Kevin Strijbos was never headed at a dark and windy Talkessel circuit for the MXGP Qualification Heat race and sealed his third Pole Position in the premier class this season.
The Belgian will roll into the start gate first tomorrow at Teutschenthal for the Grand Prix of Germany and round 11 of 17 in the 2014 FIM Motocross World Championship.
Strijbos took control of the 20-minute and two-lap sprint ahead of Jeremy Van Horebeek and Max Nagl and confidently dictated the pace aboard his works RM-Z450. The German soil was bumpy, rutty and dusty and distinctly hard-pack in places. Strijbos handled the demands admirably and weathered some late pressure from Van Horebeek.
Clement Desalle was fourth. The Belgian returned to the scene of his triumphant Motocross of Nations team victory last summer but also started a moto at Talkessel for the first time since the first-corner crash that led to a broken left shoulder at the same event. Desalle was nursing a stiff and sore left wrist today; an after-effect of his dramatic get-off in Italy last week. The ‘#25’ was able to ease his way around the hard dirt and banked turns in fourth ahead of title rival Tony Cairoli, even in spite of a late error that caused him to lose time in front of the Italian.
Cloudy but bright conditions are predicted for the 21st and 22nd motos of the season tomorrow.
“A good start! It feels like a while. I could pass Max on the first lap and then ride my own race so I was pretty happy about that. In the end, Jeremy was pushing me hard and I had some arm-pump in the last two laps but overall I’m pleased. The bike was good and we’ll see for tomorrow. We changed the forks after free practice and it definitely helped.”
“My start was not so bad but the two guys next to me did really well also, and three of us were close for the holeshot. Just before, I was thinking about the last time I took to the start-line here. I just hoped the same thing wouldn’t happen! It is a very fast drop down to the first turn and you don't want to make a mistake. But I made a nice turn and got through. I got up to second but was passed by Van Horebeek and Nagl. I made a mistake three laps before the end; I hit a stone and lost control. I had a gap over Cairoli though. The track is not easy and not much fun. Every time I go on the bike my wrist feels better; it is OK. I hope we can make a good result tomorrow without any mistakes.”
MXGP Qualification Heat result:
1. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki MXGP), 24:54.706;
2. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:02.165;
3. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), +0:06.532;
4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki MXGP), +0:15.964;
5. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:18.336;
6. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:23.766;
7. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:28.892;
8. Davide Guarneri (ITA, TM), +0:38.691;
9. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:39.992;
10. Gregory Aranda (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:40.770;
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