Herlings and Prado Take Final Qualifying Wins of 2018 at Imola


Jeffrey Herlings too the Championship last time out and now the final qualifying win of the season. Photo: Youthstream
Imola‰Ûªs Autodromo Enzo & Dino Ferrari circuit in Italy host's the MXGP season finale this weekend and today was the final qualifying day of the year with the usual suspects once again at the front.

Starting off their race weekends like countless other Saturdays this year newly crowned World Champion's Jeffrey Herlings and Jorge Prado took dominant Qualifying wins.

The famous Imola circuit has hosted racing events in nearly all forms and while this weekend was the first MXGP race in its history the track first hosted Motocross International races 70 years ago! The world renowned road circuit was transformed into to a FIM Motocross World Championship track with over 25,000 cubic meters of soil brought in. With the natural elevation change of the venue as an advantage the track has already hosted great racing.

With the MXGP championship already decided Jeffrey Herlings could have simply just taken the weekend easy but the ‰ÛÏBullet‰Û
Clement Desalle continues his solid form and was second fastest in MXGP. Photo: Youthstream
Following the 3 Kawasakis were the Yamaha triplets of Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP Team‰Ûªs Shaun Simpson, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP‰Ûªs Jeremy Van Horebeek, and another Wilvo Yamaha ridden by Jeremy Seewer. Desalle took 3rd from Lupino on lap 3 and at the same time Seewer made his way by Van Horebeek as did Cairoli.

One lap later Cairoli was also past Seewer as Lupino fought Desalle to take 3rd back. Cairoli however went off track on the following lap and hit the ground hard. Slow to get up Cairoli decided to pull out of the remainder of the race but has since confirmed that he will race tomorrow.
Team HRC‰Ûªs Tim Gajser rode his Honda CRF450RW to third place in today‰Ûªs qualifying race at Imola. Photo: Youthstream
Fellow Italian and friend of Cairoli, Lupino, lost positions on the following laps to Desalle and Lieber while Seewer worked his way past Simpson to take 6th. At the finish it was a massive win for Herlings finalizing his total number of 2018 pole positions to 13. Desalle took second after passing Gajser on the final laps while Lieber was 4th and Lupino took 5th.

‰ÛÏThe main goal is to win the championship and we have done that in Assen but I don't want to just come here and ride around." Herlings said. "I still want to go and prove myself. I will do my best to get some good starts. It would be nice to finish out a great year like this with my 84th career GP win, so that is the goal for tomorrow."
After being crowned MX2 Champion during the week with main rival Pauls Jonass scratched, Jorge Prado dominated in MX2. Photo: Youthstream
Spaniard Jorge Prado came to Imola this weekend as the MX2 World Champion after learning his main competitor Pauls Jonass would be unable to race after having knee surgery. With a weekend similar to that of Herlings in the sense that he doesn‰Ûªt need to push for the win Prado went out and took an impressive win today regardless.

At the start of qualifying however it was Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 Team‰Ûªs Ben Watson taking the first advantage and lead. The Brit and his teammate Anthony Rodriguez put Prado in a Yamaha sandwich for the opening lap but the young Spaniard was into the lead by the completion of the first official lap.

Chasing down Watson and Rodriguez was Honda 114 Motorsport‰Ûªs Hunter Lawrence and Yamaha SM Action MC Migliori‰Ûªs Michele Cervellin. Thomas Kjer Olsen closed in fast though taking 5th from Cervellin on lap 2 and 4th from Lawrence 2 laps later.
Yamaha's Ben Watson was 12 seconds behind Prado at the finish line to claim second gate pick. Photo: Youthstream
Rodriguez was the next to fall victim to the speed of the tall Dane as he dropped to 4th while Lawrence lost momentum and dropped to back to 7th. The Aussie rebound well though and made a handful of passes to get back up to 4th.

Olsen tried to get by Watson and the two touched on the final lap sending Watson off track and slowing Olsen but the two finished 2nd and 3rd nevertheless. Prado‰Ûªs win was by over a 12 second margin and sets him up perfectly to take a pair of good starts tomorrow.

‰ÛÏComing into this GP I am for sure happy after the news earlier this week," Prado said. "This is kind of like a second home GP with team De Carli being from Italy and for all the guys it is important and a really special GP plus it is the last one of the season. I am feeling good with my Qualifying Race today I am ready for tomorrow."
Thomas Kjer Olsen was thrid.
MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 24:37.982
2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:23.909
3. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:26.654
4. Julien Lieber (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:29.770
5. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki), +0:33.970
6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:34.981
7. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:35.982
8. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:37.879
9. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:45.519
10. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +0:48.658

MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten:
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 23:38.441
2. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:12.012
3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:15.022
4. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Honda), +0:19.087
5. Anthony Rodriguez (VEN, Yamaha), +0:22.926
6. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Yamaha), +0:26.372
7. Henry Jacobi (GER, Husqvarna), +0:28.018
8. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:31.592
9. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, Yamaha), +0:36.033
10. Morgan Lesiardo (ITA, KTM), +0:46.045

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