Kevin Strijbos topped the MXGP-class qualifying in Qatar for tomorrow’s opening FIM MX GP.
The 2014 FIM Motocross World Championship season officially got underway today with qualifying motos taking place at the circuit of Losail in Qatar. Things got off to a bit of a surprise with Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Kevin Strijbos controlling the MXGP (formerly MX1) class from start to finish, while defending MX2 champ Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings topping the 250cc bikes.
Strijbos led from start to finish unchallenged.
“All I did was get a good start and just tried to focus on riding my own lines and my own race,” Strijbos said.
Meanwhile, Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev put in a strong ride, holding onto second place for the majority of the race. Coming into the closing laps, the Russian, Bobryshev, came under pressure from Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s duo Gautier Paulin and Steven Frossard. With one lap to go both Paulin and Frossard went to work on Bobryshev, but “Bobby” held on tight to finish just ahead of Paulin and Frossard.
Current FIM Motocross MXGP World Champion Antonio Cairoli went down on lap one when he made a mistake in a corner and collided with 24MX Honda Racing’s Xavier Boog. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider was quickly out of the top twenty but managed to recover and fight back to a remarkable seventh place.
Herlings, nicknamed “The Bullet,” shot to the front of the pack and led every lap to take the first qualifying race win of 2014.
Keeping Herlings honest the entire race was CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy’s Dylan Ferrandis. Ferrandis did a good job holding on for second despite the pressure from his CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy teammate Arnaud Tonus.
A noticeably calmer Herlings said during the press conference: “My fitness is pretty good, all I needed at this track was a good start and the rest would come by itself, so I just got a good start and took the holeshot and just tried to stay calm and ride smarter than I did in previous years.”
Both Strijbos and Herlings will have first pick of the gate tomorrow for the first two races of the season.
MXGP Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), 23:49.172; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:04.343; 3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:06.157; 4. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:06.257; 5. Davide Guarneri (ITA, TM), +0:08.044; 6. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), +0:08.748; 7. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:09.270; 8. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:17.343; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:23.960; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:30.413
MX2 Qualifying Race Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 23:42.613; 2. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:07.366; 3. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Kawasaki), +0:10.931; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +0:17.068; 5. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:22.899; 6. Max Anstie (GBR, Yamaha), +0:26.135; 7. Julien Lieber (BEL, Suzuki), +0:28.698; 8. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), +0:36.957; 9. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:37.854; 10. Petar Petrov (BUL, Yamaha), +0:39.861