Benoit Paturel opens championship with a podium.
Under the lights of the Losail MX track in Qatar, Benoit Paturel has claimed the second step of the podium at the first MX2GP race of the year. Paturel was 2nd in both moto’s battling for the victory until the last corner. Alvin Ostlund finished 10th overall and Brent Vandoninck opened the 2017 campaign in 12th.
Already in qualifying Benoit confirmed his preseason form finishing a close second to Pauls Jonass after a strong race. Alvin had a good start and was riding well within the top 10, but a late race crash dropped him to 13th. Brent meanwhile crossed the line in 10th position.
The first MX2 race took place at nightfall which meant the conditions were changing all the time for the riders. Benoit had a solid start and was fifth at the opening stages of the race. He soon started making moves and got second by lap 7. He closed the gap and tried to pass Jonass, but couldn’t get by and finished second. Alvin started the race in 15th and moved up to finish 13th. Brent had a bad start and was outside the top 20 at the first laps. He ended the first moto in 17th.
In the second moto Benoit had another good start. This time he got in second by lap two and just like in race 1 he got a great battle with Jonass. A late race charge got him in a good position to pass, but a small mistake in the penultimate lap made him lose the connection with the leader.
Paturel got second overall and can look back on a good start of the season.
Brent had a better start and moved up from 11th to 7th in the race, giving him 12th overall. Alvin had another solid ride and finished 10th. He is now 10th in the standings heading to Indonesia.
"This is a good way to start the season. I tried everything I could to pass Pauls, but he was very strong. In both races I finished right in his wheel, so the speed is there. But the season is very long and I think we have some nice battles coming up. It will be important to score well in each race and at the end the most consistent rider will be the world champion."
"The goal up front was to get in the top 10, so I’m pretty happy with the result. My starts weren’t good and it was hard to pass on the track, but I felt good on the bike and was physically ok, so that’s positive. I heard next week is going to be more sandy, so I’m looking forward to that and to put another good result."
"I’m not happy with the result of the first moto. I was almost last in the start and couldn’t make the passes to move up. When you follow a rider you can’t see well what is coming and you make more mistakes. I could see the speed was there as I managed to gap the rider behind each time I made a pass. The second race was better and I had a good feeling. This time I managed to pass easier and finished 7th."