Stat Sheet: GP of Qatar

News, notes and stats!

News, notes and stats!

There is so much that goes on at each FIM Motocross World Championship round that it is inevitable that you will overlook certain things. That is where our regular ‘Stat Sheet’ feature comes into play, however, as we focus on the details that you may have overlooked.

MXGP

Holeshot (Moto One)

Antonio Cairoli

Best Lap Times (Moto One)

Antonio Cairoli

1:50.048

Clement Desalle

1:50.079

Tim Gajser

1:50.634

Evgeny Bobryshev

1:50.919

Romain Febvre

1:50.921

Laps Led (Moto One)

Antonio Cairoli

18

Holeshot (Moto Two)

Romain Febvre

Best Lap Times (Moto Two)

Antonio Cairoli

1:50.048

Tim Gajser

1:50.079

Evgeny Bobryshev

1:51.073

Clement Desalle

1:51.380

Romain Febvre

1:51.548

Laps Led (Moto Two)

Tim Gajser

16

Antonio Cairoli

2

– When discussing the bigger picture, most will simply state that the MXGP of Qatar was just one race. That is true, of course, but the fact that Antonio Cairoli won the first round is certainly something to take note of. Before this past weekend, Cairoli had only won the opening round in the premier class once before. When was that? Valkenswaard in 2012.

Antonio Cairoli is back to his best. The statistics support that (ConwayMX)

– That obviously means that Cairoli has held the red plate at round two just once before, but that is not the biggest news regarding the background that will be bolted onto his bike this weekend. The Italian last held that at the GP of Qatar two years ago, seeing as he entered as the reigning champion, which was seven hundred and thirty-six days ago! That is quite a drought for the most-decorated rider in the class.

– Cairoli had obviously not won the overall at the Grand Prix of Qatar before, but managed to do it for the first (and possibly last) time on Saturday. There have been five events at the Losail International Circuit but, surprisingly, no rider has managed to win the overall in the premier class more than once. Clement Desalle, Gautier Paulin, Max Nagl, Tim Gajser and Antonio Cairoli have stood atop the box in the desert.

– The first MXGP moto was arguably the most dominant that we have seen Antonio Cairoli in quite a while, but just how good was he? ‘222’ set the fastest lap times on ten of the eighteen laps that were run, but obviously backed it down towards the end as another rider was faster than him through the final six laps. Clement Desalle was the fastest on four of the laps, then Jeremy Van Horebeek and Jordi Tixier did that on one each also.

Will Clement Desalle transform into a title contender again (ConwayMX)

– What about Clement Desalle? The Belgian has stood alongside Cairoli on the podium countless times in the past, but when did he last stand on a lower step than his foe? Matterley Basin two years ago, which was actually the race that Romain Febvre claimed the first moto win of his big-bike career at. That event was six hundred and forty-four days ago, but Desalle has only finished on the box three times since then. One of those came at Assen, where Desalle last won and narrowly edged out Cairoli.

– If you ignore the awful season that he had last year, it was actually not much of a surprise to see Clement Desalle in the top three in Qatar. Desalle finished second overall there two years ago and actually won the inaugural event at the Losail International Circuit back in 2013.

– Tim Gajser stood between those veterans on the box and came so close to capturing a moto win, but was outdueled by Antonio Cairoli. That second moto was a real game of cat and mouse, as they exchanged blows. Gajser set the fastest time on nine of the eighteen laps, then Cairoli managed it on the other nine. No other rider even entered the fray. The last five laps were where the eight-time champion really did some damage, as the table below indicates.

Antonio Cairoli

Tim Gajser

Lap 13

1:52.745

1:52.443

Lap 14

1:50.907

1:52.007

Lap 15

1:51.026

1:51.224

Lap 16

1:50.334

1:51.546

Lap 17

1:50.117

1:54.713

Lap 18

1:54.951

1:56.925

The battle between these two is far from over. Stamp that (ConwayMX)

– Max Nagl had a rough start to his campaign, acquiring just eighteen points, but a crash was the reason behind that. “I hit a kicker on a jump and went over the bars," he said in a press release. “It was a big crash but luckily I got away unhurt and managed to finish the race." The last time that Nagl started a season this poorly was five years ago, when he garnered just fifteen points at the Qatari opener.

– By competing at the Grand Prix of Qatar, Max Nagl matched his career-best streak of consecutive events. Nagl competed in twenty-three rounds from the Grand Prix of Germany in 2010 to the final round of 2011 and has now equaled that. The current streak started at the Grand Prix of Lombardia-Italy two years ago and is obviously ongoing. It just shows the large number of issues that he has encountered in his career thus far.

– Max Anstie, who made his MXGP debut aboard a Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing machine, had a solid start with nineteen points. Believe it or not, he never scored more points than that whilst racing a 250F at the Grand Prix of Qatar! That is a pretty surprising statistic, considering he won races in that class at points. Anstie could have scored even higher had he not gone off the track in race one.

Max Anstie showed a lot of potential in his first MXGP outing (ConwayMX)

– Why was Valentin Guillod struggling so much in Qatar? He was sick entering the race (just like Antonio Cairoli and Tim Gajser, to name a few) and testing at the same time, which was just a disastrous combination. Guillod completed just fourteen of the thirty-six laps across the two motos.

– Who made the most moves across the two MXGP motos? The answer may surprise you! Jose Butron made six moves (according to the official lap charts), which was more than anyone. That serves as proof of just how impossible it was to pass at the Losail International Circuit. Although, saying that, just eleven riders started in the same position that they finished in across the two motos.

MX2

Holeshot (Moto One)

Pauls Jonass

Best Lap Times (Moto One)

Julien Lieber

1:49.867

Benoit Paturel

1:50.523

Pauls Jonass

1:51.085

Thomas Kjer Olsen

1:51.637

Jorge Prado

1:51.670

Laps Led (Moto One)

Pauls Jonass

18

Pauls Jonass led every lap en route to his first Grand Prix win (ConwayMX)

Holeshot (Moto Two)

Thomas Covington

Best Lap Times (Moto Two)

Benoit Paturel

1:51.193

Thomas Covington

1:51.433

Pauls Jonass

1:51.434

Julien Lieber

1:51.475

Thomas Kjer Olsen

1:52.172

Laps Led (Moto Two)

Pauls Jonass

18

– Inconsistency has always been rife in this division, but that may be the case even more so this year. Just six riders (Pauls Jonass, Benoit Paturel, Julien Lieber, Thomas Kjer Olsen, Michele Cervellin and Vsevolod Brylyakov) managed to string a pair of top ten finishes together in Qatar. In comparison, the top eight riders managed to do it a year ago.

– Pauls Jonass may have just won his first Grand Prix, but he is now the winningest rider (tied with Thomas Covington) in the MX2 class. That is phenomenal, as is the fact that he is the only rider in the class to have previously held a red plate. Jonass was handed it following the Belgian Grand Prix two years ago, so has dealt with that immense pressure before.

Benoit Paturel hopes to be the next first-time winner in MX2 (ConwayMX)

– Although the results state that Jonass was dominant, the lap times tell a very different story. Benoit Paturel had faster times in races on and two and, hey, even Julien Lieber was quicker in the first outing! Jonass was faultless across the two motos though and had great starts; those are brilliant traits for a championship contender to possess. “Whoever is the most consistent this year will win the championship," said Benoit Paturel following the event.

– Julien Lieber shocked the industry on Saturday night, as he returned from a year off and catapulted himself straight back into title contention. The Belgian is accustomed to finishing third at this point, however, as he did it in five of the motos two years ago and actually finished second in one of the Qatari races. Benoit Paturel is in a similar spot, as he finished second in two of the races that were run last year. Neither guy garnered a career-best result, like the man who stood between them on the podium.

– There were a couple of riders celebrating the fact that they had acquired career-best finishes in one of the motos though. Thomas Kjer Olsen (fourth), Michele Cervellin (sixth) and Hunter Lawrence (eleventh) did that, then Pauls Jonass obviously stood atop the podium for the first time in his career.

Jeremy Seewer already has some work to do in the standings (ConwayMX)

– Jeremy Seewer dealt with various issues on Saturday that hindered him in the results column. Small crashes and poor starts were to blame for the twenty-five points that he acquired. How many times did he do worse than that last year? Just once, when he finished thirteenth and fifteenth in the two motos at the Grand Prix in Assen.

– Seewer made the same number of passes as Vsevolod Brylyakov at the Qatari fixture, which was more than anyone else, although the lap charts may not tell the full story. Brylyakov made a phenomenal number of moves before the first lap had been completed in each moto, but the transponders do not kick in until they cross the beam for the first time. The pair officially made seventeen moves each across the two motos.

– Brent Van Doninck was looked at as a potential contender for this title, but limped to eighteen points at the opener. One would think that he would be pretty disappointed about that, right? Well, he was not! “I was quite happy about that, because my goal for this weekend was to finish inside the top seven and I managed to do that (in the second moto)," he boldly declared in a press release.

Some proof that the Losail International Circuit was one-lined (ConwayMX)

– What happened to Thomas Covington in that second moto? “I had a crash and then couldn’t start the bike," he stated in a post-race statement. Further reports indicate that it was some kind of electrical problem. There was a positive to take from the event, however, as the eighth that he had in moto one was his best result on Qatari soil since the first time he raced the event in 2014!

– Speaking of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing squad, what happened to Conrad Mewse? We will let him take you through his weekend. “We tried our best during the weekend but nothing seemed to work out for me," Mewse said. “Getting poor starts in both motos didn’t help either, so I ended up battling for the top 20. This is definitely not the results I was looking for coming to Qatar but this was just a bad GP for me. We all know the season is really long and I will give my best to go get what’s there for me next week in Indonesia. I believe there is still a lot of opportunities for me to prove my abilities and I am more than willing to go after them."

– Mewse was not the only factory rider to miss out on points, as Stephen Rubini (of the Monster Energy KRT MX2 team) struggled with flow on the unique circuit and dropped outside of the top twenty each time. It is worth mentioning, however, that he hit another rider in the second moto and was then dealing with a mechanical problem. HRC’s Chihiro Notsuka also missed out on points, as he simply admitted that “everyone was faster today."

Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX

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