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Gajser and Everts top qualifying motos at 2024 MXGP of Portugal – Qualifying Race Report and Results

Gajser and Everts top qualifying motos at 2024 MXGP of Portugal – Qualifying Race Report and Results

In the end the rain had to come to us for the first time in 2024, but despite the muddy conditions the racing was still red hot at the MXGP of Portugal, and the fans added their voice to the atmosphere for the RAM Qualifying Races here at Agueda! Through the squally showers that made the track soft, wet, and heavily rutted, Tim Gajser worked his way to a clear victory in MXGP for Team HRC, taking his second Saturday win of the season and closing the gap at the top of the points table! That was after the MX2 race was won by a clinical performance from Liam Everts of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, which helps him move up the standings to 6th in the class.

Report and Images by Infront Moto Racing

World Championship leader Jorge Prado had kept his many fans from this part of the world happy with the fastest time in Free Practice for Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing, but an old enemy resurfaced as Jeffrey Herlings rose to the fore in worsening conditions to claim the first gate pick for the RAM Qualifying Race on his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine. Prado was just behind him, three quarters of a second back, whilst Isak Gifting was a great third for JK Yamaha Racing.

The heavy rain caused many riders to decline the chance of a sighting lap, although the top four in the Championship – Prado, Gajser, Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre, and Herlings, all made the decision to go out and check the circuit. Perhaps it was no surprise, then, that those four riders bolted quickly into the lead from the drop of the gate, Gajser just edging the holeshot before running too wide in the second corner and allowing Prado and Herlings through.

The three multi-champions knew that track position was paramount, and an aggressive move from Herlings on Prado in the fifth corner looked to have given him the lead. That was for a split-second, as Gajser pulled a stunning outside-to-inside move at the same time and passed both of his rivals in one fell swoop!

The Slovenian, Prado’s closest title challenger, took advantage of his clear vision and began to pull away, but vision seemed to be an issue for the red plate holder, as he lost positions steadily over the first few laps and looked to be telling his team that he would come in for a goggle change. That change never happened, however, and the reigning Champion had his second difficult RAM Qualifying Race in succession. Unlike in Trentino, he did score points, but only 4 this time for a 7th place finish.

Many riders struggled in the mud, but the leading trio of Gajser, Herlings, and Febvre kept it upright throughout to finish in that order, although Herlings put on a charge to draw to within two and a half seconds of the Honda as Gajser encountered the lapped riders first.

Calvin Vlaanderen moved forward steadily for Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing MXGP up to a season-best 4th position, with Pauls Jonass for Standing Construct Honda and Fantic Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff finishing 5th and 6th despite both men tipping over in separate incidents.

The six-point gain for Gajser nearly halved his deficit to Prado in the standings, hacking the Spaniard’s lead down to just seven points as we head into what could be a wild day of racing on Sunday!

Tim Gajser: “I had a good start but I went too wide so Jorge (Prado) passed me from inside and then also Jeffrey (Herlings) was also really aggressive for the first couple of corners but I knew I had to pass immediately. I was just going out and cutting and then I surprised both of them and took the lead. I was leading quite comfortable but when we started to get to the lappers it was mainly one line so it was not easy to pass but overall I’m very happy and I hope we can do the same tomorrow”

MXGP – RAM Qualifying Race Results


MXGP – World Championship – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 223 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 216 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 182 p.; 4. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 173 p.; 5. Pauls Jonass (LAT, HON), 148 p.; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, KAW), 141 p.; 7. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 138 p.; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, FAN), 123 p.; 9. Valentin Guillod (SUI, HON), 88 p.; 10. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, HON), 82 p

The Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing flyer Lucas Coenen topped the timesheets in both Free Practice and the slightly drier Time Practice session in MX2. The Belgian was a stunning 1.7 seconds in front of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 rider Rick Elzinga, with Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing starSimon Laengenfelder in third.

The track had taken a lot of rain, however, before the MX2 RAM Qualifying Race fired into life, and Lucas Coenen once more led the way from Elzinga, with JM Honda Racing’s Hakon Osterhagen making an audacious move on Sacha Coenen to put the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider back into 4th.

Heading towards the finish line area for the first time caused all sorts of issues for the pack, as Sacha Coenen tangled with his teammate Andrea Adamo and came off worse, hitting the ground. His brother Lucas then crashed out of the lead on an uphill slope, causing his Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing teammate Kay de Wolf to run off the circuit briefly! On rejoining the track, the red plate holder collided with Elzinga’s teammate Thibault Benistant, and two of the top three men in the Championship were on the floor!

Elzinga now led from Osterhagen, but the teenage Norwegian’s dream start nearly fell apart on lap two as he swerved off the track on a jump face, allowing Liam Everts to inherit second place. Osterhagen recovered to stay in third until the finish.

On the third lap, Everts made a smooth move past Elzinga to take the lead, and with all the trials experience and the natural balance associated with his surname, the #72 kept up the momentum from his overall win at Trentino and built a margin of 28 seconds over Elzinga by the finish. It was Liam’s first ever RAM Qualifying Race win, and in fact all of the top three collected their career-best Saturday finishes in MX2 Grand Prix racing.

Behind them, Simon Laengenfelder took advantage of a further crash for Lucas Coenen to claim 4th ahead of the Belgian, with Dutch privateer Jens Walvoort of the KTM SB Racing team taking a lifetime best of 6th! Benistant recovered to 8th behind the F&H Racing Team Kawasaki of Quentin Prugnieres, with TM Moto Steels Dr Jack’s Yago Martinez a remarkable 9th on his ahead of series leader De Wolf, who suffered another crash but still claimed a single point.

This leaves the Dutchman with a reduced 20-point lead over Laengenfelder in the standings, while Lucas Coenen has just moved up to third by two points from Benistant. As with the MXGP class though, it would take bravery to bet on the outcome of tomorrow’s Grand Prix races as the weather could play havoc with the Championship contenders again!

Liam Everts: “I got a good jump out of the gate. It was muddy you know so got to wrestle all over the track and I knew I had to be aggressive for the first laps and that’s what I did. I almost went down a few times but I managed to keep up. Once I found my rhythm I felt very good and did some trial riding!”

MX2 – RAM Qualifying Race Results:


MX2 – World Championship – Top 10 Classification: 1. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 214 points; 2. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 194 p.; 3. Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 153 p.; 4. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 151 p.; 5. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 139 p.; 6. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 138 p.; 7. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, TRI), 131 p.; 8. Camden Mc Lellan (RSA, TRI), 126 p.; 9. Rick Elzinga (NED, YAM), 119 p.; 10. Marc-Antoine Rossi (FRA, GAS), 101 p


SUNDAY: 09:45 EMX125 Race 2, 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.