Team Suzuki Press Office – September 3.
Arminas Jasikonis – 7th MXGP
Kevin Strijbos – 13th MXGP
Justin Barcia – 34th MXGP
Hunter Lawrence – 8th MX2
Jeremy Seewer – 11th MX2
Arminas Jasikonis and Hunter Lawrence put the Suzuki World team inside the top 10 in the MXGP and MX2 classes respectively, giving both riders a good chance at a podium spots in tomorrow’s main races. Behind them, Jeremy Seewer and Kevin Strijbos also rode well as all four European riders adapted to the hot and humid conditions at WW Ranch in Jacksonville, Florida. Joining them under the JGR Autotrader Suzuki awning was American rider Justin Barcia, who was running in fifth position before a collision with Gautier Paulin saw him DNF the race.
For Jasikonis he’ll be hoping for more of the same after a good seventh place in the qualification race. “I started ok, but my first two laps weren’t too good and I let some guys go past me. I wasn’t riding too well but then I found my rhythm and started come back. I finished seventh on board my RM-Z450WS despite it being so tough for me physically but I hope tomorrow I can deal with the humidity better.”
Team mate Strijbos also found the conditions on the track tough, showing good speed but struggling to make the passes happen: “Again, my problem was with the start as the guys next to me both seemed to jump early so that put me off and I couldn’t get a good jump when the gate did drop. It was so difficult to make a pass here as there was too many jumps and not enough lines. I did well in timed practice; I was fifth so I proved that I had the speed but without a good start it is very difficult. Hopefully we can figure something out for the races and take a good start and then I think I can do well.”
In the MX2 it was Lawrence who was once again one of the few riders out there making moves. “I had a top 15 start, mid-pack, so I had a chance to work forward. Coming into the second corner though and someone hit Jeremy so he crashed right in front of me and I ran into him, and then someone ran into me from behind. This put me back to around last place but I got to work, put in some passes and got back to eighth. It was difficult with this heat and humidity so now I need to recover, have the right food and get back at it with more of the same tomorrow.”
As the MX2 championship battle continues, Seewer will need to avoid those early-moto incidents as he looks to close the points gap on Pauls Jonass. However he does feel that despite the 11th place finish, he still has a good chance to win another overall on his RM-Z250 at this USGP. “I had a really good start, which bodes well for tomorrow. Unfortunately I went too far into the first corner and some people passed me. I was in fifth or sixth heading into the second corner when I tried to line up a pass. The rider in front just shut the door and put me on the ground so I was just lying there trying to get going again. I moved through to 11th after getting back up but I wanted to save energy for tomorrow as it’s going to be tough in this weather. I think if I’m up front after the start I can fight with them but it’s going to be tough if I get caught up in another crash. We’ll see what they do to the track but I think I can make it happen.”
Unfortunately for Barcia, a crash with Paulin on the fourth lap ruined any chances for him to put in a top five result. The American rider got a great start and was following the early leaders before the collision damaged his bike too much for him to be able to continue.
All five Suzuki riders will line up tomorrow looking for improvements and believing that things will go better when the points are at stake at this 17th round of the 2017 motocross world championship.
MXGP Qualifying Results: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 25:03.186; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:19.666; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:45.593; 4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:49.042; 5. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:52.239; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:54.709; 7. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, Suzuki World MXGP), +1:00.729; 8. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +1:03.989; 9. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:05.332; 10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +1:07.446; 11. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +1:08.946; 12. Eli Tomac (USA, Kawasaki), +1:10.164; 13. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki World MXGP), +1:12.329; 34. Justin Barcia (USA, JGR Autotrader Suzuki), -7 lap(s);
MX2 Qualifying Results: 1. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), 25:25.861; 2. Justin Cooper (USA, Yamaha), +0:06.233; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:10.104; 4. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:13.873; 5. Jorge Prado Garcia (ESP, KTM), +0:26.667; 6. Mitchell Harrison (USA, Yamaha), +0:31.813; 7. Chase Sexton (USA, Honda), +0:40.042; 8. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Suzuki World MX2), +0:41.391; 9. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:47.944; 10. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), +0:50.183; 11. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki World MX2), +0:51.195;