Motocross

Townley and Hearlings nab first Thai Pole

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The second round of the 2016 FIM Motocross World Championship season kicked off with practice and qualifying today in the heat of Suphan Buri, Thailand where Suzuki World MXGP‰Ûªs Ben Townley and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Jeffrey Herlings went pole.

The champions were on fire right from the drop of the gate as Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Antonio Cairoli led Team Suzuki World MXGP‰Ûªs Ben Townley and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing‰Ûªs Romain Febvre around turn one. It was only a matter of turns before Townley, put the move on Cairoli to take over the lead.

Townley, who was ninth and then fourth fastest in the Free and Timed Practice sessions in temperatures touching the 40-degree mark, resisted the assaults of Tony Cairoli and Romain Febvre around the flat layout north of Bangkok to win by over three seconds from the reigning World Champion.

After the practice sessions Townley said ‰ÛÏThe heat doesn‰Ûªt feel too bad when you‰Ûªre riding in it, at least for me‰Û
The fastet man in MX2, Jeffrey Hearlings. Photo: Youthstream
MX2


Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Jeffrey Herlings went back to Europe after Qatar and only landed in Thailand yesterday.

After training all week in temperatures less than 5 degree‰Ûªs Celsius it was a bit of a shock to the system for the Dutchman when he got off the plane.

"Jumping on the plane and landing in 38 degrees and 80% or 90% humidity, that was a bit of a shock but that was my decision and I don‰Ûªt believe you can adapt to the weather in less than one week so I think it‰Ûªs better to make the most of the week and go home to the cold. And then with the time difference I maybe slept like 2 or 3 hours last night but hopefully tonight after such a day as today, I should sleep well." HEarlings said.

If he was tired or struggling with the heat, it was unnoticeable with his cat-like reaction when the gates dropped and he took his first holeshot of the season. TM Racing Factory Team‰Ûªs Samuele Bernardini chased him around turn one with his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing teammate Pauls Jonass in third.

It was an impressive first half for Bernardini who didn‰Ûªt look out of place at all as he fought to keep the current vice world champion at bay. Meanwhile Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team‰Ûªs Benoit Paturel was demonstrating his love for the hard crusty clay of Thailand as he consistently gained momentum in fourth.

The track began to pack-down in the warm climate as Jonass made a move on Bernardini, which also opened the door for Paturel. While taking advantage of Bernardini as he tried to regroup, Paturel had a hairy moment when he came up massively short on the long Ipone tabletop and bounced himself onto the infield. Fortunately he managed to save it and wasn‰Ûªt too phased.

At the halfway mark both Jonass and Bernardini started fading. Paturel was the first to take advantage of Jonass‰Ûª tiredness followed by Rockstar Energy Husqvarna‰Ûªs Max Anstie who had a cleaner line through the waves which left him with the inside line on the next turn where he made the move up the inside.

With the lighting of the candles, it was Herlings who dominated for his second consecutive qualifying heat win this season while Paturel put in a career best result in second. Anstie came home in third while Wilvo Standing Construct Yamaha Official MX Team‰Ûªs Aleksandr Tonkov put in a solid ride for fourth. The most impressive performance of the day was that of Suzuki World MX2‰Ûªs Jeremy Seewer who crashed in the waves on lap two but managed to bounce back for a notable fifth while Jonass held on for sixth.

As for Monster Energy Kawasaki‰Ûªs Dylan Ferrandis, his shoulder popped out on its own. The Frenchman expressed his disappointment on Facebook saying, ‰ÛÏI dislocated my right shoulder in the waves section without crashing. I will fly back in France tomorrow to visit my doctor as soon as possible, and hope to be back for Valkenswaard‰Û

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