MANTOVA (Lombardia, Italy) 11 May 2019 – The 2019 Monster Energy MXGP of Lombardia launched into action today at the Italian circuit of Mantova where the top riders in the world battled in preparation for tomorrow’s action. As the evening rain rolls into Mantova Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsen rest easy know the head into tomorrow’s pair of respective MXGP and MX2 championship races as the top qualifiers.
The difficult circuit was taken on by not only the premiere MXGP and MX2 classes for the first time since 2016 but also the European Motocross Championship of EMX2T and EMX125 presented by FMF Racing.
The 250cc rippers of EMX2T presented by FMF Racing were to race on the track today where Team Ecomaxx Fuels’ Mike Kras took a dominant win after a disappointing round 1 in Matterley Basin several weeks ago. Meanwhile the series points leader, Verde Substance KTM’s Brad Anderson, crashed on the start before coming back through the pack to finish in 13th position.
EMX125 presented by FMF Racing was again stacked as nearly 100 riders were trimmed down to 40 via morning qualifying. The red plate holder Mattia Guadagnini from Maddii Racing Husqvarna remained on form however and after passing RFME MX Junior Team’s Oriol Oliver for second he later took the win away from WZ-Racing’s Simon Laengenfelder.
MXGP points leader Antonio Cairoli from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing kicked off his weekend with a perfect qualifying performance taking the lead from the first turn then checking out from the rest of the field before finishing with a gap 15 seconds over second place.
While Cairoli took the lead off the start it was the MXGP rookie Pauls Jonass who slotted into second on his Rockstar Energy Factory Racing Husqvarna. The freight train behind Jonass immediately included Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Jeremy Seewer, and Team HRC’s Tim Gajser.
Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP’s Gautier Paulin was in 6th while just behind Standing Construct KTM’s Ivo Monticelli and Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki’s Alessandro Lupino clipped each other sending Lupino down.
Seewer dropped from 4th back to 13th as the race kicked off while Gajser passed Desalle and moved into third. Two laps later a mistake and missed jump from Jonass allowed Gajser to take 2nd while Paulin passed both Desalle and Jonass for 3rd. Ivo Monticelli was the next to make moves as he got past Desalle and Jonass the next lap.
Jonass’ Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Teammate Arminas Jasikonis was on a mission and came from 7th position passing Desalle, Jonass, and Monticelli for 4th. As time and the laps ticked away Gajser was unable to recover from the gap Cairoli created early while Paulin rode strong to hold off the final charges of Jasikonis. The top five was rounded out by another Husqvarna but not that of Jonass, instead it was taken by a surprisingly strong ride from A1M Husqvarna’s Tanel Leok.
Antonio Cairoli, “First of all it is nice to be back in Italy, it is a very difficult race for me because there are many things to do, even in the week before but I also really like it because of all the fans it is nice to hear them cheering. We had a good start today and luckily we could stay out front to take home the qualification race win.”
Tim Gajser,“I am feeling good to be back racing after the break. Today went good, I was feeling good on the bike, and on the track. I didn’t have the best start so I had to pass a couple of riders, when I got behind Tony he already had a good lead so I just stayed there and tried to find some nice lines for tomorrow.”
MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 25:11.694; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:15.084; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:20.879; 4. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, Husqvarna), +0:27.612; 5. Tanel Leok (EST, Husqvarna), +0:31.096; 6. Ivo Monticelli (ITA, KTM), +0:33.419; 7. Pauls Jonass (LAT, Husqvarna), +0:35.190; 8. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:36.873; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Honda), +0:38.769; 10. Max Anstie (GBR, KTM), +0:40.69.