Desalle and Jonass win the MXGP of Russia – Aussie Hunter Lawrence sixth in MX2
Jed Beaton 13th overall in the EMX250 class
The MXGP of Russia, the 10th round of the 2017 FIM Motocross World Championship, was another one to remember,with overall winners Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass. The pair of winners battled not only the rest of the field but the demanding conditions, particularly in the second moto, on their way to the top.
Hunter Lawrence took sixth overall in MX2 after a strong start with a fourth in moto 1 only to have a poor start in moto 2, followed by being hit by another rider into the first turn. He finished moto 2 in 11th.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle was all smiles as he claimed his second overall this season. Desalle’s back to back overall wins are due to his consistently strong results. Placing 3rd in race 1 and winning race 2 the Belgian made it near impossible for anyone to outscore him. Gaining 45 championship points this weekend he now sits 2nd in the title chase.
“Two in a row; that’s really nice. Everything has to run for you in these conditions, but you can also make your own luck when you are a good mud rider. I didn’t make a good start in the first race and was around seventh but I found my rhythm after a few laps to finish third. I changed my strategy for the start in race two and it worked well as I started second. I had one small crash in the waves but I did not lose my second place; I tried to stay calm and when Febvre crashed I took the moto and the GP. It’s important to be fast in all conditions and we are doing that; the team is working really well and we will try to keep the momentum going.”
Gaining his 4th podium of the last 5 GP stops is Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings. Herlings narrowly missed out on the Fox Holeshot in race 1 and would settle into second the first half of the race before charging into the lead on lap 10. His second race start was not nearly as fortunate when he fell in the first corner.
After remounting his KTM he fell once more on a downhill section of the track. The Dutchman isn’t known for performing well in the mud but his win combined with 8th in race 2 proved to be enough for 2nd overall.
“It is a pity to be second: it is the third time this year! We made some improvements this weekend and have been analysing a lot. I almost had the holeshot in the second moto but the first turn was so slick and someone hit my front wheel, I went down again, and then again on the second lap and I was almost dead-last. I thought ‘it’s over’ but we kept going and managed to get enough points for the overall. I think we made the best of the situation; I’m not too familiar with mud because I don’t like it too much! But it is good to get on the podium. I’m looking forward to Ottobiano and I think I am capable of winning there.”
Title contender Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin was one of the most consistent and patient riders scoring 5-3 finishes for 3rd overall. Paulin struggled off the start in both races and had to work his way forward from 8th to 5th and 5th to 3rd in difficult conditions.
“It was a tough GP so to get one more podium result is vital for the championship. I had a great feeling during qualifying on Saturday. My speed was great and I found myself leading for a few laps before finishing second. With weather conditions changing dramatically on Sunday, things were completely different for the final motos. In moto one I struggled to keep my goggles clean and that made things even harder. Not getting a decent start I had to push hard to get fifth at the end. Then in moto two I had a good start and worked my way through to fourth before crashing with a slower rider. Luckily, I managed to pick myself up and get third in moto two. Overall, it’s been a positive weekend and I really liked the progressive power of my Husqvarna in these conditions. Getting a podium result was important and surely we’re looking for more in the coming GPs.”
Paulin’s Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing teammate Max Anstie had his career best 450 result coming in 4th overall. The Brit ran 3rd for most of the day, 23 of 31 total laps to be exact, before finishing 4th in race 1 and 5th in race 2.
“It’s been a good weekend for me despite tough conditions. Battling for the runner-up spot until the last few laps, I managed to earn my best result for the season with fourth overall. I had a strong moto one in the mud and the rain. Despite coming out into the pits to replace my goggles and gloves I kept pushing and made some good passes for fourth at the line. Then in moto two I had a great start and was racing in third place for most of the moto. Building a 20-seconds gap to fourth I made a mistake and crashed on the last lap and that eventually dropped me to fifth. I’m happy with where we’re at right now. We showed the speed is there despite tough conditions and we’ll keep working hard to do even better.”
Points leader, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli took 5th overall after a strong 2nd in the first race but a disappointing 9th in race 2. Though not having the weekend expected he goes into his home MXGP of Ottobiano with the red plate and a 47 point championship lead over Desalle.
“This weekend was quite good and I prepared for this track by watching some videos and stuff; it wasn’t really my favourite. I was a bit worried with the rain this morning because my left knee is not so well in mud like this and I also felt that putting my foot down with so much weight [on the bike] it can be a big sketchy so I took it very easy. I had a great start in the first moto and led for twenty minutes until Jeffrey passed me; second place was OK. I slipped on the start grill in the second moto and someone hit me and I almost crashed close to Jeffrey. There was a little bit of drama at the start of the race but I got up to eighth and then crashed with another rider in a rut and hit my knee a bit. I was a little disappointed but I am pleased about the championship [situation] at the moment and now we go to Ottobiano which is a track I really like.”
Finishing sixth overall was Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Romain Febvre. While sixth overall is a strong result the real high note for Febvre was race 2 where he grabbed the Fox Holeshot and led the first 12 laps and finished 2nd. While the speed and start were of winning form the mistake of running into a lapped rider proved costly.
“I feel good today, I got to fourth but I crashed and my goggles and gloves were filled with water so I had to stop. I came into pit-lane and with my crash I lost 1 minute and 30 seconds, but I came back to tenth. In the second moto I took the holeshot and led the whole race until 2-Laps to go and Jeffrey (Herlings) was in my way, he was ignoring the blue flag and on my line, and at one moment I slid and hit him and crashed, so I am disappointed, but I feel good on the bike.”
Meanwhile Russian fan favorite Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev took a respectable 12th overall at his home GP only three weeks after surgery on a fractured collarbone.
“I found today really tough especially after all the rain we had. The track was very muddy and it became a disaster trying to choose good lines. The first race I had a good start but then I had a problem with my goggles and I had to stop in the pit lane in the second lap, which meant I lost a lot of time and places. Then, when I got into a rhythm, I had problems with my gloves so I had to stop again. I just lost so much time with that and ended up 13th. In the second race, I had a really bad start, I was last out of the gate. I came back feeling quite strong and feeling good with the bike. I found some good lines and managed to go from last position to eighth. In the last lap, I made a mistake and fell off onto my shoulder which wasn’t so good and got 10th. I didn’t expect to come back here and be on top as my condition is still weak. I am happy that nothing happened with my collarbone and I can continue working hard and coming back to be 100%. I collected points which I needed and from now I just move forward.”
Yesterday’s qualifying race winner Wilvo Yamaha MXGP’s Arnaud Tonus faced an entirely different surface today but he still managed a strong result. After a fall in race one would hold him to 9th, a strong start in race 2 propelled him to 4th. The combination of the two results position the Swiss rider 7th overall to end the weekend.
“I felt good on this track right away and I won the Qualifying Race. I felt at home on this track and I was able to show my speed and prove that the speed is there. Today, the track was completely different, but even so, I felt great. I just crashed in the first race and came back to ninth. In the second race I stalled the bike at one point and got back to fourth. I feel good, and I hope to carry this speed through to the next grand prix.”
Arminas Jasikonis was eighth, after two seventh places finishes in the motos. Glenn Coldenhoff finished ninth overall, and Maximilian Nagl completed the top 10.
“It’s was day and night, the difference between the track yesterday and then today. It’s rained so hard for about two hours and made the track so tricky. The first race wasn’t too bad as the mud wasn’t so sticky yet so the bikes weren’t so heavy. I got off to an ok start in that race and after the first lap I was around sixth but I had to pull into the pit lane because I had some trouble with my goggles. I changed my goggles and was still able to finish seventh which was quite good. In the second moto I had a big wheel spin on the starting mesh, so I was dead last but I made a really fast first lap with no mistakes and I was already up to around eighth. In the moto I was feeling good and catching guys; Gautier Paulin crashed in front of me so I was already up to fourth but then I immediately made a mistake and fell over. I feel a bit disappointed about the second moto because I felt like it could have been so good. I want to thank all the team though because they also have to work so hard in these conditions and with all this travel too, so a big thanks to them.”
“It was a new track for everyone and I rode a lot in the first two sessions to get used to it. There was a lot of rain and it changed things. The first moto was really strange. I had wheelspin in the gate and was last and then crashed on the first lap from there onwards I knew it would be a tough one but I kept it on two wheels to take twelfth and limit the mistakes. In the second one I went to the outside of the gate where it was quite clean and had less wheelspin; a much better start. I passed a few people – and a few got me back – but I was quite happy to finish sixth: to go home with a twelfth [as my best] would not have been so nice! I will work hard now towards Ottobiano.”
“I did my best this weekend. I had a good feeling on the bike so pushed hard for the lead in the qualifying race. Everything was going well and I was racing in second place before suffering a big crash that caused some pain on my left wrist. With all that rain falling on Sunday morning it was a big struggle even to finish each moto. In moto one there was so much water in the track and you had to be extra cautious to avoid mistakes and keep your goggles clean. Starting from outside the top 10, I managed to get an eighth place result. Then in moto two the track was destroyed in some parts and it all looked like a big, extreme enduro test. Getting 11th in moto two I finished this tough GP in 10th place and I’m happy about that.”
Suzuki’s Hunter Lawrence had a strong first moto in MX2 taking fourth, but 11th in the second moto regulated him to sixth overall for the Russian round, with only a single point between fourth through to sixth.
“The first race wasn’t too bad, the skies opened up before the race and we were getting hammered on the track; the rain really was unbelievable. I was able to finish fourth though which after starting off well down the field is really a positive thing. The speed is definitely there, and I didn’t mind the conditions, but then it got much worse for the second moto. Again, I wasn’t off to a good start. Thomas Kjer Olsen hit me from behind in the first corner but it’s always chaos in the first turn so I can’t really blame him. After finally getting going, I got back up to fourth very quickly and was riding well. Then another rider was crashed in the main rut that I was using and it was just unbelievably muddy and sticky out there. I dropped it there and then had to pick up my bike which was just so, so, heavy with all the mud on there. I finally got the bike up but it was just so hard to twist the throttle with all the mud on the bike. I kept riding though and eventually came home in 11th place, but I definitely feel it could have been better.”
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Pauls Jonass showed that consistency is key on his way to the overall win. Jonass went 2-3 and was even lapped on race 2 but he still managed to grow his points lead on the competition.
“I had some bad luck on Saturday which meant I didn’t have the best gate pick today and that was so important on this track and in the mud but I still managed to have some good starts and was inside the top eight-ten and was able to climb my way up to the top three. I was shocked when I found out I’d won the overall because I didn’t feel my riding was that great. This race was tough and it is the sort of one where you can win or lose a lot; I didn’t win a lot [in terms of the championship] but it was important to take something. I didn’t make any big mistakes and stayed calm in both motos. A big thanks to the team as well because the bike worked great in conditions that were really heavy.”
The man who showed the most dominance in terms of individual races was by far Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer. Seewer struggled off the start of race 1 and after throwing away his goggles only managed a 7th place finish. The second race was a different story all together, Seewer had a good start and moved into the lead from fourth by lap 8 but by the finish lapped every rider except second who finished 2 minutes and 32 seconds later.
“The whole weekend I felt good, the track was cool but then the rain started to fall a lot more than we expected, which made the whole race a bit of a lottery. It’s always like that in the mud and luck is a big part of the result. In the first moto I had a bad start and some google issues and while it was ok to ride, it was tough to catch up as once you got behind a rider you got splashed and it’s not very healthy for your eyes. In the second moto I just tried to survive and luckily got a good start and came around the first corner in third before the guys in front made some mistakes. The track was so bad, especially in front of the pit lane so it was hard for me to read what was written so I didn’t even know I had won. I wasn’t sure if Benoit Paturel had crashed out or not because I couldn’t see that and I was just so focused on my riding and then they told me that I nearly lapped everyone. I was pretty shocked with that. Second overall is decent enough, we didn’t lose too many points but of course the goal is to gain points against Pauls Jonass but he did well today and it’s not easy to beat him, but we’re not giving up and we’re going to try our best to make it happen in the next rounds.”
HSF Logistics Motorsport’s Brian Bogers reached the podium for the first time this season taking 3rd overall. In race 1 Bogers took 6th after running as high as 4th. Finishing 2nd in race 2 was victory on its own, but another small victory was the fact that Bogers was the only rider not to be lapped in the race. After struggling early in the year the #189 has perhaps reached the turning point of his season in Russia.
“I feel amazing today even do it has been a hard a year for me, the beginning of the season didn’t go as expected but today we made it on the podium and I’m really about it.”
Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team’s Benoit Paturel carried his hard earned momentum from France to Orlyonok and scored another impressive result. Benoit had an up and down day with 3-12 finishes but overall came out ahead of many with 4th overall. While previously know for bad starts of the grid, the last 2 races show he has been working hard to improve. The #6 was 2nd after the first lap of race 2 and even led for a lap before falling.
One of the other Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team riders, the young Alvin Ostlund, had his career best result in MX2 finishing 5th overall after going 8-6. Ostlund achieved his top 5 thanks to the way he worked his way forward to 6th in race 2 after starting the first lap in 11th.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsen had a head turning race 1 as he led every lap but the first on the way to the race win. Unfortunately for Olsen that would be the extent of the laps he completed and while he started Race 2 he fell on the opening lap, damaged his bike, and pulled off unable to continue.
“I was stoked to get the win in moto one and was hoping to do equally well in moto two. I had to dig deep for that first moto win. It was raining very heavily when we started the race so it was crucial to get a good start. Getting the lead a few corners later, I pushed hard trying to avoid mistakes. My goggles kept me good almost all the way to the finish line and that was crucial to get the win. Things didn’t go that well in moto two. Soon after the start I had we crashed together with Hunter Lawrence and when I picked my bike up I saw that the front brake lever was broken. It is what it is I guess and we will continue working hard hoping for some more victories in the races to come.”
Two other MX2 riders who impressed today were Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado Garcia and Suzuki World MX2’s Hunter Lawrence. Prado took both Fox Holeshots and Lawrence run among the top 5 in both races before finishing 4th and 11th for 6th overall.
“The weekend was weird! On Saturday my feeling was OK and I think if it hadn’t have rained I could have done a really good race. Anyway a lot of rain came and the first moto was just through water! I got a holeshot but struggled a lot and just couldn’t push; I don’t know why. I wasn’t smart enough with my goggles also. The track was quite different for the second one. The rain stopped and the track was more mud than water so it was more technical and physical. I was pretty happy to finish fourth and to be back leading in terms of holeshots! We have moved forward in the championship and Ottobiano is next where I believe I made one of my best pre-season races. I’m really looking to that Grand Prix.”
Yamaha SM Action’s Simone Furlotti provided the strongest combined performance of any of the competition. Furlotti started and finished race 1 in second. The Italian then followed it up with an equally consistent performance Sunday starting fourth and finishing third and when combined resulted in an overall victory.
Aussie Jed Beaton meanwhile took 23rd in the first moto, followed by a very strong fourth, leaving him 13th for the round.
Fastest in race 1 but less consistent in race 2 was Honda Redmoto’s Mathys Boisrame. Finishing 2nd overall, the Honda rider won race 1 nearly seven seconds ahead of Furlotti but in race 2 finished 6th forty-nine seconds behind the winner BUD Racing Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Tristan Charboneau.
Finishing 5th and less than a second ahead of Boisrame in race 2 was Carglass Honda Racing’s Dylan Walsh. Walsh came into Sunday with a 7th place from race 1 after a mistake dropped him from 3rd, but in the end left with a podium, taking 3rd overall.
A bad start in race one put Honda Redmoto’s Alberto Forato 15th on the first lap. Forato miraculously climbed his way back up the results list to finish a hard fought 4th. An even worse beginning to race 2 resulted in 10th but combined together his determination proved valuable scoring 4th overall.
While consistency earned Furlotti the win it also earned 137 KTM Motorsport’s Jere Haavisto the final spot in the top five. Haavisto pair of 8th place finishes scored him 26 points, just enough to edge out race 2 winner Charboneau.
Coming into Russia Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Morgan Lesiardo led the championship with a 34 point gap on second. While Lesiardo will continue to hold the red plate he will now only have a 17 point gap after taking 10th overall.
Sahkar KTM Racing’s Jago Geerts struggled this weekend falling several times and he also will drop to third in the points after finishing 12th overall.
In the 300cc 2-Stroke class Brad Anderson took the race 1 win in convincing fashion. To start race two the Brit led the first three laps but wisely let race one’s third place finisher and reigning champion GL12 Racing’s Mike Kras through. Anderson is now undefeated in overall wins this season and consequently grows his lead in the championship points.
Kras, who would start and finish third in race 1, was able to reach 2nd for 5 laps but loose the spot back to Kenny Vandueren. Race 2 instead saw Kras start second but then pass points leader Anderson winning the race but more than 56 seconds.
Vandueren followed up his second place in race one with another strong finish of 4th in the second race Sunday after a 6th place start. The Belgian leaves Russia on the final spot podium.
The only rider among the top five not aboard a KTM was Yamaha mounted Andero Lusbo. Lusbo on Saturday was full of battles as he started in 8th but shifted to 9th then back 8th before finishing 7th. However today’s racing was not nearly as eventful for the Estonian starting and finishing in 3rd.
Taking the final spot of the top five 300 Two-Stroke riders was HSF Logistic’s John Cuppen. Cuppen’s pair of 6th place finishes scored 30 points but so too did iFly JK Racing’s Manuel Iacopi’s 4-9 finishes, and with the better of the 2nd race being the tiebreaker Iacopi settled with 6th.
Erik Willems started the season off strong in Germany with a 3rd overall, but he dropped from 6th to 10th in race 1, and then recovered from a mistake in race 2 to take 5th. The combined results for the Husqvarna rider slotted him 6th overall and moves him to 4th in points.
EMX300 Presented by FMF Racing Race 1 Top Ten
1. Brad Anderson (GBR, KTM), 29:57.414; 2. Kenny Vandueren (BEL, KTM), +0:09.727; 3. Mike Kras (NED, KTM), +0:21.821; 4. Manuel Iacopi (ITA, Yamaha), +0:33.440; 5. Christopher Valente (SUI, KTM), +0:41.020; 6. John Cuppen (NED, KTM), +0:50.827; 7. Andero Lusbo (EST, Yamaha), +0:53.656; 8. Thomas Marini (SMR, Husqvarna), +1:03.749; 9. Valtteri Malin (FIN, KTM), +1:06.910; 10. Erik Willems (BEL, Husqvarna), +1:43.861
EMX300 Presented by FMF Racing Race 2 Top Ten
1. Mike Kras (NED, KTM), 31:43.280; 2. Brad Anderson (GBR, KTM), +0:56.183; 3. Andero Lusbo (EST, Yamaha), +1:17.423; 4. Kenny Vandueren (BEL, KTM), +2:43.618; 5. Erik Willems (BEL, Husqvarna), -2 lap(s); 6. John Cuppen (NED, KTM), -3 lap(s); 7. Andrey Bessonov (UKR, Yamaha), -3 lap(s); 8. Thomas Marini (SMR, Husqvarna), -4 lap(s); 9. Manuel Iacopi (ITA, Yamaha), -5 lap(s); 10. Patrick Vos (NED, KTM), -5 lap(s)
EMX300 Presented by FMF Racing Overall Top 10
1. Brad Anderson (GBR, KTM), 47 points; 2. Mike Kras (NED, KTM), 45 p.; 3. Kenny Vandueren (BEL, KTM), 40 p.; 4. Andero Lusbo (EST, YAM), 34 p.; 5. John Cuppen (NED, KTM), 30 p.; 6. Manuel Iacopi (ITA, YAM), 30 p.; 7. Erik Willems (BEL, HUS), 27 p.; 8. Thomas Marini (SMR, HUS), 26 p.; 9. Christopher Valente (SUI, KTM), 25 p.; 10. Andrey Bessonov (UKR, YAM), 23 p.
EMX300 Presented by FMF Racing Championship Top 10
1. Brad Anderson (GBR, KTM), 97 points; 2. Mike Kras (NED, KTM), 89 p.; 3. Kenny Vandueren (BEL, KTM), 76 p.; 4. Erik Willems (BEL, HUS), 67 p.; 5. Andero Lusbo (EST, YAM), 62 p.; 6. Manuel Iacopi (ITA, YAM), 55 p.; 7. Thomas Marini (SMR, HUS), 47 p.; 8. John Cuppen (NED, KTM), 43 p.; 9. Christopher Valente (SUI, KTM), 42 p.; 10. Patrick Vos (NED, KTM), 36 p.
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