Solid Start to the Season Finale for Seewer, Simpson & Van Horebeek
Today concluded the practice sessions and qualifying races at the final round of the FIM MXGP and MX2 World Championships in Imola, Italy, where all three of Yamaha's premier class riders, Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP's Jeremy Seewer, Shaun Simpson and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP's Jeremy Van Horebeek made up the top-eight going into the seasons' Grand Finale tomorrow.
Initially, it was Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP's Shaun Simpson who impressed by setting the third fastest lap time in Timed Practice before cementing his speed on the narrow and technical clay circuit by almost triumphing a thrilling battle with his teammate Jeremy Seewer and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP's Jeremy Van Horebeek for sixth. At the checkers Seewer, who was fifteenth in Timed Practice, regrouped in time for the race and was able to nab sixth from his teammate less than half a lap from the finish. Van Horebeek was eighth in practice and finished the Qualifying Race in the same place.
The penultimate race of the 2018 MXGP World Championship will take place at 14:15 Central European Time tomorrow, followed by the final race at 17:10.
In the MX2 qualifier, Kemea Yamaha Official MX2's Ben Watson took the all-new 2019 YZ250F to an incredible holeshot - his first of the season - and led the first two laps of the race before being passed by the newly crowned MX2 World Champion Jorge Prado. Although the 21-year-old Briton did not challenge Prado for the win, he still put in a superb ride for second-place despite being pushed off the track on the final lap by another rider.
Meanwhile, Anthony Rodriguez was weak and unable to consume any food as a result of a stomach bug. Nevertheless, the Venuzeulen put in remarkable performance for fifth-place, while Jago Geerts started and finished twelfth.
Gates will drop for the second to last time at 13:15 tomorrow September 30th, before the curtain call at 16:10.
6th MXGP Qualifying Race
"I think for the race it was really fun. I crashed once because my teammate Shaun stalled his bike, but it was just a racing incident, these things can happen. I had a really good start and felt I was riding a lot better than before, but I just had to get used to the track today which meant making quite a few changes on the bike because this track is quite tight for 450cc bike. It's like a supercross layout, but it's a lot of fun, so I just need a good start and I know I have the speed and fitness."
7th MXGP Qualifying Race
"It's been a good day. I have to say, it makes quite a difference being up the inside on the start. I was third in Timed Practice, and I didn't really feel like that lap time was as good as what it was, but everyone is so close in their speed here that by going a little bit faster, we were able to get ourselves all the way up the time sheet. The sun was seriously low in the race and we couldn't see a lot really, but I finished seventh after a nice little battle with Jeremy and I am happy with that."
Jeremy Van Horebeek
8th MXGP Qualifying Race
"This track is a bit strange for a GP track. It is really fun, but it is too narrow in places so there is only one line. It is nice what they have done with the track, using the banks and stuff, but it is quite hard to pass and that is not fun in a race. We definitely need good starts out here if we want a good result."
2nd MX2 Qualifying Race
"The race was good. First of all, I got my first ever holeshot and I am really happy about that because we have been working a lot on the starts so it's nice to have all of the hard work pay off like that, although it did make me quite tense at the start of the race. I didn't really flow like my normal self, but I know what I need to work on and the Qualifying Race is only a race for gate-pick tomorrow."
5th MX2 Qualifying Race
"I knew that being sick, the Qualifying Race was going to be tough so I was extra motivated to get a good start. I haven't eaten all day. I woke up at 4am this morning and threw up and I haven't been able to eat since. I was sleeping in between the sessions today to try and give my body the best possible chance to recover. All my muscles are hurting, so I just needed to get a good start and then ride on the adrenalin."
12th MX2 Qualifying Race
"I didn't have the best start today. This track is quite different to what we are used to and it is very difficult to pass. It is not fun when you don't get a good start, but I finished twelfth in qualifying, so it's not great, but also not that bad."