MXGP’s Switzerland qualifying race was kicked off by Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Anstie who avoided a first turn pile up involving several riders including Team HRC’s reigning world champion Tim Gajser.
It was only corners later that Red Bull KTM’s Antonio Cairoli took the lead spot away from the British rider. The race continued between the 2016 Swiss GP winners, Anstie in MX2 at the time, and though Cairoli maintained his lead Anstie kept within striking distance.
Behind the leaders was initially Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Facing MXGP’s Romain Febvre and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff. Coldenhoff would however be dispatched from his 4th position by Wilvo Yamaha MXGP Official Team’s Arnaud Tonus. Tonus made the pass with a fast technical move, wheel tapping a single before the grand stand tabletop.
Tonus later felt the heat of Jeffrey Herlings and his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing SX450-F though. Herlings let Tonus know he was right there on several occasions showing him a wheel. Prior to reaching Tonus it was Herlings who had to find his way past Coldenhoff and he did so quickly. In the end Herlings fell while trying to get Tonus and in turn lost a spot back to Coldenhoff.
Up front Cairoli finished out the race 2.1 seconds ahead of Anstie. “I really enjoy riding on this track, it is always very technical. The race was good and the start was okay, I was 3rd at first then immediately went into second and at the end of the first lap I was already first because Max made a mistake and I was able to overtake him. He was always there and put on the pressure, he was riding really good,” said the Sicilian.
Febvre took third while Tonus was one place further back at what is his first ever home GP appearance. “I had a good Qualifying Race, my start was pretty good and I felt like I was in a good rhythm. You could really feel the crowd, the way that the track is arranged, they can see the whole thing and they really push for us which is a cool feeling and I’m really looking forward for tomorrow,” said the Swiss.
Return to racing this weekend was Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle who finished 11th in qualifying. “I am really happy with 11th. I didn’t expect to be that far up, a couple people crashed on the first turn so that made it a little bit easier for me. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”