World Motocross 2014 – Round Two – Si Racha, Thailand – Weather: Hot, sunny – Temperature: 33 degrees – Attendance: 16,000
KTM dominate second round of World Motocross Championship in Thailand with Cairoli doubling up in MX1 while Herlings wrapped up MX2. Todd Waters scored 10th and 6th place finishes in MX1 while Luke Styke scored 26th and 24th place in MX2.
Bags of ice were as valuable and as rare as bags of gold today at round two of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Si Racha, Thailand. Hot and humid, the riders were up against it with temperatures soaring well above forty degrees in direct sunlight. Meanwhile the organizers and track management crew were also faced with a challenge and did an outstanding job keeping the dust at bay, with more than 50,000 Liters of water being sprayed out over the day. Despite the testing climate it was a slight bout of déjà vu today as both Red Bull KTM Factory Racing world champions Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings took home double victories for the second consecutive year.
It’s a well-known fact, the rougher the better for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli, and the challenging circuit in Si Racha didn’t fail to deliver. Putting his incredible repertoire of dirt bike skills on full display for the world to see, Cairoli took his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 350SX-F to an outstanding double victory for the second year running. At the next round of MXGP in Brazil, Cairoli, the new MXGP points leader, will be running the red plate.
Meanwhile Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Clement Desalle was back, looking very comfortable and smooth out on the gnarly circuit of Si Racha. Although Desalle faced some slight mechanical issues, he still managed to take home two second place finishes for a solid second over all. “My bike was doing strange, so sometimes I missed the jumps and lost some seconds. I don’t know what the problem was, in the first race my bike was great and I think it was hotter in race one, so I don’t know, but now in race one I had a good sensation on the bike, so it’s good.”
Standing on the third step of the podium, thanks to two third place finishes, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek has improved leaps and bounds since last year. The young Belgian is only on his second year in the MXGP class and is proving he can already foot it with the seasoned vets when he took the Fox Head holeshot in race two and held off the legend Antonio Cairoli for the first twelve minutes. Although Cairoli ended up finding a way through, Van Horebeek managed to keep a cool head and finished the race safely in third.
The FIM Motocross World Championship opening round runner-up Max Nagl had to fight hard for his result today. The German started both races well outside of the top ten, making his hopes of a podium finish very difficult. Nevertheless, Nagl’s fighter spirit and great line selection skills paid off as he moved fluidly through the field to take sixth in moto one and fourth in moto two for fourth overall. Nagl remains second in the MXGP Championship standings.
The MXGP red plate holder Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Gautier Paulin had a day of ups and downs. In race one, the Frenchman’s start was not very good but he managed to find his flow and push through the pack to claim fourth. In race two, Paulin got off to a great start coming around turn one in fourth. After battling hard the entire race, his result was sabotaged as his bike struggled in the heat. Fortunately he managed to crawl home for ninth, which was enough to give him fifth over all for MXGP’s round of Thailand but dropped him back to third in championship standings.
During MXGP race one, in a battle for fourth, CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy’s Tommy Searle came up a meter too short on the biggest jump of the track, which ended in disaster for the Brit. The impact was so hard that the forks of his CLS Kawasaki were completely destroyed and the rest of his bike wasn’t looking much healthier either. While the official report of his injuries has not been released, his team has confirmed it is a suspected broken wrist.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings appeared to be back in his expected form this weekend in Thailand. The current FIM MX2 World Champion amazingly took the Fox Head Holeshot in moto one, and went on to dominate in typical Herlings style. In race two, Herlings was off to another good start, moving into second before the third turn with only Max Anstie in front. Although Max Anstie did a great job at leading the first half of the race, it wasn’t long before Herlings found his rhythm and passed Anstie to win his second race of the day by plus eight seconds.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Glenn Coldenhoff had a great start in race one, sitting on the tail of the top three for the first half of the race. Upon reaching midway, Coldenhoff was on his second wind as he spectacularly scrubbed past Jordi Tixier and Dylan Ferrandis to take second. In race two, Coldenhoff was just as good, although the heat seemed to play a factor in his ability to push the entire race. Nevertheless, Coldenhoff soldiered on to finish 2 – 4 for second overall, which moved him up to third in the championship standings
If there was any “what if’s” floating about after BikeIT Yamaha Cosworth’s Max Anstie’s horrendous stroke of bad luck in Qatar, they were somewhat answered today when he took the Fox Head Holeshot in race two. Anstie did an outstanding job keeping Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings at bay for the majority of the race, but unfortunately as soon as Herlings had found a way around, he was forced to settle for second. With a sixth place finish in race one and second in race two, Anstie took his first podium place of the year (third). On getting sixth in race one Max said, “I don’t know really, I just go out to ride my laps and if I finish fifth or fifteenth, its all the same, I don’t think about it, I just ride my laps but it is nice to be at the sharp end of the field”
Yesterday’s top qualifier CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy’s Dylan Ferrandis rode smart and consistent all weekend. The flying Frenchman kept his impressive style under control this weekend despite the big jumps, to bank two consistent top five scores for fourth overall.
Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre didn’t have the best start to the day when he hit the deck a couple of times in race one. In impressive fashion the Frenchman redeemed himself in race two with a remarkable climb from outside the top seven to claim third, leaving him in fifth overall for the Grand Prix.
Meanwhile Team One One Four’s Livia Lancelot, the only girl to contend in the MX2 this season, toughed it out on the gnarly circuit of Si Racha to take her first FIM MX2 World Championship point. Lancelot said, “I didn’t feel so good out there in the heat, and the track was really tough with the big jumps. At one point I didn’t really want to jump anymore and I was thinking about giving up. But my mechanic told me to never quit and encouraged me to finish the race. Thanks to a lot of other guys quitting, I got my first point and I made history, so I am happy with this result”
Contributing to the extra special atmosphere here in Thailand, the Thai organizers hosted a stunning opening ceremony with traditional Thai dancers and instrumentalists. Youthstream President Mr Giuseppe Luongo, FIM/CMS Director Dr Wolfgang Srb were both guest speakers during the ceremony where they expressed their thanks to all supporters, public and people involved in the MXGP round of Thailand, for their help in contributing to the growth of motocross. Mr Luongo rounded out his speech with “Thailand, we look forward to seeing you again next year!”
The next MXGP will take place on the weekend of March 30 at Beto Carrero, Brazil.
MXGP RACE 1 (18 laps = 27.900 Km)
1 / CAIROLI, Antonio / ITA / Red Bull KTM Factory Racing / KTM / 34:26.300
2 / DESALLE, Clement / BEL / Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP / Suzuki / 34:41.098
3 / VAN HOREBEEK, Jeremy / BEL / Yamaha Factory Racing / Yamaha / 34:58.156
4 / PAULIN, Gautier / FRA / Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team / Kawasaki / 35:03.308
5 / STRIJBOS, Kevin / BEL / Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP / Suzuki / 35:11.184
6 / NAGL, Maximilian / GER / Team HRC / Honda / 35:16.647
Fastest Lap: HERLINGS, Jeffrey; 1:49.269 in lap 11 with 51.067 Km/h
MX2 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS:
1 HERLINGS, Jeffrey 97, 2 FERRANDIS, Dylan 74, 3 COLDENHOFF, Glenn 69, 4 FEBVRE, Romain 66, 5 TONUS, Arnaud 65, 6 TIXIER, Jordi 59, 7 TONKOV, Aleksandr 58, 8 BUTRON, Jose 50, 9 LUPINO, Alessandro 42, 10 ANSTIE, Max 41, 11 COVINGTON, Thomas 33, 12 GAJSER, Tim 33, 13 CHARLIER, Christophe 32, 14 GUILLOD, Valentin 29, 15 POCOCK, Mel 23, 16 DESPREY, Maxime 22, 17 SEEWER, Jeremy 21, 18 PETROV, Petar 18, 19 LIEBER, Julien 18, 20 KLINGSHEIM, Magne 11.
Team HRC did not walk away from the Grand Prix of Thailand with any trophies but Max Nagl and Evgeny Bobryshev both acquitted themselves admirably in very demanding conditions for the second round of the FIM Motocross World Championship. In a typically oppressively hot climate, reigning World Champion Tony Cairoli (KTM) grabbed overall victory in the premier MXGP class but Nagl recovered from bad starts to be fourth overall while Bobryshev gritted his teeth against ankle pain and came home in sixth.
The Si Racha circuit bobbed and weaved across two hillsides close to the city of Pattaya with a flowing and fast layout. The loose dirt, big jumps and open corners meant a course that produced tight lap-times and it was tough for riders to create much of a difference in terms of gaining distance to-or-over their rivals.
Nagl came to Thailand confident and in optimistic mood after his first podium result ‘in red’ eight days beforehand in Losail. The German was luckless in qualification after hitting a rut hard and bending the rear brake lever under the bike, forcing a retirement and a lowly pick of positions in the wide start gate and long uphill start straight.
A different specification of fuel to be allowed entry into Thailand had been agreed between the teams and the FIM and this combined with air temperatures over thirty degrees was suspected of causing some technical problems that were also experienced by other teams and manufacturers. Nagl had been trying to optimise his CRF450RW to suit the conditions but could not unearth enough potential to realise his trademark lightning starts. The 26 year old had to work hard in both races to come through the pack and gain positions and his pace was remarkably effective. He made it up to sixth in the first thirty minute and two lap chase and then ploughed a path to a respectable fourth in the second. Nagl now lies second to Cairoli in the MXGP points table, trailing by sixteen.
Bobryshev had precious few days to rest his injured right ankle after a brave performance the previous weekend in Qatar for the season-opener. The Russian hobbled onto the CRF450RW and although he felt at a handicap in the right hand corners and a distaste of overly hot weather ‘Bobby’ got down to business. A quicker and smoother track in the first moto was hard to handle and he scored eleventh place. In the second moto he tried to follow his team-mate for long stretches and was able to find a better rhythm using the bumps and ruts for an improved seventh.
The MXGP podium was headed by the Italian, Cairilo with Belgians, Clement Desalle (Suzuki) in second and Jeremy Van Horebeek (Yamaha) taking the third step.
In the MX2 category former European Champion Tim Gajser had a tough weekend with a run to twelfth spot in the first moto and culled by a mechanical glitch in the second race that ended his participation prematurely. The Slovakian is riding a full HRC-backed CRF250R in the confines of the Honda Gariboldi squad and is currently twelfth in the championship standings. Team-mate and the sole representative for Japan in the FIM series, Kei Yamamoto, grabbed a point for twentieth in the first sprint but crashed out in the second, nursing bruises and a painful knee.
The MX2 motos, run over 30 minutes and two laps were both dominated by the young Dutch rider Jeffrey Herlings (KTM) with the podium being rounded off by Glenn Coldenhoff (Suzuki) in second place and Max Anstie (Yamaha) in third.
Round two of the FIM Motocross World Championship takes place in three weeks time at the circuit within the Beto Carrero theme park for the first of two visits to Brazil this year. The event, heavily-backed by Honda, is the third flyaway in the formative stages of the 2014 calendar.
Max Nagl: Race Result: 6th/4th Championship position: 2nd – “I’m really happy about my riding. In the first Heat I came back from almost last position to sixth and had a few bike problems. I was last again at the start of the second Heat but could make fourth. So I was riding well but it seemed like everybody was having problems with the bikes; Strijbos and Frossard ahead of me could not do the jumps any more because of the different fuel and the heat. I passed them but one lap later I had the same trouble and had to slowdown. The Japanese technicians were working all weekend to find the solution for the starts but I think the bike was just too sensitive for the different fuel and combined with the temperatures was working against us. It was difficult but a good Grand Prix considering. I still have a good position in the championship so I’m quite pleased.”
Evgeny Bobryshev: Race Result: 11th/7th Championship position: 6th – “In the first race I wasn’t so good and there were not many lines. I wasn’t good off the gate, around fifteenth, and I couldn’t slide the bike or get into the right hard turns well. A lot of people passed me. A rock then flicked up and hit my foot and it was really painful. I got the points for eleventh and that was important. In the next race Max passed me in the middle of the race and I just followed him. There were better lines and some more ruts. I was carrying the speed better. The difficult points were the heat – it was unbelievable (but having five minutes less helped) – and those first laps in the pack because I was scared of getting hit on the leg. I tried to be clever and keep out of company. On Tuesday I go for medical treatment and recovery and hope to be better for Brazil.”
Tim Gajser: Race Result: 12th/DNF Championship position: 12th – “In the first moto I didn’t have the best start. I was round fifteenth. I passed a couple of riders and finished twelfth. It was not so bad but can be better for sure. In the second race again I didn’t have the best start but squared a few corners and was inside the top ten. I passed Lupino but on the eighth lap I had a problem with the bike and could not finish. I was really disappointed because it is not good for the championship. We will see what happens in Brazil.”
Unfazed by the intense heat and humidity at the Pinthong circuit in Si Racha, Febvre entered the GP of Thailand intent on building on his podium success from the opening round of the series in Qatar last weekend. Boxed out off the start in the first MX2 race, the Husqvarna rider found himself outside the top ten on lap one. Despite crashing twice during the first couple of laps, he soon settled into the race and fought back to finish ninth. Focused on improving his moto one result, Febvre ended the opening lap of race two in sixth. With the course now at it’s roughest, Febvre pushed hard catching and passing Glenn Coldenhoff in the closing stages of the race to finish third – his best race result of the series.
Delivering two solid results in Thailand, Febvre’s teammate Aleksandr Tonkov finished seventh overall. Seventh in race one following a close three-rider battle, the Russian slipped back one position in race two to eighth as the humidity began to take it’s toll. Holding firm in the final laps, Tonkov secured another top ten overall result in MX2.
For Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Todd Waters the MXGP of Thailand was a much-improved performance over round one in Qatar. Tenth in the opening MXGP race, the Australian saved his best for race two. Beginning to find his confidence in the Motocross World Championship, Waters charged his way to a career best sixth place. Growing stronger as some of his nearest rivals faded in the heat, he crossed the finish line just one-second behind fifth placed Evgeny Bobryshev to end his day seventh overall.
Stepping in for the injured Tyla Rattray, Austria’s Pascal Rauchenencker faired well on his MXGP debut with Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing. Working his way from outside the top 20 in race one, the 20-year-old placed 16th. Backing that up with another 16th in race two, Rauchenencker ended the MXGP of Thailand in 15th overall.
The FIM Motocross World Championship continues with round three in Beto Carrero, Brazil on March 30.
Romain Febvre: “I’m really happy to come away with third place in the second MX2 race. My day was a bit up and down but I showed my speed was good by working my way into third. After my podium result in Qatar I was hoping for a similar result in Thailand but I crashed twice in the first race and that ruined my chances. I got a great jump off the gate and then got pushed wide in the first corner. It dropped me outside the top 10 and as I pushed forward I ended up crashing twice. In this humidity I could only recover to ninth. In race two I started much better. Towards the end of the moto I upped my pace and passed Coldenhoff for third. It felt great to get that result and end the race on a high.”
Aleksandr Tonkov: “Coming from Russia I struggle with this level of humidity so my main focus was to just get through the day and score some decent points. In race one I had a nice rhythm going and finished seventh, which surprised me a little. It was hard to breathe in the second race but I gritted my teeth and placed eighth for ninth overall. Thailand is the toughest race of the season in terms of weather conditions so I’m pleased with how I rode.”
Todd Waters: “I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress this weekend. I’m beginning to settle into racing at world championship level and growing in confidence. The first race went ok but it was one of those rides where you struggle to get a decent pace going. I got into my groove a lot better in race two and was enjoying the conditions. My FC 450 was flawless in the extreme weather and I was able to charge all the way to the chequered flag. Despite just missing out on fifth place by one second I’m chuffed with sixth. It’s been a good end to the GP of Thailand.”
Pascal Rauchenencker: “I got a phone call on Monday to race in Thailand so you could say I wasn’t perfectly prepared coming here. But I really feel like I’ve done well. I knew I wouldn’t be 100 per cent but two 16th place results is good. Thanks to the team for giving me the opportunity to race in MXGP – it’s been a fantastic experience working with them.”
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