FIM MX1/MX2 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 08 SUNDAY JUNE 17 BASTOGNE, BELGIUM
— Weather: Bright, cloudy, muddy / Temperature: 17 degrees C / Attendance: 18,000
— KTM continue MX domation
The sun was shining today in Bastogne and more than 18000 people came to see the Motocross Battle of the Ardennes, where Antonio Cairoli and Tommy Searle were the clear dominants. The track hosted today one of the best battles of the season in both MX1 and MX2 classes and it was partly thanks to the outstanding conditions of the track.
All the MXGP riders congratulated the organization of the Grand Prix because after having raced yesterday under really tough conditions due to the rain and the mud, today the track was perfect to races. Besides, the public present at Bastogne did not stop cheering for his local riders, as well as for the rest of the racers.
Before the MX1 and MX2 riders went out the track to dispute the first heats, the second race of the UEM EMX125 took place earlier in the morning. Once again Tim Gajser dominated the weekend, but this time he made two mistakes in the last lap of the second heat and he finished 1-2. Second overall was Nicolas Dercourt and Pauls Jonas completed the podium of the Belgian round.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli won both heats of the Belgian Grand Prix and obtained his fourth GP win of the season, which makes his personal record go up until 47 victories only three away from Joël Robert. In the first moto Cairoli managed to have a good start and pushed hard to open the gap with his pursuers already from the beginning. In the second heat, the Italian went on his KTM full of confidence, and even if he could not lead the race from the beginning, by lap eighth he was already at the front and succeeded to cross the finish line first and went out with the overall victory.
The second step of the podium was for home rider Clement Desalle after being third in both motos. In the first race the Belgian rider had a small crash and lost some seconds with the leading group, but he then gave his best and managed to finish third. In the second heat the Rockstar Energy Suzuki World rider led the race during four laps, but he could not keep the rhythm of his pursuers. Desalle was a bit disappointed for not having been able to hand the overall victory to the warm and enthusiastic crowd present at Bastogne, but in the end he admitted that he felt really satisfied for having raced on his home soil with so much support from the crowd.
CP377 Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit’s Christophe Pourcel was third on the podium today after finishing fifth and second in the races. The first heat was tough for the French rider because he did not have a good start, and even if he tried to move up quickly, he found difficulties to overtake the riders in front of him; in the end Pourcel was able to finish fifth. The French rider took the holeshot of the second race, but he had to settle down with third position, which made him be on the podium.
Home rider Kevin Strijbos did one of his best Grand Prix of the season after the Brazilian Grand Prix. The HM Plant KTM UK rider did two really good starts, especially in the first moto, and he managed to finish fourth in both heats. Strijbos was fourth overall in the Grand Prix and he missed the podium for just two points.
Completing the top five was Kawasaki Racing Team’s Gautier Paulin, who managed to finish second in the first moto, but he was only ninth in the second one. The French rider had a difficult first race, crashing at the beginning of the heat and having to race with a plastic stuck in his rear wheel. Despite the difficulties he faced during the first moto, Paulin admitted that he felt really good and he even clinched his best lap time in the last lap. The second race was a completely different story for Paulin, who had another small crash in the beginning and could not catch the leading riders.
Ken De Dycker did an incredible race this weekend even having finished sixth overall. The Belgian rider crashed with Bobryshev in the first corner of the first race and had to push really hard from the very last position to finish ninth. In the second heat he could not have a good start either and had to settle down with the sixth position.
Tanel Leok proved that he is feeling much better by finishing in the seventh overall position, followed by Xavier Boog and Sebastien Pourcel. The tenth place was for David Philippaerts, who struggled a lot during the whole weekend to find the rhythm and speed to ride at the front.
Evgeny Bobryshev did a solid second moto and finished fifth, but he got another DNF in the first one. The Russian got the front disk of his Honda machine broken due to the crash in the first corner with De Dycker, and even if he tried to finish the race, Bobryshev had to surrender and enter the pitlane. His teammate Rui Gonçalves finished in a solid fifteenth position taking into account that he raced with a broken rib from the crash he suffered yesterday during the qualifying time practice.
MX1 Race 1 top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 40:20.568; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:02.127; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:04.944; 4. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +0:31.016; 5. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:36.324; 6. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:37.570; 7. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:43.854; 8. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:50.218; 9. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), +0:51.123; 10. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:53.502;
MX1 Race 2 top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 40:19.194; ; 2. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:04.597; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:09.786; 4. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +0:10.625; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:36.754; 6. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:42.862; 7. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), +0:44.952; 8. Davide Guarneri (ITA, KTM), +0:52.345; 9. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:53.004; 10. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:55.722;
MX1 Overall top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 50 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 40 p.; 3. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 38 p.; 4. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 36 p.; 5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 34 p.; 6. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 26 p.; 7. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), 26 p.; 8. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 26 p.; 9. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 23 p.; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 22 p.;
MX1 Championship top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 345 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 298 p.; 3. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 292 p.; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 289 p.; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 237 p.; 6. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 212 p.; 7. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 211 p.; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 207 p.; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 169 p.; 10. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), 168 p.;
MX1 Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 356 points; 2. Kawasaki, 350 p.; 3. Suzuki, 308 p.; 4. Yamaha, 242 p.; 5. Honda, 228 p.; 6. TM, 52 p.;
Team Floride Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit’s Tommy Searle achieved his main goal this weekend and he was on the first step of the podium thanks to his 2-1 result. In the first race he had a really good start, but he made a mistake in the opening lap and Herlings was able to open the gap. However, Searle started finding really good lines and he caught the Dutch rider, but he then made another mistake and had to settle down with the second place. The second race was perfect from beginning to end, and Searle could battle with Herlings and proved that he has the potential to beat him.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings was on the second step of the podium being tight in points with Searle. The current leader of the series was satisfied with his performance this weekend even not being the overall winner. Herlings did not lose or win any points this weekend and he keeps on leading the series with 24 points advantage over Searle.
Third on the podium was his teammate Jeremy Van Horebeek thanks to his consistent performance in today’s races, finishing third in both of them. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider admitted that the track was too fast for him and this is why he could not catch the leaders, but he feels really comfortable with himself and he is convinced that his moment will come sooner or later.
Joel Roelants was fourth overall in his home Grand Prix thanks to his 4-5 result. The Team Floride Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit rider is feeling much better now and a proof of that is that even starting around the tenth position, he is able to keep the rhythm high and give chase to the front group.
Monster Energy Yamaha’s Arnaud Tonus obtained his best result of the season being fifth overall on his 21st anniversary. The Swiss rider did not have a good start in the first race and had to fight from the initial 29th position to cross the finish line seventh. In the second moto Tonus was able to start with the top five riders and he rode a consistent race and he ended fourth, position which made him finish fifth overall of the Belgian Grand Prix.
It was a solid weekend for Jordi Tixier, who ended sixth overall of the Grand Prix. Jake Nicholls rode really well this weekend, especially in the first heat where he could finish fifth. The British rider was eighth in the second race and he ended seventh overall in the Grand Prix.
Eighth was Jose Butron and Alessandro Lupino and Mel Pocock completed the top ten.
It was a weekend to forget for Max Anstie, who got two DNF’s due to several problems with his bike. In the first heat his Honda machine had an electric problem and in the second one the British rider felt like there was something wrong in the suspensions of his bike and he decided to enter in the pitlane because he felt it was to risky to stay in the race with such mechanical problem.
Christophe Charlier did not take part in today’s races, but he hopes to be back in Sweden in two weeks time.
MX2 Race 1 top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 39:30.417; 2. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:11.415; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), +0:16.442; 4. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:20.759; 5. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +1:05.664; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +1:10.608; 7. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +1:21.703; 8. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +1:25.784; 9. Mel Pocock (GBR, Yamaha), +1:33.831; 10. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Husqvarna), +1:42.311;
MX2 Race 2 top ten: 1. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 39:20.529; ; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:13.020; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), +0:44.315; 4. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +0:50.890; 5. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:51.762; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +1:21.534; 7. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:28.099; 8. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +1:41.428; 9. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Husqvarna), +1:45.612; 10. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +1:46.020;
MX2 Overall top ten: 1. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 47 points; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 47 p.; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 40 p.; 4. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), 34 p.; 5. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), 32 p.; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 30 p.; 7. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 29 p.; 8. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 24 p.; 9. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Husqvarna), 23 p.; 10. Mel Pocock (GBR, Yamaha), 21 p.;
MX2 Championship top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 364 points; 2. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 340 p.; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 308 p.; 4. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), 238 p.; 5. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 217 p.; 6. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 204 p.; 7. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), 191 p.; 8. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Husqvarna), 152 p.; 9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 150 p.; 10. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), 139 p.;
MX2 Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 377 points; 2. Kawasaki, 363 p.; 3. Yamaha, 229 p.; 4. Honda, 195 p.; 5. Suzuki, 173 p.; 6. Husqvarna, 157 p.; 7. TM, 10 p.;
Clement Desalle took his factory Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 TM-Z450 to second place overall at Bastogne for the Grand Prix of Belgium as 18,000 spectators crowded around one of the best tracks so far in the 2012 FIM Motocross World Championship to watch some great action in the premier MX1 class.
The eighth round of 16 was washed-out on Saturday through relentless rainfall that softened the circuit and almost flooded the paddock. The qualification heat races were cancelled but Desalle was able to secure his first Pole position of the season through the fastest lap in the chrono. The Belgian was able to feed off the enthusiasm and energy of the vast banks of supporters in attendance and pushed hard for the win in both 35 minute and two-lap motos
Desalle and his peers were quick to acknowledge the quality of the San Souci layout as the climate performed a ‘U-Turn’ on Sunday and sunshine and decent temperatures dried the facility. The terrain was in good shape and offered line choices and generous overtaking opportunities. Desalle made a mistake in the opening stages of the first moto which meant a fierce series of laps to recover from a slot in the top 10 and reach third place. He pushed hard to try and pass Gautier Paulin but was unable to demote the Frenchman. A better launch in the second race allowed Desalle to find his way to the front and he tried to escape the attentions of Antonio Cairoli and Christophe Pourcel. For a quarter of the sprint he gave the public good reason to get noisy but Cairoli was too quick on the day and Desalle centred his attention on making sure of the runner-up slot.
After five podiums from eight events Desalle is second in the MX1 standings and is 47 points behind Cairoli and six in front of Pourcel. Desalle’s team-mate Tanel Leok is 10th and one point from ninth.
The Estonian was quick across the wetter and greasy surface on Saturday but was again handicapped by his starts and first laps on Sunday, especially in the initial outing where he was held up by a crash by other riders on the first turn. Leok pushed hard for ninth and seventh in the two motos aboard his Factory RM-Z450 and ended the day with seventh in the MX1 classification.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 can now down tools for a break after three successive Grand Prix events. FIM Motocross World Championship duty resumes with a trip to Uddevalla in Sweden on July 1st.
Clement Desalle: “I always try to win the Grand Prix so for that I’m a little disappointed but it was good to get a result at this place. The crowd was great to me and I don’t think I have ever felt such strong support. Antonio was just a bit too fast for us today but I tried my best. I have to say big congratulations to the organisers because they had bad luck with the weather but they did great work on the track and there were more places for overtaking and some nice lines.”
Tanel Leok: “My riding was good today so I am happy for that. I didn’t have the best start in the first moto and then just couldn’t avoid the guys that had fallen in front of me in the first corner. I was just stuck there as everybody else took off. To come back to ninth from back there was pretty decent. In the second race I started OK but wasn’t too fast in getting a rhythm going. I then lost a bit of time behind Davide Guarneri. Once I got through I had a small crash and that cost me. They did a good job with the track but it wasn’t that easy to pass in places because the lines were the same speed.”
The Sans Souci layout at Bastogne for the Grand Prix of Belgium provided one of the best tracks for racing in the FIM Motocross World Championship and Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe saw their MX2 riders Petar Petrov and Harri Kullas battling through the pack and the various line options of the Belgian dirt for more points.
Petrov and Kullas took 16th and 17th overall respectively as they lacked some good fortune with their starts for the two motos; but a very-positive achievement for the team was the exciting World Championship debut for Swiss teenager Jeremy Seewer who scored points in both races and placed 18th.
Some 18,000 spectators trusted a better weather forecast for race day as Saturday’s qualification programme was cut short to due relentless rainfall that created swampy conditions in the paddock. Thankfully the naturally-set course drained well and by the time sunshine started to dry the black mud on Sunday morning, the dirt permitted a choice of racing lines and a bumpy, technical and fast terrain.
Poor getaways restricted the possibilities of both Petrov and Kullas on Sunday: The Bulgarian slipped off the RM-Z250 twice in the first moto and collected some points for 18th. In the second, he swapped track space and defied a bit of discomfort from a sore left ankle to cross the line in 14th. Kullas struggled with arm-pump and was also trying to plot a course from the second half of the field. The Fin managed 16th and 17th. Circulating with his team-mates in what was his first stab of action at this level was Seewer, who showed resilient speed and grasped the occasion to shine in front of the cameras to bag points for 14th and 19th.
Elsewhere in Europe – the tough sand of Schwedt in Germany to be exact – Brian Hsu guided his RM85 to fourth position overall in the final round of the north-western phase of the UEM European 85 series.
With Kullas 11th and Petrov 12th in the MX2 World Standings, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe can now reflect on a busy period of three races in three weeks and then begin to prepare for the Grand Prix of Sweden at Uddevalla at the end of the month.
Petar Petrov: “Not a great weekend. Yesterday wasn’t too bad actually and I qualified 10th in the wet. I could do better but made some small mistakes. Today I had trouble with my starts. I was right at the back in the first one and came back to 18th but then had a crash, battled to 17th and went down again. It was a horrible race! In the second I pushed to 14th and was having a close fight out there with the others. The track was really nice and they did a good job. There were a lot of lines. Not a good weekend finally and I need to work a lot on my starts but we’ll hope for more and better in Sweden.”
Harri Kullas: “Really bad starts today; getting out of the gate was OK in the first moto but I messed up the first corner. In the second race I couldn’t get off the line with the group. I lost lots of positions at the start of the first heat and it was so hard to come back because I had so much arm-pump. I could barely feel my fingers and it wasn’t nice to ride just cruising around. I just tried to finish the race and get some points. I found myself having to come from behind again in the second. I couldn’t believe it was so dusty on the first lap, especially after yesterday! My riding was OK until the last 10 minutes when I suffered with the arms again and couldn’t pass the guys in front of me. A bad day; we have to move on from this.”
The Sans Souci circuit at Bastogne was inaugurated under the international spotlight through hosting the Grand Prix of Belgium and the eighth round of sixteen in the 2012 FIM Motocross World Championship. 18,000 spectators surrounded the flat circuit in the Ardennes and watched Honda World Motocross team’s Evgeny Bobryshev help to set the pace in the second moto and score eleventh overall as the meeting was claimed by reigning World Champion Antonio Cairoli.
A weekend of contrasting weather conditions at Bastogne meant the decent crowd attendance were able to wear sunglasses on Sunday, but had to wade through the mud created by heavy rainfall through Saturday that forced the qualification heats for both classes to be cancelled in the name of track preservation. The racing course held up very well in the circumstances and after good work by the circuit staff the terrain was rough and varied for the 2 thirty-five minute and 2 lap Grand Prix motos.
Bobryshev battled through the pain barrier on his CRF450R still suffering from the chest injury he sustained last week in Portugal. The Russian had some bad luck at the beginning of the first moto and was part of a multi-rider collision on the opening corner. The tangle robbed him of his front brake due to a broken caliper and disc.
‘Bobby’ amazingly tried to recover positions until he ran off the track and was forced to retire at mid-race distance. Considerably fired up for the second outing, the 2011 German Grand Prix winner almost had the holeshot and led for the opening lap. He could not match the rhythm of the leading quartet, but settled into an effective pace to cross the finish in fifth and equal his highest position this season (obtained on two other occasions).
Team-mate Rui Goncalves faced more adversity and misfortune. The Portuguese crashed through the waves section on a wet Saturday and the impact of the handlebars to his torso broke a rib. After a difficult night trying to sleep and pain killers in the morning, ‘999’ bravely attempted the motos and grabbed points with 15th and 14th for 14th place in the final MX1 classification.
LS Honda’s Jonathan Barragan rode to 13th place in the first dash, but was hampered in his efforts by dust in his goggles and could not see properly. In the second moto a spill saw the Spaniard suffer a blow to the chest and he was forced to the paddock as he had trouble breathing. A scan revealed no serious damage.
At the halfway point of the 2012 campaign the three Honda riders all hold positions in the top thirteen of the MX1 championship standings.
Goncalves is ninth, followed by Bobryshev in 11th and Barragan in 13th.
The MX2 class saw Gariboldi Esta’s Max Anstie out of luck on the CRF250R. The Brit had an electrical problem on the warm-up lap of the first moto and did not start. He then pushed hard in the opening phases of the second race, but could not get confident or comfortable on the track. The Brit currently holds seventh in the MX2 points table.
Evgeny Bobryshev: Race Result: DNF / 5th Championship position: 11th “The first race was one to forget from the beginning until the end. With no front brake there was not much I could do. The second was much better. I was second at the start, but found that speed pretty difficult purely because I haven’t had a race where I’ve be able to really go for it without worrying about some problem or making a crash. I had a bit of arm-pump in the middle of the race and had a little crash three laps before the end, but didn’t lose time. It was good to take that fifth position though and I felt happy with it. It was better than nothing. My chest is still not good and I’m going through the pain. I don’t want to take any pills because they affect my vision a little bit. I can handle the pain, but it doesn’t make the job any easier.”
Rui Goncalves: Race Result: 15th / 14th Championship position: 9th “Tough weekend. Yesterday in the timed practice I went down in the whoops and over the bars. The handlebar hit my chest and I went to the clinic because I had so much pain to breathe. The x-ray showed a broken rib and I could hardly sleep in the night and in the morning it felt like there was a knife inside me. Just coughing or moving caused me pain and I needed pain killers to think about riding. The doctor came to strap it, but to be honest at some moments I just could not breathe and on the bike wasn’t easy at all. I don’t know what to say. I feel like I am swimming against the current; just when I start to feel fit I get another injury. I think this is my fourth now this season and I haven’t known a year like it. It is tough mentally and physically and I cannot wait to be in a position where I can ride to the best of my ability without it hurting. These injuries are not enough to keep me out of the race but they stop me being able to perform.”
Jonathan Barragan: Race Result: 13th / DNF Championship position: 13th “In the first race I had a problem with the goggles in the first few laps and when some sand or dust came inside I couldn’t really see anything. I was thirteenth in that one, and then in the second I came off and hit the ground pretty hard. I couldn’t breathe and had to stop. Thankfully there is nothing broken, but for sure this is a day to forget.”
A weather reversal from torrential rain to bright sunshine over the two days of the Grand Prix of Belgium at Bastogne helped create a rough and opportunistic racing surface and Monster Energy Yamahas David Philippaerts and Shaun Simpson battled to record tenth and thirteenth positions overall.
18,000 spectators visited the new site that hosted round eight of sixteen in the 2012 FIM Motocross World Championships. The black dirt was considerably softened by rain on Saturday (the deluge actually caused the qualification heats to be cancelled) but the improved climate and a terrain that drained well created a surface that was bumpy with varying line choices.
As usual the action was hot in the premier MX1-GP category. Philippaerts was at the centre of attention for most of the first moto due to his intense tussle for fifth position with Christophe Pourcel. A touch of fatigue meant the Italian was sixth by the flag. A bad start and early crash in the second moto forced DP to come back through the pack and he reached thirteenth. In the slimy conditions on Saturday Shaun Simpson took his YZ450FM to a career-best-equalling fourth position in the gate. The Scot was unfortunate not to be able to capitalise on his slot after getting caught in the first corner melee that also saw three other riders on ground. His goggles were also smashed by a stone shortly afterwards and he had to pit for a replacement pair. By the end of a dramatic 35 minutes and 2 laps Simpson was sixteenth. A better getaway in the second moto and resolute performance saw the former British Champion cross the line two seconds ahead of his team-mate.
Philippaerts is still sixth in the championship standings with Simpson in twelfth. Monster Energy Yamaha will next be in action at Uddevalla for the Grand Prix of Sweden in two weeks time.
David Philippaerts: I dont really know what happened today. In the first moto I didnt start well again and in the middle of the race I didnt feel so great a bit tired and I finished sixth. The battle with Pourcel was fun and overall it wasnt too bad. In the second race I was right at the back again and had a crash. I pushed to get in the top ten but I was too slow. The track was difficult and we couldnt get it working today.
Shaun Simpson: The weekend was about contrasts really and not just with the weather. My speed was good in difficult conditions on Saturday and I excel in those types of circumstances. I was happy with the fourth gate-pick because I thought it would be important to get up the inside of that first turn. I tried that in the first moto and De Dycker crashed taking me with him. It was pretty bad. I got up and starting fighting my way back through and – had I kept on going – then it might have been OK but my goggle lens popped out when a stone hit it and I had to waste time going through the pitlane to get some more. That was a freak thing and I was annoyed about it. 16th is not where I want to be. On the second start I was next to Desalle and wheelied out of the gate, not really getting any traction. I came around the first lap in eighteenth or so and set some good lap-times. I battled the whole moto and caught Boog, Paulin and those guys. Although there were a lot of different lines it was hard to pass. There are positives to take from the weekend. I am riding strongly and I feel good but we have an issue with starts and it has to be worked on.
Tonus getting back in the groove after Belgian MXGP
Monster Energy Yamahas Arnaud Tonus is getting nearer to the race pace that will allow the talented Swiss to soon make a play for podium positions in the 2012 FIM Motocross World Championship. In just his third appearance on the factory YZ250F this season the British Champion finished fourth in the second moto at a rough and rapid Bastogne circuit for the Grand Prix of Belgium and left the eighth round of sixteen in the series with fifth position overall.
It was a case of rain and shine in southern Belgium as the Bastogne facility was washed out on Saturday but sunny skies helped dry the terrain on Sunday and created a decent racing surface with plenty of line choice and room for rider expression.
Tonus, twenty-one years old today, made a mediocre start in the first moto of 35 minutes and 2 laps but worked his way through the field thanks to an effective rhythm that he missed seven days previously in Portugal. Seventh place and fourteen points was decent reward for his efforts. An eager launch from the line later in the afternoon helped the Swiss glide into fourth position. He lost touch with the trio of Tommy Searle, Jeffrey Herlings and Jeremy Van Horebeek and completed a lonely race but was quick enough to place himself at the head of the second group and can now start to have designs on splitting the top three in the second half of the championship calendar.
Mel Pocock was again a fast presence in the MX2-GP pack and gave the team two finishers in the final top ten of the Grand Prix. The Briton who will attempt to regain the red plate in the Maxxis British Championship next weekend in Northern Ireland and then will head to Latvia and Russia next month as European EMX2 series leader raced to ninth and twelfth despite a crash in the second sprint.
Christophe Charlier attempted the first free practice session on Saturday but the right shoulder he dislocated in France two weeks ago was not strong enough to be able to handle the YZ250FM around the muddy terrain. The former European Champion is now hoping to be in better shape to enter the Grand Prix of Sweden in two weeks. Uddevalla, 80km north of Gothenburg, will host round nine on July 1st.
Arnaud Tonus: In the first one I had a bad, bad start. I didnt jump out of the gate and then was blocked on the first corner. From that I took a bit of time to get my rhythm and from mid-race I was coming back pretty good. To reach seventh and find that speed after Portugal was really positive. In the second moto the start was OK, around tenth, and then I came up for fourth quite quickly. I rode my own race pretty much. I feel like I am improving after the long break I had. They did a great job with the track. Yesterday it was muddy and one-line and I didnt expect it to be that good. There were a lot of lines and it was in a fine state for the races. I cant say I thought about my birthday much! When you are ten or something you always want another year but I think when you hit the twenties you want the years back!
Mel Pocock: I had a little bit of a get-off and caught a rut badly in the corner on the pitlane straight. It was a bit of a gnarly crash but that was the only low point of the day. Im pumped to have tenth overall. Top ten speed in both motos and Im really happy if I am close to establishing myself as a rider who can do that regularly. The schedule is pretty stacked now with Desertmartin one of my favourite tracks next week and then to Latvia and Russia for the next rounds of the European MX2.
Just four days after his 23rd birthday the Englishman and his Kawasaki KX250F were in scintillating form as he holeshot both motos and swept to the overall GP victory. The track was treacherous in the first moto as spinning wheels quickly cut through the mud left by the heavy rain the previous day to reveal slippery rocks. Adopting a cautious approach on the opening lap Searle gave up the lead to title rival Herlings but was quickly back on his rival’s rear wheel before nearly crashing as he sought alternative lines. He wisely settled for second place, secure in the knowledge that victory in the second moto would secure the overall GP victory. Once again hitting the front from the first turn Searle ensured that he never gave his rival the chance to attack and finished an overwhelming winner of both moto and GP. The pace which the two leaders had set was so fast that Searle won the second race nearly a minute faster than the winner of the MX1 race on the more powerful 450cc machines. The victory has consolidated his second place in the world championship at the halfway stage of the series.
Joel Roelants, Searle’s colleague at Team Floride Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit, missed the podium by one position after twice chasing through the field. Still recovering from the after-effects of a major crash several weeks ago the Belgian gated well but had little luck in a particularly hectic 180 degree first turn and twice had to fight his way forward for this result. Roelants remains fourth in the standings and he has extended his advantage over the chasers.
Injury to Valentin Teillet left Dylan Ferrandis alone to represent Team Rockstar Bud Racing Kawasaki and the French teenager again showed tremendous speed. He was an impressive second in qualification and was running a solid seventh, pushing hard to move forward, in race one when he collided with another rider and stalled the machine. Despite pain in his recently injured wrists he fought stoically forward to seventh place in race two to maintain his top ten world ranking.
Tommy Searle: “My Kawasaki got me out of the gate first in both motos today and that is really important in my battles with Herlings. I was a little too cautious on the first lap of the first race but the track was really tricky and I didn’t want to take any risks. I knew I was the fastest and I soon caught him up again, but we were both using the same lines so I had to search for new ones but they were not so good; I nearly crashed and lost a lot of time, but I knew I could still win the GP on the second moto. The track was better in the second race and I just concentrated on keeping him off my rear wheel. The points gap is still 24 points, but we are only halfway through the series and I have again proved that I am the fastest.”
Joel Roelants: “ I’m still not 100%, but this weekend I felt better than in France and Portugal and I think that in Sweden it will be OK. Here in Belgium my starts were not so good; I lost several positions at the first corner but then fought hard for fourth and fifth place, so that’s not so bad.”
Dylan Ferrandis: “On Saturday I had a good feeling with the track, and only needed a few laps to get the second position in the timed practice session. The track was very good today, but in the first race I made a small mistake when I was seventh and another rider hit me; I stalled the engine stalled and lost too much time to restart. My second start was not so good, but I fought back to seventh; my wrist was painful again, so I will rest for a few days but we have two weeks before the next GP so I hope for a good race in Sweden.”
An unfortunate choice of gate in race one left Pourcel in eleventh position on the opening lap but he battled persistently to recover to finish fifth despite a crash caused by a backmarker soon after he had taken over fourth place. With a better gate choice in race two Kawasaki power gave him the holeshot and, after a series of thrilling duels, he crossed the line second to secure yet another podium finish which has moved him back to third in the standings at the halfway stage of the series.
Gautier Paulin of the Kawasaki Racing Team missed victory in the opening moto by just over two seconds after a well-planned race which saw gradually increase his pace on a track made tricky by rain the previous day; he actually set his fastest lap of the race on the very last lap of the gruelling race. Having started outside the top ten in race two Paulin advanced quickly to eighth place as he set his sights on a podium finish, but a small crash cost him the few decisive seconds which would separate him from a top six finish. Despite this he remains fourth in the standings and is separated from second place by just nine points.
Xavier Boog made it three Kawasaki’s in the first six of race one after a strong ride up the leaderboard, but he too made a small but costly slip in race two to eventually cross the line one place behind teammate Paulin. He finished eighth overall, but had the same points score as sixth place and is now seventh in the standings, just one point from sixth and 26 from fifth.
Sebastien Pourcel continued his successful return to racing with his third consecutive top ten GP scoreline in excess of 20 points. After a solid ride to eighth place in race one, he was unfortunate to slip off at the end of the rhythm section as he advanced towards the top ten, but remounted to regain five places after remounting in sixteenth position.
Christophe Pourcel: “I didn’t choose the best position on the grid in the first race, and my start was not so good; I came back to fourth, but lost time when I crashed as a lapper destroyed a rut just when I was coming! I got the holeshot in the second race and battled first with Bobryshev and later with Desalle. We passed each other several times, but it was costing all of us time and allowed Cairoli to catch us. But I got another podium and that’s important for the series.”
Gautier Paulin: “I had a good feeling in the first race, and when I was second I controlled my race and was able to increase my pace when Desalle came to third; my last lap was my fastest of the race. My second start was not so good, and then I made a couple of mistakes and crashed; I didn’t feel so comfortable so I didn’t want to take any risks.”
Xavier Boog: “My starts were not so good this weekend, and in both races I had to come through the field. I was happy with my riding in the first moto as I finished sixth, very close to Christophe, but I had a small crash in the second race and that cost me several places; I’m not so far from the fifth position in the standings, but I can’t afford any more bad starts.”
Sébastien Pourcel: “I’m happy as I have now finished the last six races in the top thirteen, and, if I hadn’t crashed in the second race, it could have been even better today. I had a good start in the first moto and soon found a good rhythm, then in the second I was fighting with Gonçalves when I crashed in the waves after the finish line; I got back on in sixteenth place and recovered to eleventh. Despite the crash it was my second best GP of the year.”