2016 MXGP of Switzerland |
Cairoli, Gajser, Febvre Podium
Switching back to the KTM 450 SX-F after a two-race flirtation with his trusted KTM 350 SX-F, Tony Cairoli (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) took the overall at the 2016 MXGP of Switzerland Presented by iXS. Pulling a holeshot and winning Race 1 by a large margin, Cairoli scored a fifth in Race 2, but it was enough on a day where inconsistency was the order of the day.
While many may have expected to see a track in the Alps with plenty of elevation change, the loamy Schweizer Zucker circuit at Frauenfeld-Gachnang is a man-made affair on a nearly completely flat surface.
Defending MXGP World Champion Romain Febvre (Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team) and Tim Gajser (Honda Gariboldi), leader in MXGP World Championship standings, both suffered falls in Race 1, dropping them to the lower end of the top 10.
Gajser’s fall came on the opening lap as he was battling with Cairoli for the lead. Although the crash looked hard with Gajser landing heavily on his shoulder, Gajser remounted his battered Honda outside of the top 20. Gajser battled his way through the pack steadily, hitting the Top 10 on Lap 15 when he passed Glenn Coldenhoff (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing). Two laps later, Gajser picked off Max Nagl (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing), and finished ninth in Race 1.
“In the first moto I took a good start and was right there with Cairoli and Paulin and preparing my pass for the lead,” Gajser said, “but then I closed the front in a rut and went down. It was hard with everyone coming past me, so I had to wait for almost everyone to pass before I could pick the bike up again. Fortunately, it was still running so I could get going easily, and then I was pushing really hard. It’s difficult to pass here because of the nature of the track and the long ruts. We could see that the speed was there, but I wasn’t happy with ninth.”
Febvre worked a strong start into third place early on. Eventually, Febvre caught and battled with Gautier Paulin (Team HRC). Making multiple attempts to pass Paulin, Febvre repeatedly made errors that would put space between him and Paulin. At the halfway point, Paulin made an error of his own, and Febvre went by easily.
Febvre set out after Cairoli, but four laps later Febvre went down in a corner. Thrown off his bike, Febvre got up slowly, dropping back to fifth, while Paulin cruised to a safe second place, well ahead of Clement Desalle (Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team), who took the final podium position, and Jeremy van Horebeek (Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team).
Clearly, knocked off his stride and lapping over three seconds slower than he was earlier in the race, Febvre was passed by local hero Valentin Guillod (KEMEA Yamaha Official MX Team) on Lap 15 and Tommy Searle (Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki) a lap later. Jordi Tixier (Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team) passed Searle and Febvre on the penultimate lap, putting Tixier in sixth followed by Searle and Febvre. Gajser was closing, but ran out of time and finished ninth.
In Race 2, Gajser pulled a holeshot, but was quickly passed by Cairoli. This time, however, Gajser stayed on two wheels. By Lap 3, Gajser took the lead for good, though Cairoli kept Gajser honest for the first half of the race. “The second race was much better as I took the holeshot,” Gajser said, “but then went too much to the outside so Cairoli came past me. When I made the pass, Tony was pushing me hard, and then Febvre was too, so we had some good racing. I’m really glad to be on the podium, especially after the mistake in the first race. Now there are three races left this season, and we still have a good lead. Honestly, we don’t change anything because the best way to keep doing what we are is to continue as we have been all season, but yes, we do start to think a little bit more about the championship now!”
Sitting behind the two leaders was Coldenhoff (who finished outside of the top 10 in Race 1), followed by Evgeny Bobryshev (Team HRC) and then Febvre, who started sixth.
Febvre turned on the gas on Lap 6, and by Lap 10 he had passed Cairoli for the lead. Gajser had a commanding lead by then, but Febvre eventually caught up and they were in bar-to-bar combat in front of the standing crowd in the large grandstands. A resounding finished looked to be on the horizon. However, Febvre got sideways over a jump and nearly suffered a crushing high-side, so he backed it off for the rest of the race.
“The first moto was good, but I made a mistake and lost positions and lost my rhythm here on this track,” Febvre explained. “In the second moto the start wasn’t as good, but I came back after the second lap and gave everything to try and win. Physically, I was on the limit, so with two laps to go I didn’t want to make the same mistake. I’m really happy to be on the podium with this result.”
Cairoli was steady in third, with the overall easily in hand. On the final lap, Cairoli tangled with a lapper and went down. Cairoli remounted and finished fifth behind Coldenhoff and Bobryshev. Cairoli’s 1-5 finish easily beat Gajser’s 9-1 and Febvre’s 8-2.
“This weekend everything went the right way,” Cairoli said. “We are back to 450 and change motion from one week is not easy, but my goal is to choose which bike to use for next year, so this is why we are doing so much evidence and constant changes. However, today I am satisfied, because the speed is there and is now the most important thing. In the first race I managed to run away and to control, on a nice track, which was very technical with some deep ruts. In the second race I made a good start again, trying to go away again. But, it was not possible because Tim was really fast, came up and passed me. So, I tried to follow him, but my fitness is not yet at the top and I could not keep the pace for so long, committing some mistakes. So Romain passed me, but not changing things for the end result, I [rode] cautiously, to assure the victory of the Grand Prix. [On the] last lap then I had a problem with a lapped rider and fell, losing two positions, reaching the finish line very angry.”
Race 1 podium finishers Paulin and Desalle finished outside of the top 10, with Desalle going down early after colliding with Febvre when exiting a corner. Paulin started in 12th, dropped down a couple of spots early, and could only manage 11th. Other Race 1 top five finishers also had problems, as Van Horebeek was 10th in Race 2 and Guillod DNFed.
As a result of his fall at the end of Race 2, Cairoli was only able to gain four points on Gajser in the 2016 MXGP World Championship standings, and Cairoli still trails the rookie by 99 points with three rounds remaining. Nagl remains third in the standings, though he struggled the entire weekend, with 10-13 results. This cut Nagl’s lead over Febvre to 10 points. Last week’s MXGP winner Kevin Strijbos (Team Suzuki World MXGP) could muster no better than an 18-9 weekend.
Photography by Youthstream
2016 MXGP of Switzerland Race 1 Results
- Tony Cairoli (KTM), 35:08.501
- Gautier Paulin (Honda), +0:07.545
- Clement Desalle (Kawasaki), +0:10.443
- Jeremy van Horebeek (Yamaha), +0:12.257
- Valentin Guillod (Yamaha), +0:19.403
- Jordi Tixier (Kawasaki), +0:23.488
- Tommy Searle (Kawasaki), +0:25.625
- Romain Febvre (Yamaha), +0:28.295
- Tim Gajser (Honda), +0:31.260
- Max Nagl (Husqvarna), +0:31.694
2016 MXGP of Switzerland Race 2 Results
- Tim Gajser (Honda), 34:24.265
- Romain Febvre (Yamaha), +0:11.791
- Glenn Coldenhoff (KTM), +0:20.333
- Evgeny Bobryshev (Honda), +0:22.574
- Tony Cairoli (KTM), +0:23.071
- Tommy Searle (Kawasaki), +0:24.626
- Jordi Tixier (Kawasaki), +0:37.348
- Shaun Simpson (KTM), +0:42.562
- Kevin Strijbos (Suzuki), +0:49.442
- Jeremy van Horebeek (Yamaha), +0:54.840
2016 MXGP of Switzerland Presented by iXS Overall Results
- Tony Cairoli (1-5), 41 points
- Tim Gajser (9-1), 37
- Romain Febvre (8-2), 35
- Gautier Paulin (2-11), 32
- Glenn Coldenhoff (11-3), 30
- Tommy Searle (7-6), 29
- Jordi Tixier (6-7), 29
- Jeremy van Horebeek (4-10), 29
- Evgeny Bobryshev (12-4), 27
- Clement Desalle (3-16), 25
2016 MXGP Championship Series Standings (after 15 of 18 rounds)
- Tim Gajser, 644 points (15 race wins)
- Tony Cairoli, 545 (4 race wins)
- Max Nagl, 509 (4 race wins)
- Romain Febvre, 499 (7 race wins)
- Evgeny Bobryshev, 472
- Jeremy van Horebeek, 446
- Valentin Guillod, 308
- Glenn Coldenhoff, 307
- Clement Desalle, 298
- Kevin Strijbos, 279
- Shaun Simpson, 277
- Tommy Searle, 254
- Gautier Paulin, 225
- Christophe Charlier, 198
- Jose Butrón, 187
2016 MXGP of Switzerland Presented by iXS Gallery