Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP celebrated its best Grand Prix yet at the fourth round of the FIM MXGP World Championship in Trentino, Italy, after Gautier Paulin secured a place on the third-step of the podium for the second time this season, while Arnaud Tonus put a pair of fourths together for fourth overall. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Jeremy Seewer rounded out the top-ten after a tough weekend.

In the opening race it was the phenomenal torque and horsepower of Yamaha’s popular YZ450F that got both Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP riders Paulin and Tonus off to fantastic starts. The duo went bar-to-bar around turn-one, but it was Paulin who took the early advantage and quickly passed two riders to move into third. Paulin instantly pulled a comfortable gap and never looked back, while Tonus fought hard for fourth.   

The second and final race of the weekend was almost a carbon copy of Race 1. Both riders started inside the top-four and remained unchallenged for the entire 30-minute plus 2-lap duration of the race. As a result, Paulin stood on the third-step of the podium for the second time in three-weeks, and reclaimed third position in the MXGP Championship Standings. He now has a 22-point buffer over the rider in fourth. 

Tonus has gained an abundance of momentum in the championship chase following his 4 – 4 scorecard in Trentino. The 27-year-old has broken the top-ten. He is in tenth position, 8-points shy of the rider in ninth. 

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Jeremy Seewer had a more eventful weekend. The Swiss star had to find new lines on the slick and edgy clay circuit of Pietramurata as he did his best to recover from a poor start. After a thrilling charge through the pack from outside of the top-15, the 24 year-old was able to cross the finish line in eighth. 

In the second and final race of the day, the number ’91’ was placed inside the top-ten on the opening lap until he was hit from behind by another rider and thrown from his bike. He suffered from a nasty cut on his right arm and a sore left knee. He continued and defied the pain to salvage 14th place for tenth position in the Grand Prix overall. 

Seewer has retained seventh position in the MXGP Championship Classification, and looks to come back strong at the next Grand Prix, which will take place in five-weeks time in Mantova, Italy on the weekend of May 12th. 

Gautier Paulin

3rd MXGP Overall, 3rd MXGP Championship Standings

“It always feels good to be on the podium, and I am happy to be on the box. I know I have some work to do to step up and challenge the leaders because I want to join the battle for the lead. As a racer it’s nice to battle hard for a position and it’s cool to listen to the crowd go crazy. I could hear them this weekend and that was pretty special. Now we will go back to work to make the bike better, to make myself better, and hopefully be in that battle in Mantova.”

Arnaud Tonus

4rd MXGP Overall, 10th MXGP Championship Standings

“It’s hard to explain how I feel after the struggle I have been faced with over the last week. It’s pretty unbelievable. I am so happy I was able to fight through it and find some inside strength. I didn’t tell anyone I was unwell because I didn’t want it to affect me mentally. 4 – 4 this weekend is absolutely amazing after the struggle, so I am just very thankful to the team who have stuck behind me through my hardest times, so I can not thank them enough. It has given me a lot of motivation going into the next races.”

Jeremy Seewer

10th MXGP Overall, 7th MXGP Championship Standings

“It was a tough weekend for me. I struggled a bit with the track. I really like it here, I just seem to struggle, I don’t know what it is. Today I felt pretty good with eighth after wheel-spin on the start and having to come from so far behind. I had a much better start in the second moto but had a big crash on the first lap. Lucky I managed to come away with some points. My focus for the next couple of weeks is to come back stronger in Mantova.”

Words and Photos: Yamaha Racing

Team HRC’s Tim Gajser came out victorious after two incredible motos at the MXGP of Trentino. Engaged in two race-long battles, the Slovenian rider kept calm under immense pressure to make two late passes and claim his first MXGP overall of 2019, at the fourth round, held at the beautiful Arco di Trento track.

Tim Gajser

After winning the qualification race, Gajser had first gate pick and that allowed him to get out of the gate extremely well in both races. In the first race he rounded the first bend in around fifth position before making a number of passes on the first lap to slot into second place. As he tracked the leader Antonio Cairoli, the pace increased for both riders as they kept raising the bar and lowering the laptimes. With just four laps remaining, Gajser pounced on a slight mistake and took over the lead, much to the delight of the large number of Slovenian fans in attendance. He then held on for the first moto victory despite a last lap charge by Cairoli, but he knew that he still had to secure race two in order to receive the honours of the overall.

Tim Gajser

The second moto couldn’t have got off to a better start though, as Gajser raced to his first holeshot of the year, putting his Honda CRF450RW in prime position to take the second moto win. As the paced started to rise, Cairoli began to put pressure on once again, taking over the lead at the mid-point of the race. After studying the Italians’ lines, Gajser waited a few laps before making his move to regain the lead, eventually taking over with five laps to go. The two riders then gave everything they had for the remainder of the race, with Gajser coming out victorious to take a clean sweep of all sessions over the course of the weekend.

Brian Bogers

It was nothing more than Slovenian deserved and it sent his travelling fans into raptures as they celebrated their rider on the top step of the podium, at their adopted home GP in Trentino. Round five also sees the riders’ return to Italy, at the sandy Mantova track near Verona. This event takes place on May 11-12 which gives everyone five weeks to prepare for what is the first of three back to back races in Italy, Portugal and then France.

Tim Gajser   243

It is unbelievable. It’s my first win in over a year and it’s just such a great feeling. To do it here at Arco di Trento is especially special because of all the Slovenian fans that made the trip to come and support me. I had two great battles today, we were both riding so fast but I think the fans gave me that extra boost I needed to take this victory. Every lap I could hear them and it was amazing to win in front of them, just to repay them for their energy that they gave me. I am also so happy for all of the members of Team HRC who work so hard to get me to this level, they all deserve a lot of praise for the effort they put in every week, so a big thanks to them too. Now, there is a bit of a break until the next race but we are heading in the right direction and I can’t wait to try and put this Honda CRF450RW on the top step of the podium again

Brian Bogers   189

The first race I didn’t have the best start and I also crashed, taking too long to get back going because I got stuck under the bike. This left me a long way behind, but I got to work and despite this being a difficult track to pass on, I worked my way back inside the top 20, ending up 19th. Obviously I knew that I needed to improve my start and that’s exactly what happened in the second moto. I rounded the first few turns inside the top 10 and that’s where I was able to finish. You could see that if I can fight with those riders, I can finish in these good positions, so that was another step in the right direction. I improved my season best result with this ninth place but I know I need to keep working and that’s what we are going to do in this break.

Marcus Pereira de Freitas

HRC General Manager – MXGP

What an amazing performance by Tim today! To ride so well, with such pressure on his shoulders was just really impressive. Both motos was a race-long battle and to come out on top is just such a boost to him and to everyone in Team HRC. The pace he was riding was extremely high and it was great to see how comfortable he was feeling on his Honda CRF450RW and testament to how well the team has worked to try and get him to this level.
It was also good to see Brian put in a top 10 finish, which is something we’ve known he is capable of, he just needed to put everything together. He rode solidly in that second moto and kept the speed of the riders around him and showed that he fits in with that pack of guys. Overall it was an extremely good weekend for Team HRC in the MXGP class and I hope that we can use this as motivation in this break to keep up the high levels and make sure we perform well in round five of the series.
Our best wishes also go to Calvin Vlaanderen as he looks to get surgery on his right leg. It was a real shame to see him get injured this weekend, when he was riding so well, and we hope that he will be fully fit by the time the next round takes place in Mantova.

Rider Standings

Pos.RiderNumNationPointsTeam
1CAIROLI Antonio222ITA191Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
2GAJSER Tim243SLO175Team HRC – MXGP
3PAULIN Gautier21FRA142Wilvo Yamaha MXGP
4JASIKONIS Arminas27LTU120Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
5VAN HOREBEEK Jeremy89BEL113Honda SR Motoblouz
6DESALLE Clement25BEL112Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing
7SEEWER Jeremy91SWI98Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
8SIMPSON Shaun24GBR88RFX KTM Racing
9LIEBER Julien33BEL79Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing
10TONUS Arnaud4SWI71Wilvo Yamaha MXGP
11JONASS Pauls41LAT69Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
12MONTICELLI Ivo128ITA66iFly JK Racing
13COLDENHOFF Glenn259NDL65Standing Construct KTM
14ANSTIE Max99GBR62Standing Construct KTM
15LUPINO Alessandro77ITA60Gebben V Venrooy Kawasaki
16SEARLE Tommy100GBR58Bike It DRT Kawasaki
17TIXIER Jordi911FRA36Team VHR KTM Racing
18LEOK Tanel7EST35A1M Husqvarna
19BOGERS Brian189NDL32Team HRC – MXGP
20FEBVRE Romain461FRA20Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
21BUTRON Jose17SPA16JD Gunnex KTM Racing Team
22PATUREL Benoit6FRA13Gebben V Venrooy Kawasaki
23KULLAS Harri151FIN10Wildcard Rider
24GOLE Anton297SWE9iFly JK Racing
25PETROV Petar152BUL7Team Honda Red Moto
26BRYLYAKOV Vsevolod18RUS6JWR Yamaha Racing
27FERRIS Dean111AUS6Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing
28BERNARDINI Samuele321ITA3Ghidinelli Racing Team
29POLI Joaquin179ARG3Wildcard Rider
30RAUCHENECKER Pascal281AUT1Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing
Brian Bogers

Words and Photos: Honda Racing Corporation

Successfully completing the marathon stages of the 2019 Merzouga Rally on his WR450F Rally, Adrien Van Beveren now holds a nearly 23-minute advantage at the top of the provisional overall motorcycles class results. Placing second on today’s stage four, the Yamalube Yamaha Rally Team rider once again navigated superbly, finishing just under four minutes behind the eventual stage winner.

Holding a commanding overall lead heading into the second half of the marathon stage, the fifth and penultimate day of the Merzouga Rally featured a 205.27-kilometre special stage and more challenging navigation. Preparing his WR450F Rally himself at the marathon bivouac, Van Beveren was the first rider into the stage and opened the tracks throughout the day.

Easing his pace a little and focusing astutely on his navigation, the Yamalube Yamaha Rally Team rider nevertheless made a handful of small navigational errors, yet remained at the front of the motorcycle class. Despite only pushing at around 80% of his maximum, Van Beveren yet again went on to ride a near faultless stage. Second fastest to the day’s first check point – and comfortably faster than his closest rival in the overall classification – he then went on to record the second fastest time to the second and final check point.

In finishing as runner-up on stage four Van Beveren holds a sizeable near 23-minute advantage with just one day of competition remaining.

The fifth and closing stage of the 2019 Merzouga Rally will see all competitors compete in the Grand Prix des Dunes – a mass start race into the day’s 40.30-kilometre special stage.

Adrien Van Beveren

Yamalube Yamaha Official Team Rider

“I am very pleased with the way the marathon stages have gone for me, and really enjoyed them. Yesterday everything went well again. More tricky navigation, but importantly I had a great feeling with my bike and to win was fantastic. Being in the marathon bivouac last night was great fun – spending time with other competitors, and some of the riders that gave me great advice when I first started in rally, it was so cool. I arrived there with my bike in perfect condition, so today I focused on doing another good navigation. Opening the stage all day was tough, but again this race is the perfect training for me because I have to be completely focused on my road book, not following any other tracks from other riders. I did make some mistakes and got lost a few times, but I took my time. I was riding more like I would in training, not at 100%. It was a very good stage for me. I feel good, my bike is perfect, so now I look forward to the final dune stage.”

Merzouga Rally 2019

Stage 4 Provisional Classification

1. Ross Branch (BWA), KTM, 3:08:15
2. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 3:32:12 +3:57
3. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 3:34:22 +6:07
4. Oriol Mena (ESP), Hero, 3:37:13 +8:58
5. Sebastian Buhler (DEU), KTM, 3:43:26 +15:11

Merzouga Rally 2019

Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 4]

1. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 14:33:01
2. Ross Branch (BWA), KTM, 14:55:59 +22:58
3. Oriol Mena (ESP), Hero, 15:03:18 +30:17
4. Joaquim Rodrigues (PRT), Hero, 15:07:19 +34:18
5. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha), 15:16:44 +43:43

Merzouga Rally 2019 – Race Schedule

Prologue / March 31 / Erfoud
Stage 1 / April 1 / Erfoud to Erfoud
Stage 2 / April 2 / Erfoud to Erfoud
Stage 3 / April 3 / Erfoud to Marathon Bivouac
Stage 4 / April 4 / Marathon Bivouac to Erfoud

Stage 5 / April 5 / Extreme GP

Words and Photos: Yamaha Racing

Monster Energy Honda Team is back on the final podium of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. José Ignacio Cornejo finished third in the inaugural round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship which concluded today at the Yas Marina circuit.

The final stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge saw José Ignacio Cornejo take third place on the race’s final podium. Is the first time in the World Championship podium for the Chilean Monster Energy Honda Team rider, who was able to complete the 214.5-kilometre special error-free and make it back to the Yas Marina circuit in third overall spot after five days and some 1900 kilometres of intense racing in the Emirati desert.

Nacho finished the fifth and final stage of the rally in fourth position, crossing the finish-line less than two minutes behind the runner-up. The Chilean, besides winning two stages of the rally, also made it onto the podium in second place in the junior category. Monster Energy Honda Team brother-in-arms, Argentine Kevin Benavides, finished behind Cornejo, both in the day’s stage – posting fifth – as well as in the overall final standings where he has occupied fourth place. For the rider from Salta it was a triumph of sorts, to be able to finish the race in the top five, while burdened with a recent shoulder dislocation and a fractured rib.


It turned out to be a similar final balance sheet for the Spaniard Joan Barreda, who two weeks prior to leaving for Abu Dhabi broke three ribs and dislocated the left clavicle. In addition, on the second day, his right leg was pierced by the motorcycle’s foot-rest. Despite the woes, Barreda decided to battle on in the race, and after placing second in two stages, finished in third spot on the final day. The rider from Castellón had been sanctioned with a heavy penalty after being unable to conclude the first stage with a mechanical issue. 

Monster Energy Honda Team return to the action again with the second official round of the world championship, the Silk Way Rally, which will take place from 6th to 16th July, on a trek through Russia, Mongolia and China.

Kevin Benavides 

STAGE: 5TH  FINAL STANDINGS: 4TH

I’m happy to finish because the goal was to reach the end. It was a very hard week physically. It was not easy to ride with a dislocated shoulder and a broken rib. I was at 50%, but I gave 100% of that 50, and it’s very good to be able to finish with a fourth place. Every sacrifice has its reward and we must bear in mind that this championship is very long and we hope it will have a good ending.

Joan Barreda 

STAGE: 3RD  FINAL STANDINGS: 14TH

I am very satisfied because the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is a very physical rally, generally because of the extreme heat and the dunes that have to be overcome every day. Apart from the injury, it was great to be able to compete again, to get back to race pace and experience the physical aspects and the speed. So it’s been a good start to the season, especially taking into account the circumstances with which we arrived here and the mechanical problem we had on the first day. From there, we were able to draw some positive conclusions which is what we came here for.

José Ignacio Cornejo 

STAGE: 4TH  FINAL STANDINGS: 3RD

Today was a difficult day, opening the track; I am happy. I opened the track from beginning to end although unfortunately they took back a lot of time from me and I ended up in third position in the general. I am equally happy to get my first podium in the world championship, to go home after having won two stages and having opened the track during two more stages. Certainly this experience will be positive for my future. We are on the right track. I’m happy with my riding, and I’m picking up more and more pace. I want to thank the Monster Energy Honda Team for all the hard work these days, as well as my coach and my family who are at home supporting me. Thank you very much to all.

Stage 5 provisional results 

Pos.RiderNationTeamConstructorTime/Gap
1SUNDERLAND SamGBRRed Bull KTM Rally Factory TeamKTM2:39’59
2BENAVIDES LucianoARGKTM Factory Racing TeamKTM+3’26
3BARREDA JoanSPAMonster Energy Honda TeamHonda+6’43
4CORNEJO José IgnacioCHIMonster Energy Honda TeamHonda+9’41
5BENAVIDES KevinARGMonster Energy Honda TeamHonda+13’35
6AL BALOOSHI MohammedUAEBalooshi Racing KTM UAEKTM+20’14
7MESHARI JAFFAR MohammedKWTTeam JaffarKTM+20’23
8MARE AaronRSAVendetta Racing UAEKTM+22’18
9BLAIR RyanGBRSRG MotorsportsHusqvarna+24’14
10SHORT AndrewUSARockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory RacingHusqvarna+25’52

Privisional Final Standings

Pos.RiderNationTeamTime/Gap 
1SUNDERLAND SamGBRRed Bull KTM Rally Factory Team17:46’42
2BENAVIDES LucianoARGKTM Factory Racing Team+8’20
3CORNEJO José IgnacioCHIMonster Energy Honda Team+9’59
4BENAVIDES KevinARGMonster Energy Honda Team+34’51
5SHORT AndrewUSARockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing+1:01’40
6BLAIR RyanGBRSRG Motorsports+1:36’51
7MESHARI JAFFAR MohammedKWTTeam Jaffar+1:37’06
8ACKERMAN MarkRSASRG Motorsports+1:44’31
9AL BALOOSHI MohammedUAEBalooshi Racing KTM UAE+1:45’54
10MARE AaronRSAVendetta Racing UAE+23:27’08
14BARREDA JoanSPAMonster Energy Honda Team+33:16’23

Words and Photos: Honda Racing Corporation / RallyZone – Edoardo Bauer (Copyright)

WR450F Rally mounted Adrien Van Beveren has secured his second stage win of the 2019 Merzouga Rally, topping the results of stage three by close to two-and-a-half minutes. Once again showing himself to be the rider to beat, the Yamalube Yamaha Rally Team rider now holds a 16-minute overall motorcycle class lead with one full day of racing and the final Grand Prix des Dunes remaining.

Following his impressive third place result on stage 2 of the Merzouga Rally, having opened the tracks the entire day, Van Beveren was the third rider to start stage three, departing at 7.31am local time. As the first half of the two-day marathon stage, Van Beveren was well aware that any running repairs at the end of the day would have to be done without the support of his team.

Attacking the day’s special, the Frenchman made up time on the riders that started ahead of him, completing the stage without issues and further extending his overall rally lead.

With event organisers claiming that the penultimate day of the event will be a “major stage full of dunes and difficulties,” the second half of the marathon stage will see competitors return to Erfoud via a 205.27-kilometre special stage.

Merzouga Rally 2019

Stage 3 Provisional Classification

1. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 3:25:31
2. Joaquim Rodrigues (PRT), Hero, 3:27:54 +2:23
3. Oriol Mena (ESP), Hero, 3:28:39 +3:08
4. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 3:29:04 +3:33
5. Sebastian Buhler (GER), KTM, 3:29:25 +3:54
6. Ross Branch (BWA), KTM, 3:29:31 +4:00

Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 3]

1. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 11:00:49
2. Joaquim Rodrigues (PRT), Hero, 11:16:49 +16:00
3. Oriol Mena (ESP), Hero, 11:26:05 +25:16
4. Jacopo Cerutti (ITA), Husqvarna, 11:26:17 +25:28
5. Ross Branch (BWA), KTM, 11:27:44 +26:55
6. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 11:42:22 +41:33

Merzouga Rally 2019 – Race Schedule

Prologue / March 31 / Erfoud
Stage 1 / April 1 / Erfoud to Erfoud
Stage 2 / April 2 / Erfoud to Erfoud
Stage 3 / April 3 / Erfoud to Marathon Bivouac

Stage 4 / April 4 / Marathon Bivouac to Erfoud
Stage 5 / April 5 / Extreme GP

Words and Photos: Yamaha Racing