The first of three-straight rounds of the Lommel triple-header is in the MXGP Motocross World Championship record books and what we saw was both Tim Gajser (MXGP) and Tom Vialle (MX2) extended their championship leads with overall wins in their respective classes.
In the MXGP class, Gautier Paulin (2nd) and Jorge Prado (3rd) joined Gasjer on the overall podium with Jago Geerts (2nd) and Ben Watson (3rd) standing on the MX2 overall podium below the MX2 overall winner, Vialle. The second of three-straight rounds in Lommel will take place on Wednesday and after seeing how brutal the circuit is in 2020, I do not envy these riders.
Check out what some of the riders thought about their first of three races on the brutal Lommel sand circuit in their comments below.
Tim Gajser: (1st in MXGP) “From the beginning of the day, I felt great on the track and on the bike. In the first moto, I got a good start, in second place around the first corner and then I moved quickly into the lead, pulling out a little gap. Unfortunately, I made a small mistake and fell, which allowed Gautier to pass me and I finished second. In the second moto, I had a good first corner and came out second again. I passed Jorge in the second lap and then pulled out a decent gap to control the race and take the overall. I’m really happy to take the victory here because we have worked so hard to get better in the sand and this is the toughest race to win. Everyone in the team has been great and we just keep on pushing to get better and better and I can’t thank everyone enough!”
Tom Vialle: (1st in MX2) “It has been a really good day for me. In the first race I was riding good, but Ben was pushing on the back and then he passed me. I tried to push but I did a little mistake and I crashed just before the last lap, but I still finished good so at least it was a good race for me. In the second race I was feeling really good on the track better than the first one. I pushed Jago and at the end I finished second. Winning the overall here is something really special for me because three years ago I was riding the European championship here and I finished really at the back. I’m really happy about that. We work a lot with the team, Joel, my family and it’s really nice to win.”
Gautier Paulin: (2nd in MXGP) “This is an emotional high. I am really happy to be back on the podium especially for myself and for my team. It has been a tough road, it has been a long time since I had a win, so in the first moto I could have it, I was really pushing hard on a good rhythm. I didn’t really talk about it, but at the end of May I broke my back and knocked myself hard, so to be back at this level I am really happy because from the ground, in hospital where I broke two vertebrae, it was a really hard time and then I crashed again in Faenza (Italy) and hurt myself again. Now I am feeling 100% and I am really happy to be back again.”
Jorge Prado: (3rd in MXGP) “It has been difficult. The track was hard but it’s good to get used to these conditions because we’ll have other two races there and we are doing good to improve that is really good for the future. In the first race I had a really good start from the gate, and I was in the first position, in the second race I did a perfect start but after Tim passed me very quickly and even if I tried to follow him, he made quite a gap. Then I was fighting for the second position and Seewer come from inside and I crashed after that Paulin and Tony were on my tail and I managed in the last lap to be 4th in the second race. Being third overall is really good but I’m looking for more on Wednesday. I’m very happy to be third in the championship because after all that happened to me in the beginning of the season is great; anyway, we are still charging and we will see how it will end up”.
Jago Geerts: (2nd in MX2) “Today was not too bad. I made some small mistakes; I was not happy with how I was riding in the first race. I finished fourth. I made some changes to my bike and then it felt a bit better in the second heat, but I still think there is room to improve for Wednesday. I finished second overall, so I have to be happy with that, but I know my riding can be better. I will work on that for Wednesday and then we will have a new chance.”
Ben Watson: (3rd in MX2) “It has been an amazing day, a day I will never ever forget. Again, I am third on the podium but after a race win, I’m really not going to complain. I am just so grateful to be there. I felt good in qualifying, I was enjoying the track and having a lot of fun. In the first race I was able to sit behind Tom Vialle and I saw him making a few little mistakes and at one point I just took the opportunity and then I led the race to the checkered flag. To get that race win, I can’t even explain the feeling. It is all I have worked for my whole life and it just felt like the top of the top, it was really amazing.”
Romain Febvre: (4th in MXGP) “It was a good GP with a great second moto! My start was good and as always there was confusion in the first corner but I made my way through and rode a good opening lap. I found a good rhythm and came back to second; I was very happy with that! The first moto was not so good. I was fourth at the start but during the first lap I made a mistake in a corner and crashed; that’s never good as everyone is so close together during the first laps of a race and you lose so many places. I was seventeenth and came back to sixth, which is not so bad, but that cost me the podium. I was happy with my speed and my physical shape; the track was difficult but I found a good feeling and overall it was a good day. Now my goal is to win a GP here in Lommel; I have two more opportunities on Wednesday and Sunday!”
Jeremy Seewer: (5th in MXGP) “Lommel is always tough except when you are winning, and then I think you enjoy it. I felt okay today. I had a tip over on the first lap and was caught in the pack, almost last, but I had good speed and rhythm and I came back to fifth but then I made another small mistake and had a technical problem which cost me another three positions. I had a good start in the second race which paid off. I felt solid in second position but I threw it away with a stupid crash, but this is how it is in Lommel. If you’re on the limit it’s really sketchy, but I am still happy with third in that race but a little bit disappointed. At least we have another two rounds to make up.”\
Tony Cairoli: (9th in MXGP) “We expected a better result here. We’ve had some good races in the past, so I’m a bit disappointed. Again, we struggled in the Timed Practice and from my gate-pick I was pushed out in both starts and was outside the top ten. In the first moto I even crashed on the first lap. I came back to 13th but for sure is not what I am capable of on this track. In the second moto I tagged onto the back of [Gautier] Paulin and we had a good rhythm. I finished 6th but we want to be much closer to the podium. We have to see what we can improve for Wednesday.”
Thomas Kjer Olsen: (5th in MX2) “The track was so rough today. I practice here a lot but it’s nothing like it is for a GP. It’s the same for everyone and I actually think it made for better racing as you had to be precise and really think about your lines. I leave here with a good feeling for the next two rounds and I’m positive for better results. For sure the track will be difficult and super-rough, but I feel good and race two was good, I was able to play on the bike with the bumps and had fun out there.”
Roan van de Moosdijk: (6th in MX2) “The track was already rough and bumpy this morning so I knew it would be tough today. I rode too tight in the early laps of the first moto and got a little arm pump but I could still hold fifth. It was just coming better and I could find a better flow but a lapped rider crashed on a small jump and I didn’t see him until it was too late. I lost my balance when I tried to miss him and fell; the last ten minutes were really difficult as the bars and levers were bent. I knew the second moto was going to be another long race so I concentrated on getting my flow; I knew it was important to ride the waves clean so I concentrated on them and that it is where I passed Olsen. I also passed Renaux so I was pleased with third; it is just a little frustrating what happened in the first moto as it cost me the podium.”
Mathys Boisrame: “Since my crash at Faenza where I had a concussion I have struggled a lot and now it’s time to rest as it is becoming dangerous. I still have some difficulties with my vision; I sleep for hours and hours but I haven’t really recovered as we have so many races in rapid succession so we agreed with the team that it was better to take a break.”
Arnaud Tonus: (10th in MXGP) “From the couch to Lommel is very hard. I came here with only two days on the bike since my crash in Mantova, so I came here with no expectations. I just wanted to get through it and try to build up over the final six rounds. The first race was positive but I gave a lot of energy. In the second race I just wanted to finish the race healthy, so I was super slow but I managed to finish and it’s a step towards building up over the next rounds.”
Clement Desalle: (12th in MXGP) “It was a frustrating day for me; I was expecting to have more fun on the track here in Lommel and wanted better results in my national GP. At the start of the first race, a rider crashed in front of me and I had no place to go; I crashed too and then came back to eleventh which was not so bad. I was involved in another crash at the start of the second race; I came back thirteenth but the track was getting really rough. Let’s hope that the next two GPs here will be better for me!”
Jed Beaton: (7th in MX2) “Not the greatest day but we’re here for two more rounds so it’s a solid start to the week. My starts weren’t great in both races, which didn’t help but we’ll be better on Wednesday. It took me a while to get going in race one, by around 20 minutes into the race I found my flow and felt really good, but it was too late to move forwards. Race two I felt good from the start and rode a smart race. I know what to expect for the next two, so we’ll be ready for them and I look forward to Wednesday.”
Isak Gifting: (8th in MX2) “A very good day for me. In race one, I stayed smooth and tried to minimize my mistakes. I knew I was in a good position and worked hard for that result. I was hoping for the same in the second one, but I slid out in the first turn and crashed. I had a great start and was maybe third or fourth so it was frustrating. However, I actually felt like my riding was much better than the first race and this something that I was even more satisfied with! Placing eighth from 34th position was great for me. Now I just need to recover and go again on Wednesday!”
Ivo Monticelli: (15th in MXGP) “It was nice to have a race close to the team workshop and somewhere we ride a lot so we knew what set up to use for today’s race, so we were confident for today. Unfortunately, I had a big crash in the first race in the first corner. I got up quickly, moved up to 15th but then I crashed with Cairoli and then again in the waves. I felt great in race two. Another crash on the start but I found a good rhythm and kept my focus. I was way down but came through to 11th which was really good. My bike and my fitness is really good so I’m aiming for better starts on Wednesday.”
Dylan Walsh: (22nd in MXGP) “Today I had two really good starts but unfortunately, I crashed quite hard in the waves in both races. So I had to come through every time. It’s definitely been a disappointing and one I want to forget about! We’ll get back after it on Wednesday for redemption.”
Artem Guryev: (27th in MXGP) “I have to say the track is really, really tough! To keep your speed and be consistent here is very tricky. After the difficult first moto we changed some settings and tried to learn something for the next races. Again I went down a couple of times in race two, but luckily no injuries. Now it’s time to recover and try to improve in the next race.”
Kyle Webster: (29th in MXGP) “A shocking day to be honest! I took quite a hit when I was taken out in the first corner in moto 1. I tried to ride in the second moto but a couple of riders crashed in front of me. When I got back up and going I laid it down in a corner and my neck fully locked up. Unfortunately, that was it. Not ideal whatsoever. Let’s try and get better to have another go on Wednesday.”
Michael Sandner: (28th in MX2) “Today was difficult. Three big mistakes in race one and in second moto I had a technical issue which was unfortunate. I’m healthy and it’s only a few days until the next race so I hope to turn things around there and score more points.”
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