Watson and Gajser victorious at the MXGP of Lommel – Race Report, Results and Highlights
The MXGP of Lommel has concluded the Belgian triple-header here in Lommel, which saw Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing MX2 Ben Watson take to the top of the box as the pair finished the week in the sand, on a high note.
A new track layout was introduced for this weekend’s races which saw some changes to sectors three and four that really sped up the rhythm of the races and made for some interesting battles.
In MXGP, Tim Gajser took two quite different race victories in the races today, as he claimed his first double race win of the season and his third overall victory. Meanwhile Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre occupied the second step of the podium, with two solid second place finishes, which put him ahead of Jeremy Seewer of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing who was the third rider on the podium.
In the opening race, it was Gajser who claimed the Fox Holeshot. He was closely followed by Seewer and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli, who wasted no time to pass into second by the end of the opening lap. Febvre also went through on Seewer on the opening lap, pushing him down to fourth.
Febvre then passed Cairoli and put in some solid laps, as he worked away at the 3.906 second gap between himself and the race leader. A lap later the gap was halved as just 1.716 was in it between the Honda and Kawasaki rider.
Seewer was pushing to go after Cairoli, in the early stages of the race, to claim back third, though eventually lost a bit of ground on the 9-time world champion.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Arnaud Tonus was having a really solid ride in the opening race, as he went after Jordi Tixier of JT911 for fifth. At one point in the race the factory Yamaha riders, Seewer, Tonus and Gautier Paulin were fourth, fifth and sixth in the race, before Paulin found a way through on his teammate, who came into the goggle lane towards the end of the race and lost a couple of more spots.
Gajser and Febvre kept things close for the first half of the race, though towards the latter stages, the HRC rider showed that he was on another level as he edged out further and by the end finishing the race with a 22.638 second gap. Febvre was second and Cairoli in a solid third. Seewer settled for fourth, while his teammate Paulin finished behind him in fifth.
Marchetti Racing Team KTM’s Brian Bogers and Tixier both had a solid race to finish sixth and seventh.
Race two saw Gajser out in the lead once again, with Tonus, Febvre, Seewer and SR Honda Motoblouz rider Jeremy Van Horebeek also getting a good start. Meanwhile Cairoli had an unlucky beginning to the heat, as he picked himself up in last after crashing in the first couple of corners.
There was also drama for Gajser on the opening lap, as he went down while in first, which allowed Seewer to quickly sneak into the lead. The Swiss led briefly as Febvre pushed hard to get around him and eventually moved into first.
Febvre then edged away from Seewer, while Gajser was making his way back up the order as he caught onto the back of Van Horebeek. It took a couple of laps for Gajser to get around the #89 and when he was eventually able to do so he then went after Tonus who was third at the time.
By lap 5 Gajser was already ahead of Tonus, as he set his sights on Seewer. The Slovenian carved his way around the deep sand in impressive fashion, and two laps later was up in second, as Seewer dropped to third.
With 10 minutes on the clock the gap was 6.168 between Febvre and Gajser, though Gajser was able to take almost two seconds out of the Frenchman by the next lap and then worked away at the gap even further and by lap 11, the Honda rider, was the new race leader.
With three laps to go, Tonus came under fire from Paulin and Van Horebeek, though Van Horebeek did not finish the race due to what looked like a bike issue.
In the end it was Gajser who claimed a double race win, with Febvre second and Seewer third. In terms of the championship, heading into the final three GPs in Italy, Gajser leads by 74 points, while Cairoli is still second on 509 points, as Seewer moves back up into third with 499 points.
Tim Gajser: “I’m very happy, the races were good, the speed was good, and I was enjoying it a lot. The first race I took a really good position because it was raining and track was wet, so it’s way more easier to ride in front and I made a comfortable lead. In the beginning Romain was pushing but then I managed to make a little gap and win the race. The second one, I took another good start, got the FOX holeshot and then the first lap I got a bit sideways and went back to seventh. I took a couple of laps to re-group but then started to ride good again, found some nice smooth lines and came back to the lead and then won, so I’m super happy”.
“I mean three GPs to go, still six races to go, so I’m 100% focused and will try to give my best and then we will see” he added.
Romain Febvre: “I had a good start and took the lead in the second lap I think. I was really comfortable out there and I was doing some good things but losing in some spots also and I knew it but I was just focused on those sections. I didn’t find a good line where I was slow and I saw that Tim was coming back and I thought for sure he has some good lines and I can see where I’m losing time, two corners after I crashed so could not really follow him but it’s a shame because we were in the lead but we finished second and are on the box”.
Jeremy Seewer: “It’s nice to be back on the podium after a rough week here in Lommel. You know it just really proves a lot out there with the rain, the track, three GPs in a row, with the weather the sand is just more tricky. I did two solid races without any big mistakes. Hats off to Tim he was on another level today, he’s riding really well at the moment and now I’m looking forward to Arco [Trentino] because it’s more my kind of track so looking positive there.”
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 36:25.583; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:22.638; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:39.629; 4. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:55.783; 5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +1:00.705; 6. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +1:09.550; 7. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +1:14.677; 8. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +1:14.890; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Honda), +1:23.600; 10. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:43.515;
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 36:31.050; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:18.740; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:23.084; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:30.972; 5. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +0:55.849; 6. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:10.025; 7. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +1:25.726; 8. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Husqvarna), +1:31.433; 9. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +1:36.101; 10. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +1:49.623;
MXGP – GP Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 50 points; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 44 p.; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 38 p.; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 34 p.; 5. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 31 p.; 6. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, YAM), 29 p.; 7. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 29 p.; 8. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 26 p.; 9. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 26 p.; 10. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, HON), 18 p.
MXGP – World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 583 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 509 p.; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 499 p.; 4. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 476 p.; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 465 p.; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 403 p.; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GAS), 375 p.; 8. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 362 p.; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, HON), 289 p.; 10. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 263 p.;
MXGP – Manufacturers Classification: 1. KTM, 658 points; 2. Honda, 620 p.; 3. Yamaha, 565 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 534 p.; 5. GASGAS, 428 p.; 6. Husqvarna, 342 p.;
In MX2, it was a special day for Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Watson who claimed his first overall victory of his career with another race win in the opening race and a fourth in race two. Finishing second overall was Roan Van De Moosdijk of F&H Kawasaki Racing as he made his return to the podium in epic fashion, with his first race win in the MX2 category during heat two. And rounding out the podium was Yamaha SM Action MC Migliori J1 Racing’s Maxime Renaux who had a solid day finishing second and fifth in the races.
The first MX2 race saw Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle claim his 17th Fox Holeshot of the season as he led Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts, Thibault Benistant of Hutten Metaal Yamaha Racing and Watson.
Geerts then went down in the early stages of the race and it was Vialle who led Renaux, Benistant and Watson on the first official lap. Watson then went after Benistant for third as he began his charge for the race win, though he had Van de Moosdijk on his rear wheel too.
Pretty quickly Watson was in third, and continued his way forward, while his teammate, Geerts, was having a tough ride down outside the top 20.
On lap 5, Gifting crashed out of 5th and re-joined the race in 11th. He then gave it a good effort to pull back as many positions as possible as he fought his way back up to 8th for another solid top 10 result.
Vialle led the race with a steady gap to Renaux, though the hard-charging Watson was taking quite a bit of time out of the pair, as he caught on to the back of Renaux and eventually passed the Frenchman on lap 10. The Brit then took chunks of time out of Vialle for the next four laps, before getting onto the rear wheel of the KTM rider and then passing him.
Vialle then came under pressure from Renaux, who also managed to move up a position with just three laps to go. Though it was Watson who won the opening race, with Renaux finishing 7.958 seconds behind in second and Vialle third. Meanwhile, Geerts brought it home in 13th.
The gate then dropped for the second MX2 race of the day and it was Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts who claimed the Fox Holeshot, as he led Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle, Van de Moosdijk and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsen.
Diga Procross GasGas Factory Juniors pilot Isak Gifting was having a great race, as he took fourth from Olsen in the early stages of the race and then went after Vialle for third.
Watson had to work hard in the second race, as he started down in 6th, though he made a couple of good passes to finish 4th, which got him on the top step of the podium.
The bad luck continued for Geerts in the second race, as he crashed out of the lead on lap three, which allowed Van de Moosdijk to inherit first place. Geerts then managed only a couple more laps before another big crash, dropped him from 4th to 10th. He was however able to make a few passed before the end of the race to finish 7th.
But it was Van de Moosdijk who led the race until the chequered flag dropped on lap 16, after defending his position from the likes of Gifting, Vialle and Olsen who were keen for top positions.
Gifting and Vialle had a couple of good laps battling amongst themselves, though as Olsen and Watson joined in on the fight, it allowed the GasGas rider to get ahead, while Vialle came under pressure from the Dane and the Brit, who were able to find their way through.
Renaux came next as he pushed Vialle down to 6th and in the end it was Moosdijk who won the race with a 7.808 gap to Gifting and Olsen.
In terms of the championship, Geerts has lost some ground on Vialle who now heads into the final three rounds with a 74-point advantage, with Renaux down in third with 476 points.
Ben Watson: “In race one I felt like I did a good race. My start was good and the first lap I lost one position and I was in fourth for a little while, then it takes me a little while to get into it, I was able to get in my rhythm and keep putting my laps in. I found one spot on track where I was able to pass the guys in and it was working for me and I won good, I was really pleased with this race. Race two was a little bit of a different story. My start was really bad, and I was tight. I mean in the beginning of the race it was ok, but it took me time to come through like I normally can and then when it came towards the end and I could see who was in front of me and who was behind me, it [the overall victory] was going through my head. It was a little bit of a problem for me as I was riding tight but the thing is now that I’ve won a GP and no one can take it away from me and it’s a big weight lifted off me so now I can just focus on moving forward”.
Roan Van De Moosdijk: “Really happy to finally win a race. The first race wasn’t what I had expected, I had really bad arm-pump after ten minutes so that race felt really long. Luckily I could turn it around in the second race and I was right there from the beginning and then the leader made a mistake, I just tried to make quick laps. I already led some laps on Wednesday but now I felt a little bit more comfortable and the last few laps were quite intense but I’m really happy”.
Maxime Renaux: “The day went pretty good. In the first race I felt good out on track and finished second so that was a pretty good race. The second one was a bit harder I started further at the back and then had push and I felt also tight on the track so it was not the best race of the year but I tried to do my best and give my best to be on the podium and that’s good it’s nice to be back on the box and now I’m looking forward to more of this”.
Tom Vialle: “It was a difficult day. In the morning I was feeling pretty good but in the first race, in the last ten minutes, I was really struggling with the rhythm, especially in the wave section, so I lost a lot of time and finished third. The feeling with the bike and the track was not so good. In the second race, it was more of the same. I was struggling with the track. I didn’t have any flow today, but for the championship it was quite a good day and I’m really happy about that”.
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), 36:15.672; 2. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:07.958; 3. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +0:19.273; 4. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:27.475; 5. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:32.999; 6. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Kawasaki), +0:38.393; 7. Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:39.620; 8. Isak Gifting (SWE, GASGAS), +0:49.009; 9. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:49.770; 10. Cyril Genot (BEL, Yamaha), +1:01.312;
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Kawasaki), 36:37.993; 2. Isak Gifting (SWE, GASGAS), +0:07.808; 3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:09.050; 4. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:14.966; 5. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:27.676; 6. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +0:43.561; 7. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:56.281; 8. Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +1:05.561; 9. Alvin Östlund (SWE, Honda), +1:16.731; 10. Stephen Rubini (FRA, Honda), +1:21.612;
MX2 – GP Top 10 Classification: 1. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 43 points; 2. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, KAW), 40 p.; 3. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 38 p.; 4. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 36 p.; 5. Isak Gifting (SWE, GAS), 35 p.; 6. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 35 p.; 7. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 28 p.; 8. Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 27 p.; 9. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 22 p.; 10. Alvin Östlund (SWE, HON), 21 p.;
MX2 – World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 651 points; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 577 p.; 3. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 476 p.; 4. Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 456 p.; 5. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 446 p.; 6. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 440 p.; 7. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, KAW), 417 p.; 8. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 307 p.; 9. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, YAM), 279 p.; 10. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, KAW), 234 p.;
MX2 – Manufacturers Classification: 1. Yamaha, 675 points; 2. KTM, 667 p.; 3. Husqvarna, 536 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 499 p.; 5. Honda, 340 p.; 6. GASGAS, 266 p.;