Fresh from his debut podium appearance at the Grand Prix of Europe in Valkenswaard two weeks ago, triple MX2 World Champion Jeffrey Herlings showed superb mastery of the fiercely rough and testing Kegums soil to utterly dominate his seventh outing in the premier class of MXGP. Herlings headed every session across the weekend: Practice, Qualification (his first Pole), Warm-up and both motos thanks to bright starts and little opposition. The 50 point-haul moved him up to 7th in the championship table.
Herlings: “We were fastest all weekend long and it was the cherry on the cake [to go 1-1]. We have more confidence with this result and it means a lot; it felt like a long time since my last win! This is a boost but Teutschenthal is a new weekend and I will hope to get the best out of it.”’
Qatar and Trento Grand Prix victor Tony Cairoli was no match for his teammate in Latvia and the Sicilian lamented some tricky starts that kept his progress in at Kegums to a 5-2 and second position overall. It was the thirty-one year old’s fourth champagne uncorking of the season and permitted a 17 point lead over Tim Gajser.
Cairoli: “I’m OK with the weekend and expected a little bit of a better result but my opponents did even worse than me so for the championship it is good. I always want to fight for the win but today was not possible and I wasn’t happy with my starts or the first moto. In the second race I came back to second after seeing some very scary crashes from riders around the track. I was riding carefully and could see that Jeffrey was very fast. This was OK for the championship and can begin to see a bit of a bigger picture. I’m happy and we go to Teutschenthal which is a track I always like.”
Glenn Coldenhoff kept steady for eighth position on a track where he had previously tasted victory. The Dutchman grabbed two top ten results in difficult riding conditions and across a plethora of bumps to bank 23 points.
Coldenhoff: “Of course we were expecting more after the last few weeks. We trained in a different way and it looked like it worked a little bit, we were consistent. I feel really good on the bike at the moment and we made some improvements. 10-9 for 8 overall: we want more but know where we need to work and we’re motivated. In two weeks time we have Germany and it is not one of my favourite tracks but we will give our all.”
Local hero and MX2 FIM World Championship leader Pauls Jonass forced his way past his teammate Jorge Prado in the midst of the first moto and worked on shrinking the distance to eventual race winner Thomas Kjer Olsen until Jeremy Seewer applied immense pressure in the last three laps and relegated the Latvian to third spot – and just ahead of Prado – with three corners to go. In the second outing Pauls satisfied the clamour of the home crowd by riding to his eighth victory from fourteen this year and the fifth GP where he has owned a chequered flag. As a consequence of his ’25 points’ and a DNF for Seewer #41 has increased his margin at the top of the table to an impressive 42.
Jonass: “It is a little bit of a pity I didn’t win and in the first race I was passed on the last lap, which was disappointing and put some pain in my heart! At least I could win the second moto in front of my home crowd and come across the finish line first. I didn’t expect so many fans and Latvian flags and it was so nice to ride here. I had a bit more pressure on my shoulders but I enjoyed it. I was a bit sick the week before and I felt it this weekend but they helped push me through. I’m really happy for Jeffrey also to take his first win in MXGP and we extended our lead in MX2 a little bit.”
Jorge Prado ended the day with a 4-5 scorecard after showing maturity on a difficult surface and was fourth overall. The Spanish teenager tied on points Calvin Vlaanderen (meaning three 250 SX-Fs in the top four) but just missed the podium courtesy of his second race ranking.
Prado: “I think I did a good job – not super-good but good enough and it was important not to crash and keep learning. I’m getting stronger but I’m a little bit sad about my fitness today because I know it is better than what I showed. The track was really rough and people were making a lot of mistakes; I didn’t make so many and saw some others crash really hard. I came out safe so I am happy. I think I have the speed but I need to be a bit more consistent with my lap-times and be more confident in myself.”
In round three of the EMX250 European Championship Kiwi Josiah Natzke took his KTM 250 SX-F to a first ever triumph in MX2’s ‘feeder class’. The Hitachi KTM representative headed an all-Austrian powered podium with Morgan Lesiardo in second place and Jago Geerts on the bottom step. Italy’s Lesiardo leads the formative series standings.
MXGP will form up for round eight in two weeks time around the undulating hard-pack of the Talkessel layout in Teutschenthal for the Grand Prix of Germany.
Next Round: May 21 2017 – Teutschenthal (GER)
Results MXGP Kegums 2017
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), KTM (1-1)
2. Tony Cairoli (ITA), KTM (5-2)
3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS), Honda (3-4)
4. Clement Desalle (BEL), Kawasaki (2-5)
5. Gautier Paulin (FRA), Husqvarna (7-7)
8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED), KTM (10-9)
Standings MXGP 2017 after 7 of 19 rounds
1. Cairoli, 258 points
2. Gajser, 241
3. Paulin, 220
4. Bobryshev, 214
5. Desalle, 210
7. Herlings, 174
11. Coldenhoff, 124
Results MX2 Kegums 2017
1. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN), Husqvarna (1-2)
2. Pauls Jonass (LAT), KTM (3-1)
3. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED), KTM (5-4)
4. Jorge Prado (SPA), KTM (4-5)
5. Conrad Mewse (GBR), Husqvarna (9-3)
Standings MX2 2017 after 7 of 19 rounds
1. Jonas, 287 points
2. Seewer, 245
3. Olsen, 235
4. Lieber, 223
5. Paturel, 198
7. Prado, 155