The rich volcanic soil of the Neuquen track where the MXGP of Patagonia Argentina is taking place, was rutted and raced on today for the first time this season. With qualifying races completed it’s Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass who placed themselves into pole position for Sunday.
When the gates dropped in Argentina, MXGP of Indonesia’s second place finisher, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff rocketed into the first turn to claim a massive holeshot over the rest of the field, Coldenhoff would get shuffled back throughout the race and would finish qualifying 11th.
Team HRC’s Tim Gajser wasted no time in moving past Coldenhoff, coming to the green flag first and 20 minutes plus 2 laps later did the same with the checkered one taking the second pole position of the season. Gajser stated, “Today went really good, I was feeling great on the track and the bike worked amazing too. In the qualification race I had a good start and I took the lead in the first lap and made a little gap. I was quite happy with my riding”
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek rode a fantastic qualifying race as well, being consistent for the whole session and finishing 2nd behind Gajser and ahead of the Red Plate holder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli.
Wilvo Yamaha MXGP’s Arnaud Tonus qualified 4th followed by Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev who rounded out the top 5 from MXGP. Tonus' teammate, Wilvo Yamaha MXGP's Shaun Simpson, qualified 8th after having his overall GP win in Indonesia.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin, Max Anstie, and Max Nagl all fell off the start. Nagl said, “Riding went really well today, we were just unlucky in the first corner off the start, all three of our riders went down and some more riders as well”
Jeffrey Herlings finished 15th in qualifying as a result of the crash and said, “Coming here we were hoping to be around the top five but obviously I went down and worked my way back from last to 15th or so but we still have a lot of work to do.”
MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 24:37.502; 2. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:04.284; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:05.861; 4. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +0:16.123; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:16.967; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:17.707; 7. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, Suzuki), +0:21.994; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:25.311; 9. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:26.880; 10. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:28.283
To start the MX2 qualifying race the two Red Bull KTM Factory Racing bikes of Jorge Prado Garcia and Pauls Jonass lead the way. The latvian found his way around Prado on the first lap and held the lead to the finish line grabbing his second pole position of the year. Jonass had the best timing on this morning’s practices too, in fact later in the Press Conference he stated: “I got a pretty good start, I was second behind my teammate Jorge and made a quick pass on him, took a little gap, and just rode my race” and then he continued “This is a real motocross track, I really like the jumps and high speed corners, this is one of my favorite tracks. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow!”
Prado kept Jonass in sight and though he was unable to pass his teammate back he held off the hard charging American rookie, Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Darian Sanayei, who finished third.
Sanayei battled with follow American Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Covington in the first half of the race along with LRT KTM’s Julien Lieber who lost positions after a mistake but came strong back to finish 4th. Covington ended up falling to 9th while Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team’s Brent Van doninck took the final position in the top 5.
Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer came into the day the fastest in free practice, in qualifying though, he was positioned as high as 3rd on lap 4 he would shift back to 7th shortly before finishing in the 6th spot.
After today’s qualifying on one of the most favorite tracks for MXGP and MX2 Riders, everyone is excited for racing again tomorrow.
MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 24:57.849; 2. Jorge Prado Garcia (ESP, KTM), +0:03.925; 3. Darian Sanayei (USA, Kawasaki), +0:04.507; 4. Julien Lieber (BEL, KTM), +0:12.034; 5. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Yamaha), +0:16.402; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:20.248; 7. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Suzuki), +0:21.763; 8. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:22.523; 9. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:23.351; 10. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Honda), +0:32.744.
Sunday: MX2 Warm up 10:25; MXGP Warm up 10:45; MX2 Race 1 12:15; MXGP Race 1 13:15; MX2 Race 2 15:10; MXGP Race 2 16:10.