Wednesday 12th & Thursday 13th December: Tracks closed. The rain up here in the hills keeps coming.

Sensational, emotional & epic start

FIM MX GP 2015 Qatar

maddix park mx

www.mxgp.com 

LOSAIL (Qatar), 28 February 2015 – It was an emotional beginning to the start of what is essentially the most anticipated season in the history of the FIM Motocross World ChampionshipMXGP 2015, as the recently named ‘Dad’ of a beautiful baby boy Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl and the kid who has been on the recovery road from hell Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings both surprised everyone, including themselves, with impressive double victories.

We learnt a handful of things about Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl tonight. Firstly, he can start. The German pulled off two very impressive Fox Holeshots, which has given him the early advantage in the race towards the 10,000 Fox Holeshot purse. Secondly, he’s fit, fast and fierce - he led ALL thirty-six laps even despite the immense pressure from previous MXGP of Qatar winner Clement Desalle in race one. Thirdly, he is and will be a solid part of Husqvarna’s re-rise to FIM Motocross World Championship glory. And lastly, he is very humble, admitting he even surprised himself tonight.

Meanwhile the all-new super smiley version of Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Clement Desalle looked on form out on track tonight making some bold statements when he passed and pulled away from two of MXGP’s hottest players Antonio Cairoli and Gautier Paulin. Desalle said “I am really happy with my riding at the moment, I feel good in my body and also on the bike. In the morning I will go home because I think it will benefit me more to do this than it will to stay over in Thailand.”

Team HRC’s Gautier Paulin couldn’t be missed, not only because of his super bright Fox kit, but also because of his unique BMX style which happened to look even more awesome than usual on the man-made jumpy circuit here in Losail. While the Frenchman had a lot of fans backing him for the win this weekend, the strong Frenchman was satisfied with his 4 – 3 performance saying, “I’m really happy to start the season like this, it is always good to be on the box, actually on the top, but it is still a long season, so it is good to start with a third”.

What may come as a surprise to many, especially after his dominating performance in the Qualifying race yesterday, is the fact that Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli didn’t make the podium. Although, in saying that, the Italian did tie with Paulin for third but was knocked off the box with Paulin achieving the better result in the final race. Despite only finishing up the weekend in fourth, you can rest assured that Tony knows it is a long championship and already looking fast and aggressive.

It was a feeling of deja vu for Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek who put together two fifth place finishes for fifth overall just as he did in 2014. The Yamaha rider, who admitted in the Press Conference earlier this week “I want to do better than I did last year, and there is only one place more” was content with fifth today as he knows better than anyone, it CAN get better. Just look at last year’s eleven round podium streak.

Also representing Yamaha Factory Racing and more than worthy of a mention is MXGP class rookie Romain Febvre. The young Frenchman caught our attention as one to watch after footing it with some of the most seasoned riders in both MXGP races.   

As for Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Ryan Villopoto, it was just one of those events you just have to put down to experience. Although we are sure RV didn’t get the result he anticipated, we have to admit his one of a kind riding style was so cool to watch. The American took to Social Media after the event accepting, “It was a tough weekend”, but remaining positive in ending with “but we’ll get there”.

     

MXGP Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), 34:52.985; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:01.221; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:18.550; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:24.809; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:34.810; 6. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:42.395; 7. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:47.295; 8. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:56.052; 9. Ryan Villopoto (USA, Kawasaki), +0:59.609; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +1:03.179

MXGP Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), 35:00.295; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:06.023; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:08.752; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:12.787; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:17.740; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:24.676; 7. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:36.357; 8. Ryan Villopoto (USA, Kawasaki), +0:40.816; 9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +1:03.294; 10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +1:07.182

MXGP Overall: 1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 50 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 44 p.; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 38 p.; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 38 p.; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 32 p.; 6. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 29 p.; 7. Ryan Villopoto (USA, KAW), 25 p.; 8. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 25 p.; 9. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 24 p.; 10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 21 p.

MXGP Manufacturer: 1. Husqvarna, 50 points; 2. Suzuki, 44 p.; 3. Honda, 38 p.; 4. KTM, 38 p.; 5. Yamaha, 32 p.; 6. Kawasaki, 25 p.; 7. TM, 17 p.

It was one of the biggest displays of emotion we have ever seen from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings as he genuinely broke down in tears only moments after taking his second victory for a perfect start to the season. “You can’t believe what was going through my head on the last laps, I was seeing the craziest things”, the kid known as The Bullet said, “I have just had a lot of bad luck in the last months, struggling with my leg for a long time, seeing this doctor, that doctor, and onto the next doctor, but finally it’s okay and I can finally ride. Yeah, my riding wasn’t that great but for me it wasn’t even about that. I am just so happy to be here.”  

The most impressive performance of the night had to be that of Standing Construct Yamaha Yamalube’s Julien Lieber. The tiny Belgian rode absolutely amazing in both races to stand on the FIM Motocross World Championship podium for the first time in his career. He modestly said, “It was definitely not easy for me this weekend, but in the race my riding was good and Dylan crashed in the second race, so I got third in the first race and could get second in the last race. I am looking forward to Thailand, I know it will be difficult to do the same but I will try my best and we will see.”

Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Dylan Ferrandis was undoubtedly making a MX2 title run this weekend as he charged unbelievably hard in both races for third overall. Race two in particular was gnarly for the Frenchman who bounced back from a gnarly crash adding a fourth place finish to his second place finish of moto one. The Frenchman then went on to inform during the press conference, “I am happy with today because I haven’t been riding that long because I had an operation on my shoulder after I crashed riding supercross. It was my second operation on that shoulder, so I am happy with return and my speed.”

Meanwhile Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser wrapped up fourth despite having a horrendous crash in race two. Nevertheless, the Slovenian who is making a name for himself as a warrior, battled on to finish seventh which was in addition to his fourth in race one.

Rounding out the top five, Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Aleksandr Tonkov wound out the night strong with a thrilling run at Julien Lieber in the final race for second, but couldn’t quite make it happen and was forced to settle for third. 

     

MX2 Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 33:51.825; 2. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:02.674; 3. Julien Lieber (BEL, Yamaha), +0:04.052; 4. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:11.387; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:12.575; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:14.559; 7. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:28.803; 8. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:29.400; 9. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:36.823; 10. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +0:40.860

MX2 Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 33:56.613; 2. Julien Lieber (BEL, Yamaha), +0:02.731; 3. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +0:05.065; 4. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:10.885; 5. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:11.093; 6. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:18.511; 7. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:20.689; 8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:26.731; 9. Jordi Tixier (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:30.798; 10. Thomas Covington (USA, Kawasaki), +0:54.200

MX2 Overall: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Julien Lieber (BEL, YAM), 42 p.; 3. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 38 p.; 4. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 32 p.; 5. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 31 p.; 6. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 30 p.; 7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 29 p.; 8. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 28 p.; 9. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KAW), 27 p.; 10. Thomas Covington (USA, KAW), 21 p.

MX2 Manufacturer: 1. KTM, 50 points; 2. Yamaha, 42 p.; 3. Kawasaki, 38 p.; 4. Honda, 32 p.; 5. Husqvarna, 31 p.; 6. Suzuki, 29 p.

Click here to obtain the complete results.

All the photos of the MXGP of Qatar are available here

Rider Comments:

Here are the rider comments from the leading MXGP and MX2 riders from the weekend. More comments later.

Max Nagl: I didn’t expect this really. There was no pressure because everyone was looking at the fight between Antonio and Ryan, so it made it a little easier. I expected both those guys to be on the podium. I have no idea how long ago it was that Husqvarna won a Grand Prix, but it feels good to win this for the team and of course myself.

Jeffrey Herlings: I was emotional, not many people know what I have gone through in the last months. I’ve only been on the bike a couple of weeks and I just had to get that operation to get the pins out because if I crashed again and hurt my leg the bone would have just shattered (with the pins in). I felt maybe 65%. I will go home now and train really hard for Thailand, do a lot of 45 minute motos.

Clement Desalle: “It is a strong result and I am happy with my riding and my feeling with the bike and the new stuff. We try to improve every year and this was a good beginning to the season. My starts can be better; this is something we can work on for the next race. We will fly back now and benefit from the time at home to get ready for Thailand.”

Gautier Paulin: “It’s the first race in the World Championship for me with Team HRC so I’m really happy to start the season like this, and it’s always good to be on the box. We’re not at the top, but the season is long so it’s already good to be in third place. For sure you always want better but it’s been a very smooth first grand prix. I’m really happy to work with my crew. We improve every time I go on the bike so we’re in good shape.”

Evgeny Bobryshev: “It’s been a long time since I’ve raced like this so it’s good to be back for sure. I now have to build it up. We have lots of races so I just want to be consistent, stay positive and build from here now that I’m back. In the beginning it was difficult because I was fighting in the middle and the front group already pulled away so when I got the space I was alone in the middle so it’s difficult to find the right speed. It could be better for sure but I have to be happy. Yesterday I had problems with the stone in the brake so I had last gate pick and was right on the outside of the first corner so to finish 9 and 8 is ok. Overall I’m really happy with the bike, it’s all working really good so thanks to the team who have done a great job.”

Kevin Strijbos: “I had a lot of pain in my wrist all weekend. It was difficult because I had a good winter and I want to do well and go for the podium; at least top five. The first moto was really bad. I had pain in the morning so we tried to strap it…and on top of that I had a bad start. I could not ride the way I wanted to, which meant I tightened up and had arm-pump. I felt better in the second race and the start helped. I went from third to sixth and stayed there all moto. My wrist was not hurting, which was good. I think I made a mistake because I should have taken painkillers before warm-up and repeated the dosage before the motos. At least we know for next week. Overall I can be happy with how things went considering the problems.”

Antonio Cairoli: “For sure it is normal that he’s (Villopoto) getting used to these kinds of tracks. He was struggling a bit but that’s what we do when we’re in America. He will be in front in the next races when he’s adapted a bit.”

Julien Lieber: “The beginning of the weekend was difficult for me. Really bad. I was low down in the practice sessions and managed to recover to seventh for the qualification race but my start was bad! My speed was good in the race; I could come back from some bad starts quite well and gained some important positions. I’m really happy and I want to thank the Standing Construct Yamaha team because they did a really good job in the winter. We didn’t have much time because the race engine and suspension came late and the testing period was short. I’m really surprised with the result today. It would be great to try and do the same next week.”

Pauls Jonass: “For sure I am very satisfied. I got two hole shots and the bike is awesome getting away from the start. Also my riding was pretty good and I have to thank Stefan (Everts). He has helped me to be where I am today. I also beat some of the top guys in the pre-season races but the track here was pretty rough and gnarly and it wasn’t so easy to keep it on two wheels. I’m satisfied with my riding and my speed. Now I just have to bring the intensity to make the top speed for 35 minutes.”

Dylan Ferrandis: “I’m happy and at the same time a little bit disappointed, as I crashed in the second race and could have done better. In the first race I passed Herlings and led the race, but I felt some pressure and made a few mistakes so he passed me back as he was faster. I got the holeshot in the second race, but he surprised me when he made a move at the third corner; I had a good rhythm behind him and I didn’t want to try to pass him so early in the race but I crashed when I didn’t see a big hole after I changed lines. I stalled the engine and lost time but I recovered and finally got on the podium even if I’m far from being 100% as I was sick this week.”

Ryan Villopoto: “I haven’t raced since May last year, and it wasn’t a good day but we scored points and that’s definitively something we have to work on. I never had a schedule like that one for a long time, but I’ve got to get used to that and all the rest, including how the gate drops, how they do everything. We struggled a little bit with the start today, a little me and a little the bike, but we came back and got points. We’ve definitively some work to do, but that’s part of it. We learned a lot this weekend and will be stronger at the next GP; we have to work on setup stuff, which make thinks a little bit easier. For me every time I went on the track this weekend things went better; in the second race I had some issues as my rear brake felt strange; I don’t know if it’s a rock or what, but it’s part of the deal. We can make some stuff this week, even if the team doesn’t go back home, and we will be better next weekend.”

Tyla Rattray: “It was a tough weekend for me, for the team, for Ryan, for everyone. We’re not where we want to be; we did a lot of testing, with suspensions, we thought we had good settings coming here, but the GP tracks are much different than the US tracks and where we’ve been testing in Europe. In this case we return to the drawing board, and do some testing; we return with Ryan to Belgium before going to Thailand, we’ll do some more testing this week and will continue to work hard. Sometimes you have to deal with the circumstances, and do the best that you can, but we’ll be ready for Thailand.”

Ken De Dycker: “I just didn’t have a good feeling. The first moto I got an okay start but then I crashed and I bent the handlebars, so it was difficult. Then in the second moto I got very tired and I just didn’t have the strength. I think maybe I put a bit too much pressure on myself.”

Tommy Searle: “I put in a lot of hard work, as did Claudio (De Carli Team Manager) and the whole team to come into this season 100 percent so to be in this position is hard to take. I tried to race (in the second moto) but with so much pain I just couldn’t manage it.”

Thomas Covington: “It wasn’t a bad weekend for me, a lot better than last year as I rode consistent. I scored a top ten overall even though I crashed in both races, that’s not so bad. In the first race I collided with Tonkov and went off the track, unfortunately I couldn’t find a place to get back on the track and lost a lot of time. I came back to eleventh and then in the second moto I was running in fifth after a decent start, but I crashed before the big double and had to come back again from 19th to 10th. I’m happy with the way I’m riding, the bike was running very good and I never gave up as I wanted a top ten result here.”

Jordi Tixier: “Not so much to say about this first GP, it was not a good one for me and I’m very disappointed tonight. I had a good start in the qualifying race but Herlings pushed me down in the third corner, so I didn’t have a good gate for the races. Today I crashed; I’m not where I want to be after so much training this winter, but I hope next weekend will be a different story in Thailand.”

 Jeremy van Horebeek: “It was the first GP and I was not really relaxed and I struggled to find a good setting because the track was really sketchy. I don’t like it at all. The design is very nice but there are many deep, square bumps. I struggled also with the starts and they were the key this weekend. I think I have the speed; it is not like the guys are pulling away from me. I was better in the second moto and the gap to the others stayed the same from the first lap. I could see the others ahead. I think I changed what could have been a bad weekend into a good one because I wasn’t comfortable out there. So, the same as last year and I will be ready to pull the trigger next week.”

Romain Febvre: “It was a pretty good first GP except that my starts were not that great. I was tenth on the first corner of the first race but I made some moves to seventh. I was stuck behind Shaun Simpson and it was really difficult to pass him. He made a mistake with three or four laps to go and I could get by. The result was good because the track was difficult with many sharp bumps. The grip varied and it was difficult to get a feeling with the bike. My start was worse in the second moto and I made a mistake by coming short on a double jump and almost crashed. I was really lucky. I was behind Villopoto for many laps and passed him. I think I used too much energy with Villopoto, which meant that I had nothing left to chase Strijbos. Anyway sixth overall with the new team, new bike, new class is positive and I’m happy.”

David Philippaerts: We had one good moto after a bad start. In the second I had a good lap-time – a 1min 51 – which was one of the best for me today. I passed three riders in one lap but half way through the moto we broke the rear wheel on a jump landing. I had to stop because it was the second wheel we broke this weekend. I’m happy to get into the top ten because I think the level this year is very difficult. My speed was good and I’m faster than last year here…but the wheel was a shame. I think many other riders had the same problem. We have to focus for Thailand and Argentina now and keep that top ten position.”

Max Anstie: “We have worked hard with the team for several weeks, and tonight I’m just disappointed with the way it has turned out. I had a few issues yesterday, but it was the first race for us this season and we needed to know where the bike was. I had a decent first moto with a seventh, the second race was even better; I felt really good and was in fourth when I had a big crash in a difficult section. The good news is that I’m still alive, even if I’ve got some pain in my leg.”

Mel Pocock: “My starts are not so good so far this year as we’re still getting used to the new bike. I have good speed but unfortunately I twisted my left knee halfway through the first race. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to start the second race, but I soon had to retire because another rider’s footrest went in my wheel and broke the spokes.”

Glenn Coldenhoff: “I was struggling all weekend long. I was riding way-too stiff with arm-pump and tired shoulders. I got a great start in the first moto and was fourth and started to drop back. I finally started to find my rhythm in the second moto; like I should be riding and passing a few guys. It was a good way to end the weekend.”

Jeremy Seewer: “A pretty good start to the season. I’m happy and the first moto was very positive. The result was good and my riding was OK also. For a long time it was comfortable to do that pace. I made some mistakes in the second race but the track was tricky. We’ll go again in Thailand.”

 

MXGP QATAR – QUICK FACTS

Circuit length: 1595m

Type of ground: hard pack

Temperature: 21°C

Weather conditions: clear

Crowd attendance: 9000

 
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