The rapid Norwegian, growing in confidence by the week, again posted top times during practice to earn fourth choice of start-gate for the Qualifying race. A revised first corner layout made the start highly unpredictable for everyone; Horgmo emerged thirteenth initially but he learnt valuable lessons for tomorrow’s GP motos, as he did in his charge up the leaderboard as he sought - and found - overtaking possibilities all around the track. Within four laps he had moved into the top ten and kept charging to reach eighth with two laps remaining before a final pulsating effort saw him advance three places in as many corners entering the final lap for his eventual fifth place.
Kevin Horgmo: “The start didn’t quite work out as planned today but I prefer the 180-degree layout. The flow of the track is different and the bumps are a little strange but I felt comfortable on the bike and was enjoying my time out on the track to come back to fifth. “
Big Van World MTX Kawasaki’s Mikkel Haarup once more missed his race pace during practice but gambled on an inside gate for the Qualifying race with a tighter entry to turn one. The move paid dividends as he came out fifth and, despite a difficult opening lap as he lost five places through poor line-choice, he was soon making significant moves through the second half of the race to close down the top six for seventh at the chequered flag.
Mikkel Haarup: “I must admit I expected the start to be harder from my gate-pick but I got off the gate really well and I was actually fifth at the first turn. Unfortunately I made a few bad decisions on the first lap which cost me but it was interesting to race in the opposite direction and I could come back well to catch the top six; with more bike time we’ll be back in the podium game tomorrow.”
Jed Beaton, F&H’s man in the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship, rode an impressive first half of his Qualifying race to move decisively forward from eleventh to hold down eighth place for three laps mid-moto before he slackened his pace during the later stages of the race to finish twelfth.
Jed Beaton: “I rode a pretty good first part of the race with a good inside line at the first turn and I made a couple of early passes but fell off the pace a little in the second half. It’s different for sure to race the other way round and I think everyone was searching for bike set-up today.”
Ben Watson of the Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP made an excellent top-ten start, only to be taken down in a collision halfway round the opening lap. He pushed forward from twenty-first to seventeenth after rejoining the race.