Jasikonis on his first podium of the season
Putting a challenging opening round of the 2020 FIM Motocross World Championship behind him, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Arminas Jasikonis has raced to a pair of third-place results at a sodden Valkenswaard circuit in The Netherlands, claiming third overall in the MXGP class. Teammate Pauls Jonass posted two strong rides from the back of the field to earn 12th overall. In the MX2 division, Jed Beaton continued his early season form to record a second consecutive fourth-overall result while Thomas Kjer Olsen ended a challenging weekend in seventh place.
Winning Saturday’s qualifying race at Valkenswaard, Arminas Jasikonis confidently lined up as the first rider to take to the start of the opening MXGP moto. Rounding the first corner just outside the top five, he made a number of passes to slot into third by lap three. Shadowing early MXGP World Championship leader Jeffrey Herlings for much of the race, the Lithuanian settled into a comfortable rhythm and at the end of a largely untroubled moto secured a well-deserved third position.
For Jasikonis, moto two was very much the same as race one. A strong fifth at the start saw him move into third position by the end of the opening lap. With persistent rain falling and while holding a comfortable margin over the fourth-placed rider, Arminas fell before making a swift pitstop for clean goggles. Quickly rejoining the race, he went on to record another third-place finish, earning third overall in the MXGP class. His superb weekend propels the Lithuanian from 12th in the MXGP World Championship standings to seventh.
Pauls Jonass made a great start in race one at the MXGP of The Netherlands before coming together with Arnaud Tonus on the opening lap. Remounting at the back of the field, Jonass quickly went to work and put together an inspiring ride. After a race-long charge, he crossed the finish line with a hard-earned 13th place finish.
Race two saw Jonass round the first turn in third place. Frustratingly, shortly afterwards he cross rutted on the take-off of a jump and fell. Remounting to end lap one in 27th, Pauls was again forced to battle past his rivals, and through the rain, to cross the finish line in 12th, earning 12th overall for the GP.
In the MX2 class, Jed Beaton got off to a great start in the opening 250cc race. Running as high as second in the early stages of the moto, the FC 250 mounted rider found himself in a battle for position with championship leader Jago Geerts, with the two riders exchanging places multiple times during the opening laps of the race. Beaton then made a small mistake, running off the side of the heavily-rutted circuit and was relegated down the field. The Australian regrouped and put in a late-race charge to record a sixth-place finish.
Race two was much more fruitful for Beaton. Managing to take avoiding action in turn one when Jago Geerts crashed ahead of him, the 22-year-old then methodically moved his way forwards, staying smooth and light on his FC 250 to progress into second place by the midway stage of the moto. Despite some vision issues, Jed maintained his pace to record his second runner-up moto finish of the season, claiming his second-consecutive fourth-place overall result in as many GPs. Jed now sits third in the MX2 series standings ahead of round three in Argentina, in two weeks‘ time.
The opening MX2 race was a tough one for Thomas Kjer Olsen. A victim of a first-turn crash, a race-long battle from the back of the field saw Kjer Olsen fight to the end of the 17-lap moto in 11th place.
The second moto was an improvement for TKO. A mid-pack start as rain continued to fall saw the Dane in 14th at the end of lap one. Using his experience he was able to charge through the field to record a sixth-place finish and earn seventh overall in the MX2 class.
Kay de Wolf made his FIM Motocross European Championship debut in the EMX250 class for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing at Valkenswaard. The 15-year-old powered his FC 250 to 4-11 results to claim eighth overall at the opening event of the nine-round series.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing will next be in FIM Motocross World Championship action on March 22, at the MXGP of Patagonia Argentina.
Arminas Jasikonis: “It feels great to finish on the podium, especially so early in the season and after things didn’t go so well at Matterley last week. To bounce back with a top-three result is a real boost for myself and the whole team. We all knew how important a good qualifying result would be here, because being on the outside of the start isn’t a good place to be at Valkenswaard. I rode a smart qualifying race and things came together perfectly. It was a great feeling being the first rider to roll onto the start for today’s opening moto, but I also realised that I needed to put everything together again and get another good result. I got an ok start in that first race and managed to complete a safe first lap and was sat in third. I felt good but it was so easy to make mistakes, especially later in the race when visibility wasn’t so good and there were a lot of lapped riders to pass. I took things a little steadier towards the end, but it was great to get third. Race two was strange because when I was behind Tim, I knew I was in a good place for an overall podium result. I wanted to push harder but knew I couldn’t afford any mistakes. I did crash, and some laps later changed my goggles, but everything worked out perfectly and I got third again. We didn’t change anything for this GP, we just kept working hard, so we’ll just keep on working as we have been and try and back this result up with another strong result in Argentina.”
Pauls Jonass: “It’s been another frustrating weekend for me because I know my speed is good, but I don’t have too much to show for it. The conditions were really tough, but it’s been like this a lot during the winter, so it wasn’t like I was struggling or uncomfortable or anything like that – I just didn’t stay upright. Crashing together with Tonus in the first race was frustrating, finishing outside the top 10 certainly wasn’t what I wanted. In the second race I was really focused on being calm in the opening laps and letting things settle down before pushing hard. My crash was just one of those things, I got the front wheel into one rut, the rear in another, and went down. You drop so many positions with a crash early in a race like that. Getting back to 12th was good but I really feel I can do much better. My speed is good, I just need to remove the mistakes.”
Jed Beaton: “It’s been another good GP for me but like at Matterley I’m a little disappointed not to be on the podium. But that’s on me as I made a mistake in the first moto. Overall, my riding’s good, I just have to keep it on two wheels to get it on the podium. The sand is so soft and heavy here at Valkenswaard that a small mistake can quickly become a big mistake, but it’s been good to show that my speed in the sand is good. I gated really well and felt good in the first race and went from third to second in a couple of corners and started to chase Vialle. I then made a small mistake and ran off track slightly, hitting a sign and tipping over. I dropped some places, but I was pleased enough to finish with a decent result. In the second race there was a crash right in front of me, but I still got a decent start. I really focused on not making any mistakes and although it was tough with vision near the end of the race, I got a great second place result, which was a positive way to end the GP.”
Thomas Kjer Olsen: “It’s been a tough GP for me, but seventh overall isn’t too bad. I got a rough start in both races and after my crash in qualifying yesterday I felt a little banged up today. From starting on the outside, I knew I had to be careful going into the first corner. I got a good jump, but everyone just pushed wide, pushed into me, and I was left with nowhere to go and crashed. That first race was pretty hard, but I was happy to get back to 11th. I tried to be extra careful at the start in the second race, but again there was nowhere to go, and I was pretty much last at the start. I was riding well and happy to get sixth in the second moto. The first two GPs haven’t been easy, but my speed has been good. Now I have some time to ride more ahead of the next GP, it will allow me to sharpen things up and get in some good training motos ahead of going to Argentina.”
Words and Images: Husqvarna