Friday, July 19, 2024

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Perfect Trilogies For Prado And De Wolf, Staying Unbeaten In Sardegna

The season’s first taste of sandy terrain greeted the stars of the MXGP World Motocross Championships as round three was hosted by the Crossodromo Communale, known locally as “Le Dune” or “Riola Sand”. As well as a tough, ever-shifting surface that carved up throughout the weekend, the physical challenge was amplified by temperatures close to 30 degress Centigrade, testing even the most highly-trained athletes to the maximum.

As in 2023, reigning MXGP World Champion Jorge Prado had taken a dominant win for Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing in Saturday’s RAM Qualifying Race, as did his fellow red plate holder Kay de Wolf in the MX2 class for Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing.  Both of the Championship leaders continued their perfect winning records with their third overall victory in a row, although some classic challengers were on hand to give notice that they are ready to catch them if they slip up.

The crowd were treated to a stunning morning of racing in both the WMX Women’s World Motocross Championships, won by Lotte van Drunen of the De Baets Yamaha MX-Team, and the EMX125 European Championships Presented by FMF, won by Hungarian Noel Zanocz for Fantic Factory Racing EMX125. Then the main course of MX2 and MXGP was served, piping hot, in a gruelling test of both man and machine.

Perfect Trilogies For Prado And De Wolf, Staying Unbeaten In Sardegna

As in Saturday’s RAM Qualifying Race, Jorge Prado was beaten to the Fox Holeshot Award of race one by Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jeremy Seewer, but a quick inside move into the second corner saw the reigning World Champion back in his usual leading position.  Team HRC’s Tim Gajser made a quick move past the Swiss rider in turn four and Pauls Jonass took his Standing Construct Honda through into third at the same time!

The two Honda men set after chasing the Red Plate Holder, while last year’s winner, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings, had started outside the top five and had to haul his way through the pack.  This he did to great effect, reaching third place by lap six, but at that point the leading pair were far off into the distance.

Seewer fell dramatically after five minutes, but would recover to finish 11th, while his teammate Romain Febvre, consigned to the far outside of the start gate after being unable to finish Saturday’s race, worked his way up to 6th place with a series of passes.  Jonass slipped to 5th behind the Fantic Factory Racing pilot Glenn Coldenhoff in the closing laps.

At this time it looked like Gajser was closing in on Prado, getting to within two seconds of the Spaniard, but was never allowed to get closer as the champ took yet another race win.

Race two again saw Seewer fast out of the gate, but Prado was right there immediately to just edge ahead over the Fox Holeshot Award line.  Herlings railed around the Kawasaki man in turn two and now it was “The Bullet” who had the task of challenging Prado.  Behind him, JM Racing Honda stand-in Tim Edberg was briefly up into 4th, before Jonass and Gajser pushed past early on.  Febvre had to charge once more, nearly crashing in a dramatic moment where he nearly collided with JK Racing Yamaha’s Isak Gifting on the take-off of one of the biggest jumps on the track.

After 16 minutes, Herlings had got to within striking distance of Prado and was hoping to uncork some of his old magic, but the Dutchman just pushed the front end too hard into a left-hand corner and was suddenly on the ground!  Gajser accepted the gift of 2nd place, which kept the Championship damage to a minimum, but the leader was off the hook and cruised to his fourth straight GP race win.

The Slovenian fell on the final lap, but he had enough time to pick himself up and still claim 2nd ahead of Herlings, Jonass, Febvre, and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Calvin Vlaanderen.  Calvin’s guest teammate for the weekend, FIM World Sand Races Champion Todd Kellett, ran as high as 13th before a small crash put him back to 16th at the flag for his first Grand Prix points since 2021.

Prado’s 41st career Grand Prix win now puts him 17 points clear of Gajser, and Herlings’ first podium of the season has moved him up to third in the standings.  Will the strong fan support that Gajser always gets at the MXGP of Trentino spur him on to challenge the Champion next weekend?  He certainly needs to start clawing the points back, as does anyone else with eyes on his title!
Jorge Prado: “I’m in a good moment right now, I’m feeling very good on the bike and we do a great work with the team. I’m so happy to be winning here in the sand again as it’s been a long time since I got an overall in the sand. I was very close last year few times but I guess now you can call me the ‘Sand Man’ again!”

Tim Gajser: “I mean it was a consistent weekend so I have to be happy with that. We take quite good points for the championship. I didn’t feel that good the whole weekend as I was struggling a bit with the bike set up but anyway, I’m happy to finish on the podium. Now sand is done and we go to Arco (Trentino) and I’m looking forward to be there with so many fans. I want to say a huge thank you to all my team as everybody is working super hard and I thank everybody around me and all the fans!”

Jeffrey Herlings: “It’s good as every GPs it’s getting better. From Argentina to Sardegna I improved every time. Especially after the crash of yesterday in the warm-up and my sore ribs but i make no excuses, third was all I had for today but I feel like we’re getting better and better so let’s keep on going.”

MXGP –  Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), 35:36.104; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:05.279; 3. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:39.521; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Fantic), +0:53.793; 5. Pauls Jonass (LAT, Honda), +0:57.563; 6. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:08.202; 7. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +1:14.107; 8. Brian Bogers (NED, Fantic), +1:17.947; 9. Ben Watson (GBR, Beta), +1:29.308; 10. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Honda), +1:40.733

MXGP – Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), 35:44.443; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:16.624; 3. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:27.553; 4. Pauls Jonass (LAT, Honda), +0:49.572; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:00.952; 6. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +1:02.493; 7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Kawasaki), +1:07.901; 8. Isak Gifting (SWE, Yamaha), +1:15.011; 9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Fantic), +1:17.421; 10. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Honda), +1:18.785

MXGP Overall – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 50 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 44 p.; 3. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 40 p.; 4. Pauls Jonass (LAT, HON), 34 p.; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 31 p.; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, FAN), 30 p.; 7. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 29 p.; 8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, KAW), 24 p.; 9. Brian Bogers (NED, FAN), 23 p.; 10. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, HON), 22 p

MXGP World Championship – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 174 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 157 p.; 3. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 125 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 123 p.; 5. Pauls Jonass (LAT, HON), 113 p.; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, KAW), 99 p.; 7. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 90 p.; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, FAN), 83 p.; 9. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, HON), 64 p.; 10. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 63 p

MXGP Manufacturers – Top 10 Classification: 1. GASGAS, 174 points; 2. Honda, 161 p.; 3. Kawasaki, 132 p.; 4. KTM, 125 p.; 5. Yamaha, 113 p.; 6. Fantic, 83 p.; 7. Beta, 61 p.; 8. Husqvarna, 9 p

Perfect Trilogies For Prado And De Wolf, Staying Unbeaten In Sardegna

Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s red plate holder Kay de Wolfand his teammate Lucas Coenen, had dominated the timesheets leading up to the racing, although the Dutchman had extended his Championship lead with victory in the RAM Qualifying Race. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Sacha Coenen took his third Fox Holeshot Award of the season in race one on Sunday, and looked intent on keeping the lead for longer than before, but he couldn’t resist the unstoppable force of De Wolf who launched his machine off the finish line jump further than Sacha to lead at the start of lap three!

It was starting to look ominous for the rest, until Lucas made a swift pass on his brother during lap four, and proceeded to reel in his teammate!

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Andrea Adamo battled with the Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing team leader Simon Laengenfelder, as Sacha Coenen fell from 3rd on lap nine.  The position was gratefully taken by Camden McLellan, having his best weekend yet for Monster Energy Triumph Racing.  

Twenty minutes into the race saw some mistakes creeping into the leader’s riding as his teammate drew near, and on lap thirteen De Wolf ran slightly high on the Pit Lane corner, giving Lucas the half-chance he needed to fire past without a second invitation!  He then set some blazing lap times to score his first GP race win of the season.  McLellan stayed in third, holding off the charge from Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 rider Thibault Benistant.  The Frenchman dropped the bike on the last lap, however, and would finish 10th, as Adamo and Laengenfelder inherited 4th & 5th.

De Wolf looked a little more concerned on the start line of race one, but while Sacha Coenen again grabbed the Fox Holeshot Award ahead of Adamo and Laengenfelder, Kay pulled a stunning move around turn two to catapult himself past all of them and into the lead! Mikkel Haarup was having no such fun, however, picking up his Triumph in the first corner, just as he did in race one.  The Dane would recover well to an eventual 9th.

Lucas Coenen saw his teammate start to disappear, and swiftly dispatched both his brother and Laengenfelder to move into 2nd by the start of the first full lap, although the German did resist by briefly moving back ahead.  Sacha dropped the bike from 4th at the ten minute mark, promoting Adamo, who chased after Laengenfelder again!

Incredibly, Lucas got close to Kay, but finally pushed just a little too hard and hit the floor in a banked right-hand corner!  Laengenfelder was promoted briefly, but again got passed by the Belgian before the finish. He would also lose 3rd to the charging Adamo, but the Italian made a mistake on the corner before Pit Lane, and blasted down the back of the mechanics’ area to maintain his position.  The rules state that a rider must come to a stop at some point in Pit Lane, so this move led to a disqualification for the reigning World Champion, costing him an overall podium position.

This left Laengenfelder third in the race ahead of Adamo’s teammate Liam Everts and McLellan, whose fifth place was enough for third overall, making it the second podium for the Triumph team in their first three rounds!

De Wolf took the chequered flag 11 seconds clear of his teammate, which gave him the overall victory once more.  Lucas Coenen had to be satisfied with his first overall podium of the season, and a move up to third in the standings. Laengenfelder’s 4th overall leaves him 29 points behind De Wolf and the closest chaser in the Championship.  He will welcome a return to harder surfaces in the GPs to come, and this MX2 season is only just beginning to develop!
Kay De Wolf”Lucas was doing also an amazing job in the second race. He really kept me  . Three in a row is amazing and hopefully we can keep this momentuk going into next week and we just keep aiming for a podium that’s the main goal. I l;ook forward for Trentinoand I can’t thank the team enough for this one!”

Lucas Coenen ”First race was perfect as  I managed to get Kay in the end. In the second race I had a bad start but managed to get back in his wheel but I made a stupid tipover, I wanted to follow him like I did in race one but this mistake put me to where I am now. The win is coming though and the first podium of the season is not bad.”

Camden McLellan: “I’m not feeling very great right now but I’m very happy and I can’t thanks Monster Energy Triumph Racing  crew enough. They took a chance on me and it’s paying off as I’m getting better every weekend. I want to thank also Vinc (Bereni), my two mechanics. It was a long long weekend and long second race and I’m feeling it but I’m happy

MX2 –  Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Lucas Coenen (BEL, Husqvarna), 35:19.551; 2. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:29.973; 3. Camden Mc Lellan (RSA, Triumph), +0:44.818; 4. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), +0:57.193; 5. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, Triumph), +1:02.153; 6. Rick Elzinga (NED, Yamaha), +1:30.780; 7. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +1:44.715; 8. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +2:08.283; 9. Oriol Oliver (ESP, KTM), +2:43.473; 10. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), -1 lap(s)

MX2 – Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), 35:29.714; 2. Lucas Coenen (BEL, Husqvarna), +0:11.684; 3. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +0:34.815; 4. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +0:35.604; 5. Camden Mc Lellan (RSA, Triumph), +0:46.165; 6. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), +0:51.182; 7. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:56.417; 8. Rick Elzinga (NED, Yamaha), +1:08.803; 9. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, Triumph), +1:15.472; 10. Marc-Antoine Rossi (FRA, GASGAS), +1:26.480

MX2 Overall – Top 10 Classification: 1. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 47 points; 2. Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 47 p.; 3. Camden Mc Lellan (RSA, TRI), 36 p.; 4. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 34 p.; 5. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 31 p.; 6. Rick Elzinga (NED, YAM), 28 p.; 7. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, TRI), 28 p.; 8. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 25 p.; 9. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), 23 p.; 10. Marc-Antoine Rossi (FRA, GAS), 21 p.; 11. Oriol Oliver (ESP, KTM), 20 p.; 12. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 18 p.; 13. Kay Karssemakers (NED, FAN), 13 p.; 14. Jens Walvoort (NED, KTM)

MX2 World Championship – Top 10 Classification: 1. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 170 points; 2. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 141 p.; 3. Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 124 p.; 4. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 106 p.; 5. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 100 p.; 6. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, TRI), 96 p.; 7. Camden Mc Lellan (RSA, TRI), 95 p.; 8. Marc-Antoine Rossi (FRA, GAS), 80 p.; 9. Rick Elzinga (NED, YAM), 78 p.; 10. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), 77 p.

MX2 Manufacturers – Top 10 Classification: 1. Husqvarna, 174 points; 2. GASGAS, 141 p.; 3. KTM, 131 p.; 4. Triumph, 117 p.; 5. Yamaha, 110 p.; 6. Kawasaki, 54 p.; 7. Honda, 47 p.; 8. Fantic, 34 p.;

Crowd Attendance: 14,700
Circuit length: 1750m
Type of ground: Sand
Temperature: 28°
Weather conditions: Sunny

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