Just a week after the searing heat of Italy the MXGP tour moves into Agueda, in Portugal. Situated about twenty miles inland and just south of Porto, the track is hard packed and snakes around in a natural bowl with plenty of jumps as usual.
In MXGP, Tony Cairoli has extended his points lead to 67 over second place Gautier Paulin after #222’s double race wins last week. Desalle sits third but is 70 points behind, while Herlings who collapsed after the second race in Ottobiano, succumbing to the heat, comfortably sits fourth but is 97 points behind Cairoli.
Gajser is said to be fully recovered from his shoulder injury and Max Anstie is riding high on confidence after his first 450 podium.
MX2 is equally strong with Pauls Jonass leading but Jeremy Seewer was victorious last time out with Thomas Covington and Benoit Paturel also riding well.
Jorge Prado collapsed in the heat last week and American import, Anthony Rodriguez, found the going more challenging than he was expecting.
So who will come out on top in Agueda?
We asked a few people who have spent years in the paddock for their predictions for the top three in MXGP and MX2.
Honda Europe Off-Road Manager, Gordon Crockard
MXGP, I think you’ll see a new Tim Gajser this week, more like himself. The heat last week got to him but this week he’ll be stronger. Also, Cairoli because he’s high on confidence and Herlings. There’s also Desalle and Febvre riding strong and Jasikonis was good last week. With my Honda hat on I’ll say Gasjer, Cairoli and Herlings.
In MX2 Prado, Jonass, Seewer are the three guys. I think Seewer will win it again this week, then Jonass and Prado.
Hitachi KTM team, Shaun Osmond
In MXGP I think it could be the same as last week, Cairoli, Herlings, Anstie. Max is getting better every week but I can’t see him beating the other two yet.
For MX2 Seewer, Jonass, and Covington.
100% Goggles and GL12 Owner, Bob Buchanan
MXGP: Herlings, he will want revenge! Then Cairoli who’s without home advantage this week, and then Paulin because the track suits him.
In MX2 I think Seewer and Jonass because they’re the fastest and then Covington. It’s an American style track that will suit him.
DBR Contributor, Andy Gee
In MXGP I’m going for Cairoli again this week, he looked so strong in Italy and has so much confidence. In second, I’ll say Max Anstie. I think he’s looking fast on the 450 now and he’ll go one place better than last week. In third place, Febvre. He’s getting better now that he’s found the bike set-up he likes.
In MX2 I’m going for Seewer, Jonass, and Paturel. The first two are clearly the class of the field at the moment so as long as Seewer gets a good start he’ll be at the front. Jonass just needs to control the championship, and then behind is a group of about six riders that could all podium but I think Benoit Paturel will do it this week.
So Cairoli and Herlings seem to be the favourites with support for Anstie, Paulin, Febvre and Gasjer in MXGP, while in MX2 it looks like Seewer and Jonass are the hot choices with Paturel, Prado and Covington ready to grab a podium.