All pandemonium broke loose today at the sixth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship as riders were kicked and bucked all over the show out on the rough and technical circuit of Zelta Zirgs, in Kegums, Latvia.
A packed schedule, with three European classes also out on track this weekend, made for brutal conditions where being smooth and consistent was the ultimate challenge.
Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser, the same guy that was such an animal on the bike in MX2, has turned into the smoothest and smartest rider in MXGP… most of the time. Gajser embraced that style on his way to the win in race one, but in race two, the beast was back as the 19-year-old recovered from an enormous crash to finish fourth, which was still enough for the overall – his fourth of the season.
Meanwhile, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings cleaned up once again to remain unbeaten in 2016.
Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser had an action packed day in the office. The kid known to his fans as Tiga won the first race, which catapulted him to the top of the championship standings with Romain Febvre only came home in fifth.
Heading into race two Gajser had a six point lead in the championship, but twisting the kaleidoscope, he had a huge high-side through the waves. Lucky to be unscathed, he got back to his bike, which was still running at the time and in the heat of the moment, dropped the clutch and stalled it. When it fired back up, he was outside the top 20 but astonishingly he got all the way back to fourth for his fourth grand prix overall.
Gajser is the only rider to have finished on the box at every round this season. He now trails Febvre in the championship by one point and still tops all the stats with three qualifying race wins, 108 laps led, six race wins, four grand prix victories and six podium appearances.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tony Cairoli is in second place on the ‘laps led’ chart with 39. The Italian was on the brink of his first victory since the MXGP of Great Britain at Matterley Basin, which was almost one year ago, but ended up being nudged down to second place on the final lap when Tim Gajser added two more points to his tally with his pass on Max Nagl.
Right after the race, TC222 said: “I’m not happy about my performance because I’m missing some speed after 15 minutes, I know I am back and I want to win, I want to win soon.”
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre looked frustrated after his fifth in race one but seemed to channel that energy into race two where he bounced back for the race win. “We changed my bike completely in the second race and I feel like I was riding like I know how in the second moto so I am happy about that, and I am happy to be on the podium again,” he said.
Fans that have followed the FIM Motocross World Championship for many years would have had ‘chicken skin’ watching Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl’s newfound aggression in race one. ‘Chicken skin’? It’s a funny term the Europeans tend to use when your skin crawls or to describe that mysterious feeling you get when you are astounded, excited, impressed or proud, or even a combination of all emotions!
The German literally hit the boost button and reeled in Gajser to challenge for the lead on the final lap. Gajser had to up his game to keep him at bay, which he did, but there was absolutely nothing in it at the chequers. Unfortunately in race two the #12 was a victim of Gajser’s mistake but bounced back for fifth which left him tied with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek for fourth overall.
Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev had a bittersweet weekend. He was the fastest in free practice and timed practice yesterday but got tagged by Gajser on the start in the qualifying race and went down hard. The Russian looked hurt and didn’t rejoin but bravely lined up today with the last gate pick and soldiered his way to sixth.
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 33:55.987; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:01.545; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:05.654; 4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:10.263; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:15.166; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:32.318; 7. Ben Townley (NZL, Suzuki), +0:51.441; 8. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:58.559; 9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +1:10.768; 10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +1:14.646.
MXGP Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), 34:06.040; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:12.420; 3. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:18.547; 4. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:24.293; 5. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:25.970; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:38.669; 7. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:42.406; 8. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:47.558; 9. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:04.696; 10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +1:07.333.
MXGP Overall Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 43 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 42 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 41 p.; 4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 38 p.; 5. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 38 p.; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 27 p.; 7. Christophe Charlier (FRA, HUS), 26 p.; 8. Ben Townley (NZL, SUZ), 22 p.; 9. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 21 p.; 10. Milko Potisek (FRA, YAM), 20 p.
MXGP Championship Top Ten: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 260 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 259 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 213 p.; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 203 p.; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 200 p.; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 197 p.; 7. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 143 p.; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 142 p.; 9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 121 p.; 10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 116 p.
MXGP Manufacturer: 1. Yamaha, 263 points; 2. Honda, 261 p.; 3. KTM, 220 p.; 4. Husqvarna, 214 p.; 5. Suzuki, 162 p.; 6. Kawasaki, 134 p.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings is out of this world at the moment. While a lot of riders struggled with the roughness of the circuit, Herlings just got stronger and faster. It was awe-inspiring to watch The Bullet attack the track with such finesse.
He won both races by more than 30 seconds and lapped more than half of the field. “I’m back, I’m feeling strong and I’m just trying to get the best out of myself,” Herlings said. “It’s six out of six wins this weekend and I hope there will be many more to come.”
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Anstie finally caught a break! The Brit has been lightning fast all season but has been faced with all sorts of adversity, from random off-track excursions through to mechanical failures. This weekend he managed to avoid drama and claimed his first piece of silverware this season with two second place finishes for second overall.
Black smoke is still puffing from the diesel, Team Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer, who remains consistent with yet another podium finish in third.
After spending the last two months recovering from shoulder surgery, Monster Energy Kawasaki racing Team’s Dylan Ferrandis made an impressive return this weekend in the demanding conditions here at the ‘Zelta Zirgs’ circuit for fifth overall.
Meanwhile, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass fans swarmed the venue to watch their hero do business. The Latvian rode the wheels off his Red Bull KTM to finish third in race one, while in race two he struggled to come to grips with gnarliness of the circuit and kept crashing.
He only finished 14th which left him in seventh overall, while fellow Latvian, riding for HSF Logistics Motorsports KTM, Roberts Justs went 15 – 8 for 12th overall.
MX2 Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:30.258; 2. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:32.751; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:39.912; 4. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:44.374; 5. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:01.732; 6. Petar Petrov (BUL, Kawasaki), +1:13.880; 7. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Yamaha), +1:16.519; 8. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, KTM), +1:20.125; 9. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +1:26.014; 10. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +1:26.435
MX2 Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:23.887; 2. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +1:02.361; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +1:06.598; 4. Petar Petrov (BUL, Kawasaki), +1:31.464; 5. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +1:33.420; 6. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:50.446; 7. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +1:51.621; 8. Roberts Justs (LAT, KTM), -1 lap(s); 9. Alvin Östlund (SWE, Yamaha), -1 lap(s); 10. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, Kawasaki), -1 lap(s)
MX2 Overall Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 44 p.; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 38 p.; 4. Petar Petrov (BUL, KAW), 33 p.; 5. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 31 p.; 6. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 28 p.; 7. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 27 p.; 8. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 25 p.; 9. Brent Van doninck (BEL, YAM), 24 p.; 10. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, KTM), 22 p.
MX2 Championship Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 300 points; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 230 p.; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 193 p.; 4. Petar Petrov (BUL, KAW), 165 p.; 5. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, YAM), 163 p.; 6. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 154 p.; 7. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), 133 p.; 8. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, KAW), 132 p.; 9. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 126 p.; 10. Alvin Östlund (SWE, YAM), 110 p.
MX2 Manufacturer: 1. KTM, 300 points; 2. Suzuki, 230 p.; 3. Yamaha, 210 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 202 p.; 5. Husqvarna, 182 p.; 6. TM, 133 p.; 7. Honda, 116 p.