The twenty-one year old from Michigan had only flown to Europe on Tuesday and travelled to Italy with just two days to acclimatise to the KX250 at a track close to the team's French base. Not used to the intensity of GP practice sessions he went to the grid twenty-sixth for the Qualifying race but showed his racing spirit as he swept through the opening turns in the top six and quickly moved forward to fourth before finally taking the chequered flag fifth after a dramatic duel with the series leader.
Mitchell Harrison: “It was an amazing experience. I enjoyed the track; I knew that these guys are fast and the qualifying session was tough with a twenty-sixth position but I knew that Qualifying would be different because I'm a racer! I got a good start, rode smooth and that was good enough to get a fifth. I sat on the bike for the first time this week so we still need to set it up to my riding style and find the suspension settings which are best for me. We’re learning each other at the moment; the team, the bike and myself. Tomorrow the goal will be do the same, got good starts and ride my best. I'd like to thank everyone at BUD Racing and Kawasaki for this opportunity."
The outstanding power of the 2019 KX250 was evident as no less than four of the Green machines rounded out the top nine on the opening lap of Qualifying. Darian Sanayei of Bike It DRT Kawasaki continued his return to race pace after illness to finish seventh, two ahead of BUD Racing's Brian Moreau as the French teenager returned to racing from an injury sustained last month at the opening round in Argentina. Riding errors pushed Adam Sterry back to fourteenth, but F&H teammate Henry Jacobi had an impressive ride from twenty-eighth to eleventh after getting tangled up with other riders at the first turn. The German consistently posted top-six lap times in traffic and can look forward confidently to defending his second place in the series standings tomorrow.
Darian Sanayei: “I felt a little bit better on the bike even if I still can’t train during the week so I’ve got a lot to improve. My feeling isn’t bad but I can’t push at my maximum as my body won’t accept that at the moment. We focused on the start and I got a good one even from the twentieth gate. The track is kind of one line and I just tried to ride my own race and that didn’t turn out too bad as I finished seventh. Hopefully we can do the same tomorrow.”
Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki's Alessandro Lupino posted his best qualifying result of the season so far in his Italian homeland as he raced to a strong sixth place in the MXGP Qualifying race.
Alessandro Lupino: “I’m half happy and half not; I’m happy with my start but not so much with my riding as I was stiff so it was difficult to find the limit today. I think we know why; we selected a scoop tyre for the start, which was really soft, but the rest of the track is not that soft. Anyway it was important to take a good start as there’s only one line on the track and it’s really difficult to pass. The goal was to start in front and to stay there; I got my best qualifying result of the season so I have to be happy.”
BOS Factory's Tommy Searle qualified eleventh, two ahead of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team's Julien Lieber. Clement Desalle, carrying painful wrist and knee injuries from recent GPs, was content to finish sixteenth while Benoit Paturel, making his GP debut for Gebben Van Venrooy after a recent operation to alleviate arm pump, was seventeenth.