Race Report: Paulin and Herlings win on Saturday in Holland
VALKENSWAARD (Europe), 25 April 2015 – A storm was expected to rain on the parade at MXGP of Europe, round five of the FIM Motocross World Championship, but it never amounted. Instead, the event held on the familiar black sand of Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, created it’s own storm with Team HRC’s Gautier Paulin finally coming to the party to claim his first qualifying heat victory since MXGP of Italy 2013, while Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings was the unsurprising victor in MX2.
Round one of the European Championship EMX300 and the second rounds of the EMX250 and EMX125 also took place today with Yentel Martens, the son of former FIM Motocross World Champion Jacky Martens, winning the opening moto in the EMX300 and Wilvo Forkrent KTM’s Adam Sterry and KTM Factory Juniors’ Jorge Prado Garcia winning the first races in the EMX250 and EMX125 respectively.
The track was described as unusual here today in Valkenswaard as the typically soft surface shaped up to be considerably harder and choppier than expected. While the deceiving and technical circuit caught out a few people, one of which was the MXGP red plate holder Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP’s Clement Desalle, it was taken in the stride of Team HRC’s Gautier Paulin who holeshotted for an unchallenged victory.
With Desalle crashing out of contention on lap two, Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM’s Shaun Simpson was left to try his hand at fending off Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli. It was a good effort from Simpson who managed to keep the eight-time world champion at bay for a portion of the race before making a mistake over the dragons-back and opening up the door.
Cairoli took full advantage of Simpson’s slip-up and moved up into second where he stayed for the remainder of the race. Meanwhile Simpson kept up his solid performance in third, but threw it away with two laps to go.
Yamaha Factory Racing Yamalube’s Romain Febvre and Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev, who bickered over fourth for most of the moto, were able to get around the downed Simpson to qualify in third and fourth respectively, while Simpson recovered for fifth.
Sixth went to Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tyla Rattray who had to fly the flag alone this weekend with his teammate Ryan Villopoto forced to sit out due to a fractured coccyx. Meanwhile Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl fought hard the entire race but struggled to make passes stick and had to settle for seventh while Dutchman Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Glenn Coldenhoff put in his best qualifying heat result with eighth.
MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), 24:56.603; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:12.841; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:19.537; 4. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:23.192; 5. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:24.465; 6. Tyla Rattray (RSA, Kawasaki), +0:35.748; 7. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:40.379; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +0:52.663; 9. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:56.409; 10. Filip Bengtsson (SWE, Honda), +0:59.931
As the dark skies that blanketed the venue here in Valkenswaard begun to fulfill their threats of rain, the gates dropped for MX2 with Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Aleksandr Tonkov ripping the holeshot ahead of The Sand King Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings.
Early on in the race, Tonkov surprisingly challenged the Dutchman for the lead but it was short lived with Herlings making a pass that would stick on lap two and never looked back. In the mean time, on that same lap Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser cartwheeled over the dragons-back in spectacular fashion and was forced to retire with a seriously bent up bike.
Meanwhile Herlings put his flawless sand skills on full display for a convincing qualifying heat win, while Tonkov scrambled with Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jordi Tixier for second. Although Tixier was a tough challenger who was relentless on his mission, he lost the battle and was forced to settle for third.
In the meantime, fourth went to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass, a rider that only qualified inside of the top ten once in 2014, while Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Max Anstie rounded out the top five.
MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 25:10.873; 2. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +0:24.361; 3. Jordi Tixier (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:28.072; 4. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:33.452; 5. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:41.023; 6. Jens Getteman (BEL, Honda), +0:50.035; 7. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:54.420; 8. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:56.298; 9. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:59.163; 10. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, Honda), +1:12.328