The recipe for long, deep ruts and great racing was revealed today with the traditional circuit of Teutschenthal shaping up gnarlier than ever for the qualifying races here at the seventh round of the 2016 FIM Motocross World Championship.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli lit the candles to go pole for the first time since last years MXGP of Great Britain. Interestingly, the 2015 MXGP of Great Britain is also the last time TC222 stood on top of the box.
Meanwhile Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings battled the flu on the way to his seventh consecutive qualifying race win, while in addition to the premier classes, the third rounds of the European Championship EMX250 and FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship also took place, as did the opening round of the Honda EMX150 European Championship.
There was a massive turn of events in the WMX world championship with the red plate holder Altherm JCR Yamaha’s Courtney Duncan crashing out of the lead. Team One One Four’s Livia Lancelot capitalized on Duncan’s misfortune and took her first race win of the season and now has a 6 point lead in the championship over Yamaha’s Nancy Van de Ven. Meanwhile, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Australian, Hunter Lawrence, put a smile back on the faces of those down-under with his first ever EMX250 race win.
The defending EMX150 champion, Emil Weckman, won the opening race in the Honda EMX150 European Championship.
We’re only on the edge of summer here in Germany although today it felt as though it was in full swing with cloudless blue skies and warm temperatures making up the day. The fans were in for a treat today when two of the ‘old-schoolers’, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek led the two leading the series this year, Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre, around turn one.
The track was ripped mega deep through the week and saturated with water, which turned Teutschenthal’s ‘Talkessel’ circuit into Rut City. Precision was of the essence in the technical conditions, which is what Cairoli is renowned for, although Gajser and Febvre have also proved in a short space of time that they can ride that way too.
Speaking of Gajser and Febvre, the battle between them is what has everyone hooked and once again, it was on full blast after the duo dropped Van Horebeek on the second lap. Both youngsters embrace the ‘win at all costs’ mentality, and there is definitely no love lost between the two, which always makes for epic racing.
With five minutes to go, Gajser flicked his map to animal mode, and set his sights firmly on Cairoli. As the Slovenian mixed up his lines in effort to get around the eight-time world champ, he broke traction, slid and clipped a rut, which chucked him off. Febvre inherited second and put a sniper dot right smack in the middle of Cairoli’s back.
With two laps to go, Febvre had his finger firmly on the trigger as he tried to muster the strength to pull it. Every time he tried, he’d bobble and eventually he had to settle for second while Tony Cairoli finally got the monkey off his back with his first race win of the season.
Gajser remounted and held on for third ahead of Van Horebeek and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Christophe Charlier who took his second ever top five, with his first being at the MXGP of Lombardia, Italy, last year.
Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev is riding with a slightly stiff shoulder and finished sixth ahead of the home soil hero Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl.
MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 24:17.557; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:00.626; 3. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:17.907; 4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:21.180; 5. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:27.790; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:30.688; 7. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:32.933; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:34.956; 9. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:42.396; 10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:50.269
When the gates slammed down on the German clay it was Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Dylan Ferrandis who proved he had lost no flexibility in his right wrist as he twisted the throttle as far round as possible all the way to turn one for the holeshot. Behind the Frenchman, who has been on the couch for the majority of the season with a shoulder injury, was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s duo of Jeffrey Herlings and Pauls Jonass.
Surprisingly, The Bullet wasn’t the fastest in Timed Practice; it was Team Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer who chalked that one to the board for the first time this season. Maybe it was just another sign of Herlings all new race maturity because the MX2 star didn’t waste any time in taking the lead and checked out to win his seventh straight qualifying heat by fourteen seconds. He later mentioned that he wasn’t feeling well, “I’ve been sick since Tuesday,” he said, “I’ve had a fever actually and I can feel it really hard now so yeah, the fever is coming into play.”
Meanwhile, despite feeling a little rusty, Ferrandis was riding well behind Herlings until he caught his gear lever and hit neutral while laying into one of the gnarly ruts out here. Jonass went right into the back of him and had to wheelie out of the rut to get around. As Ferrandis tried to bash his bike back into gear, Jonass was thrown off line, which gifted Seewer an easy second place.
At the checkers, Seewer had pulled a gap on Jonass for a comfortable second while Jonass had to fight hard to finish third after Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team’s Brent Van doninck scrubbed past Ferrandis for fourth and went after him. Despite the hard charge from Van doninck, time ran out for the Belgian who has just made his comeback after dislocating his hip two months ago, and he had to settle for fourth. Ferrandis rounded out the top five.
MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 24:23.425; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:14.611; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:18.329; 4. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Yamaha), +0:19.865; 5. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:27.727; 6. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +0:40.360; 7. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:47.445; 8. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:48.600; 9. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Yamaha), +0:55.082; 10. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, KTM), +0:58.946