Hunter Lawrence tops qualifying – Jed Beaton fourth
Max Anstie top MXGP qualifying

The season’s last Qualifying Races took to the tricky hillside of the MXGP of Pays de Montbéliard today, where Australia’s Hunter Lawrence (Team Suzuki World) took the top MX2 qualifying position in an epic start to the weekend’s racing, with fellow Aussie Jed Beaton not far behind in fourth.  Tomorrow’s French grand finale will also see Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Anstie line up to the gate in pole position.

Lawrence topped the MX2 qualifying
Lawrence topped the MX2 qualifying

Preparation has been fierce for the points paying races, especially in MX2 as the championship will be decided between Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass and Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer.

Jeremy Seewer leading the qualifying, is fighting for the MX2 title
Jeremy Seewer leading the qualifying, is fighting for the MX2 title

On top of the MXGP and MX2 races the EMX250 and WMX classes are in their final weekend of racing. In EMX250 Race 1 BUD Racing Monster Energy’s Tristan Charboneau took the win ahead of GL12 Racing’s James Dunn and F&H Racing’s Ruben Fernandez but the best moment was that of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Morgan Lesiardo as he clinched the 2017 EMX250 Championship.

In the Women’s Motocross World Championship, after Race Direction watched the footage from the Race 1, adjusted results were retracted and the original standings prevailed which was a win for Kiara Fontanesi, a second for Nancy Van de ven, and a third for Team One One Four’s Livia Lancelot.


MX2 Qualifying

MX2’s Qualifying Race started with a good jump from the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing bikes of Jorge Prado and Pauls Jonass, Prado however would fall in the first corner and Jonass would be beat out by Team Suzuki World MX2’s Hunter Lawrence.

Hunter Lawrence
Hunter Lawrence

Lawrence took the lead and looked the most comfortable of anyone on the wet Villars sous Ecot circuit in the process. Lawrence led the race from start to finish and in the end won by over 24 seconds.

Behind Lawrence was Jonass and the rest of the field including Lawrence’s Team Suzuki World MX2 teammate Jeremy Seewer. Seewer first battled for third with HSF Motorsport Team’s Brian Bogers then after securing the position capitalized on a mistake of Jonass to take 2nd.

Pauls Jonass
Pauls Jonass

Seewer only held the spot for one lap though as Jonass went back by and Seewer later crashed dropping him to an 8th place result. Back toward the front HRC MX2’s Jed Beaton was having an impressive ride to a 4th place finish ahead of HSF Motorsport Team’s Davy Pootjes.

Hunter Lawrence

“I got a great start on my RM-Z250, taking the holeshot and leading the way round the first few bends. I was pretty pumped to have got that good start, so I put my head down and made sure to hit my lines and keep everyone behind me. I have been feeling good all day as I love the track and all the ruts. Everything seems to have gone well today, I just hope we can keep it going tomorrow because it was such a good feeling to take the victory.”

Hunter Lawrence
Hunter Lawrence

Jonass was in a race of his own the last laps and took second to which he said.

Pauls Jonass

“I feel good, I really enjoy this track especially this morning when it was drier there was some really nice ruts and the dirt was good. The race went really good today and I got a good start then finished 2nd which is good and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Jed Beaton achieved his career best result to date as he finished fourth on the 2018 CRF250RW. The track had been in prime condition earlier on in the day but by the time the MX2 qualifying race began, a heavy downpour of rain had made conditions slick and unforgiving.

Jed Beaton
Jed Beaton

Beaton was one of the riders that initially got caught out by the change in conditions and his good start ended up with him sliding off in the first corner. Quickly digging himself out of the mud, he made an incredible comeback from 30th to 11th in one lap.

By the second lap Beaton was fighting for a top 6 position. Throwing himself over the jumps, managing the slippery downhill sections and keeping his riding smooth throughout, enabled him to achieve a fourth-place finish.

Jed Beaton

“Qualifying today was ok, I actually got off to a much better start today but then crashed in the first corner. I just ran in too hot and tucked the front and I was dead last! I tried to get up as quick as I could and to get into it, not let them get too far away. I ended up coming back to fourth overall which is my best result to date. I feel really good and comfortable out there so I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

Jed Beaton

MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten
  1. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Suzuki), 25:37.327
  2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:24.073
  3. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:53.782
  4. Jed Beaton (AUS, Honda), +1:05.076
  5. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), +1:14.108
  6. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +1:16.127
  7. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Yamaha), +1:19.374
  8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +1:19.976
  9. Julien Lieber (BEL, KTM), +1:30.481
  10. Stephen Rubini (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:38.397

MXGP Qualifying

When the gate dropped for the last qualifying race of the year several riders bustled into the first turn, but coming out with the early lead was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Anstie. The MXGP rookie, Anstie, led the field for both the first and opening lap before 2015 MXGP Champion, French native, and the last winner around the Villars sous Ecot circuit, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre, took the premier position.

Max Anstie took the MXGP qualifying win
Max Anstie took the MXGP qualifying win

Behind them was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin to the delight of the french fans. For the first lap Paulin was followed by Honda Redmoto’s Valentin Guillod before a mistake from Guillod.

Taking over the spot of Guillod was Team Suzuki World MXGP’s Kevin Strijbos. Strijbos would later catch up to Paulin and make an attempt to pass but Paulin pinched him off in a corner from the outside line.

Shortly after Strijbos tried to make the pass he was the one under pressure in the form of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings. Herlings slid by the Belgian and continued forward toward the back wheel of Paulin. When Herlings caught Paulin he tried to pass him in the same corner as Strijbos did laps ago. Paulin now on the inside didn’t budge and in turn forced the #84 to take the outside. While Paulin’s move worked Herlings was able to make the pass later in the lap.

MXGP Qualifying
MXGP Qualifying

Meanwhile the now 9 time Motocross World Champion, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli, fell in the early stages of the race before managing to work his way forward from 20th to finish 13th.

Back up front Febvre made a mistake allowing Anstie to get alongside him, the pair jostled each other around but kept the racing clean with only centimeters between them. Febvre barely managed to hold Anstie off and with a few laps to go he again created a slight gap over the Brit. Anstie wasn’t done though and as the crossed the finish for the penultimate time Anstie jumped in the lead as Febvre lost traction.

Jeffrey Herlings
Jeffrey Herlings

Anstie held the lead over Febvre for the remainder of the race and took his first MXGP win of any kind. 

Max Anstie

“It was awesome to be battling with Romain Febvre, the french crowd were really rooting for him, it was a little bit similar to Switzerland, but there I was battling with Tonus. This time I was a little bit nervous the first few laps and he passed me but then I found some lines, relaxed a little bit and I thought in the last five minutes I could go a bit faster, we had a really good battle going on. I know it’s Saturday…but a race win for me is a race win and it was really cool!”

Max Anstie

Herlings went on to take third just ahead of Paulin and Strijbos.

Gautier Paulin

“It was really important to finish in the top 5 like every Qualifying Race. I made some mistakes on the first laps which cost me a lot, I was riding safe and trying not to make any other mistake to be there for tomorrow.”

MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten
  1. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), 25:02.964
  2. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:02.476
  3. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:25.133
  4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:29.552
  5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:34.938
  6. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:43.723
  7. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:46.307
  8. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +1:01.105
  9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +1:01.751
  10. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +1:10.508