MXGP

Cairoli and Jonass top GP opener

Cairoli and Jonass top GP opener

Alex Hodgkinson

The 2017 GP opener in Qatar witnessed the return to top form of Tony Cairoli – with the Sicilian storming to his 77th career GP win – and the blossoming of KTM team-mate Pauls Jonass.

The Latvian notched not only his personal maiden victory but also the first success at world level for his country. 

And both riders did it with a maximum score.

There were meagre rewards for the Brits.

Max Anstie was top man with 10th in MXGP although Shaun Simpson and Jake Nicholls inevitably made the scorers from just 21 starters. 

Top Brit in MX2 was Adam Sterry in 13th on his factory Kawasaki debut but Conrad Mewse had a horrible day and Ben Watson lost a second moto 13th when he banged his bad foot.

Even Steve Dixon’s US/Russian alliance couldn’t sweeten the pill significantly as both Seva Brylyakov and Darian Sanayei suffered from shocking starts.

Cairoli had played with Tim Gajser in qualification, content to let the Slovenian win while closing on him at will and then letting him go again.

And the show went on in the GP motos.

“I made the first race easy for myself with the holeshot but Tim made me work for it in race two,” grinned the Sicilian. 

“I can finally ride without pain again and we found some good solutions for the bike too during the winter.”

While Cairoli disappeared into the distance at a second-a-lap all hell let loose in race one.

Evgeny Bobryshev was taking no prisoners as he slammed across HRC team-mate Gajser and ex-colleague Gautier Paulin to nail second to the fleeing TC while Clement Desalle – who had ridden Qatar with a broken arm last year – chased in third before closing down the Russian five from the end. 

Gajser too put in a vicious pass on his team-mate for third while Jeremy Van Horebeek had a lonely race in fifth and Jeffrey Herlings held up the pack for six laps in sixth.

The Dutchman had been well off the pace in qualification although a good start made the difference.

But once Paulin had sneaked past, he moved aside to a whole posse of chasers and never regrouped.

The final laps were clearly a nightmare as he struggled to hold the bike in line with his broken hand and at the chequered flag he was 18th of 21.

The Brits did little better. Max Anstie had been eighth in qualification but had to settle for 13th in the first points race.

“I got a good jump,” he said, “but then I ran wide at turn one and even ended up running through the bales.”

Shaun Simpson was a disappointing 17th and Jake Nicholls also spent the entire race chasing when he cross-rutted on the opening lap.

First-race faller Romain Febvre was out to make amends in the next but he lost his duel for the lead with Tim Gajser and could only watch as the Slovenian and Cairoli sprinted clear.

“I tried to pass Tim early but we touched and I thought I had broken spokes at first,” admitted Cairoli. 

“It was just a stone in the disc and it cleared after a couple of laps but Tim was riding well and I’ve been having injections for an infection in my intestines all week so I didn’t want to push again too early.”

With two laps to go the Italian went for it, keeping on the pressure through three turns to eventually break clear. 

His maximum was secure.

Anstie had a solid ride in 10th but both Simpson and Nicholls again struggled. The Scot was 14th and Jake was last man still running for the final point.

British hopes were high in MX2 as Brylyakov ripped to fastest time in practice but bad starts stifled the scoring potential of the Russian and DRT team-mate Sanayei all weekend.

Both stormed through the pack in race one from the edge of the top 20 for ninth and 10th, the Russian battling a loose radiator plastic following a first-lap crash when he ran into a fallen Jeremy Seewer.

Sanayei’s final pass to make the top 10 was on Bas Vaessen, a tremendous effort to force his way past the Dutch teenager who was holding the tightest line on the track.

The duo were at it again in race two on their way from nowhere to ninth and 12th.

Adam Sterry’s race weekend started badly on Friday when a rival’s rear sprocket left its mark on his left shoulder but he was as high as eighth at one stage in race one.

“I tightened up,” he said. “I got stuck behind Vaessen and then a whole group of others came up on us so I was under pressure the whole race.”

He just held off Seewer for 11th at the flag.

Conrad Mewse had made a lightning start but everything went downhill from there.

“I need to get the first few turns sorted,” he said. 

“Everything I did was wrong – if I went wide they went inside me, if I hung in tight they went around me. 

“And when I had tried to follow Thomas Covington he washed 

out the berm and I had nothing to hit. 

“I went from third to 20th in three turns.”

Watson eventually grabbed two points but was never comfortable in only his second ride in 11 months as his arms pumped up.

Race two was no better. 

Sterry got taken out by Bernardini on lap one and Watson lost 13th on the final lap when he turned his left foot in a rut.

Up front Jonass led both motos almost from the word go but, having ridden just twice since knocking himself out at Lacapelle, didn’t push his luck or the pace to score two narrow wins over Benoit Paturel.

Julien Lieber, back after four hip operations last year, celebrated with third and the fourth man in two entertaining races at the front was Euro champ Thomas Olsen.

The teams now have a week to recover before the sticky heat of Indonesia.

WORLD MXGP CHAMPIONSHIP
Rd 1 – Losail, QATAR
 1 Antonio Cairoli (I – Red Bull Factory KTM) 25 + 25 = 50
 2 Tim Gajser (SLO – Team HRC Honda) 20 + 22 = 42
 3 Clement Desalle (B – Monster Energy Kaw) 22 + 18 = 40
 4 Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS – Team HRC Honda) 18 + 14 = 32
 5 Romain Febvre (F – Monster Energy Yamaha) 11 + 20 = 31
 6 Gautier Paulin (F – Rockstar Factory Husky) 15 + 16 = 31
 7 Jeremy V Horebeek (B – Monster Energy Yam) 16 + 15 = 31
 8 Jordi Tixier (F – Monster Energy Kawasaki) 12 + 12 = 24
 9 Glenn Coldenhoff (NL – Red Bull Factory KTM)  6 + 13 = 19
10 Max Anstie (GB – Rockstar Factory Husky)  8 + 11 = 19
11 Kevin Strijbos (B – Suzuki World MXGP) 10+9=19, 12 Maximilian Nagl (D – Rockstar Factory Husqvarna) 13+5=18, 13 Jose Butron (E – Marchetti KTM) 9+8=17, 14 Arnaud Tonus (CH – Wilvo Yamaha) 14+2=16, 15 Jeffrey Herlings (NL – Red Bull Factory KTM) 3+10=13, 16 Shaun SIMPSON (GB – Wilvo Yamaha) 4+7=11, 17 Alessandro Lupino (I – Red Moto Honda) 7+3=10, 18 Tanel Leok (EST – 8Biano Husqvarna) 5+4=9, 19 Rui Goncalves (P – 8Biano Husqvarna) 2+6=8, 20 Jake NICHOLLS (GB – Hitachi KTM UK) 1+1=2.
RACE ONE: 1 Cairoli, 2 Desalle, 3 Gajser, 4 Bobryshev, 5 Van Horebeek, 6 Paulin, 7 Tonus, 8 Nagl, 9 Tixier, 10 Febvre, 11 Strijbos, 12 Butron, 13 Anstie, 14 Lupino, 15 Coldenhoff, 16 Leok, 17 SIMPSON, 18 Herlings, 19 Goncalves, 20 NICHOLLS.
RACE TWO: 1 Cairoli, 2 Gajser, 3 Febvre, 4 Desalle, 5 Paulin, 6 Van Horebeek, 7 Bobryshev, 8 Coldenhoff, 9 Tixier, 10 Anstie, 11 Herlings, 12 Strijbos, 13 Butron, 14 SIMPSON, 15 Goncalves, 16 Nagl, 17 Leok, 18 Lupino, 19 Tonus, 20 NICHOLLS.
SERIES STANDINGS after 1 (of 19) rounds: 1 Cairoli 50 points, 2 Gajser 42, 3 Desalle 40, 4 Bobryshev 32, 5 Febvre 31, 6 Paulin 31, 7 Van Horebeek 31, 8 Tixier 24, 9 Coldenhoff 19, 10 Anstie 19, 11 Strijbos 19, 12 Nagl 18, 13 Butron 17, 14 Tonus 16, 15 Herlings 13, 16 SIMPSON 11, 17 Lupino 10, 18 Leok 9, 19 Goncalves 8, 20 NICHOLLS 2,…
 
WORLD MX2 CHAMPIONSHIP
Rd 1 – Losail, QATAR
 1 Pauls Jonass (LAT – Red Bull Factory KTM) 25 + 25 = 50
 2 Benoit Paturel (F – Kemea Yamaha Yamalube) 22 + 22 = 44
 3 Julien Lieber (B – LRT KTM) 20 + 20 = 40
 4 Thomas Kjer Olsen (DK – Rockstar Husqvarna) 18 + 18 = 36
 5 Michele Cervellin (I – Team HRC Honda) 15 + 13 = 28
 6 Jeremy Seewer (CH – Suzuki World MX2)  9 + 16 = 25
 7 Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS – Monster DRT Kaw) 12 + 12 = 24
 8 Jorge Prado Garcia (E – Red Bull Factory KTM) 14 + 10 = 24
 9 Darian Sanayei (US – Monster DRT Kawasaki) 11 +  9 = 20
10 Alvin Ostlund (S – Kemea Yamaha Yamalube)  8 + 11 = 19
11 Hunter Lawrence (AUS – Suzuki World MX2) 3+15=18, 12 Brent Van Doninck (B – Kemea Yamaha Yamalube) 4+14=18, 13 Adam STERRY (GB – Monster Energy Kawasaki) 10+7=17, 14 Samuele Bernardini (I – TM Factory Racing) 16+0=16, 15 Brian Bogers (NL – HSF Logistics KTM) 6+8=14, 16 Thomas Covington (US – Rockstar Factory Husqvarna) 13+0=13, 17 Bas Vaessen (NL – Suzuki World MX2) 7+4=11, 18 Davy Pootjes (NL – HSF Logistics KTM) 5+5=10, 19 Calvin Vlaanderen (NL – HSF Logistics KTM) 0+6=6, 20 Ivo Monticelli (I – Marchetti KTM) 0+3=3, 21 Iker Larranaga Olano (E – 8Biano Husqvarna) 0+2=2, 22 Anton Gole (S – CEC Husqvarna Sweden) 1+1=2, 23 Ben WATSON (GB – Hitachi KTM UK) 2+0=2.
RACE ONE: 1 Paturel, 2 Jonass, 3 Paturel, 4 Lieber, 5 Kjer Olsen, 6 Bernardini, 7 Cervellin, 8 Prado Garcia, 9 Covington, 10 Brylyakov, 11 Sanayei, 12 STERRY, 13 Seewer, 14 Ostlund, 15 Vaessen, 16 Bogers, 17 Pootjes, 18 Van Doninck, 19 Lawrence, 20 WATSON, 
RACE TWO: 1 Jonass, 2 Paturel, 3 Lieber, 4 Kjer Olsen, 5 Cervellin, 6 Brylyakov, 7 Van Doninck, 8 STERRY, 9 Seewer, 10 Prado Garcia, 11 Lawrence, 12 Sanayei, 13 Ostlund, 14 Covington, 15 Bernardini, 16 Monticelli, 17 Vlaanderen, 18 Pootjes, 19 Larranaga Olano, 20 Gole.
SERIES STANDINGS after 1 (of 19) rounds: 1 Jonass 50 points, 2 Paturel 44, 3 Lieber 40, 4 Kjer Olsen 36, 5 Cervellin 28, 6 Seewer 25, 7 Brylyakov 24, 8 Prado Garcia 24, 9 Sanayei 20, 10 Ostlund 19, 11 Lawrence 18, 12 Van Doninck 18, 13 STERRY 17, 14 Bernardini 16, 15 Bogers 14, 16 Covington 13, 17 Vaessen 11, 18 Pootjes 10, 19 Vlaanderen 6, 20 Monticelli 3,… 23 WATSON 2,…
NEXT ROUND: March 5 – Pangkal Pinang, INDONESIA.
WORLD MX2 CHAMPIONSHIP
Rd 1 – Losail, QATAR
 1 Pauls Jonass (LAT – Red Bull Factory KTM) 25 + 25 = 50
 2 Benoit Paturel (F – Kemea Yamaha Yamalube) 22 + 22 = 44
 3 Julien Lieber (B – LRT KTM) 20 + 20 = 40
 4 Thomas Kjer Olsen (DK – Rockstar Husqvarna) 18 + 18 = 36
 5 Michele Cervellin (I – Team HRC Honda) 15 + 13 = 28
 6 Jeremy Seewer (CH – Suzuki World MX2)  9 + 16 = 25
 7 Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS – Monster DRT Kaw) 12 + 12 = 24
 8 Jorge Prado Garcia (E – Red Bull Factory KTM) 14 + 10 = 24
 9 Darian Sanayei (US – Monster DRT Kawasaki) 11 +  9 = 20
10 Alvin Ostlund (S – Kemea Yamaha Yamalube)  8 + 11 = 19
11 Hunter Lawrence (AUS – Suzuki World MX2) 3+15=18, 12 Brent Van Doninck (B – Kemea Yamaha Yamalube) 4+14=18, 13 Adam STERRY (GB – Monster Energy Kawasaki) 10+7=17, 14 Samuele Bernardini (I – TM Factory Racing) 16+0=16, 15 Brian Bogers (NL – HSF Logistics KTM) 6+8=14, 16 Thomas Covington (US – Rockstar Factory Husqvarna) 13+0=13, 17 Bas Vaessen (NL – Suzuki World MX2) 7+4=11, 18 Davy Pootjes (NL – HSF Logistics KTM) 5+5=10, 19 Calvin Vlaanderen (NL – HSF Logistics KTM) 0+6=6, 20 Ivo Monticelli (I – Marchetti KTM) 0+3=3, 21 Iker Larranaga Olano (E – 8Biano Husqvarna) 0+2=2, 22 Anton Gole (S – CEC Husqvarna Sweden) 1+1=2, 23 Ben WATSON (GB – Hitachi KTM UK) 2+0=2.
RACE ONE: 1 Paturel, 2 Jonass, 3 Paturel, 4 Lieber, 5 Kjer Olsen, 6 Bernardini, 7 Cervellin, 8 Prado Garcia, 9 Covington, 10 Brylyakov, 11 Sanayei, 12 STERRY, 13 Seewer, 14 Ostlund, 15 Vaessen, 16 Bogers, 17 Pootjes, 18 Van Doninck, 19 Lawrence, 20 WATSON, 
RACE TWO: 1 Jonass, 2 Paturel, 3 Lieber, 4 Kjer Olsen, 5 Cervellin, 6 Brylyakov, 7 Van Doninck, 8 STERRY, 9 Seewer, 10 Prado Garcia, 11 Lawrence, 12 Sanayei, 13 Ostlund, 14 Covington, 15 Bernardini, 16 Monticelli, 17 Vlaanderen, 18 Pootjes, 19 Larranaga Olano, 20 Gole.
SERIES STANDINGS after 1 (of 19) rounds: 1 Jonass 50 points, 2 Paturel 44, 3 Lieber 40, 4 Kjer Olsen 36, 5 Cervellin 28, 6 Seewer 25, 7 Brylyakov 24, 8 Prado Garcia 24, 9 Sanayei 20, 10 Ostlund 19, 11 Lawrence 18, 12 Van Doninck 18, 13 STERRY 17, 14 Bernardini 16, 15 Bogers 14, 16 Covington 13, 17 Vaessen 11, 18 Pootjes 10, 19 Vlaanderen 6, 20 Monticelli 3,… 23 WATSON 2,…
NEXT ROUND: March 5 – Pangkal Pinang, INDONESIA.