Round 5 of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship arrived in Mantova, Italy over the weekend, with KTM’s domination continuing as Tony Cairoli claimed the MXGP win with a dominant display, leaving Honda and Husqvarna riders Jonass, Jasikonas and Bogers to fight over the remaining podium positions.
In MX2 it was Jorge Prado showing everyone how it’s done claiming both wins and moving to within seven-points of Championship leader Thomas Kjer Olsen. Jed Beaton claimed a podium position in MX2 Race 1, with a consistent Mitch Evans going 8-6 and claiming fourth overall for the round, with Beaton seventh.
The round marked MXGP’s return to the Mantova venue for the first time since the 2016 season, and fans watched on as the world’s best athletes showed their skills on the soggy sand. While the winds of change brought dramatic conditions they also provided epic action in a race where anything was possible.
After evening storms the hard and dry surface was nowhere to be found, however Antonio Cairoli let it have no effect on his results starting race one with the Fox Holeshot. Cairoli’s biggest competitor as of late, Tim Gajser had a good jump off the line but lost traction on the front of his Honda heading into turn one which sent him over the bars along with several others.
While Cairoli had the lead from the first turn, fellow Italian Ivo Monticelli and his teammate Max Anstie where in second and third. A mistake from Monticelli saw Anstie go past almost taking both down while Cairoli tipped over just a corner later. The bobble from Cairoli put Anstie on the Sicilian’s rear wheel but quick to regroup the #222 pulled back away.
Gajser’s race one went from bad to worse when he was clipped by another rider midair causing the Slovenian to resample the soil. The strong riding of Monticelli in third was all for nothing when his bike gave out just as Pauls Jonass took the spot halfway through the race.
More crashes from Gajser held him to 10th while both Jonass and his teammate Arminas Jasikonis passed Anstie. The first checkered flag then went out with Cairoli taking the win 10 seconds ahead of Jonass, Jasikonis, Anstie, and Clement Desalle who rounded out the top five just ahead of Gautier Paulin.
Race 2 again saw Cairoli with the FOX Holeshot, his seventh of 2019, while Gajser came away clean but behind Cairoli was Paulin and Brian Bogers. Monticelli again had bad luck crashing in turn 2 and pulling out of the race.
Not long after Monticelli’s mishap his teammate Max Anstie crashed together with Shaun Simpson. With Anstie also pulling out of the race Glenn Coldenhoff was now the lone Standing Construct rider as he ran in fifth position.
Brian Bogers took over second from Paulin early in the race with Jonass also getting past the #21. Jasikonis, unlike Jonass, was unable to match his strong race 1 result as he fought from 23rd on the first lap up to 15th by the finish.
At the front it was all smooth sailing for Cairoli who recorded the perfect weekend leading 42 laps of the 42 available via 12 laps in Qualifying, 15 in Race 1, and another 15 in Race 2. The domination and double race win scored him the GP overall at Mantova for the fourth time in his career with two in MX2 (2007 & 2008) and two in MXGP (2010 and now 2019).
Taking the best single race result in his MXGP career was Bogers in second while Jonass took third, Paulin took fourth, Coldenhoff fifth, and Gajser sixth. The overall top five was filled out by Jonass taking his first MXGP Podium, Paulin, Desalle, and Coldenhoff.
“It was very nice to be back in Italy and despite the weather there was a lot of people here today. The race itself went perfectly and we knew the start would be important, especially on a track that was so rutted – it was completely different to what it was yesterday. I’m really happy and thanks to all the team for their great work. It is very early to look at the standings so my focus is to stay in front as long as possible and try not to make a mistake. Hopefully we can be on the podium again next week in Portugal. It is important to be consistent and my goal this season is to always be in the top three. We’ll see how it goes.”
“This weekend has been really great. I think the qualification race, even if I didn’t get the result I hoped for, was really important for me. Getting a good start and running close to the front really gave me a lot of confidence, which I took into today’s racing. Of course, the track was muddy, but I like the mud, so I felt good. I didn’t get perfect starts, but I managed to make some quick passes and avoid making any big mistakes. Getting the runner-up result in the first moto felt so, so good. The track was a little more one-lined in the second moto but again I felt good. I felt like I was a little quicker than Bogers but I got sideways a few times trying to pass him, so I decided not to take any more chances and just settle down. Getting a good overall result is much more important. To finish second overall, to get my first MXGP podium, to be stood on the box with Cairoli, it’s a very special moment for me. I feel like something has clicked in a positive way now with racing a 450. I’m not at 100% yet but I’m feeling a lot more confident and this result gives me a lot of motivation to keep working hard.”
“Today we had a difficult track, but we worked really hard over the last five weeks and made a big step forwards with the bike. I didn’t expect this result, but I am happy to be on the box. I am already looking forward to the next GP in Portugal, I really enjoy the track there so I can’t wait to get back behind the gate.”
“This has definitely been a special GP, but it’s not gone like I hoped it would with my result in the second moto. I had one positive race and one where I just focused on survival, if I’m honest. The first race went well, but I was a little too steady possibly. I had a good rhythm going and didn’t make any bad mistakes – it was good to get two Rockstar Energy Husqvarnas inside the top three. Race two was tough. I had to shut off down the start straight and from there things were difficult. I also fell and, well, it was a tough moto. I finished the race, I didn’t pick up any injuries and I’m still fourth in the championship, so things weren’t too bad. My speed in the opening race was good, so I’ll take that into the next GP, in Portugal.”
“When I saw the track this morning I wasn’t so confident as at the moment it’s difficult for me to put my leg on the ground if the bike slides. But it didn’t change my plan; the goal was to do the best I could and I think I achieved that. I had a good gate pick and got some decent starts in both motos. Fifth in the first race was a good result; I didn’t want to crash so I didn’t take any risks. The second moto was similar and I finished sixth for fourth overall. It’s a positive result if you consider that I couldn’t train on the bike for one month. I will continue to work this week physically and maybe get in some riding. This evening I feel some pain in my hands and shoulders but that’s normal after so long off the bike and I know that it will be better next week.”
“It was a tough day, after a whole night of raining. The track was a bit sketchy and one-lined and it made the start very important. Unfortunately in the first race I crashed right at the beginning and had to go directly into the pit lane to change my goggles and remove my neck brace. During the race I made a few mistakes because I had to leave the main line to make the passes and this was where the track was very tricky. I was really disappointed to finish 10th and it’s not where I wanted to be. I had a slightly better start in race two, rounding the second bend in around 10th or 12th position. I was able to make a number of quick passes but when I got to behind Coldenhoff, I just couldn’t make the pass. I knew I was faster and I posted the fastest lap of the race but I just couldn’t get around him because of how one-lined the track was. Because of all the roost, I had to throw my goggles away and then it was very difficult. It was a horrible day but that’s sometimes how motocross can be. I will move on from here and head to Portugal extremely motivated to get back to winning ways.”
“Tough conditions today, so considering that, my result was okay. A lot of people have bad races in these conditions and I was able to post two solid results. When you look at it like that, you have to be happy. I was 7th overall in the GP which is two places behind where I want to be, and I moved up to 6th in the championship, but it is not about that right now. I want to do better; I just need to learn to get through the first few turns without being bullied.”
“My good day actually started last night when it started raining, so that made the track a bit of a mess but I actually quite like these sort of conditions. Overall it wasn’t too bad and definitely not as bad as something like Russia a couple of years back but I knew that I could do well. In the first heat I got a terrible start because I crashed and got stuck under the bike and I couldn’t move until somebody helped me. After that I had to change my goggles and even with that I ended up 20th. It wasn’t the result I wanted so I was very focused for the second race, especially at the start and that helped me turn the first corner in third place. After a couple of laps, the rider in front of me crashed, so I stayed in second place for the rest of the race. My speed was very good, my fitness was good and I’m just really happy with this result. This whole team do a great job, they support me and keep believing in me and I know with their help I can do this on a normal track too. We are still building and this is great step in the process.”
While Cairoli dominated MXGP his young apprentice Jorge Prado took MX2 by storm. Prado took his sixth Fox Holeshot of 2019 to start race one as fellow Red Bull KTM rider Tom Vialle was second.
Several riders were caught in a first turn pile up however including Calvin Vlaanderen, Henry Jacobi, and Mitch Evans. Michele Cervellin and Jago Geerts were both quick to get past Vialle and take over second and third while Prado led.
Vialle’s race only worsened as he fell and remounted in 18th before losing even more spots. On the contrary it was the red plate holder, Thomas Kjer Olsen, from Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing who improved as the race went on. Olsen was around 23rd on the opening lap but by lap 5 had already made his way up to eighth.
Cervellin then lost his second position to Geerts and to Jed Beaton before the Italian’s bike came to a halt. Olsen decided to take advantage of his gap and use the new Goggle lane for a fresh set of vision before passing both Iker Larranaga and Maxime Renaux for sixth.
With Olsen back in 6th Prado took the race and gained 10 points in the championship standings while Geerts came across the finish 5.8 seconds later in second ahead of Beaton, Davy Pootjes, and Bas Vaessen.
In race 2 Vialle got the better of Prado for the Fox Holeshot with Pootjes in third. Prado made his way past Vialle before the end of the lap however. Olsen then passed Pootjes to get into third along with Jacobi but Pootjes quickly retook fourth from the German.
Olsen and Pootjes went on to pass Vialle while Beaton had a hard crash in sixth place. Jacobi’s bike then gave out just like many others as a result of the demanding conditions while Prado took the win ahead of Olsen, Vialle, Pootjes, and Dylan Walsh.
The undefeated overall winner for the fourth time this season was Jorge Prado while Olsen took second and Pootjes achieved his first career podium finish. The win from Prado was not enough to take over the red plate from Olsen but the gap now drops from the previous 20 points to only 7.
“After a month off it was good to come back and get on top of the podium; for the confidence also. I felt really good here from the beginning and it was important to make good starts today: that was the key of the race, as well as staying on two wheels! I enjoyed the second moto a lot. It was really nice to ride that track. It is a place where you need to get the rhythm and let it flow and roll. I could make it happen today. It is very difficult to stay at this level and not make any mistakes and good starts every time: it’s tough. I need to keep concentrating and catch the lead.”
Thomas Kjer Olsen
“That was a tough GP, especially the first moto. Considering I got caught up in the first corner, as well as needing to make a goggle change, I’m pleased that I was able to work my way back to sixth. It’s never ideal to have so much work to do in a race, but I kept my cool and worked my way forward. I’m pleased with the way I rode. The track was tough, but I kind of enjoyed it. It was tricky in places but not too difficult, having some sand in the terrain meant it wasn’t full-on mud. I felt good in the second moto. A good start helped me a lot. I moved forward a few places and ran second for most of the moto, which I’m pleased with. It’s been a positive weekend and I’m looking forward to Portugal now.”
“It is really good and I am really happy because it has been tough. This podium should have happened maybe 4 years ago but because of crashes, injuries, and some bad luck it didn’t happen. Last winter, together with DIGA Procross, we made a plan, worked really hard, and it payed off. I feel this is the place where I should be and I am not done yet.”
“A much better second race and a good start. Jorge passed me on the first lap so I decided to follow him and I’m pleased with my feeling on the bike. The track was difficult with long ruts and I had some pain after my crash yesterday but to come back with that result in the second moto was good: I’m happy and a big thanks to all the Red Bull KTM team.”
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