The MX2 Grand Prix of Benelux in Valkenswaard, Netherlands was firmly in orange hands on Sunday with the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team taking first with Rui Goncalves and second place with Shaun Simpson.
His first career GP win was a fitting reward for Goncalves who has had a string of mixed fortunes in the three earlier rounds. On Sunday he put the misfortunes of Saturday’s qualifying behind him and rode with grit, determination and courage for his victory. He said it was “awesome” to be standing on top of the podium. Goncalves was second behind Simpson in the first moto and waited for his opportunity to take control of the second moto in the latter stages of the race, slipping past Simpson and Frenchman Nicolas Aubin and winning by an impressive margin.
Well-deserved adrenalin trip for Rui
“This is the first time I have won a GP since joining the factory team,” the euphoric Portuguese rider said. “Last year I was close but I didn’t manage it. This is a big reward for all of our work. I made some mistakes in the middle of race one, but I finished second and that gave me confidence for the second moto. I managed to win the second race by a good margin and you can’t ask better than that,” he said. “Now we go to Portugal where I will have the support of all my friends and family. It will be awesome if I can get the same result there.”
Top day for Shaun Simpson
It was also a red letter day for Shaun Simpson who is riding in his first season with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing. The Scottish rider dominated the first moto and never looked challenged from the first corner to the chequered flag, coming home ahead of Goncalves and Italian Davide Guameri. “I had a good start behind Kromhof in the first race. I managed to pass him, I had the situation under control and I made no mistakes,” he said of his first ever world championship moto victory. “This is a great track and it is a lot like those we have been doing a lot of training on.
Shaun is finally free of pain from a shoulder injury that has been aggravated by the hard pack track of the earlier rounds. “I could feel on Tuesday and Wednesday that my shoulder was feeling much better,” he said. “Now I miss some training so that is probably why I got tired in the second moto. Now it’s important to go for more podiums, train hard and get good results. If I can be consistent we can make it and we can fight with the leaders.”
Beirer and Everts signal that the team is back where it belongs
Pit Beirer, the KTM Offroad Director and factory team boss Stefan Everts both expressed their satisfaction with the result for the weekend, saying with three of four factory team riders on the MX1 and MX2 podiums, it had sent a strong signal to other teams that they were back in action. “Now we are back where we should be,” Everts said. “It was like this was the first GP of the season.”
Teillet recovering from skin graft operation
One rider from the KTM Factory Junior Racing team had to sit out the races at Valkenswaard. Valentin Teillet, the reigning European champion is recovering from a skin graft operation after he suffered third degree burns on his leg when he tangled with a hot exhaust pipe in a crash during a race in Britain’s Hawkstone Park in March. Doctors have expressed surprise that the wound is healing so quickly, but nevertheless Valentin will still be out of action for some four more weeks.
1. Rui Goncalves, Portugal, KTM, 2-1
2. Shaun Simpson, Britain, KTM 1-3
3. Nicolas Aubin France, Yamaha
4. Davide Guameri, Italy, Yamaha
5. Gautier Paulin, France, Kawasaki
9. Joel Roelants, Belgium, KTM
12. Jeremy van Horebeek, Belgium, KTM
14. Arnaud Tonus, Switzerland, KTM
15. Marcus Schiffer, Germany, KTM
Standings after Round Four
1. Gautier Paulin, France, Kawasaki, 140
2. Marvin Musquin, France, 125
3. Davide Guameri, Italy, Yamaha, 111
4. Zach Osborne, USA, Yamaha, 100
5. Shaun Simpson, Britain, 97
8. Rui Goncalves, Portugal, 78
10. Marcus Schiffer, Germany, KTM, 55
12. Joel Roelants, Belgium, 49
13. Arnaud Tonus, Switzerland, 46
16. Jeremy van Horebeek, Belgium, 38
17. Stephen Sword, Britain, KTM, 38
18. Valentin Teillet, France, KTM 37
KTM’s Barragan dominates MX1 in Benelux GP
KTM factory rider Jonathan Barragan of Team Silver Action rounded up a near perfect weekend for the Austrian manufacturer at the Benelux GP on Sunday when he took overall victory in the MX1 class following a double KTM victory in MX2.
The Spanish rider, who has been hampered by a deficit in training in the early part of the season due to a pre-season injury that is now no longer a problem. “I am strong and fit again and I can feel the difference,” he said. So could his opponents on Sunday. Barragan made an amazing recovery in race one to come from the back of the pack to snatch third place then followed it up with a convincing win in the second moto.
Focused and concentrated
“I had a difficult crash in the first race but I managed to get back in the race. I had a good speed and good lines and because I stayed focused I was able to fight back from the back of the pack,” Jonathan said. “Race two was much easier. I had a better start and was able to fight with (Steve) Ramon and (David) Philippaerts. I was able to stay focused and concentrated right up to the end. This is my first GP win of the season and I hope it will be the first of many.”
Barragan said he is now looking forward to the hard pack track in Portugal and Spain and especially his home circuit at Bellpuig in Spain. “That is home for me. I know the circuit and I feel very confident. I’ll have a lot of supporters and lots of motivation!”
Difficult race day for Max Nagl
But what started as a great weekend for Red Bull KTM Racing’s Max Nagl, when he won the MX1 qualifying race Saturday to start on pole for Sunday’s MX1 GP, fortune turned against him on race day, proving that one can never underestimate the fickle nature of racing.
“I was really pumped, I had a good bike and I was very motivated,” the German rider said. Nagl failed to get his characteristic blitz start in the first race and was battling with Barragan and Josh Coppins in the first corner when he was hit by a third rider and dropped back a lot of places. “After that I just wasn’t riding well and I also felt very tired. Then I was fourth at the start of race two but I had a bad crash when I slipped the bike into neutral instead of into gear just before a big bump and it spat me off. Then I was dead last. First I pushed hard from the back to try to get back in the race and I was putting in some good lap times but suddenly I was completely tired and I don’t know why,” he said.
1. Jonathan Barragan, Spain, KTM (3-1)
2. Antonio Cairoli, Italy, Yamaha
3. Tanel Leok, Estonia, Yamaha
4. Kevin Strijbos, Belgium, Honda
5. David Philippaerts, Italy, Yamaha
12. Gert Krestinov, Estonia, KTM
14. Max Nagl, Germany, KTM
Standings after Round Four
1. Antonio Cairoli, Italy, Yamaha, 143
2. Jonathan Barragan, Spain, KTM 128
3. Ken de Dyker, Belgium, Suzuki, 124
4. David Philippaerts, Italy, Yamaha, 118
5. Josh Coppins, New Zealand, 112
8. Max Nagl, Germany, KTM, 87
19. Gert Krestinov, Estonia, KTM 22