MXGP is heading into the final round of what was one of the most unpredictable, crazy and intense seasons of the FIM Motocross World Championship to date.
Yesterday was a special day, as we finally witnessed the crowning of the 2020 MXGP and MX2 World Champions, Tim Gajser and Tom Vialle. This season Gajser really verified himself as the strongest competitor as he secured his 4th world title in the opening race. It was a tough race for the Slovenian, who had to push through the field with an issue with his clutch, to eventually finish second. The second race was much better for the 4-time world champion, who got the Fox Holeshot and then led every lap to the finish and secured his 14thrace win of the year.
While for Vialle, the day was an emotional one, as he got his hands on the gold plate for the very first time, as he secured his maiden world title, to become this year’s MX2 World Champion, of what is his second season in the category. Much like Gajser, the day for the Frenchman came with its ups and downs. Vialle started the races last on the gate, though still managed to pull a big holeshot in the opening race to wrap up the championship with a race win. Then in the second race, the factory KTM rider struggled out of the start, before being hit by another rider, which caused damage to his bike. He eventually finished 23rd.
Though the champions have already been decided ahead of the final round this weekend, the battles will continue nonetheless as the door is still open for the silver and bronze medals. On Sunday, we can expect a battle between Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer, as just four points separate the pair. A race win and a third, gave Seewer a great advantaged over the Italian, which has allowed him to close in on the silver medal.
In MX2, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts has secured the second-place spot in the standings, though third is still up for grabs, as Yamaha SM Action MC Milgiori J1 Racing’s Maxime Renaux currently occupies the spot, 13 points ahead of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jed Beaton.
In addition to the final GP of the season, this weekend’s action will also see the concluding rounds of the EMX2t Presented by FMF Racing and EMX Open. In the EMX2t Verde Substance KTM’s Brad Anderson was crowned European Champion for the third time, though there’s still the battle for second and third. Husqvarna Junior Racing Maddii’s Federico Tuani is now up in second, in terms of the standings, with Loris Freidig a further 11 points back, ahead of Kade Tinkler-Walker who still has a chance to go for a medal this season, as he just 5 points off Freidig.
In EMX Open, the title is yet to be decided, as Karel Kutsar enters the final round with an 11-point lead over 137 Motorsports KTM rider Kim Savaste. Latvian, Toms Macuks also has a chance to climb higher, as he needs 18 points to pass Savaste in the championship and with a possible 50 points up for grabs, he could still do it.
While Gajser will head into Sunday’s races with the gold plate, there is no doubt that the Slovenian will be more motivated than ever to finish the season off by adding another overall victory to the 4 that he has already.
There is no doubt that we will see some nice battles this time around, as Seewer and Cairoli will be going for maximum points, in the chase for the vice-world champion spot. Seewer and Cairoli had a close battle in the opening MXGP race, yesterday, though Cairoli eventually crashed out while pushing to pass the Swiss and finished the race in 6th, while Seewer took his third race win of the season. The factory Yamaha rider was third in race two, to finish second on the podium.
The second race, we saw Cairoli locked in a fight with Romain Febvre and Clement Desalle of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team, but that time around he finished 5th. Probably not a day he was hoping for, especially after his overall win, the previous time around. Though one thing is for sure that Cairoli has proven that he can battle well at the top end of the field around the Pietramurata circuit, and this weekend could be the day we see him finally take a race win here, this season.
Febvre had a good day yesterday, with some solid starts, which saw him battle at the top end in both races. The first race was a bit tough for the Frenchman as he had to work his way up to 5th, while in the second race, a much better start allowed the Kawasaki rider to waste no time to make a pass for second and then spend the whole race chasing the race leader, Gajser. After several attempts and some good laps, as he kept the 4-time world champion very close, he eventually had to settle for P2 in the race, though that got him his 5th podium of the 2020 season. Now with a positive result here in Italy, we could expect more from Febvre as we head into the final round.
Desalle also had another good day, with two consistent 4th place finishes, which saw him miss out on the podium by just 4 points. The MXGP of Garda Trentino will be the final race for Desalle and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin, who will be hanging up their ‘MXGP boots’ after this season.
It’s also worth mentioning that the two Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing riders Alessandro Lupino had some good results in the races, with Lupino placing third in the opening MXGP race, while his teammate Brent Van Doninck finished 7th. In the second races, the pair finished 11th and 9th, but will no doubt be aiming for more top 10 and top 5 results on Sunday.
MXGP of Pietramurata Top 3:
MXGP – World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 673 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 584 p.; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 580 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 525 p.; 5. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 476 p.; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 467 p.; 7. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 438 p.; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GAS), 375 p.; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, HON), 316 p.; 10. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 282 p.
In MX2, Vialle will enter his first Grand Prix as the new world champion, following an eventful day yesterday, which saw him win in the first race and then struggle in race two with some bike problems. Now with the championship wrapped up and the weight lifted of his shoulders, it will be interesting to see what the Frenchman will bring this time around and if we will see him make it 14 podiums and add an 8th GP win this season.
While Geerts missed out on the title this season, the Belgian has given it his all in the last few rounds. Now with two overall victories here in Pietramurata so far, of course he will push to make it three on the bounce to finish the season strong and get ahead of the preparations for 2021.
For Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s, Ben Watson, the next GP will be one with mixed emotions, as the Brit prepares to bid farewell to the MX2 category and get ready for his rookie season in MXGP. Watson has been looking really strong in the second half of this season, having racked up 5 podiums, one in Mantova, three in Lommel, including his first overall, and one here in Pietramurata as he placed second overall yesterday. Unfortunately, he is no challenging for the top 3 in the championship, but either way will be looking for a strong end to his MX2 career.
The battle that will be important though, is the one between Renaux, Beaton and Thomas Kjer Olsen for the bronze medal this season. Renaux currently occupies third, with Beaton 13 pints behind him and Olsen a further 11 points down on his teammate. Olsen dropped down a position after a tough day yesterday which saw him finish 7th overall.
Renaux was 4th overall yesterday, with a 3rd and 5th in the races, while Beaton was close to an overall win, though eventually settled for the third spot on the podium. In the first race we saw Beaton charge for the win and then in the second one he pushed to pass Hutten Metaal Yamaha Racing’s Thibault Benistant for third, which would’ve given him the overall victory. Now with important points up for grabs, there is no doubt that all three will want to have a good day at the final round, to secure a medal this season.
MXGP of Pietramurata Top 3:
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), 35:10.371; 2. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:01.938; 3. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:05.532; 4. Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:06.614; 5. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:25.616; 6. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Yamaha), +0:27.440; 7. Stephen Rubini (FRA, Honda), +0:30.353; 8. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:31.496; 9. Alvin Östlund (SWE, Honda), +0:43.914; 10. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:47.092;
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