Lommel in Belgium hosted Round 14 of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship, with thousands of spectators turning up to cheer on their heroes at the iconic venue, with red plate holders Tim Gajser and Jorge Prado putting on a show.
Tim Gajser was the top MXGP performer and went 2-2 over the weekend, more than enough to win the MXGP of Belgium in the top class and extend his championship lead over Jeremy Seewer to 187 points with just four rounds to go. Romain Febvre was second overall with 1-4 results and Glenn Coldenhoff was third with 3-3 results.
In the MX2 class Jorge Prado claimed a perfect 1-1 result to extend his championship lead over Thomas Kjer Olsen to 124-points, while Calvin Vlaanderen and Ben Watson completing the overall podium, with Tom Vialle also on 36-points, but regulated to fourth.
MXGP Race 1
In the opening MXGP race it was Glenn Coldenhoff who took the FOX holeshot from Romain Febvre and Tim Gajser. Arminas Jasikonis was down in last after a crash in the first corner as well as Max Anstie who crashed in the first corner and struggled to get going again. Gajser moved into the lead while Jeremy Van Horebeek moved into the top ten.
After a lap the lead was a little more than a couple of bike lengths as Gajser continued to shine in the Belgian sand until Febvre moved into the lead on lap two.
Five laps in and Febvre had just two seconds over Gajser while Coldenhoff was closing up on the Slovenian. The top three remained close, but not close enough for any passing.
Jasikonis moved into eight position and dropped Gautier Paulin to ninth position. After nine laps the lead of Febvre was two seconds with Coldenhoff in third a further two seconds behind, Seewer was fourth and Jonass fifth.
Arnaud Tonus made a pass inside on Pauls Jonass for fifth while Van Horebeek closed up on those two. Febvre was starting to get away from Gajser on lap 10 with four seconds between himself and Gajser.
Gajser put in a quick lap time and close the lead to just two seconds and looked like he was going after Febvre, but then just as quickly Febvre put in a good lap and got the lead back to five seconds.
Febvre was pushing hard and the lead was seven seconds on lap 14 while Gajser had a four second lead over Coldenhoff. It was a kind of lonely race for the top three.
MXGP Race 2
In the second MXGP race it was Tim Gajser in the lead from Van Horebeek, Anstie, Coldenhoff, Koch, Tonus, Jonass, Strijbos, Monticelli and Tixier in 10th. Febvre started in 11th place. Anstie quickly moved into second place while Febvre was quickly into sixth position.
One lap in and Gajser was just ahead of Anstie, with Van Horebeek a further seven seconds back in third place. Jonass had trouble with the bike and had to drop in 14th while Febvre, Jasikonis and Seewer moved past. Anstie moved into the lead on lap four and after four laps it was Anstie, Gajser, Van Horebeek, Coldenhoff and Febvre to round out the top five.
Anstie was on fire up front as he pulled to more than four seconds ahead of Gajser, with Van Horebeek 17 seconds back, and Coldenhoff and Febvre right on him for third place. On lap eight Jonass again stalled on the track and tried to get his bike running.
Anstie pushed hard in the mid stages as he made the gap between himself and Gajser more than nine seconds and Van Horebeek 20 seconds behind the leader. Jasikonis passed Febvre and the Frenchman’s chances of a GP victory slipped away. Febvre did fight back and re-passed Jasikonis and around the same time Anstie went down and Gajser moved into the lead.
Things got interesting with Anstie, Van Horebeek, Coldenhoff and Febvre all right behind the Slovenian rider. Van Horebeek tried to get past Anstie, and it all helped Gajser who was suddenly more than six seconds in the lead.
Van Horebeek fell down after handing Coldenhoff third place and the Belgian also let Febvre into fourth position, but up front Gajser was in complete control. Anstie pulled back the lead by Gajser and passed the HRC rider on lap 14. Gajser though was too strong over the two races and won the overall with 2-2 scores.
Max Anstie won his first race of the 2019 Season and the first ever in top class ahead of Gajser and Coldenhoff while Tim Gajser won the GP with 2-2, for the Slovenian is the first Belgian GP win ever and it marked the first win for Honda in the premier class in Lommel. Romain Febvre missed the GP win for 1 point shy as for Glenn Coldenhoff was the first podium appearance of the season.
Tim Gajser 2-2
“It was a great weekend, finishing two-two for first overall in Lommel. My riding was good, especially because in the past I’ve struggled here but we’ve worked hard this year with the team and it really paid off. We’ve prepared a lot better for these tough conditions and it was certainly helped by two good starts, just like we have done so often this year. I wasn’t able to win a moto but I rode smoothly and smart and I minimised any mistakes. I’m just so happy to win here in Lommel, because it is a special GP and a good test and just shows how much I’ve progressed as a rider.”
Romain Febvre 1-4
“This weekend was good. I took the holeshot in the first moto which made life easy, and I won that race, so I am happy about that. My speed was good. I didn’t get a good start in the second race and had to work hard to fight back which cost a lot of energy. I knew I was close to winning the GP, but I could not make it, so I am pleased with second overall.”
Glenn Coldenhoff 3-3
“It is great. Two weeks ago I didn’t feel good in the sand, but the team helped with a great bike and I give it to those guys. I am happy to be back up here and I enjoy it. The sand always suits me well, and it is easier than hard pack for me. Yesterday I felt good. I went into qualification to save energy for today’s race and maybe that was wrong, because I couldn’t find my rhythm and I struggled a bit. I pushed this morning and had that good feeling again pulling also the FOX Holeshot. I have to thank my boss and the whole team. We have been through difficult time, but we are back. The team has done an amazing job to have me comfortable in the sand.”
Jeremy Seewer 4-5
“The first moto was one of the toughest races I have had all season. I slept really bad last night, and I think I was still sleeping on the starts today. I was catching up on sleep in both races on the gate. They kept the gate really long and a lot of guys kept trying to jump it. I worked hard to get into the top-five. I happy with my consistency. This is always the goal. Overall, fourth place in Lommel is really good because it is easy to crash here. Now I look forward to a few days rest before we go again.”
In the opening MX2 race Jorge Prado took the early lead from Tom Vialle, Henry Jacobi, Adam Sterry, and Thomas Kjer Olsen in fifth. Local rider Jago Geerts crashed in the first corner and was in 31st position entering the opening lap. Sterry moved past Jacobi while Geerts was already into 17th place.
Prado extended his lead to seven seconds on lap two while Geerts moved into sixth position and was right onto teammate Watson. After a crash Vlaanderen moved back into the top ten on lap four.
Geerts was just sensational to regroup as he moved into fifth place on lap five while Olsen was chasing Sterry down for third position and Vlaanderen moved into ninth.
Olsen crashed hard as he ran off the track and Geerts continued his race chase moving into fourth position. Vlaanderen rode past Jacobi and moved into seventh place. After his crash Olsen retired back to the paddock forced to be out of the race.
Geerts easily passed both Sterry, who made a mistake, and Vialle for second and with Prado 25 seconds ahead, second was a phenomenal performance from the Belgian rider. Prado’s ride in front just looked smooth and comfortable. Sterry moved into third place passing Vialle.
Jago Geerts was definitely the man on the gas finishing second 20 seconds behind Prado and followed by the F&H Kawasaki sensation Adam Sterry.
MX2 Race 2
In the second MX2 race nothing changed in the first corner as it was Prado and Vialle in front, then Vlaanderen, Jacobi, Olsen, Sterry, Watson, Ostlund, Geerts, Boisrame and Renaux.
After a lap Prado held a four second lead as Geerts was cutting through the field and moved into sixth position. Geerts moved past Olsen into fifth position and Watson passed Vlaanderen for third place. Geerts on fire as he passed Vlaanderen and then Watson when the British rider made a mistake and nearly went down.
A great battle emerged between Geerts, Vlaanderen and Watson as the three fought for third. After three laps Prado was seven seconds ahead of Vialle, and on lap four Geerts moved into second place.
Vlaanderen also passed Vialle on lap four, and then Watson did the same, relegating the KTM rider to fifth position. After five laps the lead by Prado was 12 seconds over Geerts with Vlaanderen a further five seconds back.
After seven laps Prado was already lapping the 30th position, and made a big break on second placed Geerts, who was 14 seconds behind. Watson put massive pressure on Vlaanderen, but as the Yamaha rider looked for a way past, Vlaanderen blocked the pass.
Prado moved to 20 seconds ahead of Geerts on lap 11, then came Vlaanderen in third, Watson fourth, and Vialle fifth. Jacobi crashed and Sterry ran into him, and both went down forcing Sterry to drop to eight and Jacobi to 12th.
After 14 laps Geerts got in trouble as he dropped out of the race with a mechanical problem and it was Prado, Vlaanderen, Watson, Vialle and Olsen rounding out the top 5. Soon after Prado slipped over on the final lap, but still won his 24th race of the season from Vlaanderen and Watson. The result marked Ben Watson’s first podium of the season.
Jorge Prado 1-1
“Lommel is a very tough race and for sure you need to come here mentally ready – physically as well – but also relaxed and with the knowledge you are going to suffer. I knew the start was going to be key and I made two good ones and had good flow through both motos. I had a big lead and was going through the backmarkers when I had a small crash but it was nothing major. I think the bumps were smoother today but it was still very rough. Another perfect weekend.”
Calvin Vlaanderen 7-2
“It was a pretty good day today, although I was definitely disappointed after my first moto when I finished seventh. I had a small crash which dropped me down a few spots and that was frustrating. In the second moto I actually had some fun on the track, even with the tough conditions. My plan is to always have fun and the first moto I really didn’t enjoy it, but in race two things went a lot better. I flowed around the track with a good rhythm and even though I finished second, I didn’t expect to be on the podium. Only when they wrote on my pitboard near the end did I realise and obviously I’m really happy to finish second and have my best overall of the season.”
Ben Watson 5-3
“Unbelievable weekend for me. I have not been riding in the last 6 weeks, so I have just been focusing on physical training like cycling and stuff. I knew my physical condition was going to be good, but I thought I would miss race intensity because there is no substitute for racing. I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to ride, I just tested my hand a couple of days before the GP and then made the decision. I lined up with no expectation. I enjoyed racing so much. I think this is what I need to focus on in the future.”
Tom Vialle 4-4
“A good day. I never rode too much in the sand when I was younger but for one year now I have been living in Belgium and have trained a lot on this terrain with Joel [Smets] and all the team. We made a great effort and I’m very happy to make two good race results on this tough track. It was technically difficult but kinda fun to jump through the bumps. We are third in the championship again and the last four races are on the hard-pack and that’s good for me. I’m focussed for strong results and every time in the top five.”
Adam Sterry 3-6
“I was happy with my riding all weekend, but of course a little disappointed in the end as the podium was there until the crash in the second moto. I couldn’t see Henry’s bike on the ground as it was behind a jump and that crash cost me this podium. Again I missed it by one point, but I have to take the positives and I was happy with my starts and my riding.”
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