After two years having rain during the Czech Grand Prix, today the sun was shining to host the MX1 and the MX2 qualifying races, as well as the first race of the UEM EMX250. Both Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings dominated their respective qualifying races and Maxime Desprey won the first race of the UEM EMX250 series.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli had a really good start at today’s qualifying race and he succeeded in riding at the front from beginning to end. The Italian admitted that Loket, even being one of the most beautiful natural tracks in Europe, does not really suit his riding, but he is fully confident on himself to go 1-1 tomorrow.
Belgian rider Kevin Strijbos did also an excellent qualifying race, starting behind Cairoli and riding comfortably in the second position until the chequered flag. The HM Plant KTM UK rider was eighth last year at the Czech Grand Prix, but after today’s performance he has proved that he can fight for another podium finish.
Sebastien Pourcel crossed the finish line third after having fought really hard, as he did not have such a good start today. The CP377 Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit rider rode seventh most of the heat, but he managed to move up to the third place in just five laps.
Honda World Motocross’ Rui Gonçalves proved once again that he likes the Czech track finishing fourth in today’s qualifying race. The Portuguese rider started fifth, but he quickly moved up to third and opened a small gap with his pursuers. By the end of the heat, Gonçalves could not hold the position and crossed the finish line fourth.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Ken De Dycker struggled a little bit with his start today and had to push from an initial tenth position to finish fifth. The Belgian rider will have a good gate pick for tomorrow, so he will be fighting once again for a podium finish.
Shaun Simpson had an excellent start and rode third during the first half of the qualifying race, but he could not keep the position and crossed the finish line sixth, ahead of Cedric Soubeyras, who did one of his best performance of the season so far.
It was the first race of Max Nagl in the FIM motocross World Championship after his long absence due to his back injury. The German was positively surprised with his riding today, as he was able to fight for the top five positions in the beginning of the qualifying race. Although crossing the finish line in the eighth position, Nagl is very confident for tomorrow and he hopes to be able to prove to everybody that he is fully fit to hand good results again.
Gautier Paulin did not have a good start today and finished ninth, followed by his teammate Xavier Boog.
Christophe Pourcel, who got the best lap time in the pre-qualifying practice, started around the twentieth position and finished thirteenth behind Marc De Reuver and Tanel Leok.
Runner up of the MX1 championship Clement Desalle crashed at the start of the qualifying race and had to push from the back of the pack. When the Belgian was recuperating some positions, he made another mistake and crashed again, but Desalle was finally able to finish fifteenth behind Jonathan Barragán.
Evgeny Bobryshev had an excellent start and he was fighting for the third position with Simpson for a while, but he then dropped two places. In the end, the Russian had to enter the pitlane as a stone got stuck in his radiator.
Gregory Aranda, who obtained the second best lap time in the pre-qualifying practice, was only able to be sixteenth in the qualifying heat.
Home rider Martin Michek was very excited to race against the MX1 riders today, but he admitted that he struggled a little bit and he actually crashed a couple of times. Tomorrow he expects to make a good performance in front of his home crowd.
MX1 Qualifying Race top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 24:07.209; 2. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +0:17.652; 3. Sebastien Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:26.703; 4. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +0:27.525; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:29.713; 6. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:30.547; 7. Cedric Soubeyras (FRA, Honda), +0:31.604; 8. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), +0:32.585; 9. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:33.436; 10. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:35.586;
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings did an impressive qualifying race, starting at the front and crossing the finish line almost twenty seconds ahead of second classified Tommy Searle. During the press conference, the Dutch rider especially thanked his personal doctor and KTM for having helped him so much after the car accident and made him feel almost fully fit after the big concussion he suffered in his head, as well as his two broken ribs.
Team Floride Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit’s Tommy Searle started behind Herlings and Tixier, but he succeeded in moving up to second already after four laps. The British rider defended really well his position until the finish line and kept Van Horebeek behind him.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek started down in fifth, but he took advantage of Zach Osborne’s mistake to improve one position and give chase to his teammate Jordi Tixier. Van Horebeek rode third during the second half of the race, but he was really close to catch Searle by the end of the moto.
The fourth position was for Jordi Tixier, who took the holeshot of the qualifying race and led the first corners of the heat. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider was quickly overtaken by his teammate Herlings and later on by Searle and Van Horebeek. However, the French rider was satisfied with his performance and he hopes to fight for the top positions tomorrow at the main races.
Rockstar Bud Racing Kawasaki’s Valentin Teillet had a really good day today, being second in the pre-qualifying session and crossing the finish line fifth of the qualifying race. The French rider did not have such a good start and he was eighth in the first lap, but the fact of having been able to move up three positions imposing a good rhythm gives Teillet extra motivation to do well tomorrow.
Zach Osborne had a really good start and he was riding fourth behind Searle when he made a small mistake and dropped down two positions. In the end the American rider was sixth of the qualifying race, followed by Roelants, who had a difficult race starting down in sixteenth.
Jake Nicholls had also a bad start and finished eighth, while Romain Febvre and Alexander Tonkov completed the top ten.
MX2 Qualifying Race top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 24:14.526; 2. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:19.108; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), +0:20.238; 4. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:29.431; 5. Valentin Teillet (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:30.895; 6. Zachary Osborne (USA, Yamaha), +0:40.421; 7. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:44.965; 8. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +0:46.952; 9. Romain Febvre (FRA, KTM), +0:54.000; 10. Alexander Tonkov (RUS, Honda), +0:57.422;