PRADO AND BENISTANT TAKE THE FIRST VICTORIES AT LUGO IN THE RAM QUALIFYING RACES AT THE MXGP OF GALICIA

LUGO (Galicias,Spain) 11 May 2024 – At the scenic and brilliant new venue of Lugo for the MXGP of Galicia, today’s RAM Qualifying Races provided some amazing competition to get the weekend underway! In front of a loud and enthusiastic crowd that turned out mainly to cheer for their hometown hero, the Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing star Jorge Prado did not let his supporters down, with a stunning victory that involved passes on two of his main rivals. That was after the first World Championship chequered flag at this circuit was waved for Thibault Benistant of the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team, but it was so nearly a very different story!

In a fascinating morning of action on a circuit that only local boy and reigning MXGP World Champion Pradohad any prior knowledge of, the world’s fastest Motocross riders were soon cutting their lap times down to get the best possible gate pick. Some riders took their time to gradually reduce their lap times as they learnt the circuit, but the pack looked close on the timing charts in both classes heading into the afternoon’s RAM Qualifying Races.  And all of them were able to come out in full attack mode when the gate dropped!

 



World Championship leader Tim Gajser put down his marker for Team HRC with the fastest time in Free Practice, with Prado in second. Then in Time Practice it was the turn of Jeffrey Herlings to show his hand for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, flying to the pole position lap, only half a tenth of a second ahead of Gajser! 

Herlings used the inside gate to good effect and led into the first corner, but Gajser cut a stunning line out of turn two to grab the lead! The Dutchman was not rolling over, however, and made a brilliant pass to take it back, before the Slovenian used a big, 450-only triple jump into the wave section to retake the advantage that Herlings would not get to take back.

Meanwhile, Prado had been battling with the fast-starting Calvin Vlaanderen, who had fought the Spaniard back to keep third for Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP. A decisive move on the second lap allowed Prado to clear the #10 rider and chase down Herlings, and Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre followed him through immediately!

From there, Prado built his momentum with the crowd urging him on through every twist of the throttle! Five laps later, he drove past the KTM talisman to take second, and Febvre would also get past Herlings a lap later. With the fastest lap of the race, Prado closed in on Gajser, and squeezed into the lead just after crossing the finish line to start lap seven!

From there, the lead positions were set until a small mistake from Febvre three laps from the end allowed Herlings to regain third, as Vlaanderen recovered to claim fifth ahead of the Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jeremy Seewer.

The result for Prado, a race where he moved forward better than at any time before in this Championship, was probably more important than just the one-point gain over Gajser, and the series lead is now just 13 points for the Slovenian heading into tomorrow’s main Grand Prix races!

 

Jorge Prado: “It wasn’t too bad of a start but I think I was around 4th or 5th in the first two laps and there were good battles with some of the guys too but once I made few passes and got to Jeffrey I knew I had to pass straight away. I was checking out the rhythm see how he went. As soon as I saw that they slowed down a bit I made my attacks. I got to Gajser after, made the pass and controlled the race so yeah, I really enjoyed the ride”

 

MXGP - RAM Qualifying Race – Classification: 1. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), 23:56.718; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:00.631; 3. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:07.465; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:13.756; 5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:14.672; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Kawasaki), +0:15.933; 7. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Honda), +0:32.929; 8. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:36.028; 9. Pauls Jonass (LAT, Honda), +0:43.118; 10. Cornelius Toendel (NOR, KTM), +0:43.829

MXGP - World Championship Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 261 points; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 248 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 227 p.; 4. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 206 p.; 5. Pauls Jonass (LAT, HON), 194 p.; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, KAW), 162 p.; 7. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 157 p.; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, FAN), 149 p.; 9. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, HON), 108 p.; 10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, HON), 95 p

     

Main Photo: Jorge Prado

Bottom Photos: 1. Tim Gajser; 2. Jeffrey Herlings

 


Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing again saw their riders at the top in MX2, as Kay de Wolf and Lucas Coenen finished 1-2 in both Free and Time Practice, with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s defending Champion Andrea Adamo coming to the line in third.

A terrible start for the red plate holder De Wolf left him buried in the pack, while the holeshot went to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing flyer Sacha Coenen! Returning from injury was Team HRC rookie Ferruccio Zanchi, and all the pent-up aggression bore fruit as he held 2nd from title chaser Simon Laengenfelder, himself racing after surgery on a broken collarbone sustained in Portugal! The German on the Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing machine looked in fine form despite the injury, and would finish in fifth position.

Thibault Benistant moved forward into second place by the end of the first full lap, but behind him there was a three-bike pile-up involving Sacha’s teammates Liam Everts and Adamo, as well as Mikkel Haarup for Monster Energy Triumph Racing! There was no catching Sacha Coenen who looked in total command for almost the entire race.  Zanchi also held firm in third. Kay de Wolf was charging through the pack and would eventually get to seventh, losing just two points to Laengenfelder.

On the last few laps, everything changed! Lucas Coenen had been hassling Laengenfelder, and finally moved up to fourth as they took the 2-Lap board, then immediately dived on Zanchi to take third! With half a lap to go, there was heartbreak for Sacha Coenen who crashed in the wooded section out of the lead, and then dropped the bike again as he tried to get going! 

Restarting just in front of his brother, Lucas was merciless in getting through to second with his best ride for some time. Sacha would have to console himself with third and forget about what might have been.  He could be a serious threat on Sunday!

It was Benistant, however, who took his first Qualifying victory for well over a year, and with Everts unable to get back into the top ten, the Frenchman reclaims third in the Championship standings, while De Wolf holds an advantage of 28 points and a mission to get a better start tomorrow!

 

Thibault Benistant: “I was quite patient all the race actually and I was feeling good. I still feel a bit tight but I took a good start which I wanted for a long time. It’s really nice to start at the front and kept pushing until the end and Sacha (Coenen) made a mistake so I can say I was a bit luck yin the end..but I stayed on the wheels and I won so I’m very happy!” 

 

MX2 - RAM Qualifying Race – Classification: 1. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), 24:15.094; 2. Lucas Coenen (BEL, Husqvarna), +0:11.495; 3. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), +0:13.108; 4. Ferruccio Zanchi (ITA, Honda), +0:15.460; 5. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +0:20.181; 6. Rick Elzinga (NED, Yamaha), +0:24.142; 7. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:26.524; 8. Quentin Marc Prugnieres (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:31.410; 9. Oriol Oliver (ESP, KTM), +0:34.755; 10. Marc-Antoine Rossi (FRA, GASGAS), +0:36.321

MX2 - World Championship Classification: 1. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 250 points; 2. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 222 p.; 3. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 195 p.; 4. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 188 p.; 5. Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 180 p.; 6. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 168 p.; 7. Rick Elzinga (NED, YAM), 164 p.; 8. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, TRI), 154 p.; 9. Camden Mc Lellan (RSA, TRI), 126 p.; 10. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), 112 p

     

Main Photo: Thibault Benistant

Bottom Photos: 1. Lucas Coenen; 2. Sacha Coenen

 


 

WATCH RAM QUALIFYING RACES HIGHLIGHTS HERE 

 

All the photos from the MXGP of Galicia will be available HERE.

You can find the complete results HERE.

 

MXGP OF GALICIA QUICK FACTS:

Circuit length: 1550m

Type of ground: Dark Sand Soil

Temperature: 22°

Weather conditions: Sunny

 

TIMETABLE 

SUNDAY: 09:40 EMX125 Race 2, 10:25 MX2 Warm-up, 10:45 MXGP Warm-up, 11:30 WMX Race 2, 13:15 MX2 Race 1, 14:15 MXGP Race 1, 16:10 MX2 Race 2, 17:10 MXGP Race 2.

 

 

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