The Return of the Bullet! Patron MXGP of Russia – Preview
MXGP is in route to the Patron MXGP of Russia and the 8th round of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship this weekend. The venue is prepped, and racing is set to take place this Saturday and Sunday on the coast of the Black Sea in Orlyonok, Russia. Returning for its third year as a host, the hilly, hard pack, and high-speed circuit will be the newest chapter in the 2019 MXGP and MX2 title saga with all the best riders ready to race.
The Russian round of the MXGP and MX2 Motocross World Championships will also be joined with the FIM Europe Motocross Championships of EMX250 and EMX2T presented by FMF Racing. The last EMX250 racing took place only two weeks ago in France where we saw Maddii Racing Husqvarna’s Alberto Forato defeated for the first time this season and to none other than his title competitor Stephen Rubini from the Honda Redmoto Assomotor team. On the other hand, EMX2T presented by FMF Racing has had one extra week to prep for Russia after the last round in Portugal ended with a dominant victory by Team Ecomaxx Fuels Mike Kras to take over the red plate from Verde Substance KTM’s Brad Anderson.
The MXGP title is getting tighter and tighter after Team HRC’s Tim Gajser has made the most of the last 2 rounds in Portugal and France with double victories and 100 points. The Slovenian has returned to his 2017 MXGP World Champion form and is set to continue his winning streal this week.
Meanwhile Antonio Cairoli from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing still leads the Championship by 10 points, a gap which was previously much larger prior to his almost scoreless Race 2 finish at the last round in France.
Gajser and Cairoli will likely go head to head once again this weekend but have to face the defending MXGP of Russia winner for the last 2 seasons, Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle. Desalle has gone somewhat under the radar so far this year but holds 4th in the standings coming into this weekend and will look to not only repeat his winning performances of 2017 and 2018 but to also surpass Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP’s Gautier Paulin who is currently third in the points.
Paulin’s Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP teammate Arnaud Tonus will be especially intriguing to watch this week after scoring 3rd overall in Portugal followed by 2nd overall in France, not to mention the Swiss rider is surely well versed on the hard pack conditions likely this weekend.
The Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP team is also shaping into form over the past two rounds and is now back at full strength with Romain Febvre and Jeremy Seewer both ready to battle in the top 5.
Additional riders to watch this weekend include BOS Factory’s Evgeny Bobryshev, in what is his home GP, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass, who won MX2 here last year, and the reigning MXGP World Champion Jeffrey Herlings from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing who is expected to make his long-awaited return to the stacked MXGP lineup.
2018 MXGP of Russia MXGP Podium:
2019 MXGP Championship Top Ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 311 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 301 p.; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 218 p.; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 208 p.; 5. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, HUS), 190 p.; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 184 p.; 7. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, YAM), 162 p.; 8. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, HON), 156 p.; 9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 144 p.; 10. Julien Lieber (BEL, KAW), 141 p.
The MX2 action is also developing with new contenders such as Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha Official MX2’s Jago Geerts inserting himself into the battle for wins dominated by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado.
Prado had been unbeatable this season until being one upped by Geerts in Race 1 at the MXGP of France 2 weeks ago. The addition of Geerts to the already interesting racing between Prado and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsen, who won in Prado’s absence, is just another cherry on this tasty cake that is the 2019 MX2 World Championship fight.
Geerts’ Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha teammate Ben Watson has had a hit and miss season so far but has made improvements each round. Watson was on the podium here last year behind Prado and could make a surprise return this week.
Another rider who has performed well in Russia is DIGA Procross Husqvarna’s Davy Pootjes. Pootjes has already scored his first career podium earlier this year and could be on track to score second on Sunday.
F&H Racing’s Henry Jacobi had shown brilliance in the early round of the year but struggled with mistakes in both Portugal and France which will make him eager to rebound in Russia. Aside from Jacobi other podium threats include his teammate Adam Sterry, Honda 114 Motorsports’ Mitch Evans, and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle.
2018 MXGP of Russia MX2 Podium:
2019 MX2 Championship Standings: 1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 297 points; 2. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 283 p.; 3. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 217 p.; 4. Henry Jacobi (GER, KAW), 210 p.; 5. Mitchell Evans (AUS, HON), 187 p.; 6. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 184 p.; 7. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 182 p.; 8. Davy Pootjes (NED, HUS), 157 p.; 9. Adam Sterry (GBR, KAW), 157 p.; 10. Bas Vaessen (NED, KTM), 125 p.