The twenty-one-year-old Norwegian, growing in confidence by the week, posted third-fastest time in practice to complete the opening lap of the twenty-minute-plus-two-lap Qualifying race sixth and immediately started making moves; a superb inside pass on the seventh lap took him past a 2022 GP winner and he continued to push forward, taking over fourth place three laps from the end before closing down the front three to take the chequered flag just half a second shy of the 2020 world champion.
Kevin Horgmo: ‘We found some great settings in timed practice so I was already confident for Qualifying. I got a decent start in the top-eight and could make some good passes to finish fourth. The track was already rough today but I’m really happy with my riding and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Let’s go for it! “
It was very much an up-and-down day for Big Van World MTX Kawasaki’s Mikkel Haarup. The Dane was half-a-second faster than any of the opposition during practice to earn the inside gate for Qualifying and emerged fourth from turn one, only to be pushed back to ninth when he was badly hindered at turn two by an over-enthusiastic rival who fell in his path. Undeterred by the setback he bounced back to sixth within fifteen minutes and was a forcing fifth with two laps remaining until he crashed over a jump to finish nineteenth.
Ben Watson of the Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP finished seventeenth in MXGP Qualifying when an incident on the hectic opening lap cost him much time after a ninth-placed start.