Herlings was not fastest in timed practice, but got it done in the first MX2 qualifying race of the year. Photo by: Ray Archer
Article by: Geoff Meyer from our MXGP coverage at MXLarge.com
The opening moto of the Grand Prix of Qatar was the MX2 qualification and as expected Herlings hit the front quickly, although to many peoples surprise Dylan Ferrandis kept the Dutchman in sight for a few laps. Further back Max Anstie battled with the likes of Jose Butron, Glenn Coldenhoff and Arnaud Tonus.
As the race settled down Herlings extended his lead over Ferrandis, and although only two seconds on lap six, it was four seconds on lap seven. The fastest rider on the track though was Tonus who clocked a 1:49.443 and moved from 7th to 3rd within a couple of laps. Anstie held sixth, and after nine laps the top ten was Herlings, Ferrandis, Tonus, Coldenhoff, Butron, Anstie, Lieber, Seewer, Charlier and Petrov. Jordi Tixier was 19th after the first few corners.
Australian Luke Styke had held 8th place, but dropped to 12th on lap nine. Also struggling were the Husqvarna riders Romain Febvre and Alexandr Tonkov in 16th and 17th places. American youngster Thomas Covington making his pro debut was in 13th place and riding well. Tixier was climbing through the pack and up to 9th.
Tonus was quickly closing in on the back wheel of Ferrandis and looking for a way to close the gap even more on lap 10, while Herlings lead was now five seconds. Coldenhoff was back in fourth and 14 seconds off the pace of his fellow countryman.
Herlings eventually won by seven seconds from Ferrandis, Tonus, Coldenhoff and Butron.
The MXGP qualification race and Kevin Strijbos took the early lead from Davide Guarneri, Evgeny Bobryshev, Shaun Simpson, Jeremy van Horebeek, Gautier Paulin, Matiss Karro, Clement Desalle, Xavier Boog and Antonio Cairoli in 10th place. Tommy Searle was 19th and Tyla Rattray in 21st place.
Strijbos looks calm up front as he made a small break on Guaneri, and Steven Frossard was working hard, moving into seventh place as Desalle slid over and lost some places. After one lap it was Strijbos, Guarneri, Bobryshev, Van Horebeek, Simpson, Paulin, Karro, Frossard and Waters (the Aussie coming from 13th place earlier in the lap).
Searle moved up to 13th just behind Desalle and Rattray was 17th, just ahead of him Jake Nicholls. Cairoli had gone down and was way back in 22nd position, although within a few corners passed Tanel Leok, Rui Goncalves and was onto Rattray.
Guarneri felt the wrath of the MXGP field as he dropped to fifth position and the front order was now Strijbos with a six second lead, Bobryshev, Paulin, Simpson, Guarneri, Karro, Frossard, Nagl, Waters and Van Horebeek in 10th. Further was were Desalle 11th, Searle 13th, Cairoli 16th, Nicholls 17th and Rattray 18th.
Strijbos was riding a lonely race now as was Bobryshev, although the battle for third place was heating up as Paulin, Frossard, Guarneri and Simpson fought of the crumbs. Desalle passed Waters for ninth place and Searle and Cairoli both moved up a position to 12th and 15th respectively.
Van Horebeek, Searle and Cairoli moved into 10th, 11th and 12th as Waters dropped out of the race. Bobryshev was making slight ground on Strijbos, the lead now four seconds, with Paulin and Frossard eight seconds back, the two Frenchman in a torrid battle for third place.
Cairoli passed Karro, Van Horebeek and Searle, moving into ninth position. Desalle was 8th and Searle now back in 16th after a mistake. Strijbos maintained his lead of four seconds, but the big action was between Desalle and Cairoli for seventh place. Both coming off crashed and working their way through the field.
Simpson was also out of the race, as Rattray moved into 13th position and Nicholls 15th. Cairoli passed Desalle, moving into seventh place and Paulin made a nice move to pass Bobryshev for second place.
Strijbos won through, from Paulin, Bobryshev, Frossard, Guarneri, Nagl, Cairoli, Desalle, Van Horebeek, Philippaerts, Roelants, Karro, Rattray, Searle and Boog 15th.
MX2 – Qualifying Race Results
1 84 Herlings, Jeffrey NED KNMV KTM 23:42.613
2 122 Ferrandis, Dylan FRA FFM Kawasaki 23:49.979
3 200 Tonus, Arnaud SUI FMS Kawasaki 23:53.544
4 259 Coldenhoff, Glenn NED KNMV Suzuki 23:59.681
5 17 Butron, Jose ESP RFME KTM 24:05.512
6 99 Anstie, Max GBR ACU Yamaha 24:08.748
7 33 Lieber, Julien BEL FMB Suzuki 24:11.311
8 23 Charlier, Christophe FRA FFM Yamaha 24:19.570
9 911 Tixier, Jordi FRA FFM KTM 24:20.467
10 152 Petrov, Petar BUL BMF Yamaha 24:22.474
11 91 Seewer, Jeremy SUI FMS Suzuki 24:24.049
12 64 Covington, Thomas USA AMA Kawasaki 24:25.056
13 8 Lupino, Alessandro ITA FMI Kawasaki 24:28.695
14 461 Febvre, Romain FRA FFM Husqvarna 24:29.072
15 59 Tonkov, Aleksandr RUS MFR Husqvarna 24:30.335
16 26 Styke, Luke AUS MA Yamaha 24:32.726
17 141 Desprey, Maxime FRA FFM Honda 24:33.934
18 92 Guillod, Valentin SUI FMS KTM 24:34.716
19 243 Gajser, Tim SLO AMZS Honda 24:35.431
20 195 Justs, Roberts LAT LAMSF Husqvarna 25:00.293
21 274 Lundgren, Anton SWE SVEMO Yamaha 25:12.218
22 400 Yamamoto, Kei JPN MFJ Honda 25:33.755
23 67 Klingsheim, Magne NOR NMF Yamaha 24:13.878
24 71 Valente, Christopher SUI FMS TM 25:38.948
25 300 Golovkin, Viacheslav RUS FMI KTM 17:45.326
Best lap: #200 Arnaud Tonus Time:1:49.443 in lap 5
MXGP – Qualifying Race Results
1 22 Strijbos, Kevin BEL FMB Suzuki 23:49.172
2 21 Paulin, Gautier FRA MCM Kawasaki 23:53.515
3 777 Bobryshev, Evgeny RUS MFR Honda 23:55.329
4 183 Frossard, Steven FRA FFM Kawasaki 23:55.429
5 39 Guarneri, Davide ITA FMI TM 23:57.216
6 12 Nagl, Maximilian GER DMSB Honda 23:57.920
7 222 Cairoli, Antonio ITA FMI KTM 23:58.442
8 25 Desalle, Clement BEL FMB Suzuki 24:06.515
9 89 Van Horebeek, Jeremy BEL FMB Yamaha 24:13.132
10 19 Philippaerts, David ITA FMI Yamaha 24:19.585
11 34 Roelants, Joel BEL FMB Honda 24:21.146
12 91 Karro, Matiss LAT LAMSF KTM 24:27.441
13 28 Rattray, Tyla RSA MSA Husqvarna 24:32.880
14 100 Searle, Tommy GBR ACU Kawasaki 24:35.326
15 121 Boog, Xavier FRA FFM Honda 24:37.503
16 45 Nicholls, Jake GBR ACU KTM 24:38.644
17 999 Goncalves, Rui POR FMP Yamaha 24:39.689
18 3 Leok, Tanel EST EMF TM 24:41.727
19 95 Justs, Augusts LAT LAMSF Husqvarna 24:55.473
20 62 Gercar, Klemen SLO AMZS Honda 25:22.737
21 411 Runnals, Ross Ian RSA UAEMC Kawasaki 25:42.911
22 24 Simpson, Shaun GBR ACU KTM 16:34.034
23 51 Getteman, Jens BEL FMB Honda 13:22.299
24 47 Waters, Todd AUS MA Husqvarna 11:02.047
25 69 Sabetifar, Amirezza IRI MAFIRI Yamaha 1:58.400