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Cairoli and Prado hold court at MXGP of the Netherlands qualifying.

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Cairoli and Prado hold court at MXGP of the Netherlands qualifying.
Antonio Cairoli
Italian Antonio Cairoli and Spaniard Jorge Prado have set the pace in MXGP and MX2 respectively on the opening day of the 2019 MXGP of the Netherlands in Valkenswaard.

MXGP‰Ûªs early season points leader Antonio Cairoli revealed a shoulder hindrance last week in Great Britain and while not completely resolved the Sicilian showed no indication of weakness today. As the fastest in both Free and Time Practice Cairoli carried the momentum into the Qualifying Race with the holeshot.


Behind Cairoli off the start was Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP‰Ûªs Jeremy Seewer but Team HRC‰Ûªs Tim Gajser quickly took the spot away from the Swiss rider. Standing Construct KTM Racing‰Ûªs Ivo Monticelli was 4th but started to lose positions as the race got underway.

First to pass Monticelli was Honda SR Motoblouz‰Ûªs Jeremy Van Horebeek followed Max Anstie. Van Horebeek continued to push forward taking 3rd position from Seewer who was then passed by Anstie as well.
Cairoli and Prado hold court at MXGP of the Netherlands qualifying.
Tim Gajser
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team‰Ûªs Julien Lieber and Clement Desalle were in 8th and 10th after the first official lap but both progressed forward. Desalle surpassed Lieber when the #33 fell out of 7th.

The man making the most progress throughout the race was likely Arminas Jasikonis. A poor start put the Lithuanian in 12th after the first lap but he gained 7 positions as the race went on including moves on his teammate Pauls Jonass, Standing Construct KTM‰Ûªs Glenn Coldenhoff and Monticelli, then Desalle, and finally Paulin and Seewer in the same lap.
Cairoli and Prado hold court at MXGP of the Netherlands qualifying.
Jeremy Van Horebeek (91)
Jasikonis also managed to put in the fastest lap of the race while Cairoli steadily grew his gap over Gajser throughout the 12 laps eventually taking the win by 4.5 seconds. Gajser, Van Horebeek, Anstie, and Jasikonis rounded out the top 5.

‰ÛÏIn the Qualifying Race, after three or four laps, I started to get a little tired in my shoulder, so I really couldn't really ride how I wanted," Cairoli explained after the race. "Tomorrow‰Ûªs race is a little bit longer and after a couple of laps, I think after 15 or 20 minutes, I will start feeling a bit better, freer, and I will try to go for the win.‰Û
Cairoli and Prado hold court at MXGP of the Netherlands qualifying.
Jorge Prado returned to racing taking the MX2 qualifying race win.
With Cairoli staking his claim in the MXGP category his younger Red Bull KTM Teammate and protÌ©gÌ© Jorge Prado returned to racing in full form today. Just like his MXGP teammate, Prado‰Ûªs shoulder has been troublesome as of late even requiring the defending MX2 champion to sit out of the racing at the previous round in Great Britain.

Also similar to Cairoli not a step was missed in today‰Ûªs performance, Prado went fastest in both the Free and Time Practice sessions in what was his first-time riding in nearly 3 weeks. With the start of MX2 Qualifying Prado used his holeshot prowess to take the lead while several other riders fell in the first turns including Team HRC‰Ûªs Calvin Vlaanderen and Yamaha SM Action M.C. Migliori‰Ûªs Michele Cervellin. As the field entered the second section of the circuit Kiwi Dylan Walsh also fell but like Cervellin would not resume the race.

The Dutch fans were on their feet quickly as Jorge Prado led Dutch native Davy Pootjes ran in 2nd. Pootjes first dealt with pressure from the F&H Racing Team duo of Adam Sterry and Henry Jacobi but after a mistake from Sterry let Jacobi past Jacobi slid out of 3rd.
Cairoli and Prado hold court at MXGP of the Netherlands qualifying.
Previous round winner Thomas Kjer Olsen was second fastest in MX2
Thomas Kjer Olsen was next to put pressure on the fellow Husqvarna rider but after six laps of intense battling and bar to bar racing the Dane finally made his way into 2nd. Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha Official MX2‰Ûªs Jago Geerts used his Belgian sand knowledge to overtake Pootjes as well, meanwhile Ben Watson was left pulling his Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha out of the fencing following an off-track excursion.

Once rebounded from his early mistake Jacobi made a comeback from 7th to get Pootjes as well before the finish. Prado took the Qualifying win, his first of 2019, nearly 10 seconds ahead of Olsen, Geerts, Jacobi, and Pootjes while Watson finished 10th and Vlaanderen took 14th following his start crash.

‰ÛÏI felt very good for the first day back on the bike and hopefully I feel the same tomorrow," Prado said. "It was a bit painful, but if I want to go for the win I just need to push through it, try to have a smart race, and take home some points, that's what's important.‰Û
Cairoli and Prado hold court at MXGP of the Netherlands qualifying.
Belgian Jago Geerts was third in MX2
MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten:
1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 24:19.04
2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:04.551
3. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Honda), +0:15.172
4. Max Anstie (GBR, KTM), +0:19.774
5. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, Husqvarna), +0:30.289
6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:35.696
7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:38.974
8. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:44.593
9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:48.604
10. Ivo Monticelli (ITA, KTM), +0:50.204

MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten:
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 24:48.550
2. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:09.942
3. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:13.514
4. Henry Jacobi (GER, Kawasaki), +0:19.460
5. Davy Pootjes (NED, Husqvarna), +0:23.120
6. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Honda), +0:26.980
7. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:29.278
8. Bas Vaessen (NED, KTM), +0:31.521
9. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +0:34.164;
10. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:35.901

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