2011 MX GP Round 1, Sevlievo, Bulgaria

Two gate-to-flag triumphs for Ken Roczen in opening MX2 GP
Red Bull Teka KTM's Ken Roczen sent a strong signal to the opposition about his intentions in the 2011 MX2 season when he launched his world championship title bid in Sevlievo, Bulgaria with sensational back-to-back wins in both motos.
 
Now in his rookie year with the KTM factory team, the German teenager was super impressive taking both holeshots and winning the first moto by a margin of 14.66 seconds and the second by even more, 21.4 seconds.  He attacked the Bulgarian track from gate drop to flag indicating that the experience he has had racing for Red bull KTM in the AMA SX Lites in the USA during the winter has sharpened his riding skills to perfection. 
 
Ken Roczen said after the race that he "Just wanted to go out in front and do my thing" and this he certainly managed. "I had an awesome race. I'm very happy and everyone is doing a great job," he said. "I hope I can continue like this for the next races." Looking ahead to Valkenswaard, the next GP, Ken said he liked the track and was going to "try my best" there. 
 
Factory teammate Jeffrey Herlings also had a good season's opener. He rode behind Roczen in second place for most of the first moto, only to drop back in the final laps to fifth place.  He was a comfortable third in the second moto to finish overall third behind Britain's Tommy Searle. 
 
Jeffrey said he had been hoping for a second place this weekend and had been expecting to be a bit faster. "Now for the coming weeks I have to work on my speed," he said. "I haven't done too many races so far this year so I have to get into race mode. My main goal this year is to be consistent and to try to finish 2 or 3 in the championship. Everyone is expecting me to win at Valkenswaard but I am just going to do my best - more than that I cannot do." Jeffrey won the GP at Valkenswaard in his rookie year last year with the KTM factory team. 
 
Jeremy van Horebeek, the third rider in the KTM factory team was hoping for top five and indeed finished with equal points to fifth placed Zach Osborne but was discounted to sixth because of the order of his results. The rider with the best second moto results prevails.   
 
Jeremy van Horebeek: "I did expect a little more this weekend but for the first weekend of the season it was good for me. I had two good starts but I didn't seem to find my rhythm all Sunday. I finished 6 and 5 which was okay but I still need to work on some points." Jeremy said he is looking forward to Valkenswaard because although sand is not his favorite surface, he has trained a lot in the sand with team boss Stefan Everts during the winter and he is well prepared. 
 
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports boss: "All the riders are fit and strong and it was a great start to have two GP wins with Steffi (Laier, WMX GP winner) and Ken and to have Jeffrey on the podium." 
 
Factory team boss Stefan Everts was also impressed with Ken Roczen's performance. "Ken did a great job winning and dominating both motos. He's adapted very well and he's coming from getting good results in the U.S. I thought the switch from SX to MX would be tougher but he's adapted very well. Jeffrey's a sand rider so he did well to be on the podium here. In two weeks he will have his home GO in the same so we will see how good he is." 
 
Strong finish in EMX 125 
Young KTM riders in the first EMX125 GP of the year also delivered solid results with Italian Samuel Bernardini of Italy on the podium in second place after a 4-1 in the two motos, Belgian Brent van Doninck in fourth place, Briton James Dunn fifth and other KTM riders at places 6, 9, 10, 11 &12. 
 
 
MX2 Results Rd. 1 Bulgaria 
 1, Ken Roczen, Germany, KTM points (25-25-50) 
2, Tommy Searle, Britain, Kawasaki 22-22—44 
3, Jeffrey Herlings, KTM 16-20—36 
4, Gautier Paulin, France, Yamaha, 20-14—34 
5, Zach Osborne, USA, Yamaha, 14-18—32 
6, Jeremy van Horebeek, Belgium, KTM, 15-16—31 
Other KTM 
9, Nicholas Aubin, France, KTM, 12-12—24 
10, Joel Roelants, Belgium, KTM 10-9—19 
17, Pascal Rauchenecker, Austria, KTM 5-5—10 
18, Antonio Butron, Spain, KTM 4-2—6 
19, Nick Triest, Belgium, KTM, 0-4—4 
 
EMX 125 GP final Classification 
1, Simone Zecchina, Italy, Suzuki, points 25-22—47 
2, Samuele Bernardini, Italy, KTM 18-25—43 
3, Jeremy Seewer, Switzerland, Suzuki, 20-18—38 
4, Brent Van Doninck, Belgium, KTM, 22-13—35 
5, James Dunn, Britain, KTM, 13-20—33 
KTM riders also in places 6, 9, 10, 11 &12 
 
 
Impressive lineup of KTM talent
 
Kenny Roczen untouchable in MX2 in Bulgaria
 
Positive start to season by dutch teenager Jeffrey Herlings
 
Positive weekend for the team's Jeremy van Horebeek
 
Nagl fourth, Cairoli ninth in opening MX1 GP in Bulgaria
While the MX1 riders in the Red Bull Teka KTM Factory Racing did not enjoy the same overwhelming success as their MX2 counterparts, Max Nagl and Tony Cairoli still picked up valuable championship points in the season opening GP on Bulgaria's Sevlievo circuit.
 
The race on the Bulgarian circuit, where it is notoriously difficult to pass, was not without problems for the KTM factory riders. Max Nagl was unlucky to be hit in the goggles by a flying stone that forced the lens out and let the dirt in, obstructing his vision in the second moto, which he said was like "riding without any goggles". He also said he has to work on his starts but overall was happy with his performance on the KTM 350 SX-F this weekend. (Max has been riding the 450 SX-F in previous seasons). 
 
Max Nagl:  "I am a bit disappointed that I missed the podium by just one point but for the championship the points are okay. I am happy that it's going so good with the 350 and I think it's going to get even better when I've had more race practice. Next race is in the sand at Valkenswaard. That's where I live and I like the track. Last year I didn't do too bad there so I think it's going to be a good GP."    
 
Tony Cairoli said he was disappointed about the result of the first races of the season but given that he had twisted his knee in race one was relieved that it seemed to be nothing serious and that he was able to race in the second moto. 
 
Tony Cairoli: "The start is very important here in Bulgaria because it is difficult to pass on this track. It was not so bad for me yesterday but today I had a very bad start in the first moto. I tried to pass as many as possible and I was up to about fifth then I hit my knee trying to pass Goncalves. It's the same knee that I broke so I was quite worried. It was hurting a lot and I gave up a bit and finished seventh. Then I made an appointment to see the doctor and it started to feel better so I was able to race again in the second moto. My start was better and I almost got the holeshot, I think I was third in the first corner. Then Philippaerts crashed in front of me and I couldn't avoid him and found I was back at 20 or 21 in the field.  I scrambled back to tenth and tried to move up to ninth in the last lap. But I didn't manage it." 
 
KTM Motorsports boss Pit Beirer said at the end of the day that he was happy that everything was going well. "The bikes are good, the team is working great and all the riders are healthy so the basis is there for a good season. I am sure that we all expected a little more from MX1 but we also know the competition is very tough. We make no excuses but we know our weak points, the guys struggled a bit with the starts and made some mistakes but I am sure we will be ready to show better form in Valkenswaard." 
 
Team boss Stefan Everts: "We expect Tony to be winning of course. Yesterday he had a good qualifying race and a good speed. But today he hurt his knee and I'm happy he could finish the race and take some points. For sure he will come back strong.  Max surprised me with how well he has made the change to the 350. He's been riding a 450 for many years and you cannot underestimate that. He did really well and he was riding very aggressively. Maybe he is not yet in the best shape but he showed some good things today. 
   
Final results for MX1 GP (stands also as championship standings) 
1, Clement Desalle, Belgium, points 22-25—47 
2, Steven Frossard, France, Yamaha, 25-22--47 
3, Jonathan Barragan, Kawasaki, 15-20--35 
4, Max Nagl, Germans, KTM, 20-15--35 
5, Rui Goncalves, Portugal, Honda, 13-16—29 
9, Tony Cairoli, Italy, KTM, 14-11—25 
 
 
Nagl rides to fourth overall on first GP outing on the the 350 SX-F
 
Tony Cairoli and Ken Roczen get to know each other at the first GP of the 2011 season

Victory for Steffi Laier in Sevlievo
WMX World Champion and Red Bull Teka Factory Racing rider Steffi Laier of France dominated the first WMX GP on the circuit at Sevlievo, Bulgaria on Saturday with back-to-back moto wins to grab the red plate as championship leader after the first round.
 
Right from the qualifying race it was obvious that Steffi remains in a class of her own.  She mastered difficult conditions that were dry, dusty and very windy and led from the drop of the gate to the checkered flag every time she went out on the track. She finished almost 18 seconds up on second placed Livia Lancelot of France in the first moto and in the second moto she was 10 seconds ahead going in to the final lap but eased back and took the comfortable victory with more than three second to spare. 
 
All indications are that any rider with Steffi in her sights will again have to work very hard to catch the talented German rider. 
 
Steffi Laier: It was strange to have the two races on the one day and with the second one when it was already getting dark. The second moto was not so easy on the one hand but also not so difficult. We were fighting in the first four laps but then I found my rhythm but in the end I was flying blind because of the problems with the sun and the dust." 
 
In 2011 the women opened their season together with the MX1 and MX2 riders on the Bulgarian circuit but for the rest of the season they will race with the MX3 riders. They race nine GPs in 2011 and their next outing is on April 17 at Megalopolis in Greece. 
 
Steffi, like many of the women competing in the WMX is apprehensive about what to expect when the competition switches to the MX3 circuit as from the next race. her arch rival Livia Lancelot has decided to quit the competion and move onto other things and she expressed concern that so far there were only nine riders confirmed for the next races. "I really don't know what to expect," she said. "I feel good here with the team and racing the same weekends as MX1 and MX2 and I will miss all that."     
 
WMX GP 
1, Steffi Laier, Germany, KTM,(takes red plate as championship leader) 25-25--50 
2, Larissa Pappenmeier, Germany, KTM Sarholz, 18-22—24 
3, Chiara Fontanese, Italy, Yamaha, 20-20—20 
4, Francesca Nocera, Italy, KTM 16-18—34 
5, Marielle de Mol, Netherlands, TM 15-15—30 
 
 
Steffi Laier enjoys the champagne moment
 
Steffi in a class of her own on the Bulgarian circuit

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