FIM MX1/MX2 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – ROUND 11 – SUNDAY JULY 21 – SEMIGORJE, RUSSIA
— Weather: Clear skies, sunshine / Temperature: 24 degrees C / Attendance: 45,000
— Cairoli and Herlings lead another KTM double at packed Russian GP
The sun was finally out to host the main races of the eleventh Grand Prix of the FIM Motocross World Championship, and the 45000 people gathered at Semigorje this weekend and the great racing in both MX1 and MX2 classes turn the MXGP Russia into one of the most successful events so far this season. All the riders were really impressed by the crowd who came to watch them racing and they were all also very satisfied with new track they found at Semigorje.
Antonio Cairoli was the overall winner in the MX1 class, while Clement Desalle and Ken De Dycker were second and third respectively being tight in forty-two points. Christophe Pourcel was fourth and home rider Bobryshev completed the top five.
In the MX2 class Jeffrey Herlings was back on the top of the podium and Tommy Searle and Jeremy Van Horebeek completed the top three also being tight in forty-two points. Joel Roelants and Jake Nicholls were fourth and fifth respectively.
Early in the morning the UEM EMX250 riders disputed the second heat of the Russian round and Mel Pocock dominated it from beginning to end. The British rider obtained the overall victory and he is now leading the championship with twenty points advantage over Olsen, who was second overall this weekend. Mike Kras completed the podium thanks to his 3-3 result and he is now third in the point standings.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli obtained his 49th Grand Prix victory and he is just one GP away from motocross legend Joël Robert. The Italian had a perfect first race, taking the holeshot and leading the moto with superb authority, but things got a bit complicated in the second race. Cairoli took again the holeshot, but he made a mistake in the second lap and he dropped down to third. However, by lap seven Cairoli was already second and with just four laps to go, the five times World Champion overtook Desalle and cross the finish line first.
The second overall position was for Clement Desalle, who was third in the first race and second in the final one. The Rockstar Energy Suzuki World rider admitted that he was very satisfied with his riding this weekend, but he would have liked to conquer the first step of the podium. Desalle got a consistent third position in the first race, and he succeeded in leading most of the second heat, but he made a mistake at the end of it and he had to settle down with the second place. Desalle keeps on being second in the championship, twenty points behind Cairoli.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Ken De Dycker was back again on the podium this weekend thanks to his 2-3 result. The Belgian had excellent starts in both races; in the first one he started at the front and he led the first five laps. However, De Dycker admitted that he got a little bit too nervous and he could not keep the lead and crossed the finish line second behind Cairoli. In the second race he started from the fifth position and he was able to finish third, which gave him the third overall position, being tight in points with Desalle.
Christophe Pourcel missed the podium this weekend in Russia, but he made two solid races and he finished fourth overall. In the first race the CP377 Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit rider started third and although he pushed really hard to overtake Desalle during the whole heat, he had to settle down with the fourth place. In the second moto Pourcel had a really good start and he took advantage of Cairoli’s mistake to take the lead, but he could not keep it until the end and crossed the finish line third.
Home rider Evgeny Bobryshev could not go on the podium this weekend in front of his crowd, but he finished fifth overall after going 6-5 at today’s races. The Honda World Motocross rider struggled a little bit with his starts, but he was able to quickly recuperate some positions. The Russian rider admitted that racing home has been an amazing experience for him, as he had the full support of the crowd, who was cheering for him as he was leading the races.
His teammate Rui Gonçalves was very satisfied with his sixth overall position, as he was coming to the Russian Grand Prix facing some problems in his arm. Seventh overall was Gautier Paulin, who was seventh in both heats, eighth was Kevin Strijbos and Jonathan Barragán and Tanel Leok completed the top ten.
Shaun Simpson, who was second yesterday at the qualifying race, struggled a little bit today and he was only able to finish twelfth overall.
MX1 Race 1 top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 39:45.999; 2. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:05.960; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:07.579; 4. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:09.938; 5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +0:30.092; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:35.017; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:37.056; 8. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +0:48.946; 9. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), +0:50.714; 10. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, Honda), +0:52.555;
MX1 Race 2 top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 39:21.770; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:07.892; 3. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:25.744; 4. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:33.416; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:36.099; 6. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +0:40.135; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:52.103; 8. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, Honda), +1:03.761; 9. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:15.308; 10. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), +1:18.144;
MX1 Overall top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 50 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 42 p.; 3. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 42 p.; 4. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 36 p.; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), 31 p.; 6. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 28 p.; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 28 p.; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 25 p.; 9. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, Honda), 24 p.; 10. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), 23 p.;
MX1 Championship top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 442 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 422 p.; 3. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 393 p.; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 376 p.; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 341 p.; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 304 p.; 7. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 277 p.; 8. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), 253 p.; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 247 p.; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 212 p.;
MX1 Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 492 points; 2. Kawasaki, 463 p.; 3. Suzuki, 433 p.; 4. Honda, 322 p.; 5. Yamaha, 320 p.; 6. TM, 58 p.;
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings had a superb weekend wining with superb authority both heats and conquering again the first step of the podium, after having missed it in the last four Grand Prix. The Dutch rider admitted that he enjoyed a lot the hard sand track of Semigorje and a clear proof of that are the 36 seconds advantage he had in both heats with the second classified.
Team Floride Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit’s Tommy Searle had difficult starts today because he started from the very outside of the gate. However, Searle did two incredible races, starting almost from the very last position and crossing the finish line third and second respectively.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek, who had a tough qualifying race yesterday, rode really well today and finished third overall being tight in points with Searle. In the first race he obtained a consistent second position, but in the second moto he could not keep his initial second place until the end because Searle was coming really fast from behind and the Belgian had run out of energies and had to settle down with the third position.
Team Floride Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit’s Joel Roelants was not able to be back at the top of the rostrum this weekend, but all in all, he was very satisfied with his fourth overall position. In the first heat he had a really good start and he was riding third when he entered the pitlane to have his rear wheel checked as he thought there was something wrong with it. In the end there was only a thick clump of mud stuck in the wheel, so he was able to go back to the race quickly. However, he entered in the ninth position and had to give his best to cross the finish line fifth. In the second moto he obtained a consistent fourth place.
Jake Nicholls completed the top five of the Russian Grand Prix thanks to his 4-5 result. In both races the Nestaan JM Racing KTM rider had really good starts, and in the second heat he managed to ride third during the first half of it. However, Nicholls could not keep Searle’s and Roelants’ pressure and he crossed the finish line fourth.
Jordi Tixier, winner of the qualifying race yesterday, could only finished sixth overall today. The French rider almost took the holeshot of the first race, but he could not find a good rhythm and crossed the finish line sixth. In the second race Tixier could not repeat such good start and he was fifth in reaching the first corner. The French rider kept such position during the first half of the race, but he was then overtaken by Nicholls, and Tixier was only able to finish sixth.
Arnaud Tonus did not have good starts today, but he succeeded in finishing seventh overall. Eighth was Dylan Ferrandis, and Glen Coldenhoff and Jose Butrón completed the top ten.
Valentin Teillet finished eleventh overall in his comeback to the championship after his left collarbone injury and he was followed by Zach Osborne and Max Anstie.
Home rider Alexander Tonkov crashed at the beginning of the first race and he had to enter the pitlane because he had hit his head heavily. However, the Russian was recovered by the start of race two and he crossed the finish line fifteenth.
MX2 Race 1 top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 39:53.338; 2. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), +0:36.909; 3. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:51.053; 4. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +0:53.904; 5. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:54.708; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +1:06.916; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +1:17.646; 8. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:26.459; 9. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +1:27.903; 10. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Husqvarna), +1:28.828;
MX2 Race 2 top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 39:17.233; 2. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:36.562; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), +0:40.536; 4. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:45.992; 5. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +1:00.572; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +1:07.705; 7. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), +1:15.805; 8. Zachary Osborne (USA, Yamaha), +1:35.061; 9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +1:40.633; 10. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +1:44.341;
MX2 Overall top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 42 p.; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 42 p.; 4. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), 34 p.; 5. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 34 p.; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 30 p.; 7. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), 23 p.; 8. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), 23 p.; 9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 22 p.; 10. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 21 p.;
MX2 Championship top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 478 points; 2. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 429 p.; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 417 p.; 4. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), 344 p.; 5. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 309 p.; 6. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 289 p.; 7. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), 238 p.; 8. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 218 p.; 9. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), 213 p.; 10. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Husqvarna), 196 p.;
MX2 Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 521 points; 2. Kawasaki, 499 p.; 3. Yamaha, 310 p.; 4. Honda, 259 p.; 5. Suzuki, 223 p.; 6. Husqvarna, 201 p.; 7. TM, 11 p.;
The FIM Motocross World Championship will have one-week break and it will be back in Loket, Czech Republic, during the fifth August weekend. The UEM EMX250 riders will also be back in Loket to celebrate the fourth round of the series.
A packed Semigorje circuit was the scene of the Grand Prix of Russia and the eleventh round of sixteen in the 2012 FIM Motocross World Championship. Antonio Cairoli won the premier MX1 class, but Honda World Motocross team’s Evgeny Bobryshev animated the noisy 45,000 attendance (weekend figure) under blue skies and hot sunshine by taking his factory CRF450R to fifth overall.
Semigorje endured contrasting weather conditions for what was the flat, fast, compact and jumpy course’s inauguration on the international scene.
Russia entertained the FIM series for the first time since 2002 and heavy rain showers turned the track into slippery mud on Saturday while sunshine then dried and transformed the terrain for some dusty motos on Sunday.
As the darling of the crowd and focal point for the Investradebank sponsor who not only back the works team, but also bankrolled the event, the pressure was on Bobryshev; the sole Grand Prix winner from the country in the last three decades. ‘777’ made a bad start when he collided with team-mate Rui Goncalves coming out of the gate for the first race, but gained some positions in the early stages and barrelled through to obtain sixth place. In the second moto a slightly better launch nudged the 24 year old into the top five. He pushed to close down Christophe Pourcel, but ran out of laps across the technical and difficult surface.
Goncalves was content with eighth and sixth positions for sixth overall and to sit behind ‘Bobby’ in the final MX1 classification. The precise Portuguese was nursing a painful right bicep after a training incident with another rider during the week required laser treatment on the muscle. The former MX2 vice-champion put aside his latest slice of bad luck to embark on a determined performance on what was a significant event for his team. A bad start after being hit by Christophe Pourcel in the first moto led to a resolute charge, while an improved getaway in the second sprint saw the experienced campaigner nestling in the mid top ten.
LS Honda racing’s Jonathan Barragan will leave Semigorje with pleasant memories of a strong outing in the second moto in which he picked up eighth place by the finish. The first race delivered tenth spot, but the Spaniard’s speed and rhythm was more effective in the warmer afternoon sun for race two. Barragan was ninth overall and the third CRF450R rider in the top ten.
Although Bobryshev occupied a lot of the limelight countryman Alexandr Tonkov was also the key rider for fans in the MX2 class. The Russian is still on his way back to full speed and fitness after suffering a hand injury earlier in the season. A back problem sadly pushed ‘66’ to the sidelines in the first moto, but he bore the pain to record a fifteenth in the second.
Team-mate Max Anstie had a technical problem and this meant he had to use his second race bike for the two motos. The Brit DNF-ed the first race and rode to seventh slot in the next sprint.
The FIM MX1 World Championship standings show that Goncalves is ninth with Bobryshev in twelfth and Barragan lingering in thirteenth. After back-to-back events round twelve of the FIM Motocross World Championship will take place in two weeks time at the Loket circuit for the Grand Prix of Czech Republic.
Evgeny Bobryshev: Race Result: 6th / 5th Championship position: 12th “I’m happy. I had my mind on the podium today, but fifth overall is good. We struggled a bit yesterday in the bad conditions. The track was so rough and it was difficult to find the best set-up. In the first race I found it a lot harder than the second one, I’m not sure why, but by the end I was really tired. I managed to keep sixth place, so I had to be happy with that. The second moto felt easier; after recovering from a bad start I tried to ride my own race to go faster with no mistakes.
It was cool and amazing being here. The people were treating me like I was the leader of the championship! I didn’t have pressure and the weekend felt fun. It was tiring being pulled in many different directions, but it was great. I have to thank the public for all the support and the cheering and of course my team, family, Moscow Region and Investradebank for making this happen. I hope next year I can come here fitter and maybe with the red plate!”
Rui Goncalves: Race Result: 8th / 6th Championship position: 9th “I had a crash during the week with a slow guy and damaged my bicep on my right arm. It could have been worse, but I went to the doctor and had laser treatment and did what I could to be ready for this GP. It was sometimes pretty hard to hold on today for the pain, but I’m not the kind of guy to go about finding excuses and complain, so I did my best. In the first moto I had a pretty good start, but in the second turn I became stuck between Christophe [Pourcel] and Shaun [Simpson] and went off the track. I came back from last into the top ten quite quickly and finished eighth; I was pretty happy with that considering.
In the second moto my start was better and in the beginning I made some mistakes and it took me some time to get the rhythm back. I was quite solid from the middle of the race until the end.
Overall I’m pleased with the weekend. Since Latvia things have been going in the right direction and I want to thank the team for always being behind me.”
Jonathan Barragan: Race Result: 10th / 8th Championship position: 13th “Honestly, to have a tenth and eighth after the last few results I’ve been getting is not so bad and I’m happy. I was just off the leading group and running in places where I should be every week. We’ll see if we can continue to improve in training and take some more confidence into the last part of the season. The track was tough and complicated but pretty good for racing.”
Tony Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings made it a memorable day for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team at the MX1 and MX2 GPs of Russia at Semigorje both notching perfect 1-1 moto results to take a firm hold on both GPs and their respective championship leads.
Both Cairoli and Herlings leave with the red plates firmly in their grasp while at the same time, KTM was able to celebrate overall third places in both the MX1 and MX2 thanks to fine rides by Ken de Dycker and Jeremy van Horebeek respectively.
After a stunning first moto victory and impressive opening laps in the second MX1 moto, Cairoli stopped hearts when he crashed and sacrificed around six seconds in lap three of the second race. With the overall win now up for grabs the Italian focused all his efforts on hunting down the two riders that had sipped past him, his two biggest rivals for the title, Christophe Pourcel and Clement Desalle.
Two laps of hard work by KTM’s Italian rider followed while Cairoli got his KTM 350 SX-F in position to slip by Pourcel leaving only Desalle who had gained several seconds advantage while Cairoli and Pourcel had been battling it out. With just two minutes and two laps to go, the wily Italian went for the gap and took the lead. Cairoli then put down the hammer and quickly extended his lead to take the second race by eight seconds to secure his 49th career GP victory.
It was also a good weekend for KTM’s Ken de Dycker who finished second to Cairoli in the opening moto and started well in both races. After finishing 1-2 with Cairoli in the first race de Dycker worked hard in race two to move up to fourth, sat behind Pourcell and slipped into third place to have another potential podium in his lien of vision. De Dycker held his nerve and position and his 2-3 result for the weekend put him on the podium in third to complete a very strong day for the Red Bull KTM factory team.
Tony Cairoli: “ I like the track when it’s rough like it was here, it suits my riding style. Yesterday it was raining and I thought we would have another wet GP but today was great, the track was dry and there were many lines. I got two good starts in both races and it was fun to be fighting with my teammate (de Dycker) and to be 1-2 in the first race. I hope we can do it again and both finish on the podium again. It would be great.”
Ken de Dycker: “It looks like things are getting better for me each week and I am even getting good starts now and that makes it easier. But I was sick during the week and today I felt a bit weak so I will try to work on my fitness next week and be better prepared for the next races.”
Top performance by KTM’s Jeffrey Herlings
Meanwhile it was a red-letter day for Jeffrey Herlings who got the jump in both motos on his KTM 250 SX-F and completely ran away with both races. It was the Dutch teenager’s fourth double moto victory this season and as his teammate Jeremy van Horebeek remarked in the finish area, “Jeffrey was on another planet today”. Van Horebeek also had another great result finishing on the podium in third from his 2-3 result, just being displaced for second by UK rider Tommy Searle who slipped past him in the final laps to steal it with a 3-2 result. The third factory team member Jordi Tixier who this weekend scored his first ever pole position came away with a 6-6 result and overall sixth.
Jeffrey Herlings: “I’m very happy, my riding was good and I took two holeshots. That’s what I wanted to do. I managed both times so that made it easier for me. I made eight more valuable points and I now have a 50 points lead over Tommy (Searle). I know anything can still happen but with five GPs to go things are looking good.”
Jeremy van Horebeek: “Yesterday I had a big crash in the rain but I got back to thirteenth, which was an okay position for today’s start. I had two good starts and was in the top three in both motos. The first moto I was second the whole race and in the second moto I was pushing with Jeffrey but I felt a bit sick last night and by the end of the race I was a bit weak and had to slow down in the last couple of laps.”
Jordi Tixier: “Yesterday was great for me when I won my first qualifying race but today the track was quite different and very dusty. I had two good starts and my speed was not so bad because I was twice sixth. I was quite satisfied with my riding but I have to find a bit more speed. I will work with Stefan (Everts) on this an we will see what happens in the next GP.”
This was the first time the MXGP circus had visited Russia since 2002 and organizers gave official attendance figures at 47,000 packed into the Semigorje Russia, about 400 km north of the capital Russia. The crowd rose to the occasion, the weather played a positive role creating an atmosphere similar to that in Brazil.
The first trip back to Russia for the FIM Motocross World Championship since 2002 provided a memorable occasion once more for Monster Energy Yamahas Mel Pocock who maintained his 100% win record in the European EMX2 series. Semigorje entertained a Grand Prix event for the first time and for what was the eleventh outing of sixteen on the FIM calendar. The meeting was also the fixture for the third appointment of seven in the EMX2 competition (the feeder series to GP) and Pocock went 1-1 on his YZ250F for a hat-trick of victory garlands in 2012 so far.
Semigorje presented a long and arduous journey for the teams from Latvia last weekend but the racing facility was well-prepped with a short, flat, fast and jumpy circuit. 45,000 spectators created a noisy, enthusiastic and appreciative atmosphere. Rain struck on Saturday for a muddy programme of practice and qualification but blue skies and sunshine appeared for Sunday and the racing surface was harder, faster, bumpier and more spectacular for the two 35 minute and 2 lap dashes.
First on the timetable was the second race of 25 minutes and 2 laps for the best of the European series. Pocock had already triumphed after a hard charge and recovery from a crash on Saturday, and grabbed the holeshot and disappeared with the lead at the second time of asking. His fifth and sixth motos victories in succession continues his 100% record and means he now has a 26 point advantage in the standings.
Arnaud Tonus was still struggling with arm-pump problems in Russia. The Swiss crashed on Saturday in the mud and this put him low in the gate for Sunday. Unable to run a pace to contend for the podium and with two mediocre starts restricting his possibilities Tonus however made decent points with 7th overall and positions of 9th and 10th in the races.
Zach Osborne woke on raceday morning with a back muscle spasm affecting his preparation for the GP motos. The American bravely attempted the first affair and survived until the flag for a few points and 18th place. A slower and calmer approach to the second sprint saw the tension reduce and 338 was able to attack the bumps with more vigour to 8th position (12th overall).
The MX2 division of Monster Energy Yamaha now head across to the UK where Pocock will hope to extend his lead in the Maxxis British Championship. Osborne might also compete at Hawkstone Park for what will be round six of eight. Tonus will have surgery this week to remove a screw from his wrist and then undergo a small procedure to relieve some of his arm-pump. The twenty one year old expects to be fully ready to go for the Grand Prix of Czech Republic at Loket on August 5th.
Mel Pocock: Im really happy with how it is going. That second race was great. I had the holeshot and won it from the first corner by keeping it upright. The first moto was really wet and I ran up to a backmarker that put me on the wrong side of the track. I hit a rut that I wasnt going for and slid off the side of the bike. I had to fight through and eat the gap Olsen had made. It is good to keep winning and keep the red plate. Huge thanks to Ben, Jordan and all the mechanics behind the scenes because the guys have been away for two weeks. It would be a dream to do a perfect season but Ill take it race by race and see.
Arnaud Tonus: The track was fun to ride but I still had to deal with my arm problem. Im happy that the GP is over because now I can concentrate on finding a solution and hopefully we will. I just did my best but for sure this is not what I want or where I want to be.
Zach Osborne: Coming into the weekend I really wanted to do well; two top fives like I did in Sweden but when I woke up this morning I had a muscle spasm the size of a baseball in my back. In the first race it was killing me and I struggled through as much as I could. In the second it was getting a little better all the time and I could actually catch my breath again; something which was much harder to do in the morning. I didnt get a very good start, maybe top fifteen, and just worked my way through and into the top five. I was a bit off the pace towards the end. After Latvia and the way things went this weekend in the first race it was good to turn it around and get some momentum going.
Monster Energy Yamaha completed their eastern European stint of the FIM Motocross World Championship today as Shaun Simpson walked away from a rough and sun-kissed Semigorje track with 12th position overall on his factory YZ450FM. 45,000 spectators travelled to the remote site some 500km east of Moscow for the Grand Prix of Russia and the first visit to the country by the FIM series in ten years.
The Grand Prix teams and riders again had to deal with inclement weather conditions as rainstorms battered the venue on Saturday and turned the shallow sand into a muddy quagmire. Simpson shone on the difficult terrain and rode to a career-best second position in the qualification heat.
Good work and preparation by the organisers for what was Semigorjes inauguration on the world stage created a different, harder and faster prospect for Sunday when blue skies and sunshine finally arrived. The location itself saw a stadium setting of banking and grandstands surrounding three sides of the 1500m track that was flat with several hefty jumps, rhythm sections and off-cambered corners.
Simpson was hit off the bike in the second corner of the first moto and had to restart from last place. The Scot didnt find the best rhythm through the ruts and bumps and crossed the line in 13th. In the second race he got away from the gate in the leading group and was heavily involved in the battle for slots in the lower half of the top ten. Finally he finished 11th for his overall ranking. Simpson still holds 11th in the FIM MX1 Championship standings. 24 will be in action next weekend at Hawkstone Park for the sixth round of eight in the Maxxis British Championship before driving across to Loket for the Grand Prix of Czech Republic on August 5th.
Shaun Simpson: First of all thanks to the guys for coming all this way just for me. It is a privilege to be able to ride this bike. It was not really how I thought the day would go after yesterday. The conditions were quite a bit different but still technical and I made a fast time in the morning. We had some damage on the bike after a second turn crash and I struggled to get in my rhythm to catch back up to the rest of the pack. In the second one I was looking to go really tight in the first corner but Ken De Dycker nudged me and I ended up in sixth. I kept my head down the whole race and fought hard to the end. I was not the best of the rest unfortunately and Im a bit disappointed. There are still positive things to take from this weekend and Ill try to change the good positions from Saturday to a Sunday, especially at Loket next which is a track I like.
A well-received first Grand Prix in Russia for 10 years saw Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 rider Clement Desalle finish second overall on the factory RM-Z450 for the fourth time this season.
Some 45,000 spectators surrounded the new venue of Semigorje east of Moscow and deep in the Ivanovo region as the compact track was hit by torrential downpours on Saturday but the sand dried and changed in terms of the challenge it offered under sunny skies on Sunday.
The 11th round of 16 in the FIM Motocross World Championship was staged on a jumpy and winding course surrounded on three sides by packed banks of fans. As the racing surface changed throughout the weekend depending on the shade of the sky overhead, Desalle and team mate Tanel Leok continued to hone the set-up of their machines and decipher the fastest lines to conquer the technical 1500m layout.
Desalle set off from seventh pick in the gate on Sunday. The Belgian had to ditch his goggles in the rain during the qualification heat and exercised caution for an acceptable slot on the line. His speed and precision stepped up a notch in the dry and he strived for second position with Ken De Dycker in the first moto of 35 minutes and 2 laps duration but was not able to get close enough to pass his countryman. In the second race Desalle benefitted from a slip and crash by Antonio Cairoli to lead the race for 14 of the 21 laps but a mistake by the Portuguese and Swedish GP winner allowed the Sicilian to move through in the closing stages. Second place was enough for the same spot on the podium.
Leok was nursing the left ankle he injured earlier in the season after catching the joint last week in Latvia and then tweaking his leg during practice in the mud yesterday. The Estonian was also dismayed to wake up on Sunday morning with a poorly stomach and the affliction further inhibited his performance in the races. Leok pushed the limits of his fitness and capabilities to record ninth and 10th positions for 10th overall. He now has an appointment later this week to check on the status of the ankle.
In the FIM Motocross World Championship standings Desalle keeps second and is just 20 points behind Cairoli with five grands prix and 250 points still remaining in the bag. Leok is eighth.
The Grand Prix of Czech Republic on August 5th will be the next appointment for Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1. The hilly and slippery circuit of Loket will be the 12th appointment on the calendar for the Belgian crew as the schedule enters the final two months and the run to the Motocross of Nations at Lommel in Belgium at the end of September.
Clement Desalle: “My riding was better compared to yesterday and I had a better feeling on the track. I just had one big mistake in that second moto. I was really focussing on strong laps but it was easy to make a mistake – like Antonio also showed. There were some big ruts in the waves and we are very fast entering these sections; it is possible to lose everything in one second. We are runner-up again but we will keep working to be first next time! The track was pretty good. There are always some things to improve, but it was nice to be able to find different lines and look for passing places. When we have fun on the bike then it makes it better for everybody.”
Tanel Leok: “Not so good today. I feel a bit sick with stomach problems and wanted to puke during the race. I felt empty and without any energy; it was all about surviving until the end of the moto. Together with the ankle it made for a very hard day. I have an appointment to have the leg looked at on Thursday because it’s not normal that I am always in pain like this.”
Tommy Searle overcame misfortune to finish second in the eleventh round of the FIM World MX2 Motocross Championship at the sandy Semigorje track on the banks of Volga in Russia.
The Team Floride Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit rider was in superb form throughout practice, but suffered terribly bad luck during the rain-affected qualifying race to decide grid positions as another rider crashed in his path and he was forced to retire with a damaged radiator. The resultant outside gate meant that it was virtually impossible to get a good start and the English rider twice had to fight from outside the top 20 to finish 3-2 in the motos for second overall. Unfortunately this misfortune left his chief rival for the title to score an unchallenged double victory and Searle now trails by 49 points with five GPs remaining.
Teammate Joel Roelants also showed podium pace all weekend, but chunks of drying mud which clung to the spokes of the rear wheel as the sun came out for race day caused him to pit to check out the reason for the strange handling after he had chased the leaders through the early laps of race one. Despite the stop the Belgian finished fifth and, together with a fighting fourth in race two as he battled stomach pains, saw him narrowly miss the podium.
Dylan Ferrandis of Team Rockstar Bud Racing Kawasaki continued to show that he is learning rapidly in his first full season of GP racing as he raced to eighth overall to consolidate his ninth place in the championship, while teammate Valentin Teillet put up a gutsy performance on his return to racing from injury to end the GP eleventh overall despite inevitably feeling tired during the closing laps of race two.
Tommy Searle: “My chances of winning the GP disappeared yesterday when another rider crashed right in front of me during the qualifying race. I turned to miss him but the radiator was damaged by his handlebars so I had the outside gate for the GP and it was impossible to get a start in the top 20 from there. I used a lot of energy to come through to third in the first moto and the first two were too far ahead to catch, but as usual I was even stronger in the second race. Another rider lost control at turn two and we crashed together, so I was completely last, but I never stopped fighting and took second place with a coupler of laps to go. It’s hard to accept the bad luck I have had this year, but I will keep fighting for the title even though it will now be difficult.”
Joel Roelants: “I got a decent start in the first moto and was chasing the leaders but after a few laps I had a strange feeling with my back wheel and I came in the pits to check it out; in fact I had some mud on the wheel and it affected my riding. I lost several places but was able to fight back again from eighth to fifth. In the second moto I had stomach pains but still managed to get fourth position.”
Dylan Ferrandis: “I felt good on the track in practice, but it rained for the qualifying race and I stalled the engine in the first corner. I recovered to finish fifteenth so that was not too bad for the choice of gate. Today was dry and sunny and that was great and I battled with Tonus and Osborne for most of the first race to finish eighth. I got out of the gate second in race two but Van Horebeek cut across my line and I lost a few places; afterwards I crashed twice, but I had some good lap times and finished eleventh.”
Valentin Teillet: “For a comeback ride it was not so bad, even if on Saturday it was pretty difficult for me with the mud. I knew that I was not really ready for racing at this level as I only rode one time before I came here, but the goal was to finish both races and I did it. My first start was bad but I came back through to finish eleventh, and in the second one I inevitably felt tired but still scored a twelfth position. That was a good first step in my comeback and I can be happy with the result; but for sure I will expect more in the next GPs !”
Christophe Pourcel maintained his challenge for the FIM World MX1 Motocross title with a fighting fourth place in the eleventh round at Semigorje in Russia.
The Frenchman showed resiliance on a sunny race day as he recovered from an incident during the muddy Saturday qualification when another ran into him at the start and he hurt his neck. In both motos on race day the power of his Team CP377 Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit got him to turn one with the leaders despite the poor choice of gate, but on each occasion he would eventually finish fourth as the top four riders outdistanced the field. Christophe maintains his third position in the standings with five GPs remaining and is just 49 points from the series pacesetter.
Gautier Paulin of the Kawasaki Racing Team had the misfortune to collide with other riders at the start of both GP motos. He fought bravely to finish seventh in each moto and has maintained his fourth place in the series standings.
Teammate Xavier Boog crashed heavily during the first GP moto but bravely gritted his teeth in race two to cross the line ninth and maintain his seventh place in the series.
Sebastien Pourcel raced in a lot of pain from the rib injury he sustained one week earlier in Latvia. He battled to twelfth place in the first moto, but was forced to quit race two after ten laps because of the pain.
Christophe Pourcel: “I had bad luck in the qualifying race when another rider hit me at the start and I crashed on my side. I had pain in my neck, and later I collided with a slower rider and lost too much time to continue. That meant that I was nineteenth on the grid but the first corner was wider than in Latvia and I managed to get two good starts. There were four of us at the front who all had the same speed and I finished fourth; it was difficult to pass and I also made a few mistakes in the second moto. It wasn’t an easy GP for me but I like the tracks for the next two races and I expect to get back on the podium.”
Gautier Paulin: “It was a long trip but the journey went well and we found a nice track waiting for us. It was tough with the rain on Saturday and my qualification was not the best of the season but the grid was wide so it wasn’t a problem. At the first start I nearly collided with Xavier and then it was difficult to make up positions; in the second moto Desalle anticipated the start and that affected my concentration. I nearly crashed with Simpson in the second corner but I came back to seventh at the finish. Two times seventh is not what I expected at the start of the weekend, but I will work hard to get back on the podium at the next few rounds.”
Xavier Boog: “Thankfully the weather was good today, but the track was affected by the rain which fell yesterday. I had a bad start in both motos, and was nearly last in the second corner. I pushed hard in the first race but crashed twice; the second crash was a big one and when I did the sighting lap of the second race I knew that it was going to be a difficult race for me as I had a lot of pain all over my body. I can’t be happy with the results, but at least I got some points in both races.”
Sébastien Pourcel:” I haven’t yet recovered from my crash last weekend in Latvia, and when I ride on the bike I have pain to my ribs. Nothing seems broken, but it’s very painful and all I could manage was a twelfth position in the first race.”