Team Suzuki Press Office – August 5.
Arminas Jasikonis – 8th MXGP
Kevin Strijbos – 10th MXGP
Jeremy Seewer – 3rd MX2
Hunter Lawrence – 6th MX2
Bas Vaessen – 14th MX2
At their home race, the Suzuki World MXGP team raised their game at the deep sand track in Lommel, Belgium to post a plethora of top-10 finishes. Arminas Jasikonis, Kevin Strijbos, Jeremy Seewer and Hunter Lawrence all placed better than 11th, while Bas Vaessen can definitely join the group tomorrow after an impressive ride through the pack.
For Jasikonis, the eighth place includes a five-position penalty for failing a post-race sound test, so he actually crossed the line in third position in what was an extremely impressive ride for the Lithuanian rider. “I had a mid-pack start which didn’t make it easy as I had to eat a lot of roost early on”, said Jasikonis. “My riding was good though and I came through to third and actually passed Jeffrey Herlings at one point. Unfortunately, my ribs were hurting quite a lot and I had to slow it down a bit after that. I finished third but I got a five -position penalty after my exhaust damaged and I failed the sound test, so I start tomorrow from eighth place – which is still good for me.”
Coming just a couple of positions behind AJ in the standings was 2016 MXGP of Belgium winner Strijbos who declared himself a happy man after a difficult last couple of months. “It was a decent race after my bad start. The track is quite heavy at the moment after all the rain we had but I felt good when riding. It took a few laps to get my rhythm and then I could come through the pack a bit. I didn’t push too hard and I wasn’t taking any risks so I’m happy with 10th. We’re going to make some changes for tomorrow as the track is different from usual because of all the rain but I’m a happy man after today’s result.”
In the MX2 class, Seewer gave himself a good chance of a victory tomorrow with a third-place gate pick after today’s race. “I had such a good jump, but then I wheelied a bit which cost me my chance at a holeshot, which hopefully I’m saving that for tomorrow. I ate a lot of sand when I was in fourth place for a long time, I was quicker than the riders in front but I couldn’t get past as the track was quite one-lined after all the rain. I nearly made the pass on Benoit Paturel a couple of times, but third position is good for tomorrow and hopefully it’ll stay dry as I much prefer the track like it was before all the rain. Either way, I’m looking forward for tomorrow.”
Riding a very consistent moto was Lawrence who didn’t have too much company on his way to a sixth-place finish. “I struggled in timed practice to get a good lap in as after about three laps we got one year’s worth of rain in the space of five minutes. I think at one stage I was the only rider on the track but I needed to try and get a good lap posted. In the end I got 17th gate pick for the qualifying race which ended up going well. I got a top-10 start and made some passes and tried to keep my head screwed on in the tough conditions. I did a bit of enduro riding, rather than race the track and it seemed to work as I brought it home in sixth place.”
For Vaessen, despite finishing in 14th, his pace during the moto was very good and he’s extremely optimistic that tomorrow will go a lot better. “I crashed with another rider about halfway through the first lap, which put me way down the field after a good start. However, my riding was really good and I came through to 14th and I think that tomorrow, with a decent start, I have the speed to get a top-10 finish.”
Overall it was a very good day for the Suzuki World MXGP team at the Lommel circuit which is located a few hundred metres from the team’s HQ. With the weather forecast looking much better than today, there is also a real possibility that all six riders can improve their results in tomorrow’s motos.
MXGP Qualifying Results: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 26:37.062; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:00.551; 3. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:30.160; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:31.608; 5. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:35.300; 6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:37.261; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:40.346; 8. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, Suzuki World MXGP), +0:26.382; 9. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:54.623; 10. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki World MXGP), +0:56.512.
MX2 Qualifying Results: 1. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 24:45.636; 2. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +0:02.585; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki World MX2), +0:03.752; 4. Jorge Prado Garcia (ESP, KTM), +0:17.394; 5. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:19.601; 6. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Suzuki World MX2), +0:29.695; 7. Julien Lieber (BEL, KTM), +0:58.146; 8. Conrad Mewse (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:59.568; 9. Ben Watson (GBR, KTM), +1:00.944; 10. Jago Geerts (BEL, KTM), +1:09.624; 14. Bas Vaessen (NED, Suzuki World MX2), +1:33.198.