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Race Reports from Holland KTM, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda

KTM’S CAIROLI AND HERLINGS WIN MX1 AND MX2 GPS AT VALKENSWAARD

Red Bull KTM factory riders Tony Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings both launched their bids for 2012 World Championship titles in MX1 and MX2 respectively on Easter Monday at the first GP of the 2012 World Championship season in Valkenswaard.

Both Cairoli on the KTM 350 SX-F and Herlings on the KTM 250 SX-F took double moto wins for maximum points in a display of near perfect riding in the soft wet sand of this Dutch circuit. It was also a solid day for the other riders in the factory team with Ken de Dycker of Belgium standing in for the injured Max Nagl finishing overall sixth. Herlings’ two MX2 teammates Jeremy van Horebeek and Jordi Tixier finished overall 4-5.

While Cairoli was his usual stylish self, the day perhaps belonged to Jeffrey Herlings, the Dutch teenager who put on a stunning display of sand riding at his home circuit at Valkenswaard. He was 51 seconds ahead of the field at the end of the first moto, lapping up to seventh place and 37 seconds ahead in the second moto, lapping up to sixth place. While the undisputed best sand rider in the World championship series, Herlings now has to put his head down and prove he is just as strong on other surfaces. It was the third season in a row that Herlings has won in Valkenswaard.

MX2 Jeremy van Horebeek of Belgium missed the podium by one place, he did well to be twice fourth on a surface that is not his favorite on a day when riders had to contend with stinging rain and restricted visibility. Valkenswaard was also good for the team’s rookie signing Jordi Tixier of France who exceeded his pre season desire to finish top ten over the first half of the 2012 competition. Tixier was 7-6 in the individual motos for overall fifth.

Cairoli turned in two near perfect motos on what he says is his favorite track to pick up yet another red plate for his collection and he had a chance to put his experience to the test in the second moto. He came out of the start in fourth place and quickly tucked behind settled into third on the back of Clement DeSalle and Steven Frossard. He then waited his chance to overtake them while they expended energy fighting against each other for the lead. Once Tony hit the front he stretched out the advantage and at the checkered flag he was a very comfortable 13.5 seconds ahead of the dueling pair that followed. Near the end of the second moto it also looked like DeDycker would finish overall fourth but finally finished with a 5-6 moto results and overall sixth, a result that satisfied the team.

Tony Cairoli: “I just rode a smart race with not so many mistakes. I had a good speed and also good fitness levels so everything was good to take the won. Riding in the sand is just fun for me and I don’t really get tired. Now I look forward to see what my speed is like on hard pack!”

Jeffrey Herlings: I knew was going to be fast and that no one could stay with me if I was riding well. But although I rode well my starts weren’t that good even if I managed to make up the ground I lost. I think in Bulgaria (next GP) if I ride well, stay healthy and make a good start I can there win too. We’ll do our best. I know the team is behind me. I have a good bike so it all comes down to me.”

KTM Head of Motorsport Pit Beirer was at Valkenswaard for the season’s opener and expressed satisfaction with the factory team’s results. “It was a difficult race, Valkenswaard in this condition,” he said, thanking the team for their efforts. “It was just the very first beginning, the very first step. The season will be long and its now important to stay concentrated. To have the GP winners in both classes is a great season opener. Let’s keep on pushing.”

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MX1 Team Manager Claudio de Carli: “As usual I can say once again that we are a great team. It is only the first GP so now we have to keep on working. There can be difficult situations for us but we are strong and united and we will try to do out best again. We have also Ken (de Dycker) who is new since only one week. We tried to give him everything we could and we could already see great results great results from him.”

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MX2 Team Manager Stefan Everts: “Jeffrey is in the lead with 50 points, we have Jeremy on fourth with 36 points and Jordi is fifth so three of the factory riders are in the top five and that’s a big plus to start the opening season. In MX1 we have Antonio with 50 and Ken now on sixth place with 31 points. Now we have a few days off to be fresh for Bulgaria and let’s kick ass there.”

The next GP is in Bulgaria in two week’s time

MX1 Results
1, Tony Cairoli, Italy, KTM
2, Clement Desalle, Belgium, Suzuki
3, Steven Frossard, France, Yamaha
4, Gautier Paulin, France, Kawasaki
5, Kevin Strijbos, Belgium, KTM
Other KTM
6, Ken de Dycker, Belgium, KTM
12, Matiss Karro, Latvia, KTM
16, Davide Guarneri, Italy, KTM

MX1 Standings
1, Cairoli, 50
2, Desalle, 44
3, Frossard, 40
4, Paulin, 32
5, Strijbos, 31
Other KTM
6, de Dycker, 31
12, Karro, 17
16, Davide Guarneri, 12

MX1 Manufacturers Standings
1, KTM, 50
2, Suzuki, 44
3, Yamaha, 40

MX2 Results
1, Jeffrey Herlings, Netherlands, KTM
2, Joel Roelants, Belgium, Kawasaki
3, Tommy Searle, GBR, Kawasaki
4, Jeremy van Horebeek, Belgium, KTM
5, Jordi Tixier, France, KTM
Other KTM
6, Jake Nichols, GBR, KTM
11, Glenn Coldenhoff, Netherlands, KTM
16, Pascal Rauchenecker, Austria, KTM

MX2 Standings
1, Herlings, 50
2, Roelants, 42
3, Searle, 42
4, van Horebeek, 36
5, Tixier, 29
Other KTM
6, Nichols, 28
11, Coldenhoff, 21
16, Rauchenecker, 7

MX2 Manufacturers Standings
1, KTM, 50
2, Kawasaki, 44
3, Honda, 30

WMX Results in Valkenswaard
1, Chiara Fontanesi, Italy, Yamaha
2, Livia Lancelot, France, Kawasaki
3, Steffi Laier, German, Kawasaki
4, Sara Pettersson, Sweden, KTM
5, Natalie Kane, GBR, KTM
Other KTM
7, Marianne Veenstra, Netherlands, KTM
9, Nina Klink, Netherlands, KTM

WMX Standings
1, Fontanesi, 50
2, Lancelot, 42
3, Laier, 42
4, Pettersson, 34
5, Kane, 31
Other KTM
7, Veenstra, 28
9, Klink, 25

WMX Manufacturers Standings
1, Yamaha, 50
2, Kawasaki, 44
3, KTM 36

Suzuki

Team Suzuki Press Office – April 9.

Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe started its FIM Motocross World MX2 Championship campaign with the latest versions of the formidable RM-Z250 machinery with Harri Kullas and Petar Petrov both attacking the tricky and rippled sand of the Valkenswaard circuit at Grand Prix of the Netherlands today.

The overall standings show the Finn and Bulgarian 13th and 19th in the MX2 category but the results hide stories of endeavour and courage. Despite an incredibly-impressive recent fitness test at the Ortema facility in Germany, Kullas discovered a mineral imbalance in his body last week that was causing fatigue. The youngster was able to take measures to correct the situation in the days leading up to Valkenswaard but he still had to face two cold, wet and lengthy races through the bumpy terrain. A poor start followed by an average one saw him battling to make ground through the pack and he posted finishes of 16th and 11th.

Petrov had picked up a sore left leg as a result of a practice accident during the week. Another fall in Sunday’s qualification heat hardly made race day any easier for the teenager. He gathered a hatful of positions thanks to an ambitious and gutsy trawl through the pack in the first moto to place 14th but was unable to improve later in the afternoon after catching green fencing in his back wheel and needing to enter the pit-lane for assistance in freeing-up the rear end of the Suzuki. He re-joined the fray but was forced out of action shortly after.

The young FIM Motocross World Championship points table hold Kullas and Petrov in the same positions as their Grand Prix ranking. In two weeks time round two of sixteen will take place at Sevlievo for Petrov’s home event and the Grand Prix of Bulgaria.

Harri Kullas:

“I’m not 100% fit at the moment but we have discovered why and it is a positive thing that we know I have been struggling with and we can put it right. I already felt better on Sunday compared to the weekend before. In the first race I had a terrible start and couldn’t push like I normally could. In the second I was a bit better out of the gate but became ‘parked’ in the second corner as all the riders bunched up. After that I was good in the beginning and made some passes but it wasn’t my normal level. Still I could take some points. I hope I can be in much better shape for Sevlievo.”

Petar Petrov:

“I’ve had a really unlucky week. On Tuesday I crashed when I couldn’t avoid the bike of a slower rider and I had a lot of pain in my leg. I had physio all week but still I came here feeling uncomfortable. Sunday was difficult even though I had the 11th best time in pre qualification. I crashed in the qualification heat and hurt the same leg again which meant I was last in the gate. I rode OK in the first moto and came back from 39th to 14th without any goggles. I was in the top 15 at the start of the second moto and just touched the fence and got it caught in my rear wheel. I didn’t have any brake and had to pit to get it sorted. It was a not a great day but I will be strong in Bulgaria.”

MX2 Moto1: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 39:38.886; 2. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:54.797; 3. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:59.601; 4. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), +1:49.941; 5. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +1:55.350; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +2:06.414; 7. Alexander Tonkov (RUS, Honda), -1 lap(s); 8. Mel Pocock (GBR, Yamaha), -1 lap(s); 9. Valentin Teillet (FRA, Kawasaki), -1 lap(s); 10. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), -1 lap(s). 14. Petar Petrov (BUL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), -1 lap(s). 16. Harri Kullas (FIN, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), -1 lap(s).

MX2 Moto2: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 39:23.774; 2. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:36.471; 3. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:55.418; 4. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), +2:09.242; 5. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), +2:29.886; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), -1 lap(s); 7. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), -1 lap(s); 8. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), -1 lap(s); 9. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), -1 lap(s); 10. Valentin Teillet (FRA, Kawasaki), -1 lap(s). 11. Harri Kullas (FIN, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), -1 lap(s). 36. Petar Petrov (BUL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), -18 lap(s).

MX2 Overall result: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), 42 p.; 3. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 42 p.; 4. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 36 p.; 5. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 29 p.; 6. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 28 p.; 7. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), 26 p.; 8. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), 24 p.; 9. Valentin Teillet (FRA, Kawasaki), 23 p.; 10. Mel Pocock (GBR, Yamaha), 22 p. 13. Harri Kullas (FIN, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), 15 p. 19. Petar Petrov (BUL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), 7 p.

MX2 World Championship Standings: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), 42 p.; 3. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 42 p.; 4. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 36 p.; 5. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 29 p.; 6. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 28 p.; 7. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), 26 p.; 8. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), 24 p.; 9. Valentin Teillet (FRA, Kawasaki), 23 p.; 10. Mel Pocock (GBR, Yamaha), 22 p. 14. Harri Kullas (FIN, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), 15 p. 17. Petar Petrov (BUL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), 7 p.

Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1’s Clement Desalle picked up his first GP podium finish of the season today with second overall at a wet and windy Valkenswaard for the Grand Prix of the Netherlands and the opening round of 16 in the FIM Motocross World Championship.

The RM-Z450-mounted Belgian launched his GP campaign with a strong showing in front of 23,000 spectators at the bumpy and slick course. Although a sustained rain shower dispersed the public towards the end of the second of two 35 minute and 2 lap motos, Desalle had already danced in between the drops on his works motorcycle to score results of 2nd and 2nd to lift a trophy behind Antonio Cairoli and in front of Steven Frossard.

The 22 year old was a protagonist from the early stages of both races thanks to two bright starts and a smart but efficient pace that kept him in contention at the front of the pack. Desalle fought with Cairoli and Frossard in the first and the second sprints. The highlight was perhaps the intense spat with Frossard in race two and his successful plight to keep the Frenchman in his wheel tracks for the latter half of the duration. After a mishap in 2010 and fifth position in 2011 at Valkenswaard, Desalle has captured silverware from the word ‘go’ for his third attempt at the premier MX1 crown in ‘yellow’.

New team-mate Tanel Leok had a tough debut as a Suzuki factory rider. The Estonian is not 100% fit although any discomfort from his injured leg was not apparent in his resilient charge from the rear end of the field to 9th position in the first moto. Leok claimed that he struggled with bike fitness in the second race but his spirit was evident again and he manfully completed the race in 11th for 9th in the final MX1 classification.

With Desalle and Leok filling 2nd and 9th in the early Championship Standings the racers and the Belgian team will head next to Bulgaria (Sevlievo) and then Italy (Fermo) for rounds two and three in the coming three weeks.

Clement Desalle:

“I’m satisfied because I feel good; I rode pretty safe and at my own speed. The pace was good, the track was bumpy and difficult, but it is not like Lommel. We had four categories this weekend and the track was managed for all that racing so there were not many bumps inside the actual corners. I gave the best I could and this is OK for the moment.”

Tanel Leok:

“Already yesterday I had reinjured my leg and I found in the first moto I couldn’t attack the left corners and then in the second one my race fitness was not the best it could be because I haven’t been on the track all that much in the last weeks. I lost my goggles at the beginning…I need to heal-up because I know I can be much better. The results do not make me happy at the moment and so many things are wrong physically, so I know what needs to be done before the next race.”

MX1 Moto1: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 40:34.863; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), +0:18.926; 3. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), +0:19.932; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:31.610; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:35.025; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +0:39.092; 7. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:52.810; 8. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:59.049; 9. Tanel Leok (EST, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), +1:01.702; 10. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +1:09.215.

MX1 Moto2: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 41:14.597; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), +0:13.554; 3. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), +0:20.857; 4. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +0:32.973; 5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +0:59.751; 6. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +1:04.839; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:10.455; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +1:12.160; 9. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:16.549; 10. Matiss Karro (LAT, KTM), +1:17.996. 11. Tanel Leok (EST, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), +1:25.294.

MX1 Overall result: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 50 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 44 p.; 3. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), 40 p.; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 32 p.; 5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 31 p.; 6. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 31 p.; 7. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 29 p.; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), 23 p.; 9. Tanel Leok (EST, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 22 p.; 10. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 20 p.

MX1 World Championship Standings: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 50 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 44 p.; 3. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), 40 p.; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 32 p.; 5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 31 p.; 6. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 31 p.; 7. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 29 p.; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), 23 p.; 9. Tanel Leok (EST, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 22 p.; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 20 p.

Kawasaki Paulin

Kawasaki Racing Team’s, Gautier Paulin has put in a gutsy performance at the opening round of the FIM Motocross world championship in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands.   The 22-year-old Frenchman set the tone in the morning warm up session when he posted the fastest lap time in front of reigning MX1 champ Antonio Cairoli.

With weather forecasts giving heavy rains for the day the first moto got underway in good conditions, escaping the initial prediction.  Paulin had to sneak up the inside of the hairpin first turn and was positioned in the top 5.  He set some impressive lap times and moved past Belgian hopeful Clement Desalle and fellow countryman, Steven Frossard to take second behind Cairoli.  A challenge from Frossard broke Paulin’s rhythm around the halfway mark allowing Desalle to pass as well.  He settled down and secured 4th with Cairoli taking victory from Desalle and Frossard.

Heavy rains would challenge the riders in the second moto and Paulin made matters worse when he went down in the second turn.  Starting from stone last he rode an impressive come back race with the final lap proving to be the most exciting.  He pulled back the deficit to pass Christophe Pourcel,  Karo and Simpson for 7th place, pushing him  to 4th in the overall standings.

Gautier Paulin: “This was a very important start for me and every one on the Kawasaki Racing Team.  We have all worked extremely hard over the winter and this weekend we proved we are competitive and ready to fight in the most difficult conditions.   My starts were not so good and this is something I will work on for the next round.  I’m confident with  the KX450F and we also proved today that my fitness is my strong point.  I’m looking forward to Bulgaria”

Honda

Gonçalves Seventh Overall While Bobryshev Battles Pain for Top 12 Moto Finish At Valkenswaard Grand Prix
It has certainly been a weekend of mixed fortunes for the Honda World Motocross team riders at round one of the World MX1 Championship in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands with Rui Gonçalves posting a 10th place in the first moto followed by a really strong performance for fourth in the second. Teammate Evgeny Bobryshev, who injured his hand yesterday, crashed out of moto one and went on to bravely battle through the pain for 12th in race two.

In the opening race of the day Gonçalves didn’t get the best of starts but rode a consistent moto, while struggling to find a strong rhythm around the Valkenswaard circuit, and concluded the race in 10th place at the chequered flag.

Teammate Bobryshev, who crashed heavily in yesterday’s first practice injuring his right thumb, followed by retiring from the qualifying race after damaging his machine, made the best of his outside gate for 15th at the end of lap one. The Russian-ace was certainly flying as he settled into the race and was up-to 11th position when he went over the bars after hitting a bump awkwardly and went down hard, ending his race as he was struggling to breathe.

In race two Gonçalves got a good start into eighth place at the end of the first lap of the 40-minute plus two lap moto. The Portuguese rider put the hammer down mid-race in the wet conditions to put on an impressive performance, which earned him fourth place in the race and a positive seventh overall aboard his Dunlop-shod factory CRF 450R.

With some concussion to the head as well as a bruised hip and chest, it was looking unlikely that Bobryshev would compete in race two, but with medical checks showing no broken bones, the tough Russian racer decided he wanted to go for as many points as possible. It paid off, as a brave battle through the pain from 25th at the end of lap one to an unbelievable 12th place finish, earned him some important championship points.

Both riders will now recover and prepare for the next Grand Prix race in Sevlievo, Bulgaria in just under two weeks’ time.

Rui Gonçalves #999: 7th Overall
“In the first race I didn’t get such a good start and I didn’t feel myself; I was riding a bit tight and making a lot of mistakes. Also when coming through the lappers I was losing a lot of time, so I only managed to finish 10th, although I knew for the second race I needed to change something. So that’s what I did, I approached it differently and tried to go straight away even if I didn’t get such a good start. Then halfway through the moto I just got better and better with consistent lap times to finish fourth. I am really happy, as the team has worked really hard to achieve this and I want to thank them all for the effort that everyone has put in. I’ll now go home to keep working hard and prepare for the next Grand Prix.”

Evgeny Bobryshev #777: 17th Overall
“In the first race it was a really big crash. I couldn’t see in front of me and although I wasn’t pushing too much because I knew the race was long, it all happened so quickly when the back wheel slid out and I hit a bump, which sent me sideways then over the bars. I hit my chest and couldn’t breathe, then my hip, head and shoulder were also hurting; inside I had so much pain. In the second race I decided to go and I took nine points, so I did the best I could and I hope these points will help me later on in the championship. It was so hard; sometimes I really wanted to cry because I had so much pain, especially landing on the hard areas of the track and the bumps.This hasn’t been a good weekend at all, but thanks to all the team and hopefully my body will recover quickly for the next race.”

Lorenzo Resta: Honda World Motocross Team Manager
“The first race wasn’t so good. Yesterday we had some problems with Bobby, which made things tough for him today and Rui didn’t ride his best. We had more bad luck for Bobby as he had a big crash and Rui was 10th, but while he rode consistently, this was less than his capabilities. We took Bobby for medical checks and although there are no broken bones he has a taken a big hit to the head and chest with his body giving him a lot of pain to add to the hand injury he has from yesterday. We didn’t know until 15 minutes before the start whether he would ride, but it definitely paid off that he did. I can just say that he has a brave heart and again he confirmed how big his heart is because he chose to ride and did a really good job with so much pain. Rui had a good start and went stronger throughout the moto to take fourth place, with one of the fastest lap times for the last three or four laps, which shows his physical condition is reall y good, so we are very happy with this result. Now Bobby will have a week of rest and Rui will continue with us so we look forward to the next round in Bulgaria.”

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