The Grand Prix of Europe ended three races in one week at the difficult sandy circuit of Tazio Nuvolari in Mantova. Tony Cairoli won his second moto of the season and claimed 2nd position overall. In MX2 Tom Vialle scored a moto win and was runner-up: he still guards a 46-point margin at the top of championship.

In spite of the restrictions surrounding the 2020 MXGP season the FIM Motocross World Championship managed to stage the 21st and 22nd motos of the year (and the fifth and sixth in a week) at Mantova on Sunday. The sandy layout featured only small alterations compared to the two previous outings in the last six days. Heavy rainfall on Friday helped soften some of the bumps. Once again riders had to balance speed and caution with solid starts and difficulty for overtaking around the narrow course.

Tony Cairoli wins the second moto and takes his 170th career podium finish. He’s 11 points from the red plate in MXGP.

Tony Cairoli – The four-time winner at Mantova was part of a close group that circulated in the top five in the first moto. Cairoli, who is still dealing with the discomfort of an injured left knee and broken nose, managed to pass and beat Jeremy Seewer to classify 5th. In moto two he made a decent start with his KTM 450 SX-F and was immediately vying for the lead. When Tim Gajser briefly crashed Cairoli took control and kept the Slovenian at distance to earn his second checkered flag of the season. The 35-year old’s 2nd place represented his 170th career podium appearance and the fifth from eleven rounds in 2020. He trails Gajser by only 11 points in the MXGP Championship standings.

Tony Cairoli: “I’m very happy of course to get a win but I didn’t feel that great this weekend. My knee has been giving me trouble. I was riding a bit stiff. We made some changes on the bike and I didn’t feel great. 5th was OK in the first moto but it’s not what we want for the championship. I gave everything in the second moto and it was a good race. We need to keep pushing for another month and look towards our goals.”

Jorge Prado – Another holeshot for Jorge Prado didn’t pay-off on the opening lap of the first moto as the Spaniard made a mistake by stalling the bike and lost the lead to Dylan Walsh. In a race where the top six riders were separated by only a few seconds, the former MX2 world champion battled back to 2nd place and was passed late-on by Glenn Coldenhoff to finish 3rd. In the second moto he quickly moved into 2nd position again but crashed on the third lap and suffered a blow to his right hip. Prado was able to remount and – even though he had a slightly damaged front wheel – regained four points by taking 17th place to classify 9th overall. The 19-year old is 4th in the MXGP table.

Jorge Prado: “The day started quite good but I gave myself some work when I stalled the bike; five guys passed me and I had to get them back to finally finish 3rd, which was OK. I felt good but we changed a couple of things for the second moto and on the Sighting Lap I thought ‘this is my race’ because I was feeling fit, recovered and that the bike was better. I had a perfect jump out of the gate and Tim [Gajser] passed me. I was close but his roost blinded me for a moment and I could not see an edge on the berm coming out of the chicane. I hit it with my back wheel and it sent me sideways. I banged my hip on the bar and also my head on the ground. I was last when I stood up and tried to restart. There was a problem with the front wheel because it was locking a bit on some jumps and also in some corners. The front brake was damaged as well so I could not use it. So, the rest of the race was really difficult. I did what I could, and I actually don’t know where I finished! We’ll heal-up this week and try to be ready for Spain.”

Tom Vialle leaves Italy with 2nd place, ten podiums from eleven and a 46-point lead.

Tom Vialle – Vialle was 7th into the gate after morning Timed Practice. Using all the speed of his KTM 250 SX-F to earn his 13th holeshot of 2020, He built up a lead over title-rival Jago Geerts but the Belgian soon closed to within a second of his rear wheel. In the last three laps Vialle kept calm and dropped his times to again pull away from the threat and win his tenth race of 2020. Vialle and Geerts clashed again in the second moto. This time Vialle was the pursuer but could not force a move. The gap was less than one second at the finish line. Geerts’ win gave him the overall victory. Vialle was able to pick up his tenth trophy from eleven Grands Prix this year and maintains an advantage in the championship of almost two motos with fourteen left in 2020.

Tom Vialle: “It was quite a good day. I felt great on the bike in the morning and the first moto went really well, except for a few mistakes on the waves section that meant Jago could catch me, but I knew I had some more speed and I was really happy to win that one. In the second moto I overtook Ben Watson quite fast and then Jago was there again. I really tried to push on the last three laps and I was pretty close at the end. Anyway, 2nd was enough today and we took more points for the championship.”

Before more triple headers in Belgium and Italy (that should drive MXGP up to eighteen rounds for 2020) the series will first visit the new Circuito Internacional Comunidad de Madrid, intu Xanadú-Arroyomolinos for the Grand Prix of Spain next week.

STORY: Herlings Strengthens MXGP Championship Lead With Italian GP Success (September 2020)

LINK: KTM

photos (c) Ray Archer