A strong second place in the MXGP of Flanders qualification race sets Team HRC’s Tim Gajser up nicely for a chance to win his fourth GP here in the deep sand of Lommel, known as the toughest track on the calendar. Unfortunately, teammate Mitch Evans had a crash whilst running in an impressive third place and remounted well down the field.
After a free practice session where the #243 was over a second ahead of his nearest rival, he then backed it up with a second place in timed practice. However, that could have quite easily been a first if yellow flags hadn’t temporarily slowed him down whilst posting his fastest laptime. With second gate-pick in qualification, the Honda CRF450R rounded the first turn inside the top five and quickly set about moving up the field. Within a lap, he was in second, but despite numerous quick sectors, he was unable to put in a move for the lead and will once again have second gate-pick for tomorrow’s point scoring motos. And with the cancellation of the MXGP of Oman, his 125-point lead in the championship is now even more secure as there are now only five rounds remaining, starting tomorrow.
Given that this was Evans’ first GP in Lommel, the Australian showed that he can easily adapt to any condition, as he improved throughout the day and showed he is one of the best sand riders in the world. A free practice time just under three seconds behind the leader was an inauspicious start, but he quickly made some changes and in timed practice the gap to leader was just 0.5 seconds in third place. With a good gate-pick he was able to follow Gajser through into third place on lap one and despite not having any race experience here, he was able to maintain a pace just behind his Team HRC teammate and looked comfortable in the process. As the race was coming to an end, a mistake on the big triple cost the Australian his third place, and by the time he remounted, he was right at the back of the field as he crossed for the chequered flag. It was a disappointing end, but an otherwise great performance for his first time out, and he’ll be hoping to do the same in the races tomorrow, when conditions should be even hotter and even tougher.
|1||Seewer Jeremy||91||SWI||Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team||Yamaha||25:22.933|
|2||Gajser Tim||243||SLO||Team HRC - MXGP||Honda||0:05.405|
|3||Prado Garcia Jorge||61||SPA||Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing||GasGas||0:20.582|
|4||Vlaanderen Calvin||10||NDL||Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing||Yamaha||0:21.627|
|5||Coldenhoff Glenn||259||NDL||Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team||Yamaha||0:23.619|
|6||Febvre Romain||3||FRA||Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing||Kawasaki||0:34.006|
|7||van Doninck Brent||32||BEL||Riley Racing||Yamaha||0:40.168|
|8||Renaux Maxime||959||FRA||Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team||Yamaha||0:45.039|
|9||Bogers Brian||189||NDL||Standing Construct Husqvarna Factory Racing Team||Husqvarna||0:49.728|
|10||Beaton Jed||14||AUS||F&H Racing Team||Kawasaki||0:59.088|
|11||Guadagnini Mattia||101||ITA||Husqvarna Junior Racing Maddii||Husqvarna||0:59.781|
|12||Watson Ben||919||GBR||Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP||Kawasaki||1:03.355|
|13||Mewse Conrad||426||GBR||Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee||KTM||1:05.226|
|14||Jacobi Henry||29||GER||JM Honda Racing||Honda||1:07.122|
|15||Brumann Kevin||87||SWI||hostettler Yamaha Racing||Yamaha||1:21.974|
|16||Paturel Benoit||16||FRA||Honda SR Motoblouz||Honda||1:22.901|
|17||Östlund Alvin||161||SWE||JK Racing Yamaha Active||Yamaha||1:25.385|
|18||Genot Cyril||105||BEL||Honda SR Motoblouz||Honda||1:31.304|
|19||Forato Alberto||303||ITA||SM Action Racing Team Yuasa Battery||GasGas||1:36.572|
|20||Van der Mierden Sven||94||NDL||Wildcard Rider||Yamaha||1:41.066|