The MXGP of Charente Maritime has kicked off with a French domination in the MXGP and MX2 qualifying races with victories for Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP’s Romain Febvre and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing of Tom Vialle.
The already packed Saint Jean d’Angely circuit delivered on the usual French Grand Prix atmosphere, with plenty of fans turning out to show support from their home heroes who certainly produced the result everyone hoped for.
Alongside the celebrations of the French qualifying winners, we also witnessed Hutten Metaal Yamaha Racing’s Rick Elzinga wrap up the EMX250 during the first race of the category.
In the MXGP qualifying heat, it was Romain Febvre with the flying start ahead of Team HRC’s Mitch Evans and Tim Gajser as well as Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing’s Harri Kullas and Calvin Vlaanderen.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Maxime Renaux started in around 13th position, he eventually managed to finish in 11th.
Evans was looking solid in second before he lost the front and crashed out of second place. The Australian lost plenty of positions as a result but managed to come back to eighth by the end of the heat.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer caught onto the rear wheel of Vlaanderen, and it was jumping the uphill triple that helped him secure the position, as he took away third from the Dutchman.
Further behind, Kullas and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff were then locked in a battle for fifth, with Coldenhoff managing to find his way past on the very final lap.
Gajser though was beginning to close the gap down to Febvre after being urged on by Seewer who was looking fast around the Saint Jean d’Angely circuit. As Seewer continued to push, the pressure began to mount, as Gajser made a mistake which allowed the Swiss right onto the rear wheel.
It looked like Seewer was ready to line up a pass on the Slovenian, but looped out and crashed pretty hard, though got going quickly and remained in third.
Febvre ended up winning the qualifying race for the second time in a row this season and will start from P1 tomorrow ahead of Gajser, Seewer, Vlaanderen and Coldenhoff.
Romain Febvre: “I didn’t have the best feeling on the track this morning, but I managed to do a good time practice and then qualifying went good. I took the holeshot which helped me a lot. I made a small gap in the beginning and then I was riding my own race without rushing. I saw Seewer was coming and he pushed Gajser to go faster, and they closed the gap. But I knew from this morning that Seewer was fast… Anyway, tomorrow I will try not to make the same mistakes as last weekend”.
Main Photo: Romain Febvre
Bottom Photos: 1. Tim Gajser 2. Jeremy Seewer jumps the uphill triple to pass Calvin Vlaanderen
MXGP – Qualifying Race – Top 10 Classification: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), 24:30.039; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:03.129; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:10.603; 4. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:30.878; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +0:35.319; 6. Harri Kullas (EST, Yamaha), +0:36.628; 7. Pauls Jonass (LAT, Husqvarna), +0:44.101; 8. Mitchell Evans (AUS, Honda), +0:45.721; 9. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +0:47.299; 10. Alberto Forato (ITA, GASGAS), +0:48.055;
In the qualifying race of the MX2 category, it was Team VRT KTM VERITISE rider Tom Guyon who took the holeshot from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle as well as Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Thibault Benistant and Jago Geerts.
Vialle wasted no time to get into the lead, as Benistant followed behind. Guyon dropped to third and was also later passed by Geerts.
Further down the order, Diga Procross KTM Racing’s Liam Everts took away sixth from F&H Kawasaki Racing’s Kevin Horgmo as Vialle held a 2.566 second lead over Benistant and Geerts.
Geerts was looking to close the gap to his teammate but may have pushed too hard as he crashed and dropped out of third place. He picked himself up in 11th.
Everts then continued his charge forward as he caught and passed Guyon for third on lap four. Shortly after, Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Simon Längenfelder made a move on SM Action Racing Team YUASA Batter’s Andrea Adamo for sixth. Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Roan Van De Moosdijk was just ahead of the pair.
In the final stages of the race, Benistant closed right in on his fellow countryman, as he and Vialle battled closely for the win. Despite Benistant’s best efforts, Vialle was able to hold on and cross the line just 0.198 of a second ahead.
Tom Vialle: “Today was a good day. Straightaway in practice I felt, I finished first and I had a good choice for the gate. In the first corner, I could pass to first and then managed a little bit to control the race, but Thibault was pushing quite a bit in the last four or five laps, so it was not easy”.
Top Photo: Tom Vialle and Thibault Benistant cross the finish line
Bottom Photos: 1. Liam Everts 2. Tom Guyon
MX2 – Qualifying Race – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 24:53.137; 2. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:00.198; 3. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +0:24.441; 4. Tom Guyon (FRA, KTM), +0:29.072; 5. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Husqvarna), +0:31.035; 6. Simon Längenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +0:33.824; 7. Andrea Adamo (ITA, GASGAS), +0:37.360; 8. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:38.503; 9. Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), +0:39.912; 10. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Kawasaki), +0:42.500;
WEEKEND TIMETABLE (Local Time CEST)
SUNDAY: 08:50 bLU cRU 125 Race, 09:50 bLU cRU 85 Race, 10:25 MX2 Warm-up, 10:45 MXGP Warm-up, 11:30 EMX250 Race 2, 13:15 MX2 Race 1, 14:15 MXGP Race 1, 16:10 MX2 Race 2, 17:10 MXGP Race 2.