Qualifying Races kickstarted the MXGP of France in an incredible way with Jorge Prado clinching his 5th MXGP Qualifying Race while Kay de Wolf won his first MX2 Qualifying Race in MX2.
The steep slopes of Villars sous Ecot and the redesigned circuit offered a spectacular racing day in every class as the new demanding layout allowed us to see many overtakes and make riders show their technical prowess.
The MXGP Qualifying Race started with Jeremy Seewer taking the fastest start but Prado quickly took the lead after a few turns and displayed an impressive performance as the Red Plate led until the end with a nice cushion to win comfortably. Seewer showed that he is back at his best as the Swiss showed good pace especially as he had to make sure to not get caught by a late charge by Jeffrey Herlings.
Herlings crossed the first lap in 5th position and started to charge forward and was quick to power through Rubén Fernández and then capitalised on Valentin Guillod’s fall in lap 2 while he was 3rd. Herlings went 3rd until lap 5 when the talented Alberto Forato boldly but deservedly passed Herlings for 3rd. However, Herlings regrouped for a couple of laps and took back 3rd place to finish the race in 3rd. Forato finished 4th and seemed very comfortable on this track.
After his fall, Guillod picked up his bike in 12th but managed to finish in the points in 8th. Fernandez who found himself 4th on lap 1, got overtaken several times but still finished 6th, scoring important points.
Calvin Vlaanderen proved that he is not only a sand specialist as he rode an excellent race getting 6th until lap 5 when he overtook Fernandez confidently for 5th. He eventually comfortably finished 5th in the end.
Home hero Romain Febvre had to employ his well-known experience to move up in the leader board. He was 11th when after 1 lap first benefitted from Guillod and Benoit Paturel’s misfortunes to get to 9th on lap 2. He also capitalised on Mattia Guadagnini’s mistake to get to 8th on lap 5 and then following made the perfect move to overtake Alessandro Lupino for 7th where he finished the race.
“I had a good start,” Prado said. “The track was really challenging so I am super happy to get to the finish line first. That another RAM Qualifying Race win and I feel better every time I go out on this track so we can hopefully have good racing tomorrow.”
In MX2, it was Thibault Benistant who took the holeshot in front of teammate Jago Geerts and Kay de Wolf.
Unfortunately, Geerts crashed on the opening lap and fractured his left wrist. He suffered severe pain and the medical team was quick to respond he was brought directly to the onsite medical centre for closer assessment where the fractured was confirmed.
Geerts will now return to Belgium to see a specialist. Updates on his treatment plan and a potential return to action will be shared in due time.
The race continued with de Wolf getting the best out of Benistant and took the lead on the opening lap. De Wolf kept a high tempo while Benistant managed to reduce the gap and make a charge on the last lap but de Wolf held his ground and won his first Qualifying Race. Benistant settled for a promising 2nd place.
A sensational four-way battle ensued behind the front two with Liam Everts and Andrea Adamo and Roan Van de Moosdijk and Lucas Coenen. Between laps 3 and 8 the four riders went on to ride to the limit to fight for the 3rd place.
Van De Moosdijk first got the advantage but following an exciting give and take between him, Everts, Adamo had to give up his spot to Adamo on lap 5. Everts also overtook Van De Moosdijk for 4th a lap later. Adamo started to get pressured by Everts and finally made a mistake to let Everts go 3rd on lap 9. Everts finished 3rd while Adamo settled for 4th.
“I’m pretty speechless after this win,” de Wolf said. “This weekend I feel so good as we put a lot of hours training on hard pack. This one feels amazing and it shows that if you work hard you can make everything happen”
MXGP – RAM Qualifying Race – Top 10 Classification:
1 Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), 24:25.434
2 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:02.304
3 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:04.764
4 Alberto Forato (ITA, KTM), +0:07.960
5 Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:21.911
6 Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Honda), +0:22.844
7 Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:36.072
8 Valentin Guillod (SUI, Honda), +0:45.015
9 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, GASGAS), +0:46.327
10 Brent Van doninck (BEL, Honda), +0:46.388
MXGP – World Championship – Top 10 Classification:
1 Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 304 points
2 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 296 Points
3 Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 229 Points
4 Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 218 Points
5 Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 202 Points
6 Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 197 Points
7 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 196 Points
8 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 190 Points
9 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, GAS), 188 Points
10 Alberto Forato (ITA, KTM), 158 Points
MX2 – RAM Qualifying Race – Top 10 Classification:
1 Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), 24:42.419
2 Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:01.006
3 Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +0:27.919
4 Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), +0:34.973
5 Marc-Antoine Rossi (FRA, KTM), +0:41.206
6 Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Husqvarna), +0:44.667
7 Mikkel Haarup (DEN, KTM), +0:50.809
8 Lucas Coenen (BEL, Husqvarna), +0:55.374
9 Ferruccio Zanchi (ITA, KTM), +0:59.559
10 Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Kawasaki), +1:02.646
MX2 – World Championship – Top 10 Classification:
1 Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 319 points
2 Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 278 Points
3 Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 273 Points
4 Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 259 Points
5 Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 256 Points
6 Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, HUS), 224 Points
7 Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 195 Points
8 Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KAW), 174 Points
9 Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 157 Points
10 Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), 134 Points