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MXGP, Neuquen, PATAGONIA ARGENTINA, 2 Maaliskuu 2019

Both KRT Kawasaki’s top four in Argentina

The Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team made a superb start to the FIM MXGP season as Julien Lieber took his factory KX450-SR to second place with Clement Desalle fourth in Qualifying in Argentina.

Lieber had played it cool to post tenth place during practice around the extremely fast track carved out of the forest in the region of Patagonia but he used the smooth unrelenting power of his new bike to sweep through turn one in second place and maintain that position to the chequered flag, just over four seconds behind the winner. Desalle, who had set fourth-fastest lap time earlier in the day, didn't get a clean ride through the hectic opening turn and initially found himself in mid-pack along with several other prominent names. But the Kawasaki leader was in scintillating form as he scythed his way up the leaderboard to reach fourth place soon after half-distance; with the leaders already several seconds clear and no points at stake in qualifying he wisely settled into a fine rhythm to secure a good gate pick for each of tomorrow's GP motos. BOS Factory's Tommy Searle narrowly missed the top ten in eleventh position, one ahead of Gebben Van Venrooy's Alessandro Lupino, thus making it four Kawasaki’s in the top twelve of qualifying in this, the opening round of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship.
 
Julien Lieber: “My jump off the gate was not that good actually as the gate dropped very early, but I still got through the first turn second, just behind Gajser. I tried to follow him at first but on two or three sections he was faster than me and I couldn’t find a solution to go faster there. Then Febvre passed me; he was faster than either of us and when Gajser crashed I was second again. I rode my own race with a good rhythm and didn’t make any mistakes today so I’m happy about my riding. I will have a good gate pick for the GP races and I know that I have a good rhythm; I wasn't tense today like I usually am on Saturdays and I always feel better on Sunday so that is a good sign.”
 
Kawasaki also enjoyed success in the MX2 category as Henry Jacobi made an impressive debut for the F&H Racing Team to finish third. The German quickly advanced into second place in Qualifying and sensationally pulled back the defending champion's early two second advantage to lead for a couple of laps before being narrowly edged out in the closing laps. Jacobi's Despite spinning out several times on the tricky surface Jacobi's F&H teammate Adam Sterry completed an excellent start to the season for the team in seventh place. Bud Racing's Brian Moreau had a small crash during practice and suffered a small crack in the wrist; he will miss this weekend's GP but should return to riding within two weeks.
 
Henry Jacobi: « I got a really good start and I surprised myself to have the speed to follow Prado and Vialle; when Vialle crashed in front of me I was second and could stay with Prado for a long time. I made a pass and led the race for a lap before he passed me back; I passed him, he passed me again, it was a kind of crazy race but at the end I tried to be smart and avoid any mistakes as the track was getting quite sketchy. I’m happy with a third position today and I think everybody in the team will be happy if I can do the same tomorrow! We had a really good winter preparation and the team is really professional; they have provided me with a great bike so I can really show what I’m capable of.”