Round 11 of the 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship wrapped up at the Ottobiano circuit, in the Lombardia region of Italy, at the weekend with a double race win for defending world champion Antonio Cairoli.
The Fiat Professional MXGP of Lombardia hosted one of the most important races of the 2018 season so far with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team riders Cairoli and Jorge Prado taking the overall wins and gaining precious championship points in the process.
Italy’s Ottobiano circuit was challenging for the best riders in the world with rough, technical, and sandy sections testing both rider fitness and ability.
In addition to the track taking its toll on the riders’ energy so too did the high temperatures but thousands of Italy’s wildest motocross fans encouraged the MXGP and MX2 stars as they fought. Rewarded with a win from the Italian motocross superstar, Cairoli, the fans filled the hillside and starting straight for podium celebrations.
MXGP race one was scripted perfectly for Cairoli as he took the Fox Holeshot after taking the seventh gate pick equal to his Saturday qualifying result. Cairoli’s start was indicative of the following 19 laps where he jumped in front of the field and never looked back.
In second place from the beginning was Yamaha’s Romain Febvre, but, eight laps into the race, the Frenchman fell and dropped two positions to Kawasaki’s Clement Desalle and Husqvarna’s Max Anstie. Two laps later another mistake from Febvre allowed Husqvarna’s Gautier Paulin and TM’s Max Nagl past.
Anstie had his team-mate Paulin close in, which pushed him to catch Desalle. All the while Febvre was back on a mission and took fifth from Nagl who was having a season high ride. On the last laps Anstie was all over Desalle for second but on the final lap he lost the front end in a turn and had to settle for third.
Cairoli took the race win with dominance, Desalle was second, then Anstie, Paulin and Febvre. Honda’s Tim Gajser made a pass on the next to last lap, after crashing in the first turn, to take sixth from Nagl.
Race two was another strong start from Cairoli in third, while KTM’s Kevin Strijbos took his first holeshot and Desalle was second. By the third turn Cairoli was past Desalle and only one turn after that he took the lead from Strijbos.
Gajser was fourth behind Desalle, but, by lap two, he was past the Belgian and into third. Nagl was off to another good start to the race in 5th with the two French riders of Paulin and Febvre giving chase. Cairoli however went down on lap two while leading, lost three spots, and gave Strijbos the lead. Gajser would however only allow Strijbos one lap at the front before making his way into the lead.
Cairoli went back to work quickly after his fall and made one pass a lap for each of the next 3. Cairoli’s third pass was the one which gave him back the lead and it was done just in front of the home fans along the fence.
Desalle then fell in a corner losing positions to Paulin, Nagl, Febvre, and Anstie. Desalle’s race just got worse from then on as he caught a kicker and swapped out through the roller section and was narrowly missed by Yamaha’s Jeremy Seewer. Desalle was lucky to come away unharmed but had to pull into to Pit Lane to have his bike repaired. Later rejoining the race Desalle took 20th position for only one championship point.
At the finish it was another strong win from Cairoli ahead of Gajser, Paulin, Anstie, and Seewer. In the overall standings Cairoli’s perfect 1-1 scored the maximum 50 points while Paulin and Anstie tied at 38 points a piece with Paulin taking 2nd and Anstie 3rd. The final result has cut the championship lead of injured KTM rider Jeffrey Herlings to only 12 points while both Paulin and Anstie achieved their season best results.
“Overall it was a good weekend. I’m taking home 50 points which is very important for the championship,” said Cairoli. ”
We are looking forward to Indonesia, it will be a hot race which I like so hopefully we will be back on the podium which is always the goal.”
Gautier Paulin: “I feel good, most of the track is tough but I like it. Today was not easy, I had two bad starts, and had to come from the back of the pack. I had a good feeling and I’m happy to go back home with a second place.”
Max Anstie: “It’s nice to have got it done today and turn the page, hopefully now we can keep the ball rolling and it is just nice to be here on the podium with the guys. Overall I’m pleased with the riding… I’m looking forward to Indonesia”
Just like in the MXGP class, the MX2 title chase is tightening up between the two main protagonists. KTM’s Pauls Jonass leads the points but his younger team-mate Jorge Prado has again cut into the lead this weekend.
Race one started with the now typical holeshot from Prado with Husqvarna’s Thomas Covington, Yamaha’s Ben Watson, and Husqvarna’s Henry Jacobi chasing in that order. Jonass was around 7th place but was up to third after a pair of passes on Watson with the second finally sticking.
Husqvarna’s Thomas Kjer Olsen moved into 6th past KTM’s Davy Pootjes on lap 4 and continued on to make a pass on Yamaha’s Jago Geerts for 5th.
Olsen’s team-mate, Covington, chased Prado for the first 7 laps but then he started to see the Spaniard making mistakes and took the opportunity to claim the lead. Covington then controlled the race and gapped Prado who had Jonass giving chase while also holding off Watson in 4th. Across the finish Covington won the race 5.8 seconds ahead of Prado, Jonass, Watson, and Olsen.
MX2’s second race looked nearly identical out of the first turn with Prado taking the holeshot and Covington second. Olsen found himself 3rd in opening lap ahead of Jonass and Jacobi. Honda’s Calvin Vlaanderen came from around tenth to pass Jacobi for 5th on lap 5. 3 laps later Watson took the spot away but Vlaanderen fought for the spot back on the next lap. The pair’s battle resulted with Watson holding the position.
Meanwhile at the front of the field Prado’s lead was too far gone and Covington soon lost positions to Olsen and Jonass. At the finish of race two, Prado won both the race and the overall with Olsen second, Jonass third, Covington fourth and Watson fifth. Covington was second in the overall behind Prado but ahead of Jonass. Prado’s victory cuts the championship lead of Jonass to only nine points as the series will head to Indonesia in two weeks’ time.
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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RESULTS & STANDINGS:
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 34:04.005; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:11.624; 3. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:21.192; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:27.214; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:33.700; 6. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:35.927; 7. Maximilian Nagl (GER, TM), +0:39.137; 8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:52.351; 9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +1:00.663; 10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), +1:08.131.
MXGP Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 34:38.105; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:03.560; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:08.496; 4. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:16.600; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:19.628; 6. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:32.708; 7. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +0:35.614; 8. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:46.022; 9. Maximilian Nagl (GER, TM), +0:52.311; 10. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Suzuki), +1:01.851.
MXGP Overall Top Ten:
1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 50 points; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 38 p.; 3. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 38 p.; 4. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 37 p.; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 31 p.; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 29 p.; 7. Maximilian Nagl (GER, TM), 26 p.; 8. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 23 p.; 9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 22 p.; 10. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 21 p.
MXGP Championship Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 486 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 474 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 374 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 354 p.; 5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 334 p.; 6. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 332 p.; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 289 p.; 8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 255 p.; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 240 p.; 10. Maximilian Nagl (GER, TM), 203 p.
MX2 Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), 34:46.265; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:05.820; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:09.170; 4. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:10.570; 5. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:20.494; 6. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:25.861; 7. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), +0:29.474; 8. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:38.965; 9. Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, Honda), +0:48.240; 10. Henry Jacobi (GER, Husqvarna), +0:53.579.
MX2 Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 35:11.237; 2. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:07.520; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:13.522; 4. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:15.657; 5. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:20.559; 6. Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, Honda), +0:33.829; 7. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:45.623; 8. Iker Larranaga Olano (ESP, Husqvarna), +1:03.780; 9. Anthony Rodriguez (VEN, Yamaha), +1:10.120; 10. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Yamaha), +1:22.739.
MX2 Overall Top Ten:
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 47 points; 2. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 43 p.; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 40 p.; 4. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 38 p.; 5. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 34 p.; 6. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 29 p.; 7. Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, HON), 27 p.; 8. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), 24 p.; 9. Anthony Rodriguez (VEN, YAM), 21 p.; 10. Iker Larranaga Olano (ESP, HUS), 20 p.
MX2 Championship Top Ten:
1. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 474 points; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 465 p.; 3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 366 p.; 4. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 339 p.; 5. Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, HON), 286 p.; 6. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 254 p.; 7. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 246 p.; 8. Jed Beaton (AUS, KAW), 216 p.; 9. Michele Cervellin (ITA, YAM), 206 p.; 10. Henry Jacobi (GER, HUS), 200 p.