Red Bull KTM’s Tony Cairoli clinched his second Grand Prix win of the season under sunny British skies at Matterley Basin while Tom Vialle excelled in the MX2 class to capture 3rd position and enjoy his first taste of the podium in only his second FIM World Championship appearance.
The first European round of 2019 MXGP landed in the UK after the long trip to Argentina to open the series. Former Motocross of Nations venue Matterley Basin provided a fast, challenging and sun-kissed setting for the Grand Prix of Great Britain and for what was a busy and popular fixture on the calendar. Red Bull KTM went to southern England at half strength with MX2 World Champion Jorge Prado (left shoulder) joining Jeffrey Herlings on the sidelines but with the Spaniard hopeful of a swift return.
Tony Cairoli missed out on his first Qualification Heat win on a cloudy and cold Saturday due to a mistake on the last lap of the race that cost the nine-times world champion the chequered flag. Under blue skies on Sunday Cairoli kept his head and it was his rival and first moto leader Tim Gajser who fell and gifted a free run for #222 to the finish line. The result marked the third consecutive moto win for Cairoli this season. In the second race the Italian – who had been struggling with a stiff right shoulder and neck in the build-up to Matterley – rode to second place behind Gajser: shadowing the 2016 champion closely in the final laps and finishing only 1.7 seconds adrift. Cairoli’s second consecutive success this year gives him an 8 point lead in the early standings.
Tony Cairoli:“It was a great weekend and for sure this track is one of my favourites. I had difficulty to push from the beginning because of a problem during the week and I was stiff. It meant I got arm-pump after three-four laps. I had to be careful because on this track if you are tight then you’ll crash because it is tricky and there are a lot of strange ruts and kickers. I was cautious and in the end it paid off. Hopefully I can be better for next week in the sand. For the championship everything is going well and that’s my goal.”
Tom Vialle continues to make fast and impressive progress in his Grand Prix rookie season. Matterley Basin was just his second MX2 start with the factory KTM 250 SX-F and the 18 year old grabbed the holeshot in the first moto and ran inside the top three for the duration of the 30 minutes and 2 lap duration. Around a rougher and slick surface Vialle again held the lead for almost half of the race before succumbing to the pace of eventual winner Thomas Kjer Olsen. Vialle managed to classify 3rd and was thrilled to walk the podium in 3rd overall, emulating Jeffrey Herlings in obtaining a trophy in just his second Red Bull KTM showing.
Tom Vialle: “It was a really good weekend: I had ridden well during the week and it fed into the practice sessions and both motos. I’m really happy with my starts because being at the front helps me find my rhythm: it is so important. I think a very good winter has helped with my transition from EMX to MX2. My feeling on the bike is another positive thing. Today has been a big step for me.”
MXGP heads east and to the European mainland this week with round three taking place in the rough shallow sand of Valkenswaard for the Grand Prix of Netherlands next weekend.
Results MXGP Matterley Basin 2019
1. Tony Cairoli (ITA) Red Bull KTM (1-2)
2. Tim Gajser (SLO) Honda (3-1)
3. Gautier Paulin (FRA) Yamaha (2-3)
4. Clement Desalle (BEL) Kawasaki (4-7)
5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL) Honda (5-6)
Standings MXGP 2019 after 02 of 19 rounds
1. Tony Cairoli 97 points
2. Tim Gajser 89
3. Gautier Paulin 74
4. Jeremy Van Horebeek 66
5. Clement Desalle 65
Results MX2 Matterley Basin 2019
1. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN) Husqvarna (1-1)
2. Henry Jacobi (GER) Kawasaki (2-3)
3. Tom Vialle (FRA) Red Bull KTM (3-4)
4. Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA) Honda (8-2)
5. Ben Watson (GBR) Yamaha (4-5)
Standings MX2 2019 after 02 of 19 rounds
1. Thomas Kjer Olsen 94
2. Henry Jacobi 78
3. Calvin Vlaanderen 71
4. Tom Vialle 27
5. Ben Watson 63
6. Jorge Prado 50