Racing concluded for round six of the FIM Motocross World Championship, with the MXGP of Italy the first of three events taking place at the Monte Coralli circuit in Faenza, where Jeffrey Herlings took the double MXGP win, with Jeremy Seewer adding two runner up positions to his tally and Tony Cairoli completing the podium across both races. Aussie Mitchell Evans went 9-7.
Herlings now leads the MXGP class by 60-points, from Cairoli and Gajser, with Mitchell Evans in 12th.
In MX2 it was Maxime Renaux who came out on top, thanks to a 2-1 result, with Jago Geerts claiming the first MX2 win of the weekend but having to settle for third in Race 2, for second overall. Tom Vialle took third with a 4-2, while Australian Jed Beaton was consistent with two sixth place finishes.
Vialle now holds the MX2 lead by a narrow three-points, from Jago Geerts, with Renaux a distant third on 196-points, 58-points off second. Jet Beaton sits fourth overall, now 18-points off Renaux.
MXGP Race One
The opening MXGP race saw Ivo Monticelli put his GasGas Factory machine out in front as he led Jorge Prado, Jeffrey Herlings and Clement Desalle. Though Monticelli made a mistake on the opening lap, allowing Prado to take the lead, with Herlings right behind him. At that point Desalle was in third place, though was coming under pressure from the Antonio Cairoli.
It didn’t take long for Jeremy Seewer to get up in the mix, as he started to apply the pressure onto Cairoli early in the race. By the second lap it was a KTM 1-2-3, as Prado led Herlings and Cairoli. Meanwhile further down the field Gautier Paulin moved into fifth as he pushed Desalle down a position and was looking to edge towards his team-mate.
Desalle then lost a position to Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and was coming under fire by Glenn Coldenhoff. The two riders had a close moment as they entered pitlane, though Desalle managed to retain his position.
By lap 8, Herlings was starting to close in on Prado, as 2.7 seconds separated the two. Cairoli was still there in third, trying to fend off Seewer and Paulin. During the same lap, Mitch Evans of Team HRC lost eighth to Romain Febvre who was making his way up the field.
A few laps later saw Gajser crash out of sixth, while the battle at the front heated up. At that point predicting a winner was hard, as Prado, Herlings, Cairoli and Seewer were all bunched up together and pushing hard.
After taking his time, Herlings finally moved into the lead on lap 13, while Prado was coming under fire from Cairoli and Seewer. As Cairoli got alongside the young Spaniard to attempt a pass, he was caught out, thus allowing Seewer through into P3.
Two laps to go and the gap between the top three was just 1.7 seconds, though in the end it was Herlings who took the race win, followed by Seewer and Cairoli, with Prado down in fourth after making a mistake on the final lap.
MXGP Race Two
In the second MXGP race, it was Prado who claimed the Holeshot and once again leading the rest of the field. Behind him was Herlings, Cairoli and Seewer, though the #222 made a mistake and lost about six positions on the opening lap.
As Prado led the race, Paulin who was having a great ride in fourth came under attack by the defending world champion, Gajser, with Cairoli also stepping it up and getting involved in the action.
While the two factory Yamahas of Seewer and Paulin were having a top ride in the top five, the same couldn’t be said for their team-mate Arnaud Tonus who crashed out of the race.
Gajser and Cairoli continued to push Paulin, and the Frenchman caught his leg which sent him flying into the advertising banners and out of a strong fourth place. Meanwhile at the front, just 2 seconds separated the top three riders, as Seewer set his personal fastest lap time of the race, clearly showing his intentions for the rest of the race.
Following the drama of the first race, that saw Jeremy Van Horebeek miss the start due to what looked like a bike issue, he was running 11th in the second MXGP race.
As the battle for the lead continued, there was a good fight going down for fourth, with Cairoli being chased by Gajser. It also didn’t take long for Febvre to join in on the action as he eventually passed Gajser and set his sights on Cairoli.
Lap 10 and Prado continued to lead Herlings and Seewer, though that’s when you could see Herlings stepping up a gear as he pushed for the win. With Herlings focused on Prado, this allowed Seewer to get right on his tail, with the bullet losing a bit of time during that lap.
Lap 13 and Herlings was the new race leader after finally finding a way past Prado. Seewer could not afford to let Herlings run away and was able to pass for second and continue his chase of the number 84.
For the last 3 laps of the race a mere 1.1 seconds separated Herlings and Seewer, with the factory Yamaha using all his energy to try pass Herlings, though in the end he was not able to do so as Herlings made it 1-1 winning the MXGP of Italy. Second on the podium was Seewer following a 2-2 result, with Cairoli filling the third step of the podium with a consistent 3-3 in the races.
Jeffrey Herlings continues to lead the championship by 60 points over Antonio Cairoli, with Tim Gajser in third on 196 points.
Jeffrey Herlings – P1
“I felt good all day. The speed of the top ten is unbelievably fast. Everybody is so close to each other and the starts really were key. It was hard to pass Jorge because he was riding defensive lines. I got the opportunity in both motos when he started to get a bit tired. It will be an exciting week, I think. The track could still get rougher to give more opportunities to pass but they did good with the watering and it was safe, which is the most important thing. I’m looking forward to Wednesday.”
Jeremy Seewer – P2
“I feel super good especially being second on a day like this. I didn’t expect it. I was close to the win. Jeffrey (Herlings) was always there. We did take some time to pass Jorge (Prado) but he was riding well until he got a bit tired. But as I said, it’s a tough time for me and I am happy to do my job, and now I am looking forward to having some rest.”
Antonio Cairoli – P3
“I re-grouped from 8th place in the first moto and I saw Jorge and Jeffrey at the front. The pace was fast but I could come closer and Jeremy [Seewer] was also very fast today. I gained a position when Jorge crashed at the end. My start was better in the second moto and I was in 4th even though I made a big mistake on the first lap and nearly went down. That cost me. I had to recover and keep safe because the track was getting a bit harder. I could find some more speed. I tried to attack in the last laps but, overall, I’m happy with 3rd because this kind of track is not really one of my favourites. We have to do another two races here so I hope to improve.”
Romain Febvre – P4
“There’s a lot of positive points today apart from my mistake in the first race when I crashed twice as my front brake was blocked in the first crash. I lost twelve seconds in that incident and then came back from thirteenth to sixth; it was a good race and it was impossible to achieve more. The second race was OK. My start wasn’t as good but I gave everything and was the fastest man on track; with a better start and without my mistake a lot was possible today, but I made mistakes and just missed the podium with fourth overall.”
Jorge Prado – P5
“I’m pretty happy with my riding. I had a little dip in the first moto and Jeffrey used that to pass me. Seewer and Tony were then attacking very hard but I kept with Jeffrey until the last lap. I entered a rut and when I was able to open the gas the rut fell-in and it popped my front wheel out of place. I crashed because of that. It was a case of bad luck. In the second moto I started well and was riding well until the end when Jeffrey came through again. I made some mistakes and lost some focus. Fifth overall is decent but I’m aiming for more. After being the guy who led most laps today it is a pity not to be on the box, but we will get there. I’m feeling good.”
Tim Gajser – P6
“I was feeling okay at the beginning, the track looked really good in timed practice and even during the races they kept the track in good shape. It’s just that it was really difficult to pass on the track and the start was the key. The start was really important and today I didn’t get two good starts. I was back in the pack, having to work my way through and I even made two crashes in the first race so that didn’t help. I was really disappointed. The second race was better, the pace was there, just a few seconds from first to fifth but I just couldn’t make the moves I needed to. That’s how it is though, and we still have two more rounds to go here in Faenza, so I will try to put this day out of my mind and focus ahead for the rest of the championship. I know the team will help with this, as they continually help me with all the preparations, so bring on Wednesday!”
Glenn Coldenhoff – P7
“Not quite the day that I was looking for. I felt great in practice and qualifying, and I was seventh fastest so this was good. We are all quite similar in in pace so seventh is ok. My start wasn’t great in race one, just my reaction time was just a little slow, which was unfortunate. The start on this track is so important so it was a tough race all the way to the end. My start in race two wasn’t much better unfortunately but I came back to eighth. We’ll go away from here, watch the races to analyze what I’m doing and then practice starts ahead of Wednesday.”
Mitch Evans – P8
“The first Faenza was good. The goal is still to be better each time I go out on track and we achieved that again today starting with ninth in moto one and seventh in moto two, so really happy with that. These first two rounds I was hoping top 10 results and to slowly progress to the top five, but those guys are running a really fast pace at the front so we’ve still got a way to go. However, we’re heading in the right direction and I’m feeling better and better each race and I’m very happy with how today went.”
In the opening MX2 race Tom Vialle put his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine out in front as he claimed his seventh FOX Holeshot of the season, with Jago Geerts, Maxime Renaux and Mathys Boisrame right behind the leader.
Getting a good start was also Conrad Mewse who was in fifth, ahead of Jan Pancar and local rider Morgan Lesiardo. Further down the field, Italian Mattia Guadagnini made a pass on Ben Watson, as the two battled outside the top 20.
Vialle continued to lead the way with Geerts, Renaux and Boisrame right behind him. Then came Mewse who was pushing to stay with the riders ahead, followed by Pancar, Lesiardo and Richard Sikyna who was having a strong ride in eighth.
As Mewse was looking to make a move on Boisrame on lap 7, Vialle went on to set the fastest lap of the race as he extended his lead to 4.780 seconds over Geerts. Stephen Rubini was also having a great battle with Lesiardo, with the two getting close to one another as they flew past pitlane. Though in the end it was Rubini who came out on top, moving up to seventh place.
Meanwhile, Vialle washed the front end, thus losing the lead, handing Geerts P1. The KTM rider dropped to third as Renaux was also able to find his way past him and then came Boisrame.
As the race progressed, Geerts was flying around the Monte Coralli circuit as he checked off lap after lap and led Renaux by 11.6 seconds. It seemed like Vialle was also keen to make a comeback as he started to apply the pressure onto the #172 of Boisrame. The two had a close call near pit-lane which also allowed Mewse to take advantage and get closer.
With two laps remaining, the battle for third was heating up between Boisrame, Vialle and Mewse. Though in the end the order remained Geerts taking the race victory, with Renaux in second and Boisrame third. Jed Beaton claimed sixth.
MX2 Race 2
The second MX2 race saw Jago Geerts add another FOX Holeshot to his name, though a small mistake allowed Renaux and Vialle through as the pilot led the way on the opening lap.
Thomas Kjer Olsen also got off to a good start in the race and was running sixth behind Roan Van de Moosdijk. It didn’t take long for Jed Beaton to catch up to those guys with him later moving up to sixth after passing his team-mate on lap 3.
On lap 7, Renaux was still the guy to beat, with Geerts really knuckling down on Vialle as he tried to make a pass for second place. Boisrame was still there in fourth with his team-mate a position further back.
As the race progressed, the gap between Vialle and Renaux decreased with the leader having to fend off a hard-charging Vialle while also making his way around the backmarkers.
With 5 minutes plus 2 laps to go, Vialle and Geerts continued to chase Renaux, with the Frenchman doing a stellar job at keeping his cool and not letting the pressure affect him too much.
As Geerts slowly backed off, Vialle did not and was pushing the limits in order to pass for the win and with three laps to go there was just 1.6 seconds between first and second. The Red Bull KTM Factory rider continued to push until the very end though it was not enough as Renaux took his career first race win in MX2.
It was the perfect day for Maxime Renaux as he also took the top step of the podium, with Geerts finishing second and Vialle in third, while Jed Beaton was sixth.
Tom Vialle still leads the championship by a small margin, that is 3 points, while Jago Geerts remains second and Maxime Renaux in third.
Maxime Renaux – P1
“It was incredible, one of the best days in my career for sure. I almost took the holeshot in the second race and I managed to lead all of the race. It’s really hot here today but I managed to do it and I am really happy with that, first GP win, woo!”
Jago Geerts – P2
“It was a good day today, the first heat I won so I was really happy with that, I felt good and my riding was smooth. In the second heat, I got the holeshot and made a little mistake and went to second and then a few turns later to third. I tried to make some passes, but it was really difficult out there, so I finished third, I am happy with that. I really enjoyed the racing and look forward to the next two races here.”
Tom Vialle – P3
“In the first moto I was feeling pretty good but then made a mistake which happened so fast that I didn’t really understand what caused it. I lost the front but recovered to 4th and in the second moto Max [Renaux] was riding really well and made a gap on us at the beginning. I worked and made a rhythm to close it up. I pushed so much in the last five laps. The track was hard, with a lot of ruts and I couldn’t find a way through. Overall it was not a bad day.”
Mathys Boisrame – P4
“It was a good day for me. I had a good gate pick with the second position in the timed practice period and my first start was pretty good even if in the first corner another rider hit my clutch lever! I found a good rhythm and was happy with a third position, but then my second start wasn’t as good; I was around the tenth position at first. I came back to fourth but later in the race I had some stomach troubles; but I was able to keep my position so overall I’m happy.”
Jed Beaton – P5
“It was a good day all in all. It could have been better but in the first moto Mattia Guadagnini crashed right in front of me on the opening lap and I had nowhere to go, so to come back to sixth from that was pretty decent really. Race two, I had a better start and just wanted to make it through the opening lap before going to work. I moved into sixth place on lap three and then caught up to Roan but just couldn’t get by and settled into his pace. It was a little frustrating, but I didn’t want to force the issue with the next round in a few days’ time. Overall, good points on the board and I’m looking forward to Wednesday.”
Thomas Kjer Olsen – P6
“It was great to be back racing again after a tough time in Latvia. I can now ride fully focussed and without pain so today was really enjoyable. The results may not reflect that but overall I’m really happy and it’s a good place to start with two more GPs here in Faenza. It took a while to find my rhythm in race one and everyone around me seemed to be on a similar pace, so it was difficult to move forwards. In the second race, Jed came by me and I was able to hold onto him and this kept me focussed. It was a good, solid ride. I really like the track here and I’m looking forward to Wednesday.”
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