Cairoli, who suffered a double DNF at the previous round and lost his grip on the championship lead, put all of that behind him as the KTM star dominated at the latest round at Kegums, in Latvia, on Sunday.
The MXGP of Latvia will remain in the memories of many, especially for Cairoli, who was back on the top of the podium and regained the red leader’s plate, Belgian Ken De Dycker because he obtained the maiden podium of the season and fellow Belgian Kevin Strijbos, whose last heat win was back five years ago.
The weekend will be also especially remembered by Joel Roelants after obtaining his maiden Grand Prix win and Jordi Tixier for his first ever MX2 podium.
However, it will be a weekend to forget for others; In MX1 Clement Desalle made numerous mistakes, which made him finish sixth and lose the red plate. Whereas in MX2 Jeffrey Herlings got a DNF in the second race when his KTM stopped, and Tommy Searle could not finish any of the heats due to mechanical problems.
The second race of the UEM EMX250 took place this morning and Mel Pocock went out with the win again and he obtained his second round victory of the season. Second on the podium was Stefan Olsen and third was Mike Kras. It was a difficult weekend for Jeremy Seewer, who was only able to finish sixth overall.
The day started really well for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Cairoli, who took the holeshot of the first race and dominated it easily until the chequered flag. But things changed in the second moto when he had a big crash when leading and he dropped down to fifth. The Italian damaged his left wrist ligament in the crash, but he was able to move up to second and win the Latvian Grand Prix and he recuperated the red plate.
His team-mate, De Dycker, had one of the best weekends of the season by finishing second overall thanks to his 2-3 result. It is the first podium of the Belgian this season and he admitted that he is very satisfied to have been able to hand his team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing this result and he expects to finish on the rostrum more times this season.
It was a very special weekend also for Strijbos, not only for being on the third step of the podium, but also for winning the second heat. The last time the Belgian rider won a race in the FIM Motocross World Championship was back in 2007 during the Grand Prix of the Netherlands in Lierop, so it was a great feeling for the Belgian to cross the finish line first once again after such a long period of time.
Strijbos felt really comfortable in the second race because the track was muddy, but he admitted that he struggled a lot in the first one because it was too fast for him. In fact, he was really surprised to be on the podium because he had only been able to finish tenth in the first race.
Honda Word Motocross’ Rui Gonçalves missed the podium this weekend being tight in points with Strijbos, but he is very satisfied for having proved that he is able to ride among the top MX1 riders. The Portuguese rider had already a good qualifying race yesterday and today he finished third in the first moto, but the rough conditions of the second race made him finish fifth.
Completing the top five was Gautier Paulin after finishing fourth and sixth in today’s races. The Kawasaki Racing Team rider started the day full of confidence because he had had a good qualifying race yesterday.
In fact, he was able to finish fourth in the first heat, but the heavy rain between the motos made the track more demanding and although Paulin was able to ride second, he made three mistakes in one lap and he lost three positions. The French rider was recuperating his rhythm again when he made another mistake and had to settle down with the sixth place.
Clement Desalle had a tough weekend in Kegums and lost the red plate after finishing sixth overall. The Belgian rider crashed in the opening lap of the first moto and had to fight from the tenth position, but when he was moving up to seventh, he made a mistake again and was dropped to thirteenth; in the end Desalle was seventh. In the second race Desalle rode much better, but he crashed when he was second and crossed the finish line fourth.
Latvian Tanel Leok and British rider Shaun Simpson had two consistent motos and they finished seventh and eighth respectively, whereas Russian Evgeny Bobryshev, who finished fifth in the first race, crashed in the first lap of the second moto and had to push from the 19th position to finish eleventh and obtain an overall ninth place. Xavier Boog completed the top ten.
It was a disappointing weekend for French rider Christophe Pourcel, who did not find himself comfortable on the Latvian track and he was only eleventh overall.
Home rider Augusts Justs finished 19th and obtained four valuable points.
In the MX2 class, Team Floride Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit’s Roelants proved that he is back 100% after obtaining his maiden MX2 podium this weekend in Latvia. In the first race Roelants started fifth but he found really good lines and he was leading the heat already in lap eight.
In the second moto the Belgian rider decided to enter the pitlane to change his goggles because he was having problems to overtake Max Anstie who was riding fourth. Once Roelants was out again, he easily overtook the British rider and climbed up to the second position, which gave him the overall win.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Van Horebeek was a little bit disappointed for having missed the overall victory because he felt really comfortable on the Latvian track. The Belgian rider dominated from beginning to end the second moto, but in the first one Van Horebeek crashed with Jose Butrón while they were fighting for the first position and the Belgian was only able to cross the finish line third.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tixier was visibly moved after crossing the finish line of the second moto third and realizing that he was third overall of the Latvian Grand Prix. The French rider was fifth in the first race and he then had a really good start in the second moto and he managed to keep the third position until the chequered flag.
It was also a really good weekend for Glen Coldenhoff, who finished fourth overall thanks to his 8-5 result. It has been one of the best results for the Nestaan JM Racing KTM rider, who has moved from 13th to 11th in the point standings after this weekend.
The fifth overall position was for Diga Racing KTM’s Butrón; the Spanish rider took the holeshot of race one and he was able to lead the race for seven laps, but he could not keep the rhythm and crossed the finish line sixth. In the second moto he did not have such a good start and had to fight from his initial 12th position to finish seventh.
Anstie had a difficult first race, where he was only able to finish fourteenth due to several mistakes he made during the heat. However, in the second moto he finished fourth even after crashing when he was riding fifth. In the end, Anstie finished sixth overall.
Herlings started from the outside today because he got a DNF yesterday in the qualifying race, but he had really good starts and he was able to ride among the top five already in the first laps of both motos.
The Dutch rider finished second in the first race, and while he was riding second in the second moto, his KTM stopped and had to pull out the race. Herlings was seventh overall, but he is still leading the MX2 standings with 41 points advantage over Searle.
Arnaud Tonus made a mistake in the first race while he was riding sixth and he was only able to cross the finish line in the ninth position. In the second race Tonus crashed again in the opening lap, but he was able to finish ninth, which gave him the overall eighth position.
Romain Febvre was eighth overall and Jens Getteman completed the top ten.
French rider Dylan Ferrandis was tenth in the first moto but he got DNF in the second one, which made him finish 15th overall.
Christophe Charlier has not felt fully fit this weekend and he has had some problems with his shoulder again. However, he managed to finish 18th overall.
It was also a difficult weekend for American Zach Osborne; in the first heat he did not have a good start and crashed when was trying to overtake Strijbos for the twelfth position. In the second moto he crashed again and he hit his head and as he was not feeling 100% confident to carry on, he decided to pull out the race.
It was a weekend to forget for Searle who had two DNFs due to mechanical problems. In the first race there was a problem with one of the oil pipes of his Kawasaki and in the second moto he had a problem with the back tyre. Searle did not score any points this weekend, so the fight for the Title gets more completed than ever for the British rider.
Results and standings:
MX1 Race 1 top ten:
1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 40:10.291; 2. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:14.660; 3. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +0:19.982; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:25.045; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:29.425; 6. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), +0:30.185; 7. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:48.051; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:49.206; 9. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:50.222; 10. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +0:50.592.
MX1 Race 2 top ten:
1. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 40:41.137; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:09.646; 3. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:14.187; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:21.801; 5. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +0:23.040; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:34.385; 7. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), +0:40.746; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:51.920; 9. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:54.297; 10. Marc de Reuver (NED, Kawasaki), +1:20.375.
MX1 Overall top ten:
1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 47 points; 2. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 42 p.; 3. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 36 p.; 4. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 36 p.; 5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 33 p.; 6. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 32 p.; 7. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), 29 p.; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), 26 p.; 9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), 26 p.; 10. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 22 p.
MX1 Championship top ten:
1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 392 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 380 p.; 3. Christophe Pourcel (FRA, Kawasaki), 357 p.; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 348 p.; 5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 299 p.; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 279 p.; 7. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 258 p.; 8. Tanel Leok (EST, Suzuki), 230 p.; 9. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 219 p.; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 212 p.
MX2 Race 1 top ten:
1. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), 39:26.119; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:11.964; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), +0:15.035; 4. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +0:17.148; 5. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:31.514; 6. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:38.080; 7. Romain Febvre (FRA, KTM), +0:43.017; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:44.453; 9. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +0:46.327; 10. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:03.649.
MX2 Race 2 top ten:
1. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 40:08.550; 2. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:05.653; 3. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:40.065; 4. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), +0:45.920; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:50.273; 6. Nikolaj Larsen (DEN, Suzuki), +1:45.706; 7. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +1:49.834; 8. Jens Getteman (BEL, Suzuki), +1:53.832; 9. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +2:01.686; 10. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Husqvarna), +2:05.292.
MX2 Overall top ten:
1. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), 47 points; 2. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 45 p.; 3. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 36 p.; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 29 p.; 5. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 29 p.; 6. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), 25 p.; 7. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 25 p.; 8. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), 24 p.; 9. Romain Febvre (FRA, KTM), 24 p.; 10. Jens Getteman (BEL, Suzuki), 21 p.
MX2 Championship top ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 428 points; 2. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 387 p.; 3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 375 p.; 4. Joel Roelants (BEL, Kawasaki), 310 p.; 5. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 279 p.; 6. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 255 p.; 7. Max Anstie (GBR, Honda), 224 p.; 8. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 197 p.; 9. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), 190 p.; 10. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Husqvarna), 183 p.