Photo by: Ray Archer

Take a look at what the leading riders thought of their weekends at the opening round of the FIM World Motocross championships and the 2020 MXGP of Great Britain at Matterley Basin. Full results here.

Jeffrey Herlings: “The first race out of twenty and I was consistent: two good starts, led the whole first moto, got into third pretty quick behind Tony and took second. The track was sketchy and the sun was really low. It is still that time of the year where it gets dark quite early, so it was hard with the shadows. I didn’t want to take any risks and I was happy with second. It was a good weekend and I think we improved the bike over the winter because this was the first real test, let’s say. I am looking forward to Valkenswaard now and my home GP.”


Tim Gajser: “I’m happy with how this first round of the season went. Just I had a couple of crashes in the first moto, with one right at the beginning of the race which meant I started from dead last. I worked my way through the field to finish eighth, after the second crash right at the end dropping me one spot. In the second race I was hoping to get a good start and show my riding a bit better and that’s what happened. With the low sun and the ruts, the track was really quite tricky but I felt good and the moto felt comfortable. Second overall isn’t too bad after my first moto so now we move onto Valkenswaard for a new challenge.”


Mitch Evans: “It was a good weekend, excluding the start of that second moto. Everything else went really well. In the first race, I had a good start, avoiding some of the early race carnage and made my way into second. Unfortunately, I struggled with my breathing a bit because of my chest infection and finished third. I felt a lot better in the second moto although I had to push throughout the race because of the bad start. I used a lot of energy to get around guys as fast as I could and I hit a bit of a wall with eight minutes to go. Overall it was a good weekend though, I’m happy with my MXGP debut and now I get ready for Valkenswaard next weekend.”


Tony Cairoli: “It is nice to be back on the podium after so many months without racing. My shoulder has improved a lot in recent weeks but last week in Belgium I twisted my right knee and heard a crack. I thought ‘the season is finished already’. I went to the doctor and he confirmed a second-degree PCL tear. I taped the knee very hard yesterday and today and all the ruts out there were not helping. I just need to work as much as possible on the muscle to make it as stable as possible. So to be on the podium at this track and these conditions is amazing and I’m motivated again to work really hard and try to build it up. We will see what we can do next.”


Jorge Prado: “I’m a world champion so finishing 10th is not something I am used to; the last two years have been really good. But if I look at it the other way and after just two weeks of riding then I have to feel very happy about today. I didn’t have any pain and I have been working hard: this was the best I could do. I would say that last 6-7 minutes and two laps of the second moto were quite hard. The track was super-rough and I was pretty tired. I did not want to crash, and the sun was very low. First race of the season, first race with the 450 and the last time I raced was in Assen: what a weekend.”

Jago Geerts recorded his first-ever MX2 overall GP win. Photo by: Ray Archer

Jago Geerts: “It feels really good. It was a nice weekend. It was a little bit difficult in the second race. I crashed and hurt my shoulder a little bit but still managed to come back and get my first GP win. I’m really happy with that, and I get the red plate for the first time which is nice especially with Valkenswaard next weekend, a track that is not far from my home, I think it will be really special with a lot of fans out there. It will be nice, and I can’t wait.”


Tom Vialle: “I was feeling really comfortable with the bike in the first race but I made a mistake on a big jump and came too short. It was difficult to restart and I then finished sixth. The second race was better! It was tricky to pass Rene and also it started to rain a bit and I had a problem with the goggles. So I waited and then pushed hard. I won my first race and finished 2nd in the first GP of the year so I’m really happy with that.”


Rene Hofer: “Just amazing. My goal was to take two good starts and to try and ride like I do in practice. In the first moto I was 5th at the start and made my way up to 3rd and had nearly half the race there but could not make the pass on [Mathys] Boisrame and dropped back with some arm-pump. I was 6th on the last lap – and was OK with that – but made a small mistake, tipped over and lost two positions. In the second race I made the holeshot and passed Jago on the second lap. I really enjoyed the track. It is one of my favorites of the year. I almost led until the end. Anyway, it is the first GP of the year it feels incredible. I’m really happy.”


Mikkel Haarup: “What a weekend! I didn’t have any special expectations before I came here but I was fastest in qualification yesterday and then two decent motos today for the podium. I expected a mud race but it was perfect today; it’s a tough track but I feel like I rode mature, had a good flow and could push forward in the second half of both motos. Now I’m looking forward to next week at Valkenswaard; we’ve done a lot of sand training so I’m ready to build on this great start to my career with F&H Kawasaki.”


Roan van de Moosdijk: “It was tough. I didn’t make the best of starts in either moto and I never had a good feeling on the track. The team didn’t put any pressure on me and I didn’t put pressure on myself but this has never been my favorite track and we’re leaving here with eighth overall so let’s build on that next weekend at Valkenswaard.”

Tim Gasjer led from start to finish in moto 2 for a massive runaway win, but finished 3rd overall due to two crashes in the opening moto. Photo by: HRC

Mathys Boisrame: “I’m happy with the results; one week ago I didn’t know if I would even be there! I got a great start in the first race and was second for ten minutes but then I got arm-pump as I only rode the bike one time in the last six weeks. I’m happy as I see I have the speed; in the second race I was around tenth at the start and came back to seventh. It was a good weekend; now we’ll work for Valkenswaard which is a very different kind of track.”


Glenn Coldenhoff: “It was a solid weekend for me, two sixth-place finishes is a very good start to the championship. Qualifying yesterday wasn’t great, which didn’t give me the greatest gate pick for today’s races. But it was what it was and this morning in warm-up I felt great and posted the third-fastest time. That gave me some confidence heading into the races. My first moto start wasn’t great, but I pulled through from around 10th to sixth, so it was good to get the championship started with a positive result. The second moto was very similar to the first. I felt good, felt like my speed was there and had some good battles. I know that if my starts are better I can fight with the guys that were ahead of me this weekend. I’m looking forward to the next GP, it’s one of my favorites and I hope to get some solid results there too.”


Jed Beaton: “It was a good weekend for me. Fourth overall is a great result for the first Grand Prix, although I’m a little disappointed to miss the podium because of a small crash in the second race. In the first moto I had a good start, found some nice lines and came from eighth to second, which was great. I felt good and, yeah, it was good to get that result in the books. Second moto, it took a while to settle into a rhythm and then I just washed the front wheel out in a corner, losing a few places and I finished the race in sixth. For the upcoming rounds, I just need to be a little more patient. Overall, it’s been a great day and there are plenty of positives to take into round two next weekend.”


Clement Desalle: “It was my first GP since June last year; that’s a long time but I immediately had a good feeling. The schedule was much lighter yesterday because of the weather; we had only one session to learn the track and work on the settings. I got a good start in the first race and was fourth, close to the third guy when I made a mistake coming into a corner as a rut was soft; I crashed but I came back, made another little mistake but still finished fifth. I used a lot of energy in this race, and in the second one I was fifth after the first corners and kept this position to the finish; it’s been a pretty good weekend and my speed was good but we’ll continue to work to do even better.”


Thomas Kjer Olsen: “I’m happy with my weekend after only two days on the bike this week after my injury in January. I was a little disappointed with the first moto, my start wasn’t great, and I was buried in the pack. It’s a competitive class so it’s hard to pull through when you get a bad start. Fifth place in the second race was good and I’ll happily take that after being off of the bike for so long. Seventh overall is a good result and a good start to the season. I came here looking to make as many points as possible, and that’s what I did and I’m already looking forward to next weekend and knowing that my speed and fitness are both really good.”

We expected more than a 7th overall from Thomas Olsen. Photo by: JP Acevedo

Arminas Jasikonis: “In my first race I crashed three or four times and it was just a disaster. I needed to ride with my head but instead, I pushed too hard, causing more mistakes and crashes. In the second moto, I had a much better start but tangled with my teammate on the first lap and ended up on the ground. I was then almost last so to finish that race in 14th is not so bad. There are positives to take from here despite the result, like my speed in traffic and also my lap times, which were competitive. I know I’m strong and fast and I’m leaving here healthy, so we’ll draw a line under this one and improve next weekend.”


Ben Watson: “I didn’t expect a lot this weekend. I had missed a lot of bike time with a small hand injury. I was pretty happy with my first race considering the bike time we had yesterday. I actually needed all of the sessions yesterday, but they were canceled, so that was a little bit annoying. I got really tight in the first race, but I backed off a bit and that helped. I know seventh isn’t an amazing result, but I will take that for race one. It was solid points. Unfortunately, in the second race, I had an issue with my rear brake, so I had to ride the whole race without it. It’s only the first round so it’s not the end of the world. I’m still healthy and we will be ready to go again next week.”


Pauls Jonass: “Clearly it’s not been the weekend that myself or the team wanted, but we’ll move on from it and focus on next weekend’s GP. I know I’m capable of a lot better than what we got this weekend. The first race wasn’t what we wanted but the crash in race two was a big one. It could have been really bad, so we move on and look to get things back on track next weekend.”


Ivo Monticelli: “It’s been a tough weekend for me. In the first race I didn’t get a good start, but I worked my way from 15th to 10th in the first lap, so that was good. I was pushing to improve and then made a mistake in a corner. I landed heavily on my left elbow and felt a lot of pain in my shoulder. I was worried that I had done some damage, so I stopped my race. The good news was that nothing was serious and after some time it started to feel better. With some ice and some time to recover I was ready for the second race. I wasn’t sure what I could do in the second moto, but I wanted to see what I could do. I crashed again, and, well it hasn’t been a good weekend. There were some positives from this first GP, but now I have to put these results behind me and focus on next weekend.”


Jeremy Seewer: “It was a strange weekend because of the time schedule. We lined up with no time on the track, but it was the same for everyone. I started off with an epic holeshot, like a whole bike length ahead of everyone, so that was super cool. I finished second, so that was a really positive start to the season. It proved we did a good job in the winter because the track was really technical and tricky. In the second race, I had contact with another rider and he damaged my brake. I had to ride without my brake for the whole race which made it super tough. I think I still took good points, so I am happy with this and my speed is good. It is just a shame I couldn’t stand on the podium today, but we will keep working and be back next weekend.”

Mitch Evans finished an impressive 5th overall in his MXGP debut. The Australian is the real deal. Photo by: HRC

Gautier Paulin: “I’m in the game. I felt good all weekend long, but it was just a strange weekend. Riding a new bike on such a tough track, with not a lot of time on the track, and then with the weather being off and on, rain and then sunshine and then rain. I got sideways out of the gate and then it was tough to come back through the pack. I crashed but got back to seventh. In the second race I got to fourth pretty quickly, but I really struggled with the sun. I didn’t want to pull my laminates off because I didn’t know if it was going to rain or not. I am really happy with the team: They are all working really hard. The feeling is good, and the season is long.”


Petar Petrov: “I’m quite happy to finish twice in the points, after two horrible starts. I missed a little bit the first 10-15 minutes, I was a little bit stiff but then I found my rhythm and could push a little bit and I felt more comfortable on this track which is not my favorite. I finish healthy and safe scoring the first points of the season, I feel that we made a step in the right direction this winter and from there it just cannot have been better. My confidence is coming back, which is nice; it’s been three years I didn’t had a decent winter, and I’m happy to start the season in good conditions and the goal will be to improve at every GP to come closer to the top ten.”


Arnaud Tonus: “It was a hard weekend for me. I kind of expected it because I have had some time off with a thumb injury. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to ride, so I am already happy that I could line up. I felt alright on the track, but I had bad starts and I just didn’t have the pace to move forward. My thumb was still hurting quite a bit as well, but from here I will recover and be back next weekend.”


Nathan Crawford: “Qualifying was a real challenge – especially for me coming from Australia. I’ve never raced in conditions that cold, windy and rainy. It was definitely something that I hadn’t been through before, so it was quite a shock. We tried to prepare for it and did our best in the tough conditions. In race one, I got a mid-pack start but made some good passes on lap one. I was hovering around 10th position and then had a big crash and after that, I was just surviving and trying to get through the race. In race two it was an OK start, but not great – so I set about battling my way through and ended the race in 10th place. The second trace was definitely better for me and that gives me something to build on.”


Romain Febvre: “Dealing with the injury is sometimes possible but today it wasn’t! Hurt my knee 9 days ago on practice, even without crashing, nothing is damaged but it’s painful… I did try because I want to give my all! Tough moment with the consecutive injury’s! T

Hofer showed everyone that he’s going to live up to the Red Bull / KTM mystique with a head-turning 2nd in moto two and a 5th overall. Photo by: Ray Archer

Alex Lupino: “It was quite a strange weekend with snow, rain and it was cold with a revised timetable on Saturday. I have to be honest, I’m not really happy about the race but at the same time I’m happy I know now where I can be. I can see that I’m better than last year, I feel stronger and better on the bike. I really like the team; we’ve made a good job during the winter. The result wasn’t what we expected but I’m sure that soon we will get good results. I’m disappointed about the first moto, I was riding really good in eighth but I had really bad arm pump, so I had to slow down. In the second moto, I enjoyed riding and it was a good feeling. We’ll now head to Valkenswaard, we’ll train hard for it and see what happens.”


Calvin Vlaanderen: “It was a tough first GP for me but I’m happy to get the first one out of the way. I know where I am, and I know what I need to work on. Obviously, it was a bit of a crazy Saturday with only going out once for qualifying but I was happy with getting the tenth time in the rain. The races on Sunday were tough. First race, I had a bad start but came back through the pack to position nineteenth. I struggled with arm pump so was hoping for a better second race. I had a better start and was around thirteenth but got pushed back the first few laps just missing some intensity. Then I got taken out which put me last and I just rode a moto at the back of the pack trying to get some bike time, it’s not the results that I want and I feel I’m missing some speed. I need to work on getting more comfortable on the bike and the speed will follow. See you all in Valkenswaard for my home GP.”


Thomas Covington: “It was a tough weekend for me. I haven’t had a tonne of time on bike the last couple of months will all the bad weather, so we are still working some kinks out. We’ll keep working to get better and improve each and every weekend.”


Jake Millward: “I felt comfortable but I didn’t feel as though I could go as fast as I know I can for some reason and I’m not really sure why. I was riding a bit tense but I enjoyed it. I crashed in both races which were unfortunate but that’s just one of those things. You’re racing against the fastest riders in the world so it’s never going to be easy and I didn’t have any expectations, I just wanted to have two solid races and enjoy it. Timed practice went well but I crashed on the first lap of the first race and struggled to get going again. I was so far back but I pulled through to 30th which wasn’t too bad and I was riding all right. In the second race, I got a bit of a better start and was just outside the top 20 but I fell off and lost a lot of places. I struggled to find a good flow but after all the rain the conditions were a lot better than I expected them to be.”


Tom Grimshaw: “Conditions were pretty much perfect for the last race on Sunday but Saturday was very hard. I was disappointed with my riding all weekend and the first race wasn’t great but for the second I decided to just send it and I actually rode well and although I faded a little bit towards the end I know that if I can carry that pace for a full moto I’ll be all right. I went out for timed practice and felt fine but as soon as I went for a fast lap my arms pumped up to high heaven which was frustrating. It’s a big learning curve and I need to calm down a bit – it’s tough trying to dial the track in while you’re constantly getting hassled by the best riders in the world and that’s something I need to adapt to but it’s only the first round and I’m confident I can build from here.”


Dan Lamb is a 12+ year journalist and the owner of MotoXAddicts.