Meanwhile, Spain’s Jorge Prado (pictured here) ruled the MX2 class at Frauenfeld-Gachnang, making it KTM on the top steps of both the MXGP and MX2 podiums.
Switzerland’s unique Schweizer Zucker circuit in Frauenfeld-Gachnang hosted amazing racing and the hard pack, technical, and rutted surface tested the best riders. Tens of thousands of fans showed up to see the event and were some of the loudest and most enthusiastic fans seen so far this season.
MXGP race one kicked off with a holeshot from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli, but he lost out coming into to turn two when Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle took over the lead.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Herlings then managed to take the lead from Desalle before completing the first lap while Cairoli ran fourth, behind Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Romain Febvre. Glenn Coldenhoff, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team-mate of both Cairoli and Herlings, was fifth with local superstar Jeremy Seewer on his Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP bike in sixth.
Rockstar Energy Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin was the next rider in the running order but his team-mate Max Anstie was in 30th position after banging bars with Herlings down the start straight and going off the track.
Anstie was already up to 15th by the time the first official lap was recorded. Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Julien Lieber and Team HRC’s Tim Gajser collided on the first lap and were also left to fight through the field.
Gajser was able to gain positions throughout the race from 31st on lap one to 12th at the finish but Lieber would have to pull into pit lane to repair the damage suffered to his Kawasaki. Lieber rejoined in 36th, but only rebounded to finish in 30th.
At the front, Cairoli struggled to find a way past Febvre and started to push the issue eventually taking over third on lap five but, while trying to catch Herlings, the Sicilian made a rare mistake and stalled the bike up the face of the wall jump sending him over the bars and out of third.
With his bike and body clearly banged up Cairoli rejoined in seventh, behind Paulin, but took sixth from the Frenchman two laps later. Paulin who looked to have lost his focus and rhythm earlier mounted a charge to pass Cairoli back on 13 along with his resurgent team-mate Anstie.
Anstie not only took 7th from Cairoli but continued into 6th past his team-mate to cap off an amazing comeback through the field. Across the finish Herlings won by 4.8 seconds over a much improved Desalle whom Herlings nearly lapped in Lommel with Febvre 3rd, Coldenhoff 4th, Switzerland’s Seewer in 5th.
Race two was off to a much less dramatic start when Julien Lieber took his first holeshot in his MXGP career with his team-mate Desalle taking the lead on the exit of turn 2. Febvre had another good start in 3rd with Cairoli 4th and the iFly JK Racing Yamaha of Ivo Monticelli in 5th.
Herlings quickly took 5th from Monticelli while Febvre took second from Lieber who tried to fight back but instead missed his line and lost spots to both Cairoli and Herlings. Monticelli then went down, with help from Gajser, and took Paulin with him.
Herlings then took third from Cairoli and Gajser pushed the reigning champ back another spot to fifth. Herlings was quick to take second from Febvre but then struggled to get past Desalle. Herlings’ attempts to take the lead were at first unsuccessful which encouraged Febvre. Putting in a pair of fast laps Febvre was all over the rear wheel of Herlings but couldn’t find a passing spot. Herlings sensing the pressure responded by making a pass stick on Desalle stick and growing a second and a half gap in less than a lap.
Febvre also passed Desalle and did so with much less effort than Herlings but never the less the “Bullet” continued to check out up front. Desalle dropped another spot to Gajser who caught the Belgian off guard and sent Desalle over a berm. Desalle managed to stay on two wheels and rejoined the track quickly but Gajser was already pulling away. Cairoli meanwhile was clearly fighting through pain to keep his championship hopes alive and lost 5th to Anstie.
At the finish Herlings won by 14 seconds over Febvre, Gajser, Desalle, Anstie, and Cairoli. The championship lead of Herlings now extends to 58 points over Cairoli, whose condition at the moment remains unknown.
Jeffrey Herlings: “I felt good all weekend I must say, we had a good weekend, obviously a little bad luck in Qualifying. It is a great day for the championship going 1-1 for the full 50 points, my nearest rival didn’t have the best of GPs, he crashed but I hope he is ok. I am looking forward to Sevlievo in seven days.”
Antonio Cairoli: “The weekend started good with the win in the Qualifying race and I was feeling good with the track and everything. First race I pushed hard because I saw Jeffrey took the lead and I knew I had to stay with him if I wanted to have a chance to win the race. I stalled the bike on the single jump and went over the bars, I felt immediately something with my knee, I don’t know what exactly it was but it felt very weird. The priority now is to check the knee and hopefully it is not too bad so that I can finish the season without any problems.”
MX2 Race 1 started with a holeshot from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado and an impressive second-place start from Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 Team’s Anthony Rodriguez. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass managed to take second quickly from Rodriguez but Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Covington had a much more difficult time getting past the Venezuelan.
Yamaha SM Action MC Migliori’s Michele Cervellin had a great start to the race as well and ran 5th behind Covington on lap one. Cervellin however dropped a spot to Honda 114 Motorsport’s Hunter Lawrence on lap two.
New recruit to the F&H Racing Team, Marshal Weltin was in 7th before losing the spot to Team HRC’s Calvin Vlaanderen but only a lap later the Honda of Vlaanderen had an electrical issue which left him with a DNF.
KTM Silver Action’s Stephen Rubini took the over the sixth spot from Vlaanderen for the next three laps before Kemea Yamaha Official MX2’s Ben Watson took the position after starting in 11th. Back at the front Jonass was the new leader with a pass on Prado.
Rodriguez held third for the first 14 laps but lost the position with three laps remaining to Covington. Prado tried to catch Jonass and make a move for the race win but instead made a mistake and had to settle with second. Jonass to the race win by 5.1 seconds with Prado 2nd, Covington 3rd, Rodriguez 4th, and Lawrence 5th.
Race two was started by the 21st holeshot of the season for Prado as he led Watson and Jonass. Vlaanderen was back in 4th and still relatively fresh after only completing three laps in race one. Prado was quick to put in fast laps and was extremely strong at the start of the race while Jonass fought past Watson.
By the time Jonass was into second, Prado had grown a decent gap over the rest of the field. On lap three both Vlaanderen and Lawrence were also passed Watson and a battle between the Honda’s ensued.
Lawrence came out ahead of Vlaanderen on lap eight as Watson came under threat of losing another spot to Olsen. Olsen took fifth from the Brit on lap 11 as Jonass started to catch Prado. Prado started to lose time but, with two laps to go, Jonass made a mistake on the entry of the waves losing not only momentum but in losing the time he had previously gained.
At the finish Prado managed to fight through physical issues to hold on the lead and win by 4.7 seconds over Jonass, Lawrence, Vlaanderen, and Olsen.
In the overall result for the GP, Prado took the win but tied in points with Jonass in second while Lawrence finished on the podium since the first round of the year at the MXGP of Patagonia in Argentina.
Photo courtesy Ray Archer
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RESULTS & STANDINGS:
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:48.985; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:04.858; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:22.604; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:32.224; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:35.436; 6. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:54.059; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:59.626; 8. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +1:03.860; 9. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +1:05.416; 10. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +1:07.702.
MXGP Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:40.600; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:14.868; 3. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:17.722; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:26.984; 5. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:37.939; 6. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:46.833; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:51.700; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +0:55.465; 9. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +1:04.298; 10. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki), +1:09.295.
MXGP Overall Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 42 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 40 p.; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 32 p.; 5. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 31 p.; 6. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 29 p.; 7. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 28 p.; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 24 p.; 9. Shaun Simpson (GBR, YAM), 24 p.; 10. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 21 p.
MXGP Championship Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 733 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 675 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 543 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 510 p.; 5. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 507 p.; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 455 p.; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 420 p.; 8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 371 p.; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 350 p.; 10. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 298 p.
MX2 Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 35:26.036; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:05.197; 3. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:12.769; 4. Anthony Rodriguez (VEN, Yamaha), +0:16.499; 5. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Honda), +0:19.838; 6. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:40.346; 7. Stephen Rubini (FRA, KTM), +0:56.347; 8. Marshal Weltin (USA, Kawasaki), +0:59.004; 9. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Yamaha), +1:03.162; 10. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +1:21.726.
MX2 Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 35:10.156; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:04.721; 3. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Honda), +0:10.128; 4. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Honda), +0:15.833; 5. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:18.773; 6. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:20.291; 7. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:26.271; 8. Anthony Rodriguez (VEN, Yamaha), +0:49.115; 9. Marshal Weltin (USA, Kawasaki), +0:51.889; 10. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Yamaha), +0:52.247.
MX2 Overall Top Ten:
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 47 points; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 47 p.; 3. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, HON), 36 p.; 4. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 35 p.; 5. Anthony Rodriguez (VEN, YAM), 31 p.; 6. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 29 p.; 7. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 27 p.; 8. Marshal Weltin (USA, KAW), 25 p.; 9. Michele Cervellin (ITA, YAM), 23 p.; 10. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, HON), 18 p.
MX2 Championship Top Ten:
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 692 points; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 664 p.; 3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 519 p.; 4. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 482 p.; 5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, HON), 462 p.; 6. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 452 p.; 7. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 346 p.; 8. Michele Cervellin (ITA, YAM), 314 p.; 9. Henry Jacobi (GER, HUS), 278 p.; 10. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, HON), 229 p.