Mantova rumbled loud all weekend long as the FULLBACK MXGP of Lombardia-Italy delivered more heat and intensity than what was perhaps expected.
Temperatures soared well above 30 degrees Celsius as thousands of passion-filled fans packed into the venue to watch the best riders in the world go head to head for glory at the 12th round of the FIM Motocross World Championship.
Mantova was a brutal beast to tame as the riders battled both the extreme warmth and the savage condition of the unpredictable sand surface, which was taken in the strides of the current red plate holders, Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings, who both wooed the doting fans with their exceptional performances.
Even though Gajser had a 74 point lead heading into this weekend, he’s not the sort of guy that will go out and just race for points. He wants to be the fastest rider on the track each and every time he swings his leg over the machine. “It was one of the toughest races of my career,” Gajser said at the end of the day. “Tony [Cairoli] rode really good in the second race, it was good to see him ride so fast, but I was happy to pass him at the end of the race a make a slight gap for the finish.” The Slovenian now leads the championship by 92 points.
Seasons come and go, both in sport and in weather, which was something we thought of today with the hot weather indicating summer is well and truly here, while the likes of Team HRC’s Gautier Paulin and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Clement Desalle, two riders who haven’t had the most ideal seasons, also made their presence known. After a rough day in the office on Saturday, Paulin put in two fierce rides for second overall which is his best overall finish of the season, while Desalle also had his best result of the year with a second place finish in race one and fourth in race two to land on the box, in third, for the first time this season.
The gloves came off between Cairoli and Gajser with their dog fight brawl for the win in the final race. Cairoli was faster in places while Gajser would inch back the gap in others, there was literally nothing in it from start to finish, giving the thousands of Italian and Slovenian fans that swarmed the venue, exactly what they came for.
TC222 was all heart today as he battled through the soreness of an injured wrist to put on an excellent show for the fans, and finish fourth overall. He has also moved up into second place in the championship standings with a 32 point lead over the defending champion Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre, who has now missed the last two rounds due to a concussion. However, he should return to action at the next round which will take place at the end of July in the Czech Republic.
Speaking of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing, Febvre’s team-mate Jeremy Van Horebeek rounded out the top five in MXGP this weekend ahead of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff and pole sitter, Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev.
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 35:01.739; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:04.460; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:07.423; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:11.147; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:16.639; 6. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:25.874; 7. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:33.524; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:38.665; 9. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:44.531; 10. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:48.997.
MXGP Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 35:17.922; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:09.544; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:17.480; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:25.145; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:33.911; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:37.557; 7. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:38.142; 8. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:54.421; 9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:59.148; 10. Jordi Tixier (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:02.868.
MXGP Overall Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 50 points; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 42 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 40 p.; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 35 p.; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 30 p.; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 29 p.; 7. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 29 p.; 8. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 25 p.; 9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 23 p.; 10. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 23 p.
MXGP Championship Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 532 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 440 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 408 p.; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 401 p.; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 396 p.; 6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 351 p.; 7. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 267 p.; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 230 p.; 9. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 212 p.; 10. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 210 p.
MXGP Manufacturers: 1. Honda, 540 points; 2. Yamaha, 482 p.; 3. KTM, 450 p.; 4. Husqvarna, 416 p.; 5. Kawasaki, 310 p.; 6. Suzuki, 242 p.
The speed and finesse Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings has in the sand is almost indescribable. It’s more of a seeing is believing type of thing, but in an effort to try and put his incredible speed into perspective, Herlings’ lap time in Race 1 was 1:53.029 while Gajser’s, in MXGP Race 1, was 1:54.866 and while you could argue that the track is rougher for the MXGP guys, The Bullet went out in Race 2 and nailed a lap of 1:54.455 which is still faster than the best time in MXGP Race 1.
Take nothing away from Gajser – Herlings is just from another planet when it comes to the sand. The second best time in MX2 Race 2 was 1:58.461, which means The Bullet was a whopping four seconds a lap faster than the second fastest MX2 rider, Brian Bogers. “I did what I had to do when I had to do it, 23 out of 24 race wins is pretty good so now I am just looking forward to the Czech Republic,” said Herlings.
Everybody knows that the Belgian and Dutch riders are strong in the sand since they are all basically born in the stuff. HSF Logistics Motorsport’s Brian Bogers proved that it’s not just a stereotype with his impressive performance this weekend. Bogers hit a bunch of milestones with a career best race finish of second place in the opening race, and a third place in race two, which landed him on the second step of the podium. Up until today, Bogers hadn’t even cracked the top five, so it was a mega achievement for the Dutchman who was incredibly emotional at the end of the day when he dedicated his performance to his grandma who recently passed away.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Dylan Ferrandis will be full to the brim after the amount of sand he ate this weekend. In race one, he binned it three times in the first eight laps but managed to regroup for third, which was a pretty amazing accomplishment and was proof that his speed was there. Race two wasn’t much cleaner either, but his hard charging never give up attitude saw him finish sixth which landed him on the third step of the podium.
Another rider tapping into the top five for the first time this year was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Covington who looked the best we’ve seen all season. There’s nothing more powerful than a positive attitude and Covington seemed to be on it today with his fourth and fifth place finishes leaving him in fourth overall.
It was more of a day at a theme park for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass who was on a rollercoaster. The Latvian was on Struggle Street in the first race and only finished 10th but bounced back massively in the second race for an emphatic second place which saw him leapfrog his way into fifth overall.
Last but not least, a shout-out has to be given to the young Italian rookie Michele Cervellin who finished ninth overall, while Italy’s early season breakout star TM Racing Factory Team’s Samuele Bernardini only managed to finish 17th.
MX2 Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:51.899; 2. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:29.676; 3. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:35.149; 4. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:37.324; 5. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:48.411; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:48.831; 7. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +0:55.552; 8. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), +1:01.851; 9. Adam Sterry (GBR, KTM), +1:05.124; 10. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +1:07.501.
MX2 Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:08.731; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +1:13.556; 3. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +1:17.594; 4. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +1:20.819; 5. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +1:27.830; 6. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:29.220; 7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +1:29.805; 8. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Yamaha), +1:35.366; 9. Conrad Mewse (GBR, Husqvarna), +1:46.304; 10. Petar Petrov (BUL, Kawasaki), +1:52.560.
MX2 Overall Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 42 p.; 3. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 35 p.; 4. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 34 p.; 5. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 33 p.; 6. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 32 p.; 7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 29 p.; 8. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, YAM), 22 p.; 9. Michele Cervellin (ITA, HON), 19 p.; 10. Conrad Mewse (GBR, HUS), 17 p.
MX2 Championship Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 597 points; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 428 p.; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 403 p.; 4. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 325 p.; 5. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, YAM), 320 p.; 6. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 308 p.; 7. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 274 p.; 8. Petar Petrov (BUL, KAW), 253 p.; 9. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), 253 p.; 10. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, KAW), 219 p.
MX2 Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 597 points; 2. Kawasaki, 435 p.; 3. Suzuki, 428 p.; 4. Yamaha, 416 p.; 5. Husqvarna, 364 p.; 6. TM, 253 p.; 7. Honda, 227 p.