Just-crowned MX2 World Champion Jorge Prado ran away to his 15th victory of the season and former world champion Jeffrey Herlings, now back from injury, took his works KTM 450SX-F to his first win of the year.
The last flurry of MXGP in 2019 began with the second Grand Prix of Turkey to take place at the new, wide and impressive circuit of Afyon in Afyonkarahisar.
Warm and sunny conditions greeted the 17th round of 18 this year and just a week before the campaign closes with a trip to Asia. The hard-pack track was inviting and quick but also rutty in corners and permitted decent line choice.
Dutch rider Herlings came to Turkey with further mileage under his belt after a domestic race appearance in Germany the previous weekend. The 2018 world champion is rapidly gaining shape and form at the highest level and showed his progress with second position in the MXGP qualification heat on Saturday (after a close dice with fellow Dutchman and with Standing Construct KTM riders Glenn Coldenhoff).
Herlings dealt with former team-mate Pauls Jonass early in the first moto to escape and celebrate his second chequered flag of the season (in just his fourth appearance). In the second race he had to pursue friend and countryman Coldenhoff again and needed all of his skill and conditioning to make a pass on the final lap.
Herlings’ 1-1 meant a confidence-boosting victory in his second full outing in 2019 and just two weeks after his comeback from a fractured ankle at the Grand Prix of Sweden.
Coldenhoff’s 3-2 allowed the Dutchman to be part of the MXGP podium ceremony for the fourth GP in a row as he classified as runner-up.
Jeffrey Herlings: “Back winning! I’ve won a GP every year since 2010 and that’s ten seasons now for KTM and 85 together. It has been a bumpy ride this year but I want to thank all the Red Bull KTM crew and all my sponsors. It has been a roller-coaster with a lot of downs but at least we are trying to finish the year on a high note. I wanted to win here with a 1-1 and found the perfect place to pass Glenn and make it happen. Our goal is to be on the podium again for the last round.”
Jorge Prado captured a 13th qualification heat win on Saturday and headed a Red Bull KTM 1-2 as Frenchman Tom Vialle took second place.
The double world champion continued his form on Sunday as a 21st holeshot of the year (from 31 starts) led into a comprehensive 28th moto success. The 18-year-old provided an exact replay in the second race and eased to his 15th GP triumph (from 16) and 13th 1-1 double from that haul.
Vialle classified 5th overall. The Frenchman dropped from an early top three position in the first moto to take 8th but rallied to obtain a comfortable runner-up slot behind his team-mate in the second. The rookie holds fourth in the championship standings, 10 points behind from Belgian Yamaha rider Jago Geerts and his total means he has confirmed at least a top five rank in his first term as a factory rider and in the MX2 class.
Jorge Prado: “Two enjoyable races today and they were made way-easier thanks to the good starts. I didn’t have to deal with any roost and could ride my own speed. I did well today; I was not using much energy. It felt like a perfect weekend. I was really motivated to go 1-1 after missing out on the overall in Sweden.”
MXGP will break new ground for the final appointment on the 2019 schedule and will head to a freshly built circuit on the outskirts of Shanghai for the first ever Grand Prix of China next weekend.
Photo courtesy Ray Archer
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Results MXGP Turkey 2019
- Jeffrey Herlings (NED) KTM (1-1)
- Glenn Coldenhoff (NED), KTM (3-2)
- Pauls Jonass (LAT), Husqvarna (2-5)
- Tim Gajser (SLO), Honda (6-3)
- Ivo Monticelli (ITA), KTM (7-5)
Standings MXGP 2019 after 17 of 18 rounds
- Tim Gajser 744 points
- Jeremy Seewer 542
- Gautier Paulin 499
- Glenn Coldenhoff 488
- Arnaud Tonus 462
Results MX2 Turkey 2019
- Jorge Prado (ESP), KTM (1-1)
- Jago Geerts (BEL), Yamaha (2-5)
- Roan Van de Moosdijk (NED), Kawasaki (5-3)
- Maxime Renaux (FRA), Yamaha (4-4)
- Tom Vialle (FRA), KTM (8-2)
Standings MX2 2019 after 17 of 18 rounds
- Jorge Prado 787 (champion)
- Thomas Kjer Olsen 592
- Jago Geerts 505
- Tom Vialle 495
- Henry Jacobi 442