After wrapping up the title two weekends ago in Finland, Team HRC’s Tim Gajser put an exclamation point on his World Championship by winning the MXGP of Charente Maritime in France over the weekend. Journalists Adam Wheeler and Lewis Phillips cover all the racing action plus some added in gossip in their Racer X MXGP Review Show brought to you by Just1 Racing. Check out their podcast below as well as read the entire MXGP race report.
The following press release is from Infront Moto Racing:
MXGP of Charente Maritime Race Report
SAINT JEAN D’ANGELY (France) – The French crowd were treated to an exciting MXGP of Charente Maritime that ended with Team HRC’s Tim Gajser making his return to the top of the box after an intense second MXGP race, while Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle gave the home crowd exactly what they wanted by claiming the GP win and bringing the points gap down to just two, heading into the final round.
The Grand Prix in Saint Jean d’Angely also saw Thibault Benistant of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing make his comeback to the podium for the second time in front of his home fans, while Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado claimed his first top three finish after some very tough races.
In MXGP, the first Fox Holeshot of the day went to Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer who led the way ahead of Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP’s Romain Febvre, Team HRC’s Tim Gajser as well as JM Honda Racing’s Ivo Monticelli and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Maxime Renaux.
Team HRC’s Mitch Evans also started well and was quickly by Monticelli as he moved up to fourth, with also Jorge Prado of Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing doing the same shortly after as Monticelli dropped further down the order.
Gajser then got onto the back of Febvre and was pushing the Frenchman for second, while Seewer was 1.367 seconds ahead of the pair. Eventually on lap four Gajser was able to find a way past Febvre.
The Slovenian then focused on Seewer ahead and was able to bring down the gap to just 1.1 seconds, while Prado began to push Evans who was ahead in fourth. At that point, Febvre, was having a lonely, but comfortable ride in third.
Prado then lost some time to Evans, though a mistake from the Australian allowed Prado to get into fourth anyway, as Evans picked himself up in sixth place. He later dropped to seventh after being passed by Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff.
In race two, the Fox Holeshot was won by Prado who was the leading rider ahead of Febvre, Renaux and Seewer. Gajser started down in seventh but made some nice passes in the first few corners to get behind Renaux and Seewer.
The trio then pushed Febvre and were able to pass him by the second lap, as the Frenchman dropped to fifth.
Renaux then closed the gap right down to Prado as he showed the front wheel to the Spaniard, as did Gajser to Seewer. But again, the triple worked wonders for Seewer who managed to stay ahead.
A mistake saw Renaux lose second to Seewer who was fast to react to the opportunity. While Gajser continued to push in fourth, with Febvre also edging closer.
On lap 10, Gajser was able to put a squeeze onto Renaux and move up to third, as Prado continued to fend off Seewer.
In the final two laps of the race, Prado was under immense pressure from Seewer and Gajser. The trio had a bit of a moment in a rut, which allowed Gajser to react and take second from Seewer and then quickly Prado as he moved from third to first on the final lap.
That move by the Slovenian secured him the overall victory ahead of Seewer who was forced to settle for second, while Prado made an emotional return to the box after some tough GPs in the second half of the season.
Gajser is already champion, and Seewer solidified his silver medal this weekend, while Prado still has Coldenhoff just four points behind him in the standings and will need to deliver another top result to end the year with a medal.
Tim Gajser: “Yeah, it was a good day of racing. Definitely, It was way more easier to ride without the pressure, you know, last couple of GPs were very difficult. I was struggling. And yeah, thinking about the championship, maybe too much. But today, I could really relax and just ride like I know. In both races didn't have the best start, I had to came from the back. And it was not easy to pass because the riders in front of you, they were all super fast. But anyway, yeah. Super happy with another overall.”
Jeremy Seewer: “Being second is a little bit disappointing because I could have won the GP or even gone 1-1. But sometimes racing goes your way. Sometimes not. That's how it is. But I had a strong race. I mean, especially in the first one, great start and then winning the race. Second race, I was behind Prado and like Tim said it was hard to pass and Tim just played it very smart towards the end. I just made one wrong line choice and the moment I went down the hill, I knew already he was going to get me. But that's how it goes.”
Jorge Prado: “Yeah, three laps is a big difference to two [laughs]. But I can be happy with the third place today, especially after the second race. Got the Fox Holeshot finally, back to my normal self from the start. And then I was pushing and trying to not waste too much energy. I knew it was tough to pass, I knew it yesterday but if I got the start and keep my lines and kept a good rhythm, I knew it would be tough for the guys behind me, so that's what I did… I've been struggling a lot since Lommel, it was one of the best moments of the season and then I got COVID and went into this hole that it looked like I couldn't get out. Finally, this weekend I feel better, I could not train during the week, so I don't even know how I can manage to really be strong the entire second race, but now we have two weeks, let's do some training and feel healthy, that's the most important for me at the moment. And then hopefully we can do something like this in Turkey or even better is possible.”
MXGP Overall Results
MXGP Championship Standings
In the opening race of the MX2 category, the Fox Holeshot went to SM Action Racing Team YUASA Battery’s Andrea Adamo, though Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Thibault Benistant wasted no time and was quickly into the lead as Adamo lost a couple of positions to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle and then Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts who went from fifth to third within the first lap.
The Belgian then looked to apply the pressure onto Vialle who was just ahead of him, but the Frenchman was keen to stay ahead and blocked every opportunity for Geerts.
Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Roan Van De Moosdijk made a mistake and crashed down to 17th, while Benistant was looking to break free of the two championship rivals behind him.
Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Simon Längenfelder was fourth and looking to edge closer to Geerts and Vialle who continued their fight for second. This urged both riders back onto the rear wheel of Benistant and the top three were separated by just 2.026 seconds.
For much of the race, we saw Geerts get creative, as he tried different combinations and lines to get every advantage possible on Vialle, but the Frenchman was smart to block every attempt by the Belgian, as he also made sure that Benistant remained in his sights.
In the end, Benistant was able to stay focused and mistake-free to take the race win, despite struggling with a shoulder injury, while Vialle and Geerts crossed the line in second and third ahead of Längenfelder and Big Van World Kawasaki’s Mikkel Haarup.
In the second, it was home rider Tom Guyon of Team VRT KTM VERITISE who took the Fox Holeshot, though Vialle took the first opportunity that he had to get by Guyon and into first place. Benistant followed too, as Guyon dropped to third ahead of Moosdijk and Haarup.
Geerts started the race in sixth and was pushing hard to get by Haarup, who was not making it easy for the Belgian. Eventually, Geerts passed Haarup, who then crashed and got going in 16th, while the Belgian focused on chasing down Moosdijk.
Guyon started to fade which allowed Moosdijk and Geerts to close in and as Geerts was lining up a pass on the Dutchman, his front end slipped, and he went down. He picked himself up in seventh, but his race only got worse as he crashed once more, though was able to finish in seventh nonetheless.
In the final few laps, there was a nice battle forming between Moosdijk, Diga Procross KTM Racing Team’s Liam Everts and F&H Kawasaki Racing Team’s Kevin Horgmo for fourth, as Horgmo squeezed by the Belgian to move up to fifth, though could not get around Moosdijk by the end of the heat.
Vialle ended up winning the race ahead of Benistant, as Guyon rounded out the French 1-2-3, while Moosdijk and Horgmo crossed the line in fourth and fifth.
Vialle and Benistant ended the weekend tied on 47 points, but a race victory in the second race for Vialle was the decider in terms of who would get the honour of the top step. Vialle got his second GP win on the bounce, while Benistant made his comeback to the box in second ahead of a disappointed Geerts in third. Guyon was fourth overall, just two points off the podium.
Heading into the final round of the 2022 season, Geerts leads the championship by just two points ahead of Vialle, while Längenfelder is safe in third and is on track for the bronze medal.
Tom Vialle: “It was an incredible weekend! It’s a special for one always in France with so many fans coming to watch the race. And it’s for sure a little bit of extra pressure for us the French riders, because we don’t want to crash or something… But it was great. I had a great feeling on the track already on Saturday, I won the qualifying race. And yeah, to be honest, the first race wasn't so easy because Thibault was just in front, I couldn't find a way to pass him and when I tried to change lines, I was a little bit slower. So, I just followed Thibault as Jago was pushing me from the back, so it was not an easy one. In the second race, I started second and passed into the lead already after the first corner. I could gap a little bit to Thibault and just finish nice to win the race.”
Thibault Benistant: “Yeah, actually if you told me last weekend that I was going to finish second this weekend, I would have signed directly because the last few days were quite tough. A bit disappointed in one way, because I would like to finish the season good, but on the other side, second is still good. I had a good feeling on the track in the first race, second one, I felt a little bit less good, but still could manage to finish second. It was crazy with the fans and I just really enjoyed my weekend."
Jago Geerts: “It was a tough weekend. I didn't have the best starts all weekend, so that made it really difficult for me. Needed to push really hard and in the second heat I made some small mistakes, so it was a difficult weekend for me but I’m still leading and looking forward to Turkey to put on a good performance there and then we will see.”