Vlaanderen and Jasikonis on Mantova

Attention quickly turned to the second round of the MXGP World Championship after the season opener in the UK. Italian track, Mantova hosted round two – a track the MXGP riders know very well as they’ve raced a lot there in the past couple of years. However, the track was different and more hard pack than usual as the dry weather meant the terrain wasn’t as soft and sandy. The track offered a very different challenge from the Matterley Basin circuit that hosted round one.

The weekend started really well for Arminas Jasikonis who was back at a track that saw him have his serious incident in 2020 but he’s put that well and truly behind him. The Lithuanian impressed in the qualifying race to finish in ninth. Things didn’t go as well for Calvin Vlaandern after a crash and getting tangled up with other riders saw him DNF the race meaning he had the last gate pick for the main races which is far from ideal.

In the opening race, as expected Vlaanderen didn’t get a good start because of his bad gate pick but he sliced his way through the field. Coming from eighteenth all the way to eleventh the pace was good until he lost a position towards the end of the race but twelfth was a good recovery ride. Jasikonis got a top ten start but unfortunately took a crash and decided to retire from the race to focus on the second moto.
Similar to the first moto, Vlaanderen was seventeenth after the first lap but crashed on the fourth lap which demoted him to twenty-fourth – after that he rode well to get back up to seventeenth, it might not be the results he wants but he certainly has the speed to mix it in the top ten. There was carnage around the first corner which saw Jasikonis go down and have to restart in last position, but he was able to come back to a point scoring position to finish nineteenth.

The team will now have a few weekends off and come back ready for round four of the series in Portugal – the team have decided against making the long and expensive trip to Argentina and will instead put the time in at the practice tracks to improve for the rest of the championship.

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Calvin Vlaanderen (13th overall): I was feeling quite good with the track and bike on Saturday. But I made it difficult for myself with having last gate pick for Sunday’s races after a hard crash in the qualifying race. I banged up my shoulder, but I got it strapped up and it was okay for Sunday. I did what I could off the start, but it was a challenge to fight through the pack, I got up to eleventh in the first race when I struggled the last couple laps and finished twelfth. Second race I was coming through the pack again when I crashed and lost many places so had to do all the work again to pass the other riders. We will take the next couple weeks to improve on the bike and with myself. Hopefully in Portugal I can be back to my normal self.

Arminas Jasikonis (22nd overall): On Saturday I started with progressing throughout the day and got ninth for Sunday’s gate pick and I was really looking positive for today, but yeah… In the first moto, I took a good start in the top ten but on the second lap crashed which made things go more difficult. I decided not to finish the first moto to give a little extra time to get some rest for the hip I hit. The second moto again started with a first lap crash and then I just tried to ride as good as I can. The weekend for sure was not what I would like to have, but I take it as learning day. For sure there are some positives to take. Now we are just going to have some good weeks of preparations and try to restart and be more on it!

Words: Press Release

Pic: Eric Laurijssen