Tim Gajser And Lucas Coenen Take The Two Red Plates


Tim Gajser and Lucas Coenen take the two red plates after intense Ram Qualifying Races in Argentina.

The much-anticipated 2024 MXGP World Championship burst into life at the incredible Villa La Angostura circuit for the YPF Infinia MXGP of Patagonia-Argentina.  Five-time World Champion and the most successful rider ever at this circuit, Team HRC spearhead Tim Gajser, took a commanding gate-to-flag victory in the MXGP RAM Qualifying Race, after Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing pilot Lucas Coenen emerged from a thrilling battle to win in MX2.

With sporadic rain showers sprinkling the track to add to the loose and slippery nature of the surface, the MX2 riders hit the track first in free practice, and there was a surprise for many as Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing rookie Marc-Antoine Rossi topped the timesheets at the end of the session!  He was demoted to third in the Time Practice session, that decided the gate pick for the RAM Qualifying Race, by the Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing pairing of Lucas Coenen and Kay De Wolf.

In MXGP’s early running it was Kawasaki Racing Team rider Romain Febvre who was fastest in both practice sessions, instantly displaying his adoration for this circuit, which was answered by the packed hillsides of fans who cheered wildly as he hit the track first in the session.Tim Gajser And Lucas Coenen Take The Two Red Plates

The RAM Qualifying Race in MXGP saw a fighting holeshot from Tim Gajser who fought back Febvre and a spirited challenge from Standing Construct Honda’s Pauls Jonass, who had finished second-fastest to the Frenchman in the Time Practice session. In the mid-pack, however, there was a first-corner collision between last year’s winner Ruben Fernandez and Monster Energy Yamaha MXGP Racing rookie Jago Geerts, which also collected the JK Yamaha of Isak Gifting!  Gifting is good to race tomorrow, while Fernandez is waiting on a medical check-up before making a decision. Geerts re-started but crashed again three laps later, and will sadly be unable to ride tomorrow.

The same is unfortunately true of the unfortunate Brent van Doninck, who crashed his JM Racing Honda in the second corner. We wish them both all the best for a speedy recovery.

Ivo Monticelli, on his return to full-time MXGP racing, started in the top five for MRT Racing Team Beta, but had to yield to passes from Geerts’ teammate Monster Energy Yamaha MXGP Racing‘s Maxime Renaux, who came under pressure from the #1 plate holder, Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado! The Champion took advantage of a slight mistake from Renaux to make a forceful move into 4th place! Further back, Monticelli nearly collided with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing star Jeffrey Herlings over the finish line jump, giving the Dutchman extra motivation to move into 6th on the very next corner.

Febvre’s new teammate at Kawasaki Racing TeamJeremy Seewer made a late move past Monticelli to claim 7th, but it was Gajser all the way as he celebrated his first ever points-paying RAM Qualifying Race win ahead of Febvre and Jonass.

Tim Gajser: “It went good! Actually I was struggling a bit in Time Practice as the track was tough and I didn’t race here last year too, so I guess that is also why in the beginning I had some issues. But in the race today, I got a good start and started up front. I made a little gap and then controlled the race. I was really enjoying it a lot. The first RAM Qualifying Race win of the season and hopefully the first of many more to come. It’s good to start like that but tomorrow is a big day with many points on the table so it will be important to stay calm and get two good starts.”

MXGP – RAM Qualifying Race – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 24:43.663; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:06.489; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, Honda), +0:07.798; 4. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +0:15.457; 5. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:18.382; 6. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:19.133; 7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Kawasaki), +0:22.701; 8. Ivo Monticelli (ITA, Beta), +0:37.331; 9. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:45.134; 10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Honda), +0:49.449

MXGP – World Championship – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 10 points; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 9 p.; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, HON), 8 p.; 4. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 7 p.; 5. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 6 p.; 6. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 5 p.; 7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, KAW), 4 p.; 8. Ivo Monticelli (ITA, BET), 3 p.; 9. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 2 p.; 10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, HON), 1 p.;Tim Gajser And Lucas Coenen Take The Two Red Plates

The MX2 RAM Qualifying Race saw a stunning fight between many of the leading pre-race favourites, but it started with a Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1-2 as reigning Champion Andrea Adamo and Sacha Coenen fired around the first corner just ahead of Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing rookie Marc-Antoine Rossi. 

Monster Energy Triumph Racing, in their first World Championship points-paying race, had seen Mikkel Haarup get 5th fastest in Time Practice, and he was moving up the order until a crash in the wave section, and a further one around the second corner, dropped him to 19th at the finish.

The two Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing teammates Kay de Wolf and Lucas Coenen had given themselves a tough job with poor starts, but both came flying through the pack, De Wolf catching and banging bars with Adamo, who was riding superbly to keep them at bay.  L.Coenen would not be denied however, and in a thrilling move took 2nd from his teammate through a section of jumps, the two flying together in unison!

He finally made his move to take the lead from Adamo with less than two laps remaining, and De Wolf pounced on the Champion as well to grab 2nd! It got close again between the two men in white, but in the end it was Coenen who took his 3rd career RAM Qualifying Race Win to claim the Championship leader’s red plate for the first time in his young career! Adamo had to settle for 3rd ahead of Simon Laengenfelder and Thibault Benistant.

Lucas Coenen: “The red plate?! I better not start thinking about it because otherwise I would think too much. It was really good, although I messed up my start which was not great but after that I just kept going, I passed, and passed many riders,  and then I managed to pass Kay (de Wolf) at the end. Overall it was good race,  I stayed calm and passed the rider in front of me one by one and won the race. But tomorrow is another day!”

MX2 – RAM Qualifying Race – Top 10 Classification: : 1. Lucas Coenen (BEL, Husqvarna), 24:46.567; 2. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:01.434; 3. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), +0:07.695; 4. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +0:09.463; 5. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:10.622; 6. Marc-Antoine Rossi (FRA, GASGAS), +0:29.223; 7. Hakon Osterhagen (NOR, Honda), +0:39.612; 8. Andrea Bonacorsi (ITA, Yamaha), +0:41.644; 9. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), +0:42.708; 10. Ferruccio Zanchi (ITA, Honda), +0:46.105

MX2 – World Championship – Top 10 Classification : 1. Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 10 points; 2. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 9 p.; 3. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 8 p.; 4. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 7 p.; 5. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 6 p.; 6. Marc-Antoine Rossi (FRA, GAS), 5 p.; 7. Hakon Osterhagen (NOR, HON), 4 p.; 8. Andrea Bonacorsi (ITA, YAM), 3 p.; 9. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), 2 p.; 10. Ferruccio Zanchi (ITA, HON), 1 p.;

TIMETABLE (Local Timing UTC-3)

SUNDAY: 10:25 MX2 Warm-up, 10:45 MXGP Warm-up, 12:15 MX2 Race 1, 13:15 MXGP Race 1, 15:10 MX2 Race 2, 16:10 MXGP Race 2.

Circuit length: 1670m
Type of ground: Hard Pack
Temperature: 14°
Weather conditions: Cloudy