VIDEOS | MXGP
Round three of the 2016 Monster Energy FIM Motocross Championship was underway today at an overcast and rainy Valkenswaard circuit. Riders took to the difficult track in the morning and were faced with we surfaces that faired well to the local precipitation. Sunshine, rain, and clouds filled the rest of the day and The qualifying races went off and set the tone.
2016 MXGP Of Europe | MXGP Qualifying Highlights
As expected, it didn't disappoint as the MXGP veterans who have cut their fair share of laps around this historic sand track, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Max Nagl and Team Suzuki World MXGP's Kevin Strijbos led the way around turn one. Adding some youth to the mix, Honda Gariboldi's Tim Gajser looked more relaxed than usual in third as he led a freight train of heavy hitters, Wilvo Virus Performance KTM's Shaun Simpson, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing's Romain Febvre, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's duo ofAntonio Cairoli and Glenn Coldenhoff.
There was no doubt precision was the key today with a lot of tricky edges surfacing in the black sand. Initially, it was Strijbos who was on form as he ripped around the outside of Nagl at the end of lap two and instantly pulled a gap while Gajser did the same thing half of a lap later.
Honda Gariboldi's new prodigy did a great job at holding off MXGP's finest before a few little errors allowed Nagl back through with Simpson also capitalizing on a bobble or two, for third.
Although he lost a couple of spots, most eyes remained on the rookie, Gajser, as the defending champ, Febvre, and the legend, Cairoli, knocked at his door. Amidst all the commotion for third, the race leader Strijbos hit a massive kicker on a down hill section of the track and crashed. Nagl then inherited the lead while Strijbos dusted himself off in sixth.
As the nail biting race came to a close, Nagl had his lines dialed and pulled away to win by seven seconds over Simpson who had to deal with a fired up Febvre who attempted to work his magic for the runner-up position.
At the checkers Febvre had to settle for third while Gajser held off the wrath of Cairoli who rounded out the top five ahead of his teammate and crowd favorite Coldenhoff.
The early race leader and man fastest in Timed Practice, Kevin Strijbos, finished up in seventh.
MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten
1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), 24:56.988
2. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:07.932
3. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:09.667
4. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:11.580
5. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:12.967
6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:15.594
7. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:20.399
8. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:23.972
9. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:37.081
10. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:37.329.
2016 MXGP Of Europe | MX2 Qualifying Highlights
A unique 'S' bend first corner always makes for an interesting start which seems to work in favor of Wilvo Standing Construct Yamaha's Aleksandr Tonkov who replicated what he did last year and took the holeshot. Right off the bat Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's sandman Jeffrey Herlings was in a dangerous position exiting turn one, second place, and he made light work of the Russian as expected.
Unsurprisingly 'The Bullet', Herlings, made the square edged sand circuit look silky smooth as he cruised home for his third consecutive pole position of the year.
Meanwhile, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Pauls Jonass was all over Tonkov like a rash but couldn't find an opening, which allowed a couple of riders to creep up on him. One of which was the Belgian who hit a career milestone at the MXGP of The Netherlands last year, Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team's Brent Van doninck. Van doninck was looking fierce as he balanced his attack and defense mechanisms, pressuring Jonass while holding off HSF Logistics Motosport's Calvin Vlaanderen.
In the latter stages of the race silly mistakes started to get the better of Jonass, which saw Van doninck eventually nail third with an easy pass on the entrance of the waves. Unfortunately, a lap later, it was all over for Van doninck when his bike went pop. That gave Jonass third place in the MXGP of Europe MX2 Qualifier behind Herlings and Tonkov while Vlaanderen faded back but maintained fourth ahead of Team Monster Energy Kawasaki's Petar Petrov.
MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 24:40.006
2. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Yamaha), +0:36.003
3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:37.167
4. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, KTM), +0:50.171
5. Petar Petrov (BUL, Kawasaki), +0:56.259
6. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +0:58.111
7. Roberts Justs (LAT, KTM), +1:14.439
8. Alvin Östlund (SWE, Yamaha), +1:16.347
9. Jorge Zaragoza (ESP, Honda), +1:28.825
10. Freek van der Vlist (NED, Kawasaki), +1:30.866.