Putting in two strong motos at a rutted and demanding Agueda track, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer-Olsen has battled his way back to the MX2 class podium at the MXGP of Portugal. Securing the runner-up spot in the overall standings, the young Dane remains third in the 2018 MX2 World Championship’s provisional standings.
Returning to the historic Agueda track, round five of the 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship saw Kjer-Olsen secure his fourth podium result for the season. Kicking off the weekend in Portugal with a strong second place result in the Qualifying Race, the FC 250 powered rider went on to claim 4/2 results in the MX2 final motos.
For Kjer-Olsen’s MX2 teammate Thomas Covington the GP of Portugal proved to be challenging. Enjoying a great start to the first MX2 race the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider was second for the first six laps of the race before twisting his knee. Covington too no further part in the GP of Portugal and will undergo further medical tests on Monday to assess the extent of the injury.
In the MXGP category, the Portuguese GP brought mixed fortunes for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin. Putting in a solid moto one performance at the fast Agueda track, the Frenchman started the GP with a strong fourth place result. Getting a good start and racing in eighth position in moto two Gautier was frustratingly unable to finish the second moto due to a technical issue.
The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team will return to action at the sixth round of the 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship in Russia on April 30, May 1.
Thomas Kjer-Olsen: “I was looking forward to a good result coming into this weekend. My goal was to remain solid and I’m really happy I got away with one more podium result for the season. In the opening moto I got a decent start and after a steady race I managed to get fourth. Then in moto two I got myself up into second and stayed there for most of the race. In the last few laps a few small mistakes allowed Ben Watson to get really close but I am happy I managed to retain second for second overall at the GP. I am just so happy to finish on the podium and I want to thank all my team for all their hard work and dedication.”
Thomas Covington: “I got off to a great start in the opening moto and quickly found myself in second position. My pace was good and I really wanted to battle for the win in the first race. Six or seven laps into the moto I hit a soft spot as I was going into a turn and hurt my knee. There was a lot of mud in some places and that made things harder. It’s the same knee I hurt at the end of last season at the Motocross of Nations and the pain was too much to continue. Right now I am not exactly sure what the extent of the injury is. We will get it checked with my doctors first thing tomorrow morning and hopefully we can start making plans for my return to the races soon.”
Gautier Paulin: “Race organisers did a great job with the track after the rain on Saturday and I really enjoyed racing in Portugal. We’ve done an awesome job with our bike set-up and I was looking forward to capitalising on that in the two motos. In the first race I had a great pace and even put in the fastest lap time. I was racing in third but Cairoli found a better line and made the pass before the end so I finished fourth. A small technical issue didn’t let me finish moto two but we take the positives from the GP and move on. My speed was great throughout the weekend despite the track being rutted and difficult and this means we’re on the right track for the rest of the season.”
Pic: Juan Pablo Acevedo