Imola in Italy welcomed the 15th round of the MXGP Championship, with Tim Gajser coming away with the 2019 MXGP Championship title following a 5-2 result that just landed him on the overall podium, with Gautier Pualin on equal points having to settle for fourth. Gajser leaves Imola on 664-points – enough to have won the championship rounds early, with the next nearest rider being Jeremy Seewer on 481, while Gautier Paulin in third holds 440-points.
It was an exciting weekend for KTM’s Glenn Coldenhoff as well, taking two wins from two races for a perfect 50-points and his first GP win since 2015. Jeremy Seewer was second overall with 2-3 finishes.
New Zealand’s Dylan Walsh also went 17-12 for the weekend in the MXGP class, while Australian Mitch Evans record a 23-24 result.
In MX2 it was Jorge Prado once again dominating the proceeding with 50-points to his name, with Thomas Kjer Olsen second and Maxime Renaux third overall. The result sees Prado extend hi lead to 130-points from Olsen, with Jago Geerts third overall in the standings.
MXGP Race 1
Arnaud Tonus led the opening MXGP race early, followed by Gautier Paulin, Glenn Coldenhoff, Tim Gajser and Jeremy Seewer in fifth position, before Paulin moved into the lead and Gajser rode into third place.
Gajser did not take the easy route as he was pushing hard to get past the two Yamaha’s in front and moving alongside Tonus, he then lost a spot as they collided, with Tonus letting Paulin charge into first and Coldenhoff into second place, while Pauls Jonass was third and Gajser found himself fourth.
Gajser pushed his way past Jonass and was back into third, while Coldenhoff was all over Paulin for the lead until he took a wild ride and nearly crashed, Gajser managing to take second place and Coldenhoff moving into first place.
Jonass then passed Gajser and the drama continued as Gajser crashed and dropped into eighth. Despite the crash the Slovenian was still pushing 100 per cent, trying to close out the championship early.
After eight laps Coldenhoff held a lead of nearly eight seconds ahead of Paulin, then came Seewer, Jonass, and Romain Febvre in fifth place. Febvre moved past Jonass, but then the Latvian made a mistake and Tonus and Gajser also passed the Husqvarna rider. Gajser moved into sixth and started hunting down Tonus and Febvre.
Gajser nearly crashed again as he slipped a little, while Febvre went down hard and Paulin, Tonus, and Gajser all passed as Febvre dropped back to 11th place.
Coldenhoff won the race from Seewer, Paulin and Tonus as Gajser settled for his fifth but it was enough to win his third Motocross World Championship in the opening race of the MXGP of Italy.
MXGP Race 2
Coldenhoff was again in front of the second MXGP race, taking the FOX Holeshot ahead of Seewer, Jonass, Tommy Searle, Gajser, Paulin, Febvre, Tonus, Arminas Jasikonis and Alessandro Lupino.
Coldenhoff controlled the race up front as he created a three-second gap after just three laps. Behind him Seewer was a further two seconds ahead of Jonass and Gajser, while Paulin rounded out the top five.
Four laps in and Coldenhoff was five seconds in front, and Shaun Simpson made his first appearance in the top ten as he moved into tenth place just behind Lupino. Gajser moved past Jonass, and the top five was Coldenhoff, Seewer, Gajser, Jonass and Paulin.
Seven laps in saw Coldenhoff extend his lead to seven seconds, then came Seewer, Gajser, Jonass, Paulin and Febvre in sixth place. Simpson suffered some issued as he dropped to 24th and Brian Bogers was forced out of the race after a crash.
Gajser moved into second place and both him and Seewer were closing down the lead of Coldenhoff. Seewer was quickly back past Gajser for second, but then Seewer made a mistake and Gajser was relegated the Yamaha rider back to third.
Coldenhoff made some great laps and made his lead nearly 10 seconds on lap 12, with Gajser still second, then Seewer, Jonass and Paulin. In the closing stages of the race Paulin passed Jonass for fourth place and Coldenhoff won race 2 from Gajser and Seewer.
Glenn Coldenhoff walked away with the perfect 1-1 result and took the Grand Prix victory. It is the third time the Dutchman has won a Grand Prix, adding to his MX2 win in 2013 and his MXGP win in 2015. Second overall was Jeremy Seewer with 2-3 scores.
While Tim Gajser didn’t win the MXGP of Italy at the Imola facility, it was the big picture that counted, and his 5-2 results were enough to secure third overall and more importantly the 2019 MXGP championship.
Glenn Coldenhoff – P1
“I won a race and the overall in 2015, but now going 1-1 here it is amazing and I wish to thank my team. We had a tough time and a lot of negatives, but now I’m happy and my boss too. I won my first GP with him and also my third today. It means a lot. I never got 1-1 in the MXGP class and I want to thank everyone for helping me out.”
Jeremy Seewer – P2
“First of all I want to congratulate Tim Gajser on winning the championship. And for myself, I am happy with how the weekend went. I put in two consistent rides, and made another small step, but it is the consistency that I am most happy about. I am looking forward to the next few GP’s where I will continue to take it race by race and keep the consistency going.”
In a season filled with records, Gajser continued his podium streak which now stands at 10 and with three rounds left, he can still become the joint most successful Honda rider in world championship history if were to win those remaining rounds.
Tim Gajser – P3 (2019 MXGP Champion)
“It is just an amazing feeling to have won this third world championship. To fight back after two really tough years and to even overcome a difficult round earlier in the year, it is just really, really great to have become champion. A big thanks to all of Team HRC, both here at the races and back in Japan who have supported me throughout this period, during the good and the bad. It is a real family I have under this awning and I am truly thankful to be riding with them for so long. We have all worked extremely hard this year to improve myself and the Honda CRF450RW but it has worked amazingly well. We have had great starts, zero issues, and I just feel really comfortable each time I get on the track, whatever the conditions. I am struggling to say much more but it really has been an incredible experience and I’m so glad that a lot of fans from Slovenia could come out and witness this moment too. My previous wins have been in the USA, but now to have so much support here at Imola, and just throughout this year is something I am really appreciative of. Thank you to everyone who has been with me on this journey, fans team members, everyone, it means so much to me.”
Marcus Pereira de Freitas – HRC General Manager MXGP
“I am so proud and happy for Tim to have won this MXGP championship. It certainly hasn’t been easy these past couple of years but he never gave up and this title is a reward for all the effort he has put in. From his first victory at Trentino, we knew it was going to be a special year and he just kept up that level of riding which allowed him to win this title with so many rounds left to race. He has now joined an extremely special group of riders in Honda history, winning his third championship with the brand and he fully deserves it. He is a very special talent. Unfortunately Brian wasn’t able to finish the second moto and he will get checked out as quickly as possible in order to determine the next course of action.”
Gautier Paulin – P4
“I am happy. I changed my training program after Lommel and it has paid off. I am really enjoying riding. In the first moto, I took the lead and was really happy to finish third. I am really happy with my entire crew at Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha. The way they worked on my bike this weekend made the difference with this track being really sketchy and square edged. The track is also very tight, so to handle the 450cc bike in these conditions is tough, so the bike has to be good. I felt good, but came up short of the podium. But that is how it is, I didn’t have enough today. I would just like to congratulate Tim Gajser on winning the championship. Well earned.”
Pauls Jonass – P5
“Overall the weekend went well for me, I’m happy with fifth but felt we could have gone a little better. I got good starts in both races so that is really positive and then I was able to run near the front too. We were able to identify a few places where I was losing a little time and I know I still need to work on my strength for riding the 450, especially on a technical surface like today. The track was heavy going and quite slippery in places, like on the take off to the jumps – a lot of the time you had to fire out the corners really hard to clear them and that was pretty tricky. We had good pace today and a good set up – just need to work on bringing it all together and keeping smooth for the whole race. It’s Sweden next, which is one of my favourite circuits, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Tommy Searle – P6
“I’m really happy with sixth place as the past eight weeks have been really difficult for me; I’ve been really downcast, being unable to practice due to my injuries when I got this opportunity to ride the factory bike. It’s been difficult and I had no expectations coming into this race; I just wanted to do my job as best I could and give the team a presence. Once I get into the rhythm I don’t feel too much pain but I miss the intensity of racing at this level as I can’t train between the races. The bike made it easy for me; it is so good and makes a big difference.”
Romain Febvre – P7
“I had an up and down weekend. I struggled on the track to find the flow. It kept getting better, I felt much better today than yesterday. I didn’t get the best start in the first race but I came back to third, but I had a big crash downhill and hurt my neck. I felt stiff in the second race, but I could pass some guys, but I touched the radiator and I could not turn really well. My results weren’t where I want them to be, but it is what is. On to the next GP.”
Alessandro Lupino – P8
“Finally I had a good feeling again this weekend; I had fun on the bike and that’s so important. When I tested the latest evolution of our bike on Friday I was already confident for the weekend. There’s now four races to go with the MX of Nations; we’ll take it race after race as the championship ranking was over due to my injury. It was really tough to recover from the injury in Russia, and in the second moto I felt some pain; I had pushed a lot in the first one and got cramp in my right leg towards the end. The doctor told me that it will take time as a nerve has probably been affected in the crash, but I’m just happy to be back on the bike again and enjoying life.”
Jorge Prado took the MX2 FOX Holeshot but it was Darian Sanayei who led the opening lap of MX2 race one ahead of Prado, Tom Vialle, Thomas Kjer Olsen, and Mathys Boisrame in fifth.
After a lap Sanayei continued to lead and Prado was all over him, with Vialle also close in third place. Prado moved into the lead in the waves section and the same time Vialle dropped out of the top ten as he cruised around the circuit after a crash, being forced to retire from the race.
Jago Geerts moved into the top ten after an average start and Calvin Vlaanderen moved through the pack to get 12th on the third lap. Brian Moreau also crashed hard and dropped back while Olsen moved into second place.
Vlaanderen moved into the top ten on lap six, and Maxime Renaux moved up to fourth position. Geerts also moved up in sixth place while Prado was still leading by seven seconds over Olsen. Soon after Renaux moved into third place, Geerts fourth, and Sanayei dropped to ninth as Vlaanderen passed to go into eight position.
After 13 laps the lead by Prado over Olsen was 10 seconds and Renaux in third was 23 seconds off the pace of the leader. Prado won the MXGP of Italy race 1 from Olsen and Renaux.
MX2 Race 2
When the gate dropped for the second MX2 race Geerts took the FOX Holeshot, but Prado again led very quickly from Geerts, Olsen, Larranaga and Vlaanderen.
After a lap Prado held a five-second lead over Geerts, and Vialle went down hard and again was forced out of the race. A lap later the lead was eight seconds and again the Spanish teenager was a league of his own in the MX2 class.
Renaux was on a charge as he moved into fourth place, and Adam Sterry dropped to fifth. On lap seven Prado was nine seconds ahead of Olsen, with Vlaanderen in third, then Renaux, and Geerts fifth. Prado continued to cruise out front and won his 26th race of the season from Olsen and Vlaanderen.
On the GP overall count it was Jorge Prado who won, again with 1-1 scores. Second was Thomas Kjer Olsen with a 2-2 and third Maxime Renaux with 3-4 finishes.
Jorge Prado – P1
“The track was a bit easier and more flowing yesterday and it was harder to find the perfect rhythm today. It was tough. I was quickly into first in both motos and it was a case of good starts, good riding and moving forwards. Sweden [Uddevalla] is a track I really like and I won a moto there and took a podium in my first season in 2017. Hopefully we’ll do a nice race there next weekend and it will be doubly nice to get the title.”
Thomas Kjer Olsen – P2
“It feels amazing to be back on the podium, Lommel was a really tough race for me so to be able to come back here for second is great. We made some changes to the bike for the race here and they really seem to have worked out well. The team have done a great job to get me feeling comfortable on the bike and I think it shows today, even on such a demanding track like this one. I gave it my all out there today, had some great battles and I’m happy to finish on the podium.”
Maxime Renaux – P3
“It is really special getting a podium finish. These last couple of years were tough and I hope I’ll keep improving.”
Jago Geerts – P4
“It was a pretty good weekend for me with two solid moto’s. I got my first holeshot in the second moto, which was really nice. I made a mistake and crashed after a few laps but I managed to fight back to fifth. The most important thing is that I took back third position in the championship, and now my goal will be to defend that.”
Rene Hofer – P7
“I’m very happy. My starts weren’t the best but I had a really good flow in the first moto and my physical condition was also really good so I could push until the end. In the second moto I unfortunately had a crash at the start and also slid-out with the rear at the end but still managed 11th. Anyway, I’m totally fine. It was hot work today but I’m satisfied and will now do my best to try and get another podium in the final EMX250 race in Sweden.”
Henry Jacobi – P8
“It was a tough weekend for me as I had too much wheelspin at the start of the first race and then crashed twice so I had to work hard to come back to thirteenth. In the second race I got a better start but I stalled the bike and lost two positions; I was quickly back to sixth but then I couldn’t push further up the leaderboard as I had used so much energy in the first moto.”
“A strange weekend. I was really good in practice on Saturday and I liked the track. I was fastest in Free Practice and had a good sensation on the bike. I still don’t understand how I crashed in the first moto and in the second I was in sixth-seventh when I collided with another rider just before the pitlane. I wasn’t feeling too good and couldn’t continue. Disappointed not to score any points today but I’m not injured and will look forward to next weekend.”
New Zealand’s Dylan Walsh went 17-12 for the weekend, while Australian Mitch Evans record a 23-24 result.
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