamaha Yamalube’s Damon Graulus. Graulus stayed hot on the heels of Herbreteau and patiently awaited an error, but the error never came. Instead Graulus needed to make something happen and with a sense of urgency pinned it around an inside rut which ran into the line of Herbreteau. Herbreteau went down and didn’t manage to start his bike again, which was devastating for the young Frenchman who sat second for fourteen of fifteen laps.
Graulus then secured second place and the second step of the podium while Bodo Schmidt Motorsport’s Thomas Kjer Olsen rode to a solid third despite a brief challenge from Mafi Yamaha MX Team’s Alvin Ostlund. Kjer Olsen’s third place in race two combined with his fourth in race one landed him on the third step of the podium.
Ostlund came home in fourth in race two with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Davy Pootjes rounding out the top five.
EMX250 Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Maxime Desprey (FRA, Kawasaki), 30:20.280; 2. Damon Graulus (BEL, Yamaha), +0:02.482; 3. Nick Kouwenberg (NED, Honda), +0:15.837; 4. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, KTM), +0:18.765; 5. Alvin Östlund (SWE, Yamaha), +0:20.666; 6. Ander Valentin (ESP, Yamaha), +0:29.335; 7. David Herbreteau (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:31.820; 8. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), +0:32.824; 9. Steven Clarke (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:34.169; 10. Nicolas Dercourt (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:34.566.
The day couldn’t have got off to a better start for the thousands of rowdy Spanish fans who came out to support their future star KTM Factory Juniors’ Jorge Prado who pulled the holeshot and led every lap for the race two victory and his first ever EMX125 round win.
Jorge Prado: “It was amazing to win here in front of the Spanish fans.I worked really hard the while weekend. I gave 100% and tried not to make any mistakes. I don’t feel the pressure here in Spain, I’m more motivated.”
Meanwhile, hats off to his KTM Factory Juniors’ teammate, race one winner Josiah Natzke who was only fifth around turn one but charged hard to be in second before the end of lap two.
In race two, Natzke slowly chipped away at Prado’s lead which made the last lap super intense as the fans urged their countryman on. While the race was cut close, it was Prado who held on to win by less than a second over Natzke meaning the duo would tie for the win with the winner being determined by the final race result.
The day went from good to better for the KTM Factory Junior team with their third rider Conrad Mewse also putting in an impressive performance to finish third in race two.
The young riders drew praise from their team manager Stefan Everts. “We have to give everything to Jorge today riding in his home GP, and with the fans behind him he managed to ride a smart race. Coming here with the red plate already gave him some pressure but he’s already shown us great things. He is a super talented kid.”
Italian Davide Cislaghi sealed the deal on fourth place which was identical to the result he received in the first race yesterday. Two fourth positions landed Cislaghi on the podium which is an impressive improvement on his overall finishes from the previous two rounds.
Rounding out the top five in race two was the early season red plate holder Kemea Yamaha Yamalube’s Maxime Renaux.
Yet another flawless performance for Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Racing’s Yentel Martens who, just as he did in race 1, chased Marco Maddii around the first turn followed by GL12 Racing’s Lewis Gregory. After following Maddii for a lap, Martens dropped the hammer and swung around the outside of the Italian, Maddii, in an awesome pass that was sealed by a scrub over the next jump.
With Martens moving into the lead, yesterdays race one runner-up, Gregory knew he had to act fast, and did so with an easy pass on the Italian Marco Maddii a few turns later.
Britain’s Matthew Moffat controlled fourth from start to finish although he did have his work cut out for him on the final lap with South African Damon Strydom laying in a late race charge.
At the end of the weekend, the podium clearly belonged to Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Racing’s Yentel Martens with his double race victory. GL12 Racing’s Lewis Gregory put in a pair of seconds for second while Marco Maddii rounded out the top three with two thirds.
EMX300 Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Yentel Martens (BEL, Husqvarna), 30:40.159; 2. Lewis Gregory (GBR, Yamaha), +0:17.089; 3. Marco Maddii (ITA, KTM), +0:35.963; 4. Dietger Damiaens (BEL, KTM), +1:24.599; 5. Matthew Moffat (GBR, Husqvarna), +1:44.675; 6. Damon Strydom (GBR, KTM), +1:50.966; 7. Joey Smet (BEL, KTM), +1:56.644; 8. Robert Holyoake (GBR, KTM), +1:58.190; 9. Miguel Gaboleiro (POR, Aprilia), +2:00.892; 10. Mikael Kaipanen (FIN, KTM), -1 lap(s).
EMX300 Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Yentel Martens (BEL, Husqvarna), 29:00.881; 2. Lewis Gregory (GBR, Yamaha), +0:04.407; 3. Marco Maddii (ITA, KTM), +0:23.623; 4. Matthew Moffat (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:58.826; 5. Damon Strydom (GBR, KTM), +1:00.704; 6. Dietger Damiaens (BEL, KTM), +1:15.153; 7. Robert Holyoake (GBR, KTM), +1:22.147; 8. Michael Hool (NED, KTM), +1:26.111; 9. Miguel Gaboleiro (POR, Aprilia), +1:30.459; 10. Ramon Brucart Sanchez (ESP, Yamaha), +1:31.689.
EMX300 Overall Top Ten: 1. Yentel Martens (BEL, HUS), 50 points; 2. Lewis Gregory (GBR, YAM), 44 p.; 3. Marco Maddii (ITA, KTM), 40 p.; 4. Matthew Moffat (GBR, HUS), 34 p.; 5. Dietger Damiaens (BEL, KTM), 33 p.; 6. Damon Strydom (GBR, KTM), 31 p.; 7. Robert Holyoake (GBR, KTM), 27 p.; 8. Miguel Gaboleiro (POR, APR), 24 p.; 9. Joey Smet (BEL, KTM), 22 p.; 10. Ramon Brucart Sanchez (ESP, YAM), 19 p.
EMX300 Championship Top Ten: 1. Yentel Martens (BEL, HUS), 100 points; 2. Lewis Gregory (GBR, YAM), 86 p.; 3. Marco Maddii (ITA, KTM), 67 p.; 4. Matthew Moffat (GBR, HUS), 67 p.; 5. Dietger Damiaens (BEL, KTM), 60 p.; 6. Damon Strydom (GBR, KTM), 57 p.; 7. Joey Smet (BEL, KTM), 47 p.; 8. Mike Kras (NED, YAM), 42 p.; 9. Patrick Vos (NED, KAW), 37 p.; 10. Mikael Kaipanen (FIN, KTM), 35 p.;
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