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Race Report: GP of Qatar

LOSAIL (Qatar), 01 March 2014 – Starting the season off in spectacular style with a breath-taking night program, the opening round of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Losail, Qatar, didn’t fail to impress. If tonight’s racing is a sign of things to come in 2014, we are in for a cracker of a season with Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Gautier Paulin taking the overall in the MXGP class ahead of race one winner Team HRC’s Max Nagl and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli.

In the MX2, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings takes the first MX2 overall victory of the season ahead of race ones’ surprise winner CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy’s Dylan Ferrandis and Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre.

MXGP

Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Gautier Paulin was looking smooth and aggressive all evening. In race one the Frenchman got off to a top five start and went right to work, passing Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev and Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s top qualifier Kevin Strijbos in the early stages of the race. While the goal would have been to chase down the leader Team HRC’s Max Nagl, Paulin found himself under heat from the current FIM Motocross World Champion Antonio Cairoli, who eventually would pass him to take over second.

After a third in race one, Paulin came out firing on all cylinders in race two when both he and his teammate Steven Frossard took control of the race on the opening lap. After a brief round of cat and mouse with fellow Frenchman Steven Frossard, Paulin managed to take the lead and led every lap from start to finish to claim the first MXGP round victory of the season.

Team HRC’s Max Nagl took one for the underdogs in moto one when he dropped the hammer and passed Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Kevin Strijbos on lap one. Thereafter, the German star rode smooth and solid out front, to claim the first MXGP race win of the season. With a win in race one and a fourth in race two, Max Nagl secured second overall tonight in Losail.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli put together two consistent podium finishes for third overall. Although the reigning world champ would like to be on the box, in the big picture, his result is not so bad. “I rode two good moto’s today and that I am very happy about. I know that for the moment I am not in really really good shape but it’s not so bad, and I want to be good at the end of the season”.

Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Steven Frossard made a solid return to the front of the pack in MXGP. While the certainty of Frossard’s speed was up in the air, the Frenchman soon silenced all his critics when he locked in a remarkable fourth and second place result to miss the podium by two points.

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek rounded out the top five this evening with two very solid fifth place finishes.

The 2008 FIM MX2 World Champion, Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Tyla Rattray was forced to withdraw from tonight’s program due to an injury he got during the pre-season. The South African former champ has gone back to Belgium to have his finger operated on and hopes to be back in Arco Di Trento, Italy on April 13th.

MXGP Race 1 top ten: 1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), 34:57.925; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:01.942; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:07.827; 4. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:15.643; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:26.612; 6. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:31.196; 7. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:33.585; 8. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:34.386; 9. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:34.597; 10. Joel Roelants (BEL, Honda), +0:50.077.

MXGP Race 2 top ten: 1. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 35:04.471; 2. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:02.773; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:09.941; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), +0:13.124; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:20.093; 6. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:23.932; 7. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:25.651; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:38.386; 9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +1:02.213; 10. Joel Roelants (BEL, Honda), +1:05.317.

MXGP Overall top ten: 1. Gautier Paulin (FRA, KAW), 45 points; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HON), 43 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 42 p.; 4. Steven Frossard (FRA, KAW), 40 p.; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 32 p.; 6. Tommy Searle (GBR, KAW), 29 p.; 7. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 27 p.; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 27 p.; 9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 25 p.; 10. Joel Roelants (BEL, HON), 22 p.

MXGP Manufacturer: 1. Kawasaki, 45 points; 2. Honda, 43 p.; 3. KTM, 42 p.; 4. Yamaha, 32 p.; 5. Suzuki, 29 p.; 6. Husqvarna, 17 p.; 7. TM, 16 p.

MX2

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings did what he needed to do this weekend, winning the opening round. Although the results or the riding was not up to his standards, made particularly difficult thanks to his terrible starts, Herlings still managed to come away with the overall victory thanks to his first and second place finishes.

CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy’s Dylan Ferrandis threw a spanner in the works right from the get-go when he won the opening race marginally ahead of the reigning champ Jeffrey Herlings. In moto two, Ferrandis appeared to struggle on the tricky Losail dirt, but still managed to finish sixth for second overall. He later admitted his result in the second race was due to dirt in his eyes.

Standing on the third step of the MX2 podium in Qatar for the second consecutive year was Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre, who rode two consistent races today for third overall.

Forced to settle for fourth by one point, CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy’s Arnaud Tonus had to dig really deep after a crash in race one left him in dead last. The Swiss sensation pulled out all the stops and managed to bounce back for tenth in race one, saving his real moment of brilliance for moto two when he started outside the top fifteen to finish hot on the heels of Jeffrey Herlings for second.

Rounding out the top five, KTM Silver Action’s José Butron had a night of ups and downs when he claimed both FOX Head holeshot awards and a fourth place in race one. Unfortunately, in race two the Spaniard could only salvage eighth after coming together with Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Thomas Covington whilst battling for second.

In other news, it was a night of heartbreak for Bike it Yamaha Cosworth’s Max Anstie when two amazing starts saw him storm off into the lead and pull away from the field. The friendly Brit was in ‘beast mode’, raising the bar to a whole other level. With a lead in both moto’s of plus six seconds and at one moment more than twenty seconds ahead of the Dutch phenomenon Jeffrey Herlings, bike problems saw his first genuine shot at a GP victory slide right through his fingers.

Meanwhile, Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Thomas Covington tore up the challenging circuit of Losail in race two when he passed KTM Silver Action’s José Butron for second. The young American, on his FIM MX2 World Championship debut, held his own against a field of experienced MX2 stars only to be passed with two laps to go by CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy’s Arnaud Tonus.

MX2 Race 1 top ten: 1. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), 33:53.328; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:00.329; 3. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +0:02.209; 4. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:13.569; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:13.882; 6. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +0:21.091; 7. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:26.905; 8. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:30.193; 9. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), +0:32.229; 10. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Kawasaki), +0:36.827.

MX2 Race 2 top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 33:49.169; 2. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Kawasaki), +0:01.204; 3. Thomas Covington (USA, Kawasaki), +0:07.646; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:09.683; 5. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +0:10.437; 6. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:12.271; 7. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:12.453; 8. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:13.740; 9. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), +0:14.739; 10. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:15.526.

MX2 Overall top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 47 points; 2. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 40 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, HUS), 34 p.; 4. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, KAW), 33 p.; 5. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 31 p.; 6. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 31 p.; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, SUZ), 29 p.; 8. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 28 p.; 9. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 24 p.; 10. Christophe Charlier (FRA, YAM), 21 p.

MX2 Manufacturer: 1. KTM, 47 points; 2. Kawasaki, 47 p.; 3. Husqvarna, 34 p.; 4. Suzuki, 29 p.; 5. Honda, 24 p.; 6. Yamaha, 21 p.;

MX Vice Editor || 25

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