Fernandez, Prado split race wins at 2023 MXGP opener
Monster Energy Yamaha's Geerts clean-sweeps MX2 in Argentina.
Spaniard Ruben Fernandez has marked his full-time Team HRC arrival with the overall victory at the opening round of the 2023 MXGP World Championship in Argentina, while moto one and qualifying winner Jorge Prado has the early championship lead with points now awarded for Saturday’s race.
With the top 10 receiving points for Saturday’s race in 2023, Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Prado led every lap to take victory ahead of teammate Mattia Guadagnini in the first gate drop of the season, as Maxime Renaux (Monster Energy Yamaha MXGP) was third ahead of Fernandez (Team HRC) following a late move and Romain Febvre (Kawasaki Racing Team) completed the top five.
Moto one saw Prado again victorious, taking the lead from Fernandez on lap five to charge to a 4.320s win. Febvre worked his way to second, leading Renaux – who remounted from a sizeable fall, the returning Jeffrey Herlings (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Fernandez across the line, each rider separated by roughly two seconds come race-end while Fernandez suffered a fall of his own.
Victory from Fernandez in moto two proved decisive in terms of the overall, the number 70 taking the chequered flag 7.320s ahead of Herlings as Jeremy Seewer (Monster Energy Yamaha MXGP) – who rebounded from a huge crash on Saturday – completed the top three. In fourth was Pauls Jonass (Standing Construct Honda), leading Febvre rounding out the top five as Prado finished P6.
Looking at the overall results for the round, Fernandez stood tall on 41 points, with Herlings edging Prado for second on countback courtesy of 40 points. In the championship standings, however, Prado leads on 50, two points ahead of Fernandez with Febvre in third, a further four points adrift.
Notably, current MXGP world champion Tim Gajser (Team HRC) was absent from the round following surgery on a broken right femur sustained in the pre-season.
It was a dream start to the season for Jago Geerts (Monster Energy Yamaha MX2), sweeping the weekend to leave Villa La Angostura with a perfect 60 points.
Geerts led every lap in the qualifying race to take a 2.968s win ahead of Andrea Adamo (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), with Simon Laengenfelder (Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing) third and leading Liam Everts (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Thibault Benistant (Monster Energy Yamaha MX2).
Geerts withstood the challenge of teammate Benistant and Kay de Wolf (Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing) to take the moto one win by 14.777s, with Adamo completing the top three behind Benistant after the latter remounted from a fall while leading, the incident also bringing down de Wolf who ultimately finished the bout P6 following another crash later in the outing. Roan Van De Moosdijk (Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing) and Everts were fourth and fifth respectively in the first outing on Sunday.
Race two saw Geerts again stand tall, this time with Kevin Horgmo (F&H Kawasaki) taking the chequered flag second ahead of Adamo. In P4 was Rick Elzinga (Monster Energy Yamaha MXGP), as Laengenfelder rounded out the top five.
Geerts perfect scorecard saw him dominate the round one MX2 overall, leading Adamo in second on 40 points and Benistant in third courtesy of 35. In terms of the championship standings, Geerts heads the field with 60, as Adamo and Benistant second and third on 49 and 41 points respectively.