A top-six start for the Englishman was the basis for his best result of the season to date but the smooth seemingly-effortless way in which he maintained the position to the end of the twenty-minute-plus-two-lap race paid tribute to his smooth transition into the Kawasaki Racing Team. His superb performance was confirmed as he was one of only two riders in the race to post a one-minute-forty-six-second lap time around the tortuous Serpentine race track overlooking the ancient town with its mediaeval castle.
Tommy Searle: “It was a good day. I’m pleasantly surprised with the result in Qualifying. I felt very comfortable; the factory bike is even easier to ride than my previous bike. I got a good jump at the gate and the bike pulled so well down the straight; I didn’t do anything different at the start but the bike is just so good! For sure it’s just one result for now but it’s a great start with KRT. Now I need two more good starts tomorrow and do the same thing; even two top-ten finishes would be great as I still have some pain in my ribs which were broken earlier this season.”
Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki's Alessandro Lupino. back in GP race action for the first time since a hair-raising injury at the Russian GP in early May, also put in a spirited ride from a first turn collision which had left him in last position to qualify nineteenth. One place behind the Italian was Venezuelan Anthony Rodriguez on his debut aboard a 450cc machine for BOS Factory.
Henry Jacobi took his F&H Racing Kawasaki to third place in the MX2 Qualifying race as five Kawasaki’s filled the top ten. KX250 power was immediately in evidence as Darian Sanayei holeshot the race on his Bike It DRT Kawasaki and the American was joined in the top five on the hectic opening lap by the F&H duo of Jacobi and Adam Sterry. Despite the central European heatwave, the track crew had created a perfectly-prepared track with multiple line choices and a momentary loss of drive on the uphill exit from a turn cost Jacobi two places on lap two but the German remained unruffled to regain third place within four laps and defend that position to the chequered flag.
Henry Jacobi: “It was great to get another great start, but I made a couple of mistakes during the first five laps! Then I found a good rhythm again and made some passes to finish third, which is a good gate-pick for tomorrow.”
Midway through the twenty-minute-plus-two-lap race Sterry, who had been less than a second from pole during practice, lost three placings when he clipped the rear wheel of the rider ahead of him as he pushed for fourth but the Welshman also recovered well from his off-track excursion to salvage sixth place at the finish.
Adam Sterry: "This is one of my favourite GPs and today was solid as I was good in all sessions and felt very comfortable. I had a small crash in the Qualifying race when I was in fifth position, but I came back to sixth so I’m feeling good for tomorrow."
Mitchell Harrison of Bud Racing Kawasaki could only earn twentieth gate-pick during practice on his first appearance at the venue but the American showed that he is a fast learner under race conditions as he converted an initial nineteenth into eighth at the finish, while French teenage teammate Brian Moreau also advanced rapidly during the closing laps to finish ninth from twelfth on lap one. Sanayei, now recovered from a winter virus infection, ran top three for five laps before lack of race practice saw him gradually fade down the leaderboard but his tenth place meant that five Green machines will be amongst the first ten for the start of tomorrow's GP motos.