Motocross

Bobryshev and Herlings show the way in Qatar qualifying

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Every year the FIM Motocross World Championship opener is one of the most exciting races of the season. It‰Ûªs like the cards in the deck are shuffled and a new hand is dealt.

Who has the best hand? Right now, it‰Ûªs Team HRC‰Ûªs Evgeny Bobryshev and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Jeffrey Herlings who have at least one ace in their hand after lighting up the spectacular night skies here in Losail when they won their respective qualifying races.

When the gates slammed to the ground for the first time this season, the holeshot king Jose Butron was back as he hauled out of the gate on his Marchetti Racing Team KTM to claim a narrow holeshot over Team HRC‰Ûªs Evgeny Bobryshev. Although there was almost nothing in it over the holeshot line, the Russian, Bobryshev, had the inside line through turn one and led the way out of it.

Behind them the rookie, Honda Gariboldi‰Ûªs Tim Gajser was on rails as he put a text book pass on Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Antonio Cairoli, who couldn‰Ûªt have wished for a better start after only finishing 16th in Timed Practice which meant he didn‰Ûªt have the greatest gate pick.

Chasing the eight-time FIM Motocross World Champ in the early stages of the race was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs newest recruit Glenn Coldenhoff who was being hounded by the defending MXGP World Champion Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing‰Ûªs Romain Febvre. As ‰Û÷Bobby‰Ûª started to edge away, Butron rode a wide line in second, which allowed a freight train of riders to bunch up.

Febvre was the first to pounce as he threw together a different combo over the bomb hole and slung past Coldenhoff and surprisingly Cairoli too. In doing so, the champ opened the door for Coldenhoff who invited himself in and dropped ‰Û÷TC222‰Ûª back to sixth.

Meanwhile, up front the Honda boys had their factory FMF pipes burning hot as they ran away from the insane battle behind them as the challenge for third had everyone on the edge of their seats when Febvre, Coldenhoff, Cairoli, Butron and Wilvo Virus Performance KTM‰Ûªs Shaun Simpson went bar to bar, quite literally.

Butron ended up fading back to thirteenth while the defending champ closed in on the rookie and 2015 FIM MX2 World Champion, Gajser. Febvre made a solid charge on Gajser who managed to hold off the wrath and made an incredible MXGP debut as he followed Bobryshev home for second. Febvre rounded out the top three with Cairoli and Coldenhoff making up the top five.

Despite some arm pump, for winner Bobryshev it was an encouraging way to start the 2016b season, "I‰Ûªm really happy with today. We‰Ûªve been working really hard these last weeks on starts, and today the start was good. In the race I felt a little tight on the bike because I haven‰Ûªt ridden for the last five days so I was getting a little bit of arm pump, and I made a few mistakes and lost some seconds to Gajser. I had good speed though and I could control the race until the end so I‰Ûªm really happy ‰ÛÒ it‰Ûªs just qualifying but it‰Ûªs a good way to start the season," the Russian said.

As for Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team‰Ûªs Clement Desalle, after missing Timed Practice, he nursed his healing arm around for two laps before pulling off. He will have the last gate pick tomorrow for race day, if he decides to start.


Jeffrey Herlings took the win in MX2. Photo:Youthstreeam
MX2

He‰Ûªs not known for his blistering starts, but Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Jeffrey Herlings got his season off to the perfect start as he ripped out of the gate to claim the holeshot and the first Qualifying heat win of the year. Meanwhile Team Monster Energy Kawasaki‰Ûªs Dylan Ferrandis, who set the fastest time in Timed Practice kept The Bullet in sight but didn‰Ûªt have enough juice to take the win.

With Herlings and Ferrandis in a league of their own, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing‰Ûªs Thomas Covington was living up to his solid reputation here in Qatar, at least until his bike stopped on the final corner two laps in. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Pauls Jonass then inherited third off of the American and set himself free from the dynamite battle between Team Suzuki World MX2‰Ûªs Jeremy Seewer, Kemea Yamaha Official MX team‰Ûªs Benoit Paturel and Wilvo Standing Construct Yamaha Official MX2 Team‰Ûªs Aleksandr Tonkov.

As the race approached half way, Paturel appeared to be sick of eating roost sandwiches as he doggedly pursued Seewer for fourth. Likewise, Team Monster Energy Kawasaki‰Ûªs Petar Petrov was also in a hasty mood as he burst on to the scene to take fifth from Tonkov.

At the checkered flag, it was Herlings who lit the candles for the first time this year ahead of Ferrandis and Jonass. Seewer managed to keep Paturel at bay for fourth while Petrov rounded out the top five.

Main Photo: Evgeny Bobryshev on his way to the first qualifying race win of the 2016 season
Credit: HRC

MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten:

1 Bobryshev Evgeny 777 RUS Team HRC Honda 24:54.670
2 Gajser Tim 243 SLO Honda Gariboldi Honda +1.184
3 Febvre Romain 461 FRA Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team Yamaha +6.734
4 Cairoli Antonio 222 ITA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +16.642
5 Coldenhoff Glenn 259 NDL Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +19.578
6 Paulin Gautier 21 FRA Team HRC Honda +24.719
7 Nagl Max 12 GER Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Husqvarna +26.985
8 Simpson Shaun 24 GBR Wilvo Virus Performance KTM KTM +28.083
9 Searle Tommy 100 GBR Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki Kawasaki +29.186
10 Strijbos Kevin 22 BEL Team Suzuki World MXGP Suzuki +30.329
11 Van Horebeek Jeremy 89 BEL Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team Yamaha +39.504
12 Guillod Valentin 92 SWI Kemea Yamaha Yamalube Racing Team Yamaha +40.586
13 Butron Jose 17 SPA Marchetti Racing Team KTM KTM +43.419
14 Lupino Alessandro 77 ITA Team Honda Red Moto Assomotor Honda +59.196
15 Leok Tanel 40 EST Wildcard Rider Kawasaki +1:00.165
16 Potisek Milko 32 FRA Tip Top MP32 Racing Team Yamaha +1:08.852
17 Townley Ben 8 NZL Team Suzuki World MXGP Suzuki +1:25.015
18 Charlier Christophe 23 FRA Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Husqvarna +1:31.096
19 Snow Alex 31 GBR JK Racing Yamaha Active Yamaha +1:34.825
20 Yamamoto Kei 400 JPN Team Honda Red Moto Assomotor Honda +1:55.131

MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 24:51.763;
2. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:01.783;
3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:35.137;
4. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:38.236;
5. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +0:39.310;
6. Petar Petrov (BUL, Kawasaki), +0:42.207;
7. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Yamaha), +0:49.764;
8. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, Kawasaki), +0:51.811;
9. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:54.116;
10. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), +1:02.236

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