A big day for Tim Gajser and HRC and a typical day for Jorge Prado and the Red Bull KTM boys. Also great performances from Australian Mitchell Evans who scored his second podium of the season, and of course Antonio Cairoli who keeps fighting as hard as possible for a GP win. Thomas Olsen and Arnaud Tonus make for nice podium finishers.
Tim Gajser: It was really great to come away with two wins and the overall here in Portugal. I put last weekend behind me and I knew that if I focused and rode like I know how to ride, I could do well at this Agueda track. Still, to get both moto victories is a great confidence booster and backs up my win in Trentino very nicely. I now have the fastest laps in the last four motos so my speed is good and I know I am feeling strong too. These back to back races are tough but I head to France really happy with my riding and confident that the bike and I are working well together. A big thanks to the team for working so hard to help make this happen, and let’s keep up the effort!
Tony Cairoli: “On one side I’m happy because the goal is to always be on the podium but in another way I’m disappointed. In the first moto I made a silly mistake and I stalled the bike but I could get back to Tim. In the second I was swapping lines. Where I crashed was a lottery, there was a lot of mud and I chose another line at the last moment and there was a rock that twisted my front end. I’m happy I didn’t hurt myself.”
Jorge Prado: “This is the closest to a home GP and so many fans came out and were cheering for me, so I really enjoyed it. I went top of the table today and I think everybody wants a race like this. It was a great weekend. I had two great starts and could make it happen again. We needed to get that red plate.”
Thomas Kjer Olsen: “Generally, I’m very pleased with how I’ve ridden here in Portugal. Losing the red plate isn’t great, I never wanted that, but again my speed has been good and to get second overall after a tough second moto is great. I felt good all weekend, and I’d been looking forward to the GP. Things are heading in a good direction so plenty of positives from the both races in Portugal. I got a good start in the opening race and worked my way from fifth to third. The pace was really strong and we were all pushing really hard and using a lot of energy. Second in that first race was really good. I was pretty lucky in the second race that I didn’t go down entering the first corner – I ended up going right when the corner went left. I had a lot of work to do after that and just rode as hard as I could. Working my way back to fourth was good. Carrying the red plate into more GPs would have been nice, but nothing changes now that I don’t have it. I want it back. I want to be winning races. I just need to keep focused and work on consistent starts.”
Mitchell Evans: “I am stoked. I got good start and made my way into the lead a few corners in,unfortunately fitness isn’t there yet. This one, I really appreciated it and I am so stoked.”
Arnaud Tonus: “It feels amazing to be back on the podium. It’s hard to put the feeling into words actually. I just feel thankful. Really thankful. Thankful to my team, and to Yamaha, and all of the people who support me for sticking behind me through what was the toughest time in my career. To be back up here after all of that is so cool. I am so happy and especially because I had to fight really hard for this result. I was passed and I had to pass people back and fight really hard, and that just makes a result like this so much sweeter, to know that I fought for it.”
Courtney Duncan: “I was really happy with the weekend; the goal was to put two solid races together and I did that. I got blocked in at the first turn in that second race, but I didn’t panic, sorted out a good place to make a clean pass and could race away. I’m just taking it race by race at the moment and not really thinking about the championship, but I’m stoked to get the double win and take the red plate to the next round. We’ve got a nine week break now, so I’ll be going back to New Zealand to keep doing the work and come out swinging at Loket.”
Tom Vialle: “The weekend started well with 4th in Timed Practice but the crash in the Qualification Heat made things complicated today. I was happy with the first moto and 6th, but the second race was difficult after the start so 13th was OK. 7th overall means I’m pretty happy with the weekend. I cannot wait to be in France now. It’s a good track and I’m excited to ride in front of the French fans. I’ll be giving my maximum as always.”
Jeremy Seewer: “I had a positive weekend. I had two good starts from a bad gate pick, especially on this kind of start. I had good speed this weekend. I finished fourth in the first race which was really good because I struggled yesterday, but I felt good today. Second race was really good again, I settled in fifth, but the entry into the wave section here is really tricky. There are rocks, ruts, kickers, no kickers, lots to consider and every lap you get there, the bike handles differently. I got kicked sideways on the last lap and slid it out. I lost five spots. I still reached my goal, so this is positive for the next races.”
Clément Desalle: “It was a decent day if we consider that I couldn’t ride so much during the past weeks and there some positive points. It was great to lead the second moto with a very good rhythm for so many laps and that’s encouraging for the next rounds. I continue to recover from my knee injury and I feel that it’s coming better each week. The other positive point are my starts, and then to score a sixth and a fourth give me good points for the championship. Physically it’s still tough to maintain such a high intensity for the entire race but I know that I will be able to continue to improve my condition in the coming weeks.”
Julien Lieber: “The first moto was good; I got a good start and had consistent lap times to finish fifth, not so far from Seewer. I tried to pass him and pushed in the last few laps but I couldn’t quite make it stick. In the second moto my start was again good but in the second corner two riders hit me; I nearly crashed and lost many positions but I came back to ninth. It was a solid weekend; the track was really nice and I take renewed confidence to the next round in France.”
Pauls Jonass: “I’ve really enjoyed the GP of Portugal. It’s a track I’ve always liked and the conditions were pretty much perfect here. I guess I was feeling good after my podium result in Italy last weekend, but it also feels good to get a strong result in more normal conditions. My physical fitness is improving all the time and as it does I’m able to enjoy racing a 450 more and more. I didn’t get the best of starts here, but I made some important passes in the first laps of both races, which really helped me. The track was fast and a lot of riders were really pushing hard, so it wasn’t easy to make passes. I rode consistently during both motos, which was also important. I feel like I’m making some good progress, which gives me extra motivation to keep working hard with the team.”
Arminas Jasikonis: “This hasn’t been the GP myself or the team hoped for. But I’m leaving Portugal physically ok, just with two frustrating results. After my crash in the qualification race I knew today would be tough. Not getting the best of starts on a fast and generally one-lined track didn’t make things any easier for me, but that’s racing. I gave my all, made some good passes, but just wasn’t where I hoped I’d be. But like I said, I’m in one-piece and we’ll get back to work in France next weekend.”
Henry Jacobi: “Normally with a fourth overall I would be happy, but it’s a little bit disappointing because I was third or second during the first race until I had a big crash in the waves on the last lap. I tried to pass back Olsen but he changed his line and took mine so I had to use a different one too but there was a stone and I saw it too late. It was a big crash; I was even wondering if I would be able to race the second moto as my hand was painful but I decided to have a go, made a good start and didn’t feel any pain! I eventually passed Evans for second and it remains very good for the championship so we can’t be unhappy tonight.”
Roan van de Moosdijk: “It was an unbelievable day! In the first moto I crashed with other riders at the second turn but I came back from nearly last to fourteenth which was pretty good for me! The second moto I got the holeshot; Prado passed me after a few corners and then I stayed fourth for most of the race before Olsen passed me near the end. Anyway overall I’m really happy; it was the best possible training before the next round of the EMX250 next week in France.”
Adam Sterry: “I felt good all weekend and was expecting two good races today but in both races someone crashed in front of me during the first lap! In the first race I almost got the holeshot and was third when Darian crashed in front of me, and in the second moto Jed crashed on the triple and there was no place where I could go! I had to come from a long way back in both races; hopefully the next race will be different and I can have solid results.”
Jed Beaton: “It’s been a tough GP for me. I’m pretty beaten up and, yeah, things just didn’t go well despite two good starts. I went down in the second turn in the first moto so I just pushed as hard as I could. I stalled my bike at the end of the wave sections after passing about 10 riders, so I went back to last again. I gave everything to get to 12th, which I think was a good result considering what happened. I was about sixth off the start in the second heat but clashed with another rider over one of the jumps. I got landed on, my bike got landed on and it was pretty messed up and bent. There was no point in continuing so unfortunately I had to retire.”
Brian Bogers: The riding wasn’t so bad, with my laptimes not too far away from those inside the top 10. However my starts were a problem and that was a result of my qualification race yesterday. I didn’t have a good race then and that I meant I started from the outside today and that was really difficult at a track like this. I’m now really motivated for next weekend when I will try and do a lot better on both days and that should help me get back inside the top 10.
Romain Febvre: I had an up and down day today. I got arm pump every time I went on the track so that made it difficult. First race I struggled a lot with my arms and I had a small issue with the bike at the end of the race. I finished ninth, which is not bad, but not good either. I had a better start in the second race, and I had a good rhythm but I struggled with my arms again. Sixth in the final race is not so bad for a come-back I think. It’s a starting point and from here we can build.”
Gautier Paulin: “The result on paper was not what I wanted and it definitely does not reflect my speed. It reflects a mistake a made I made in Timed Practice where I was the only rider doing a cool transfer, but I went to wide and missed the line and had a big crash, so I struggled since that moment. I was feeling stiff this morning and then I crashed chasing the top-five on the first lap and was stuck under my bike. On a track like this it is really hard to come back so I fought hard for 15thplace and then in the second race I finished fifth. It’s not what I wanted, but I leave here safe. I will recover this week and will come back stronger next weekend.”
Jago Geerts: “A frustrating day. I was a bit ill, but still had a good feeling on the bike. My first race was pretty good. I kept calm and managed to go from 7th to 3rd place. But the start of the second race ruined everything. Olsen suddenly came from the inside to the outside and gave me a big knock. Even my goggles were broken. I was almost dead last and had to change goggles. I started my catch-up race and had a good rhythm, until Vaessen crashed in front of me. I couldn’t avoid him. Game over. Frustrating, because it wasn’t my fault.”
Ben Watson: “A terrible weekend. Almost the same as last week. It started with a bad result in the qualifying race. I knew I was facing a difficult job. Yet, I got a good start in the first race, but I went down on a wet spot in the first lap. It was very difficult to gain positions on this track. Same story in the second race. Beaton crashed in front of me, I couldn’t avoid him and was almost last. 18 and 14 in the races. That’s really bad. I don’t know what’s going on. This year I’m working harder than ever, but the results are going the opposite way. Bizarre.”
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