It was a Honda and KTM victory in Italy for the MXGP of Trentino.
The 2019 MXGP of Trentino is complete and the racing was absolutely incredible! The closest fought racing of the 2019 season thus far was taken by Team HRC’s Tim Gajser in MXGP and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado in MX2.
Trentino hosts perhaps the most tranquil and serene circuit in the world, but today’s action was filled with intensity, vibrant emotions, and all out battles. The venue set along Italy’s snowcapped dolomites filled with tens of thousands of fans all cheering with enthusiasm for what are the best motocross racers in the world.
It is hard to know where to begin when speaking of today’s racing or to articulate the truly amazing atmosphere created in Trentino today. Even prior to the first laps of the morning Warm Up session fans where on site with air horns, chainsaws, flags, and colored smoke.
As the first sessions hit the track and the stars of MXGP took to Trentino the crowd came to life. The majority of the fans cheering were for Italian motocross hero and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Antonio Cairoli but, in similar fashion to rivals playing a football match, Cairoli’s main competitor, Team HRC’s Tim Gajser, had his own fans who made the trip from neighboring Slovenia cheering just as passionately.
When MXGP Race 1 got underway Cairoli took the Fox Holeshot and lead but Gajser was in around 5th. Cairoli’s fellow Italians, Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki’s Alessandro Lupino, and Standing Construct KTM’s Ivo Monticelli were 2ndand 3rdahead of Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP’s Gautier Paulin.
Gajser was quick to make moves taking 4th from Paulin in turn 3 then he took 3rdfrom Monticelli in the next turn before getting past Lupino for second in the first half of the opening lap. Gajser’s high tempo put him just behind Cairoli where he latched on and eyed the lines of the Sicilian.
Monticelli meanwhile took 3rd from Lupino who dropped another spot to Paulin not along after. Paulin then worked his way past Monticelli to get into 3rd but Cairoli and Gajser were already long gone. Cairoli held the gap to Gajser at about 2 seconds for multiple laps but Gajser closed in as the laps ticked away and dropped the gap to within 1 second to apply pressure to the 9-time world champion.
On the 16th lap of 19 a bobble from Cairoli was all that Gajser need to take the lead away right in front of the Slovenian fans who cheered at the top of their lungs. Cairoli tried to retaliate quickly but a confident scrub and look from Gajser kept the Sicilian at bay. In the remaining three laps Cairoli continued to push to get Gajser back but it didn’t work and the Slovenian crossed the line only 1.081 seconds ahead much to the pleasure of not only himself but, also the corner lined with his fans! Paulin took 3rd another 53 seconds further back of the leaders with Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP Teammate Arnaud Tonus 4th and Monticelli 5th.
Race 2 was off to a good start for Gajser taking his first Fox Holeshot of the year. Cairoli was close in 2ndwith the two Wilvo bikes of Paulin and Tonus again 3rdand 4th. BOS Factory’s Tommy Searle was in 5tha short moment before losing spots to the two Standing Construct KTM riders of Max Anstie, who didn’t finish race 1 and Ivo Monticelli.
All eyes were on the two at the front with Gajser creating a slight gap only to be taken back away by Cairoli. On the ninth lap a miscue from Gajser saw the #222 of Cairoli go past along Pit Lane and across the finish line. With the Italian crowd on their feet Cairoli tried to pull away from the Slovenian but Gajser wasn’t having any of it as he took the lead back 5 laps later in the same spot which he had lost the position earlier.
With 2 laps to go Cairoli returned the favor again in front of pitlane to the Italian fans roar and the teams nervous yet enthusiastic looks. Two mistakes from Cairoli would however decide the race as the pair pushed the limits of both each other and their factory race machines. Cairoli’s first mistake took him out of the preferred line and the next only a few meters later resulted in him losing the bike and lead.
Cairoli got back up but Gajser was in the clear leading the final two laps to the win, his first since Leon, Mexico in 2017. Gajser’s emotion excitement and pure joy were unmistakable as he dropped his bike and ran thank the Slovenian fans lining the fences for the support. Cairoli finished 24 seconds later and congratulated Gajser as the headed to the podium joined by Paulin in third.
The amazing racing and perfect weekend capped off by winning at Trentino for only the second time in his career, the first was actually his first ever MX2 win back in 2015, left both Gajser and Team HRC ecstatic.
Tim Gajser, “It is just unbelievable and it is my first win in more than a year. To be here in Arco is always special, to race in front of so many people, so many fans. Today we had two great races with Tony battling, we were both pushing. I’m just so happy and thankful that we won that overall. The fans, they just push you on because every lap you can hear them cheering for you, it’s just an unbelievable feeling here.”
Antonio Cairoli, “The level was very, very high, we were on the limit every lap, pushing and pushing. I did my best lap time in the race faster than the time practice even with the track rougher, so it’s not often that you have this. I was trying to win the GP but Tim was better this time and he won so congratulations to him.”
Gautier Paulin, “It’s always great to be on the podium, I’m actually happy about the riding and being on the box at the end of the day, but definitely, Tim and Antonio were faster today. So, we need to improve, we need to step up to the challenge and ride with them, be in that fight because as a racer when you fight for a win like that is unbelievable, it’s nice, it’s fun. The crowd was awesome here in Italy, the fans were crazy and I wasn’t in the battle but I was hearing the crowd from everywhere, actually every corner, so it was kind of special but congrats to these guys today!”
Even though the MXGP class hosted many of the fan favorites the atmosphere for the MX2 races was just as electric. MX2 racing started off with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado taking his 4thFox Holeshot of the year and leading BIKE IT DRT Kawasaki’s Darian Sanayei.
Prado’s rookie Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Teammate Tom Vialle was 3rd followed by Marchetti Racing Team KTM’s Iker Larranaga and Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha Official MX2’s Jago Geerts.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsen was in 5thposition before he fell on the first laps then and had work his way back into the lead group. Sanayei faded quickly as he continues his battle with Epstein Barr virus.
Geerts and F&H Racing Kawasaki’s Henry Jacobi got past Larranaga in the first half of the race and the Spaniard continued to lose spots as the action went on including one to Olsen who then took back the 5thposition he fell out of earlier from Honda 114 Motorsports’ Mitch Evans.
Prado was long gone in the lead and took the race win by over 12 seconds while Geerts made a last lap pass into second for the second weekend in a row. Vialle came across the checkers in 3rdfollowed by Jacobi, Olsen, and Evans.
MX2 Race 2 was off to another picture-perfect Prado performance with the Fox Holeshot, now his 5th of 2019, and 19 laps in the lead. The racing behind Prado was intense though after a first turn pileup.
Vialle again was 2ndat the start of the race and had Jacobi along with BUD Racing Kawasaki’s Brian Moreau right in tow. Geerts was in 6th at the beginning but passed Olsen and got into 4th a few laps in.
Henry Jacobi made a mistake and dropped from 3rd to 6th which put Geerts in the position to pass Vialle we he did at the halfway point. Olsen also made it by the young Frenchman to get into 3rd. Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha Official MX2’s Ben Watson got into 4th then put a last lap pass on Olsen to finish 3rd.
Prado’s domination was impressive taking the Qualifying win yesterday, the two race wins today and the overall, all by substantial margin. Geerts’ 2-2 put him on the podium for the second round in a row while Vialle’s 3-6 took the final podium position, his second this season as well.
Jorge Prado, “I love racing here, the fans are just crazy. When you’re on the bike riding just the atmosphere makes you feel comfortable, this is what we like to see. We love to see this atmosphere at the track and when people are cheering during a Grand Prix like this, it is always very nice.”
Jago Geerts, “It was a really good weekend for me, I had top five starts so that was a really positive and the riding was good, I felt good on track all weekend and ended up second overall. I’m really up with the results…I’ve been working hard at getting better on hard pack tracks.”
Tom Vialle, “It was a really great weekend, the season so far is going very well. Im having fun, everything is going well in both training and the races so far. It’s not easy as a rookie to deal with the pressure but I’ve had good starts so this gives me the opportunity to stay in front. This weekend again I had two good starts and the opportunity to race at the front for a solid result.”