Just four days after his 23rd birthday the Englishman (Tommy Searle) and his Kawasaki KX250F were in scintillating form as he holeshot both motos and swept to the overall MX2 GP victory.
The track was treacherous in the first moto as spinning wheels quickly cut through the mud left by the heavy rain the previous day to reveal slippery rocks. Adopting a cautious approach on the opening lap Searle gave up the lead to title rival Herlings but was quickly back on his rival's rear wheel before nearly crashing as he sought alternative lines. He wisely settled for second place, secure in the knowledge that victory in the second moto would secure the overall GP victory.
Once again hitting the front from the first turn Searle ensured that he never gave his rival the chance to attack and finished an overwhelming winner of both moto and GP. The pace which the two leaders had set was so fast that Searle won the second race nearly a minute faster than the winner of the MX1 race on the more powerful 450cc machines. The victory has consolidated his second place in the world championship at the halfway stage of the series.
Joel Roelants, Searle's colleague at Team Floride Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit, missed the podium by one position after twice chasing through the field. Still recovering from the after-effects of a major crash several weeks ago the Belgian gated well but had little luck in a particularly hectic 180 degree first turn and twice had to fight his way forward for this result. Roelants remains fourth in the standings and he has extended his advantage over the chasers.
An unfortunate choice of gate in race one left MX1 contender and Team CP377 Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit pilot Christophe Pourcel in eleventh position on the opening lap but he battled persistently to recover to finish fifth despite a crash caused by a backmarker soon after he had taken over fourth place. With a better gate choice in race two Kawasaki power gave him the holeshot and,after a series of thrilling duels, he crossed the line second to secure yet another podium finish which has moved him back to third in the standings at the halfway stage of the series.
Gautier Paulin of the Kawasaki Racing Team missed victory in the opening MX1 moto by just over two seconds after a well-planned race which saw him gradually increase his pace on a track made tricky by rain the previous day; he actually set his fastest lap of the race on the very last lap of the gruelling race. Having started outside the top ten in race two Paulin advanced quickly to eighth place as he set his sights on a podium finish, but a small crash cost him the few decisive seconds which would separate him from a top six finish. Despite this he remains fourth in the standings and is separated from second place by just nine points.
Xavier Boog made it three Kawasaki’s in the first six of race one after a strong ride up the leaderboard ,but he too made a small but costly slip in race two to eventually cross the line one place behind teammate Paulin. He finished eighth overall, but had the same points score as sixth place and is now seventh in the standings, just one point from sixth and 26 from fifth.
Sebastien Pourcel continued his successful return to racing with his third consecutive top ten GP scoreline in excess of 20 points. After a solid ride to eighth place in race one, he was unfortunate to slip off at the end of the rhythm section as he advanced towards the top ten, but remounted to regain five places after remounting in sixteenth position.
Tommy Searle: "My Kawasaki got me out of the gate first in both motos today and that is really important in my battles with Herlings. I was a little too cautious on the first lap of the first race but the track was really tricky and I didn't want to take any risks. I knew I was the fastest and I soon caught him up again, but we were both using the same lines so I had to search for new ones but they were not so good; I nearly crashed and lost a lot of time, but I knew I could still win the GP on the second moto. The track was better in the second race and I just concentrated on keeping him off my rear wheel. The points gap is still 24 points, but we are only halfway through the series and I have again proved that I am the fastest."
Joel Roelants: “ I'm still not 100%, but this weekend I felt better than in France and Portugal and I think that in Sweden it will be OK. Here in Belgium my starts were not so good; I lost several positions at the first corner but then fought hard for fourth and fifth place, so that’s not so bad.”
Christophe Pourcel: “I didn’t choose the best position on the grid in the first race, and my start was not sogood; I came back to fourth, but lost time when I crashed as a lapper destroyed a rut just when I was coming! I got the holeshot in the second race and battled first with Bobryshev and later with Desalle. We passed each other several times, but it was costing all of us time and allowed Cairoli to catch us. But I got another podium and that’s important for the series.”
Gautier Paulin: “I had a good feeling in the first race, and when I was second I controlled my race and was able to increase my pace when Desalle came to third; my last lap was my fastest of the race. My second start was not so good, and then I made a couple of mistakes and crashed; I didn't feel so comfortable so I didn’t want to take any risks.”
Xavier Boog: “My starts were not so good this weekend, and in both races I had to come through the field. I was happy with my riding in the first moto as I finished sixth, very close to Christophe, but I had a small crash in the second race and that cost me several places; I’m not so far from the fifth position in the standings, but I can't afford any more bad starts.”
Sébastien Pourcel: “I’m happy as I have now finished the last six races in the top thirteen, and, if I hadn't crashed in the second race, it could have been even better today. I had a good start in the first moto and soon found a good rhythm, then in the second I was fighting with Gonçalves when I crashed in the waves after the finish line; I got back on in sixteenth place and recovered to eleventh. Despite the crash it was my second best GP of the year.”