GP SEASON BEGINS FOR KTM UK-BACKED TEAMS
HM Plant and Team STR get started under the Qatar floodlights
The Losail circuit in Qatar was the scene of the first Grand Prix of eighteen in the 2013 FIM Motocross World Championship. It was also the first trip to the Middle East for the series and the first to be played out under a similar lighting system made famous by the adjacent MotoGP course.
Another first and was the new race format of one MX1 and one MX2 race, with the top twenty in each class going through to a combined super-final race. Holding the races at night under floodlights was another first for everyone.
HM Plant KTM UK fielded Elliott Banks-Browne for the second year in succession on the 250SX-F and gave a debut to promising youngster James Dunn in the MX2 category. Across a bumpy, technical but reasonably fast track – thanks to the layout – EBB was able to accumulate 17 championship points for 12th place overall and finishes of 12th and 13th (for the class) after the second moto ‘Superfinal’ that saw MX1 and MX2 machines mixed at the same time in the very first experiment of this type with the race programme.
Elliott was hindered by a poor start and also damaged eyewear in the first moto but was defending a satisfactory slot in the second outing when he experienced some discomfort with his hand and had to slow. Dunn used his Grand Prix baptism to pick up some useful pointers from the world’s best and on the cusp of moving to Thailand next week for round two.
Elliott Banks-Browne: “In the first race I didn’t get a good start and on the first lap I broke my goggles! From that moment I couldn’t see anything. Finally, I tried my best and finished twelfth. In the second race I got a pretty good start with the MX1 boys and I rode seventh during the whole race, but I had some problems with my hand and in the last laps I lost many places. This is only the start of the season and next week I hope to make a better result in Thailand.”
James Dunn: “This is my first race in the world Championship in the MX2 Class and that is a big experience for me. Having the opportunity to come here in Qatar for the first race of the Championship has been great. In the first moto I finished 26th, but this year I just need to finish races, get some points and have a consistent heats. I have learnt a lot from this weekend.”
It was a tough day for Team STR KTM at the Season Opener. In Race 1, neither Jonathan Barragan nor Jamie Law had good starts and Barragan made his task even harder as he dropped his machine on the first lap leaving him at the back of the field. Law was finding the going tough, which wasn’t a surprise after the lack of preparation, having only been called up to replace the injured Karro the previous week. He stuck to the task and was well in contention for the first half of the grueling race and although he started to feel the pace, he battled to the bitter end to cross the line in 22nd at the flag.
Barragan had a lot to do but was soon making passes and by half-way was up to 17th but with such a quality field, it was getting harder to catch the riders in front and he could only manage one more pass before the end, finally bringing it home in 16th.
With Law failing to qualify for the mixed super-final it was down to Barragan to fly the flag for the team but with the MX2 guys having the first twenty picks of the gate, it was going to be difficult for the Spaniard to make the start he wanted from near the outside. So it proved, but he was on the gas and was picking through the field until he hit the deck. Just as in the first race he was having to try and claw back positions he had previously held, but with some impressive lap times he was making good progress. He clawed his way up towards the pack in front, consisting of Roelants, Leok and Simpson but just ran out of time, finally finishing in 15th, just 1.7 seconds behind Simpson for 17th overall.
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 39:51.449; 2. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:31.544; 3. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), +0:32.888; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, KTM), +0:44.961; 5. Dean Ferris (AUS, Yamaha), +0:59.726; 6. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki), +1:03.051; 7. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +1:11.094; 8. Julien Lieber (BEL, Suzuki), +1:12.485; 9. Mel Pocock (GBR, Yamaha), +1:17.280; 12. Elliott Banks-Browne (GBR, KTM), +1:34.501.
1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 39:55.020; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:07.472; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:09.834; 4. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:11.515; 5. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:11.809; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:16.592; 7. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:25.914; 8. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:39.408; 9. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), +0:44.527; 15. Jonanthan Barragan 30. Elliott Banks-Browne (GBR, KTM), -1 lap(s).
MX2 World Championship
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Dean Ferris (AUS, Yamaha), 38 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, KTM), 38 p.; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 36 p.; 5. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), 33 p.; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 30 p.; 7. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 26 p.; 8. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki), 25 p.; 9. Julien Lieber (BEL, Suzuki), 24 p.; 12. Elliott Banks-Browne (GBR, KTM), 17 p.