Overnight storms made for better than expected conditions today at the hilly clay track of Loket.
The angry wind that howled in and around the venue was ridiculously strong, as were the performances of Yamaha Factory Racing Yamalube’s Romain Febvre and Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Max Anstie who blew away their competition to start tomorrow on pole here at the 13th round of the FIM Motocross World Championship.
Meanwhile Holland’s Nancy Van De Ven has got off to an amazing start here at the sixth and final round of the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship after winning race one ahead of the main title contenders Team One One Four’s Livia Lancelot and Yamaha MXFontaracing’s Kiara Fontanesi, who both made mistakes on the opening lap. Lancelot will have a four-point advantage heading into the final race tomorrow.
In the European Championship EMX300, GL12 Yamaha Racing’s wildcard Brad Anderson carved his way from outside the top five for the win ahead of fellow Brit Matt Moffat and the championship leader Marco Maddii.
Another super slick and edgy hard pack track was once again Yamaha Factory Racing Yamalube’s Romain Febvre’s paradise as he dominated the MXGP qualifying heat for his second pole position of the season.
When the gates dropped it was Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP’s Clement Desalle who got the jump but slid into the first turn, lost his balance and handed the holeshot to the previous MXGP round winner Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Glenn Coldenhoff.
Coldenhoff was looking exceptionally comfortable out here considering he is known for his sand ability. The Dutchman lost the lead to Febvre on the opening lap when he left the door open at the bottom of the circuit and then was dropped back to third after Team HRC’s Gautier Paulin set him up a couple of turns after pit lane.
Paulin rode strong and steady for a comfortable second place while Coldenhoff managed to hold on for third. Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM’s Shaun Simpson pulled off some great passes today with his moves on the factory riders, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tommy Searle and Desalle.
Searle rounded out the top five while a rusty Desalle was dropped back to seventh after his blistering fast countryman Yamaha Factory Racing Yamalube’s Jeremy Van Horebeek fought his way from the back of the pack to sixth.
MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), 23:42.613; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:11.060; 3. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +0:18.860; 4. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:21.415; 5. Tommy Searle (GBR, KTM), +0:22.695; 6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:23.779; 7. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:25.156; 8. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:27.871; 9. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:29.837; 10. Todd Waters (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:31.278.
Loket was the scene of one of the most eventful MX2 qualifying races of the season. HSF Logistics Motosport Team’s Roberts Justs timed the gate perfectly and was half a bike length out before he popped a wheelie which slowed him down enough to let Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s young rookie Davy Pootjes take the holeshot.
Pootjes led the way past pit lane on the first lap before being passed by another surprise front-runner TM Racing Factory Team’s Samuele Bernardini. Bernardini, being Italian, obviously loves the hard and slick surfaces and pulled a gap right away.
While the TM rider put in one of his best performances, he didn’t have anything on the speed of Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Max Anstie who is absolutely hauling at the moment.
Anstie took the lead on lap three and stamped his authority on the MX2 class for the fourth consecutive time. Meanwhile, Standing Construct Yamaha Yamalube’s Valentin Guillod mentioned he was happy to be back on the hard packed surface and it showed as the super stylish Swiss rider carved his way from outside the top fifteen, up to sixth, then crashed and still managed to bounce back for second.
Rounding out the top three was Kemea Yamaha Yamalube’s Benoit Paturel who is constantly on the improve and landed his best qualifying race finish of the season. Meanwhile, there was no room to breathe in the battle for fourth as three of the quickest riders in MX2, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Jeremy Seewer and Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser went bar-to-bar.
All three riders were cutting the same lap times which left them using mistakes as opportunities to pass. Fortunately Jonass was able to minimise his errors in the closing stages of the race and managed to hold on to fourth ahead of Seewer and Gajser.
In darker news, bad luck has struck the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team and Jeffrey Herlings once again. The Bullet was landed on by another rider after he clipped a bank and crashed. He was ambulanced away with a suspected dislocated hip.
MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), 24:08.359; 2. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:06.265; 3. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +0:10.783; 4. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:12.645; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:15.696; 6. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:16.531; 7. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), +0:17.981; 8. Petar Petrov (BUL, Kawasaki), +0:18.606; 9. Roberts Justs (LAT, KTM), +0:19.584; 10. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:19.983
Sunday: EMX300 Warm-up 07:50; EMX150 Warm-up 08:05; WMX Warm-up 08:20; EMX300 Race 2 09:00; EMX150 Race 2 09:45; WMX Race 2 10:30; MX2 Warm up 11:10; MXGP Warm up 11:30; MX2 Race 1 13:15; MXGP Race 1 14:15; MX2 Race 2 16:10; MXGP Race 2 17:10.