The racing was brutal at the sixth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship as riders were kicked and bucked all over the show out on the demanding and technical circuit of Zelta Zirgs, in Kegums, Latvia.
With a first and fourth placings, Slovenian Tim Gajser won the MXGP class in Latvia and he is now just one point behind the leader, Frenchman Romain Febvre, Yamaha’s defending world champion.
Febvre finished fifth and first in Latvia.
New Zealand’s Ben Townley took his Team Suzuki World MXGP RM-Z450 to finish 7th and 13th in the two MXGP motos and elevated himself up one position to 15th overall in the championship standings after he had been forced to skip the two previous rounds because of illness.
Honda Gariboldi’s 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, in the MX2 class, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings cleaned up once again to remain unbeaten in 2016.
Gajser had an action packed day in the MXGP office.
The kid known to his fans as Tiga won the first race, which catapulted him to the top of the championship standings since Romain Febvre only came home in fifth. Heading into race two Gajser had a 6-point lead in the championship, but he had a huge crash. 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 Antonio 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 in Matterley Basin, which was almost one year ago, but ended up being nudged down to second place on the final lap when Gajser added two more points to his tally with his pass on German Max Nagl.
Immediately after the race, Cairoli said “I’m not happy about my performance because I’m missing some speed after fifteen minutes, I know I am back and I want to win, I want to win soon.”
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s 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 Nagl’s newfound aggression in race one.
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 checkers. Unfortunately in race two, Nagl 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 with the last gate pick and soldiered his way to sixth.
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 thirty 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, it’s six out of six wins this weekend and I hope there will be many more to come.” He said after his win in the final race.
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.
Stranger things have happened. If you haven’t heard that phrase before, it’s something English speakers say when something unlikely happens. In the case of MX2 race two, it was Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Petar Petrov being a member of the toss-up for the holeshot.
The Bulgarian is a big lad and starts are normally his biggest nemesis. After bouncing back in remarkable fashion in race one when he crashed and peeled back a bunch of places to finish sixth, he finished fourth in race two for fourth overall.
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 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 roughness 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 twelfth overall.
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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RESULTS & STANDINGS:
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.
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.