Three rounds are now complete in the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship after the MXGP of the Netherlands in Valkenswaard, with Tony Cairoli and Jorge Prado claiming the overall wins in dominant fashion across both the MXGP and MX2 classes – the first KTM sweep of 2019!
The Netherlands was the perfect setting for the action with challenging race conditions and better than expected weather added to by an enthusiastic crowd.
Australian Jed Beaton took a 10-15 result, with Mitch Evans going 37-10, leaving Evans 10th in the overall standings, with Beaton 13th. The opening round of the WMX also saw New Zealands Courtney Duncan go 1-7 to narrowly miss the overall podium after going down in Race 2, with Meghan Rutledge 9-8 to claim 25 championship points, with eighth position in the standings.
As Race 1 kicked off it was Antonio Cairoli who scored the Fox Holeshot, however by the end of the first lap it was Max Anstie in the lead! Running the pace early Anstie’s pass on Cairoli was textbook.
Tim Gajser was third with Gautier Paulin and Italian rider Ivo Monticelli not far behind. Clement Desalle was back in eighth after the first official lap but passed his teammate Julien Lieber one lap later. Continuing his way forward the Belgian made it by Jeremy Seewer before catching Monticelli.
On the fifth lap a mistake sent Gajser flying out of third promoting Paulin to the spot. Three laps after the mistake from Gajser, who rejoined the race in 12th behind Brian Bogers, Anstie fell while leading and was slow to get back going after snagging his gear on the bike.
The fall of Anstie not only gave Paulin another spot but handed the lead back to the always strong Sicilian Antonio Cairoli. Next to fall victim to a mistake was Anstie’s teammate and Cairoli’s compatriot Monticelli. Taking over the Monticelli’s position was Arminas Jasikonis. Jasikonis started his charge from tenth on lap 1 and progressed all the way up to fourth by lap 12.
At the conclusion of the first race Cairoli took the win by over Desalle by 4.2 seconds with Paulin and Jasikonis less than three seconds further back while Jeremy Van Horebeektook was fifth. Gajser recovered to seventh by the finish while Anstie finished 16th ahead of his two teammates in Glenn Coldenhoff and Ivo Monticelli in 17th and 18th.
MXGP Race 2 gave Cairoli his second Fox Holeshot of the weekend and fourth of the season but this time he held the lead for all of the 17 laps. Gajser had his Works Honda in second with the privateer effort of Van Horebeek just behind.
Jasikonis was off to another midfield start and came across the finish lap in ninth after the first complete lap. Shaun Simpson had a remarkable start inside the top five battling with Desalle for fourth during the first 10 laps. Paulin was on a move up the leaderboard along with Jasikonis for several laps before losing control of his Yamaha and sampling the sand.
Similar to Race 1 Jasikonis continued to progress forward taking fourth from Desalle with only two laps remaining. At the finish it was a second race win for Cairoli with Gajser second, Van Horebeek third, Jasikonis fourth, and Desalle fifth.
In the overall classification Cairoli’s double win earned him 50 points while Desalle’s 2-5 scores earned 38 points for second overall. Gajser’s 7-2 tallied 36 points for third overall and his third podium so far this season.
Tony Cairoli – P1
“A very nice weekend. I didn’t really feel great all week. On hard-pack I was OK but this small shoulder problem in the sand made things difficult. Anyway, looking at the bigger picture we took two wins and you cannot get more than fifty points so it was a great weekend. Also no crashes, which was important on this track where we saw a lot of people going down. It will be a busy week now with my home GP but I hope to see a lot of public at Arco and KTM again on top of the podium.”
Clement Desalle – P2
“I’m really happy as it’s not my favourite track and I was not expecting such a good result as I couldn’t train as I like during the week after my crash in Great Britain; I had pain in my hand and in my neck. Yesterday I just took it step-by-step and did what I needed to do. Today was different; I got good starts, was feeling good and could come back to second position during the first race. But I hurt my knee during this race; between the motos we had to work with the physio and doctor so I was able to get another top five finish which gave me a first podium this season. We are now third in the championship and I’m really confident for the rest of the season after this podium.”
Tim Gajser – P3
“I’m quite happy to finish on the podium again. I’m just a little bit disappointed with the first race. I made a mistake and finished seventh, but I’m trying to learn as much as possible from these mistakes so I don’t make them in the future. The second race was good though. My speed was good, my start was good. We were really close to the front and the pace was high so overall I’m quite happy and I’m really looking forward to next weekend in Arco di Trento. A huge thanks to everyone in the team, they did an amazing job with the bike and I felt comfortable on it in both the motos.”
Arminas Jasikonis – P5
“For me it was a really good weekend here in The Netherlands. I felt on top form and kept improving my pace every time I was on track. If my starts were a little bit better in the final motos, my overall result would have been even better. Not getting the best of starts in either race, I had to fight my way through the pack. Despite not getting great starts I ended up sharing the exact same points as third placed Tim Gajser and that gives me the extra motivation to continue pushing hard. I am really happy with where I’m at right now and I am looking forward to the next GP in Italy.”
MXGP Race 1 Top 10 – Valkenswaard 2019
CAIROLI Antonio – ITA – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 34:34.806
DESALLE Clement – BEL – Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing +4.242
PAULIN Gautier – FRA – Wilvo Yamaha MXGP +5.137
JASIKONIS Arminas – LTU – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing +6.759
VAN HOREBEEK Jeremy – BEL – Honda SR Motoblouz +12.427
LIEBER Julien – BEL – Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing +13.786
GAJSER Tim – SLO – Team HRC – MXGP +14.058
SEEWER Jeremy – SWI – Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team +20.989
SIMPSON Shaun – GBR – RFX KTM Racing +35.999
TIXIER Jordi – FRA – Team VHR KTM Racing +39.272
MXGP Race 2 Top 10 – Valkenswaard 2019
CAIROLI Antonio – ITA – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 34:13.363
GAJSER Tim – SLO – Team HRC – MXGP +1.461
VAN HOREBEEK Jeremy – BEL – Honda SR Motoblouz +32.822
JASIKONIS Arminas – LTU – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing +42.905
DESALLE Clement – BEL – Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing +48.123
SEEWER Jeremy – SWI – Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team +51.333
LIEBER Julien – BEL – Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing +52.345
SIMPSON Shaun – GBR – RFX KTM Racing +54.021
ANSTIE Max – GBR – Standing Construct KTM +1:00.795
The dominance of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing continued in MX2 this weekend as defending MX2 World Champion Jorge Prado returned from his one-week hiatus. Adding to his impressive collection of Fox Holeshot black plates Prado took the Race 1 lead immediately.
Thomas Kjer Olsen’s red plated Rockstar Energy Husqvarna got him into second early while his newfound antagonist Henry Jacobi ran third. Davy Pootjes was fifth for the first seven laps of the race before Ben Watson flew past at the end of the roller section.
Watson also passed Tom Vialle but a lap later the Brit crashed making his hard work all for nothing as he lost three spots as a result. Calvin Vlaanderen came from ninth on lap 1 to fourth by the end of lap 12 where he settled in behind Jacobi. Watson meanwhile regrouped from his fall and took fifth away from Pootjes for the second time with two laps to go.
At the finish Prado scored the win seven and a half seconds ahead of Olsen who had a further six seconds on Jacobi and another 16 seconds on Vlaanderen in fourth.
In Race 2 Prado’s perfection continued with another Fox Holeshot over Olsen, Jacobi, Vialle, and Jago Geerts. Prado’s new KTM teammate, Tom Vialle, crashed out of fourth position during lap three and remounted in 11th.
Vlaanderen moved into the top five due to Vialle’s crash but more noticeably Geerts took the Frenchman’s prior position and ran with it. A native of the neighboring Belgium, Geerts applied pressure to Jacobi for a consistent seven laps and finally made the move to take over third and two laps later Vlaanderen did the same displacing Jacobi another position backwards.
With just two laps to go Jacobi would lose another position to Watson with Alberto Forato, applying pressure from an impressive ride in seventh. The most important pass of the race for Geerts was also the final one. On the last lap, the last section, and last jump Geerts launched his YZ250F past Olsen to take second and also earn the final spot on the podium.
With Prado taking the win it was a perfect KTM sweep of the weekend in both MXGP and MX2 while Olsen took second overall and maintained the red plate ahead of next weekend’s MXGP of Trentino.
Jorge Prado – P1
“It was a great weekend. Four days ago I could not think about riding. I had too much pain and I didn’t really know how my body was reacting. I had to rest these weeks and take it easy. I wasn’t happy at all to miss Matterley Basin. I don’t think we really expected these results here this weekend: the goal had been just to ride and get some points! On Saturday I had some issues and didn’t feel comfortable but today I woke up and I felt better. So to win both motos was great and to get some points back. I took some painkillers today just to be safe but everything that we did for this weekend turned out well. It is a long championship and my rivals are riding well. We just need to keep going, keep focussed, limit the mistakes and keep trying to improve.”
Thomas Kjer-Olsen – P2
“We picked up some good points here in The Netherlands and that’s what matters the most for me. Knowing the track would be rough, my goal coming into the weekend was to remain safe and do my best to maintain the lead in the championship. In the first moto I had a decent pace and crossed the line in second. Then in the final moto I got passed by Geerts while running second again, just before the chequered flag, so I ended up third for second overall. This season will be very long and my goal is to remain consistent until the end of it.”
“It was a really good week for me, the first race didn’t go as planned but in the second race I was pretty fired up, in the last lap I got second place and took third on the podium so I was pretty happy with that.”
Continuing to build on his speed and stamina following injury, Australia’s Jed Beaton wrapped up the GP of The Netherlands with 10/15 results for 12th overall in the MX2 category.
“I had an OK GP and felt good on my bike. In the opening moto my pace was good so I managed to secure a top-10 result. Then in the second moto, I pushed a bit more than I needed to early on and ended up getting a little fatigued. The injury I picked up during the pre-season hasn’t allowed me to spend as much time as I would have liked on a bike. Around a tough track like Valkenswaard it is always important to be on top of your game. At the moment I’m taking one step at a time and I’m trying to get better every time I race.”
The first round of the 2019 FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship concluded after two days of racing at the Valkenswaard circuit of the Netherlands. It was Amandine Verstappen who took the Valkenswaard victory along with the first overall win and red plate of the new season for the very first time in her career.
A full entry list left 39 of the world’s best Women Motocross racers to line up on the sandy Dutch circuit. Though early in the year the weekend had nearly perfect weather and track conditions which developed to challenge all by the final checkered flag.
Alongside the qualifying races of MXGP and MX2, plus the first race of EMX125 presented by FMF Racing, the women started their season. The first race and day of the two day, two race format was a showing of speed by newly signed BIKE IT DRT Kawasaki rider Courtney Duncan.
When WMX Race 1 started off Amandine Verstappen took the holeshot ahead of Larissa Papenmeier and the rest of the field. Duncan was third but made quick moves to get by Papenmeier in lap two to then take the lead from Verstappen one lap later.
Moving forward throughout the 11 laps were Nancy Van de Ven and Shana Van der Vlist. Moving from eighth to fourth was a strong ride for Van de Ven after a bad start but even more impressive was Van der Vlist’s comeback from 12th up to fifth.
Race 1 was won by Duncan 6.6 seconds ahead of Verstappen who had Papenmeier only a tenth of second further behind in third. Van de Ven and Van der Vlist took the final spots among the top five.
Race 2 was in slightly cooler temperatures and a rougher track but Courtney Duncan was quick to take the Saturday momentum onward and lead from the beginning. A better start from Van de Ven put her in a position to apply pressure to Duncan while Verstappen and Papenmeier gave chase to both.
After 7 laps of the 11 total Duncan made a costly mistake on the lip of the finish jump sending her into a massive endo. Ejected from the bike the Kiwi returned quickly but after struggling to get it started her hope of winning disappeared. The crash left Van de Ven with the lead and a clear track ahead of Verstappen.
At the finish it was a race win for Van de Ven but Verstappen’s pair of second place finishes was both too strong and too consistent to be beat in the overall result. Duncan recovered to seventh but finished fourth overall behind Verstappen Van de Ven and Papenmeier.
Courtney Duncan – P4
“It’s a little bit frustrating to miss the win and even the podium as I really felt easy on the bike all weekend; I felt good enough to win and honestly I don’t really know what happened before I crashed on this jump. Anyway I didn’t get injured in this crash; I’m healthy and I feel confident before the next round. Now I need to spend time with the team and on the bike, get some fitness back and we’ve now got six weeks to do that before Portugal.”
The women will now prepare for round 2 of the 2019 FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship scheduled for the MXGP of Portugal on the 18th and 19th of May in Agueda.
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.