Tim Gajser (Team HRC) and Jago Geerts (Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing) have dominated the qualifying sessions at Lombardia in the MXGP and MX2 qualifying.
In the first races of the support classes, we saw Lynn Valk of JK Yamaha Racing secure her first race win of the 2022 season, while in EMX250 the race one winner was Rick Elzinga of Hutten Metaal Yamaha Racing.
In the MXGP qualifying race it was Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer who grabbed the holeshot ahead of Honda 114 Motorsports Ruben Fernandez, Team HRC’s Tim Gajser, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff and Team HRC’s Mitch Evans.
Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing’s Calvin Vlaanderen got unlucky as he crashed in the opening lap and did not continue with the race.
Meanwhile Team HRC’s Tim Gajser was quick to make some moves in the beginning of the first lap and was already up in second. And as the Slovenian was searching for a way into the lead, Fernandez crashed hard on the finish jump. The Spaniard picked himself up but did not re-join the race.
By the end of lap one, we saw Gajser take over first place from Seewer, as Coldenhoff, Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado and SM Action Racing Team YUASA Battery rider Alberto Forato followed closely behind.
Gajser then opened up a gap to Seewer, who made a mistake going off the side of a jump. The Yamaha rider did hold on and managed to carry on without crashing, thus not losing any positions.
Prado then took over third from Coldenhoff. DIGA PROCROSS KTM Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsen was just behind the pair and was looking to make his own move into fourth. He managed to do just that not long after.
Coldenhoff then continued to fade down the order, as Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Maxime Renaux, Standing Construct Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Brian Bogers, Beta SDM Corse’s Jeremy Van Horebeek, Forato and Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing’s Arminas Jasikonis also went through with the Dutchman eventually finishing 10th.
Gajser went on to claim his first qualifying race victory of 2022 ahead of Seewer and Prado, with the trio among the top favourites for the podium tomorrow.
“It was good. I had a slow start and then I was third and made some quick passes in the beginning, made a gap and controlled the race. I’m pretty happy and looking forward to tomorrow. Starts will be really important so definitely all the focus will be on getting a good start and riding well.”
Jed Beaton, who races for F&H Kawasaki Racing Team in MXGP, proved that he has adapted well to racing in the premier class with a solid ride to eleventh in Qualifying, while Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP’s Ben Watson earnt fifteenth choice of gate for each of tomorrow’s points-scoring races.
Jed Beaton – P11
“The track is a little different to other years, more hardpack than when we have raced here before, but I had a good feeling straight away this morning. I got a pretty good start and first few laps to move forward to ninth; I dropped a couple of places at the end but eleventh is a good gate-pick for tomorrow. “
Mitch Evans was looking to build upon his results from round one in Matterley Basin and it was immediately evident that the Australian was in a much stronger position this weekend. At one stage of timed practice, he was fastest, before eventually dropping to eighth, but that was still a big improvement from the previous weekend.
With this boost of confidence, he rocketed around the first corner of the qualifying race, only just missing out on the holeshot. He then battled hard through the first few laps as he tried to regain all the race craft he lost from his 15-month injury absence. Unfortunately, a technical issue meant that he had to pull into the pits soon after, when he was inside the top 10, so that dropped him right down the field, but he was still able to do good laptimes and if he can get a good start from the outside gate-pick, he’ll be hoping for more improvement in tomorrow’s races.
“Already I was coming into this weekend with a lot more confidence and the first free practice reinforced my feeling that it was going to go a lot better. I felt more comfortable the whole day and it was really nice to back battling with the guys at the front of the field for a couple of laps in the qualification race. Unfortunately, I had a bike issue which meant I had to pull into the pits while it got fixed but even though I wasn’t able to make up any positions when I re-joined the race, I still wanted to get the laps in and keep making progress, both mentally and physically. Obviously I won’t have a good gate-pick tomorrow but I feel like I can definitely improve upon my results from last week.”
MXGP – Qualifying Race – Top 10 Classification
Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 25:32.894
Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:07.183
Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +0:17.317
Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, KTM), +0:18.326
Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:18.396
Brian Bogers (NED, Husqvarna), +0:23.769
Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Beta), +0:26.759
Alberto Forato (ITA, GASGAS), +0:31.306
Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, Yamaha), +0:33.498
Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +0:35.519
In the MX2 qualifying race the holeshot went to Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Simon Längenfelder who was the early leader and ahead of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts, Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Roan Van De Moosdijk and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle.
Geerts then was quick to take away the lead from the GasGas rider, who crashed not long after and took Van de Moosdijk with him. The pair got going again to finish the race 17th and 24th.
F&H Kawasaki Racing Team’s Kevin Horgmo, SM Action Racing Team YUASA Battery’s Andrea Adamo, Mattia Guadagnini of Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing and Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee also got off to a good start and were running nicely inside the top 10.
Geerts then set the fastest lap of the race as he looked to shake off Vialle, who was not letting the Belgian get away so easily. The pair pushed on and a few laps later had a nice six second gap to Horgmo who was doing a great job in third.
Further down the field, Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Kay de Wolf and Gifting had a big moment together, with Gifting being knocked off his bike and out of seventh with De Wolf stealing his position.
While it looked like Vialle was not giving up on Geerts, the Frenchman must have made a mistake, as he lost a lot of ground on the leader.
In the end Geerts was able to get his head down and secure the victory, winning 7.015 second ahead of Vialle. Horgmo crossed the line third but was penalised after failing noise control and ultimately finished eighth. This pushed Adamo up to third with Guadagnini bouncing back strong to finishing fourth ahead of de Wolf.
“I’m really happy about today. I felt good on the track the whole day and was first in time practice and then had a good gate pick for the qualifying race. I had a pretty good start, much better than last week so that’s positive. I just had a good feeling on track, I’m happy with my riding, looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully try to do the same in the two races.”
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