Kevin Strijbos and Antonio Cairoli warm up Italian soil
After Friday’s rain, Saturday was expected to be a beautiful day, and so it was. The opening day of the 51st FIM Motocross Grand Prix of Italy started with some light rain in the early morning, but it all changed into sun before the first free practice session started at 10.00 am.
Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki) / Photo by: Jörg Domanowski / realmx.com
Kevin Strijbos was the fastest MX1 rider of the day, thanks to an incredible lap on the newly modified Circuito Internazionale Città di Mantova. Home rider Antonio Cairoli won the first qualifying race, as British young gun Tommy Searle won the second one.
Kawasaki Racing Europe’s Tanel Leok opened the session with a very fast laptime, that lasted for more than half a session.
In the meantime Suzuki factory’s Kevin Strijbos was preparing his assault to the top of the time sheet, even if he suffered from a knee problem last week. An incredible Strijbos came out of the pack with eight minutes to go, and put in a brilliant 1:53.777 laptime.
Leok kept up the good work and finished second, as Yamaha Motocross Dutchman Marc De Reuver rode a solid session to finish third fastest. The 24 year old from Amstelveen stayed in the top five for the whole session, finishing with a one and a half second gap from Strijbos.
Other debutant Sebastien Pourcel of the GPKR team made the most of his Kawasaki to enter the top four, as Strijbos’s team mate Steve Ramon ended the top five.
Suzuki’s fellow rider Kornel Nemeth was sixth fastest, ahead of Championship leader Joshua Coppins. Italian David Philippaerts of the KTM Red Bull team will enter the gate of his home GP from 13th place.
Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM) / Photo by: Jörg Domanowski / realmx.com
A very stoic Maximilian Nagl made to qualify to the GP even with a broken collarbone.
Qualifying Class MX1:
- Strijbos, Kevin (BEL, Suzuki)
- Leok, Tanel (EST, Kawasaki)
- de Reuver, Marc (NED, Yamaha)
- Pourcel, Sebastien (FRA, Kawasaki)
- Ramon, Steve (BEL, Suzuki)
- Nemeth, Kornel (HUN, Suzuki)
- Coppins, Joshua (NZL, Yamaha)
- de Dycker, Ken (BEL, Honda)
- Barragan, Jonathan (ESP, KTM)
- Priem, Manuel (BEL, TM)
- Noble, James (GBR, Honda)
- Mackenzie, Billy (GBR, Kawasaki)
- Philippaerts, David (ITA, KTM)
- Crockard, Gordon (IRL, Honda)
- Leok, Aigar (EST, Yamaha)
- Pyrhonen, Antti (FIN, Kawasaki)
- Brown, Mike (USA, Honda)
- Salvini, Alex (ITA, Yamaha)
- Meo, Antoine (FRA, Honda)
- Coulon, Cyrille (FRA, Honda)
- Vanni, Julien (FRA, Honda)
- Allier, Thomas (FRA, Kawasaki)
- van Daele, Marvin (BEL, Honda)
- Desalle, Clement (BEL, Suzuki)
- Kovalainen, Marko (FIN, Honda)
- Columb, Scott (NZL, Suzuki)
- Beggi, Cristian (ITA, WRM)
- Renet, Pierre A. (FRA, Honda)
- Bill, Julien (SUI, Kawasaki)
- Nagl, Maximilian (GER, KTM)
- Stevanini, Christian (ITA, Yamaha)
- Melotte, Cedric (BEL, Aprilia)
Yamaha De Carli’s Antonio Cairoli raced a brilliant qualifying moto, beating all the rivals right from lap one. On the other hand, second qualifying heat winner Tommy Searle of the KTM Red Bull Racing team had to fight a lot more, but made it to the same result as the Italian.
MX2 Qualifying Race 1
Antonio Cairoli (ITA, Yamaha) / Photo by: Jörg Domanowski / realmx.com
Matteo Bonini lead the pack into turn one, but team mate Antonio Cairoli grabbed the lead a few corners later. As Cairoli pulled away with the lead to own the chequered flag, rival Christophe Pourcel was trapped in a pack after the start. The Frenchman also crashed, but made to finish eighth. Erik Eggens raced a solid moto, and passed runner up Steven Frossard in the very last lap to finish second. Frossard ended the top three, followed by Kenneth Gundersen, who looked all set on a good Grand Prix tomorrow. Matti Seistola finished the top five, as early leader Matteo Bonini dropped down to ninth, because he was riding with an injured shoulder. Davide Guarneri raced an impressive moto; he crashed in turn one and restarted from the tail of the group, but he worked his way up to twelfth to qualify directly to tomorrow’s GP.
Qualifying Class MX2 1st Race:
- Cairoli, Antonio (ITA, Yamaha)
- Eggens, Erik (NED, Suzuki)
- Frossard, Steven (FRA, Kawasaki)
- Gundersen, Kenneth (NOR, Yamaha)
- Seistola, Matti (FIN, Honda)
- Church, Tom (GBR, Kawasaki)
- Leuret, Pascal (FRA, Honda)
- Pourcel, Christophe (FRA, Kawasaki)
- Bonini, Matteo (ITA, Yamaha)
- Hamblin, Sean (USA, Suzuki)
- Boissiere, Anthony (FRA, Kawasaki)
- Guarneri, Davide (ITA, Yamaha)
MX2 Qualifying Race 2
MX2 Semi two / Photo by: Jörg Domanowski / realmx.com
With Carl Nunn grabbing the holeshot, Tyla Rattray snatched the lead from the British before the end of the opening lap. Tyla had an impressive rhythm but was slowed down by a technical problem at the back brake –because he was hit by another rider at the start. After a tough battle with Gareth Swanepoel and Nunn, Tommy Searle worked his way up to first, followed by the South African, after they both passed Rattray. Searle paced himself to arrive first to the chequered flag, and Swanepoel did the same to finish second. Rattray raced the bike home with third, ahead of Nicolas Aubin. Carl Nunn ended the top five, ahead of countryman Shaun Simpson.
Qualifying Class MX2 2nd Race:
- Searle, Tommy (GBR, KTM)
- Swanepoel, Gareth (RSA, Kawasaki)
- Rattray, Tyla (RSA, KTM)
- Aubin, Nicolas (FRA, Yamaha)
- Nunn, Carl (GBR, Yamaha)
- Simpson, Shaun (GBR, Kawasaki)
- Avis, Wyatt (RSA, KTM)
- Goncalves, Rui (POR, KTM)
- Aranda, Gregory (FRA, Kawasaki)
- Boog, Xavier (FRA, Yamaha)
- Verbruggen, Dennis (BEL, Yamaha)
- van Horebeek, Jeremy (BEL, KTM)
MX2 Last Chance Qualifying Practice:
- Schiffer, Marcus (GER KTM)
- Monni, Manuel (ITA Yamaha)
- Dougan, Jason (GBR Suzuki)
- Gaultier, Paulin (FRA Honda)
- Barr, Martin (GBR Yamaha)
- Tarroux, Jeremy (FRA Yamaha)