The MXGP world crown is starting to slip for Italian Antonio Cairoli as arch rival Jeffery Herlings scored two more race wins at the weekend, this time at the 13th round of the 2018 series in Semarang, Indonesia.
Herlings has doubled his advantage over Cairoli from 12 points after the previous round to 24 points after the weekend and, although there is still a long way to go and nobody should write off Cairoli’s chances of making it a hugely-significant tenth world championship title win this season, the Italian will need to gain ground in the coming months.
Meanwhile, the MX2 title chase is now even with both Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders Pauls Jonass and Jorge Prado tied at 550 points.
The competitors in the 2018 MXGP World Championship are as tough as nails or, in the case of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team rider Herlings, as tough as the plate and screws of his recently fractured collar bone. Herlings came into the Indonesian trip unsure of his situation but by the end has come away with 97 championship points of the 100 available.
At the drop of the gate for MXGP race one Herlings was the fastest to the first turn but lost the holeshot and lead when he bobbled on the exit of the corner. Taking over the lead position and the Fox Holeshot was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team-mate Cairoli with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin in third and Monster Energy Kawasaki Factory Racing’s Clement Desalle in fourth.
The opening lap action continued with Team HRC’s Tim Gajser making his way to third and second in front of Herlings briefly. Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP’s Jeremy Seewer and Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Julien Lieber collided on the uphill triple which sent Seewer tumbling, neither rider was injured but Seewer did not rejoin the race.
Herlings struggled to keep momentum at the start of the race and was passed by both Gajser and Paulin on lap two with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Romain Febvre closing in as well. Cairoli’s lead was then taken by Gajser and Febvre was past Herlings who was immediately under pressure from Desalle.
Febvre and his fellow Frenchman, Paulin, kicked off a battle for third swapping positions all in front of Herlings. Herlings took advantage of the battle and was into 4th past Paulin. Desalle then banged bars with Paulin, before eventually finding a way by Paulin.
Herlings made a move around the outside of Febvre and was then past Cairoli in the same lap. From that point Herlings gained time on Gajser and made a pass lap 13 just before Febvre crashed out of 4th. At the finish Herlings took the win with Gajser 2nd and Cairoli 3rd.
Race twowas started with a second holeshot from Cairoli, with Herlings, Desalle, and Seewer alongside. Febvre was back for Race 2 but fell on the start and had to fight back from dead last. Cairoli’s good start was short lived when he dropped 5 position in the first 3 turns back to 6th. Desalle was in the lead next but Herlings took it away in before the first lap was complete.
Cairoli lost more positions early in the race to Lieber and TM Factory Racing’s Max Nagl. Back at the front Desalle was charging to insides of Herlings and showing the red plate holder a wheel as Paulin crashed while under pressure from Lieber.
Seewer was also riding well and up in 4th while Cairoli made a pair of passes to take back fifth from Nagl and Lieber. On lap 13 Seewer would also lose his position to Cairoli whose forward progress wouldn’t be enough to catch Gajser in 3rd.
At the finish Herlings took his 2nd race win of the day with Desalle 2nd, Gajser 3rd, Cairoli 4th, and Seewer 5th. In the overall result Herlings took the clear win with 1-1, Gajser took 2nd with 2-3, and Desalle returned to the podium for the first time since winning the MXGP of Russia with 4-2 for 3rd.
“To go home with 97 points from the two weekends is absolutely amazing, I didn’t expect that and it has been like a dream come true,” said Herlings.
“Not only didn’t I lose any points but I actually gained some, not many, but a few is good, so I don’t want to take this for granted. The rest of the guys rode awesome I really had to fight in the first race with Tim and the second with Clement.”
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 33:54.179; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:01.786; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:13.879; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:17.519; 5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:20.604; 6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:22.007; 7. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:35.278; 8. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki), +0:49.077; 9. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:59.110; 10. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +1:24.278
MXGP Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:21.626; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:05.537; 3. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:11.311; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:18.393; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:21.214; 6. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:25.998; 7. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:27.988; 8. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki), +0:29.546; 9. Maximilian Nagl (GER, TM), +0:32.666; 10. Julien Lieber (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:40.658
MXGP Overall Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 42 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 40 p.; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 38 p.; 5. Tommy Searle (GBR, KAW), 28 p.; 6. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 27 p.; 7. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, KAW), 26 p.; 8. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 26 p.; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 23 p.; 10. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), 17 p.
MXGP Championship Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 583 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 559 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 447 p.; 4. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 410 p.; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 400 p.; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 389 p.; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 329 p.; 8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 295 p.; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 280 p.; 10. Maximilian Nagl (GER, TM), 227 p.
The MX2 Championship fight is in full force after the weekend’s MXGP of Asia in Semarang.
Race one began with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado taking the holeshot ahead of his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team-mate Pauls Jonass.
Jonass had Team HRC’s Calvin Vlaanderen just to his inside down the Pit Lane straight after the start and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Thomas Kjer Olsen to his outside. Vlaanderen grabbed a handful of front brake on the entry to the next turn resulting in him going down and just moments later Olsen was down. For Olsen his crash came from landing short on the next jump and he took out his Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team-mate Thomas Covington in the process.
With some room to breathe early Jonass pushed to pass Prado but then fell himself after losing the front end. Quick to get up Jonass was still second ahead of Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 Team’s Ben Watson and Yamaha SM Action M.C. – Migliori’s Michele Cervellin. F&H Racing Team’s Adam Sterry was in 5th with Honda 114 Motorsport’s Bas Vaessen giving chase.
Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 Team’s Anthony Rodriguez passed Vaessen on lap 3 and then got by Sterry on lap 6 for 5th. Vaessen continued to push but had a big crash just before the downhill triple and was slow to get going again before eventually pulling off the track.
Back at the front Jonass had again caught Prado with the help of lapped riders and mistakes from the Spaniard. Jonass made the impressive pass for the lead on lap 9 and then started to pull away. A few spots further back Rodriguez was searching for a way into 4th and eventually took the spot from Cervellin.
Also making big passes to finish the race was Vlaanderen who came back from last to finish 5th ahead of Cervellin and Covington. Winning the race was Jonass with Prado 2nd and Watson 3rd followed by his team-mate Rodriguez in 4th.
Race two was off to another wild start with Jonass crashing in the first turn while Prado took the holeshot and lead. Vlaanderen had another strong jump off of the grid and kept the mistakes to a minimum in 2nd. Covington also rebounded from the bad luck of race 1 and found himself 3rd on the first laps followed by Watson and Olsen.
Four laps into the race Covington took 2nd from Vlaanderen, Jonass was up to 10th and Olsen made a pass on Watson for 4th on lap five. Prado was able to manage his lead well as every time Covington gained ground Prado responded.
The top five remained unchanged for the next 10 laps until Vlaanderen made charge with two laps to go and reclaimed 2nd from Covington. In the meantime Jonass had clawed his way back to 6th in a massive effort. Crossing the finish first was Prado with Vlaanderen, Covington, Olsen, and Watson finishing out the top 5.
On the overall podium it was Prado by 7 points over Jonass and 9 ahead of Vlaanderen. Prado’s effort has tied the MX2 Championship standings at 550 points for both himself and Jonass. Jonass will however maintain the red plate with more race wins as the series heads to Loket for the MXGP of Czech Republic in two week’s time.
MX2 Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 34:59.013; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:04.137; 3. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:22.101; 4. Anthony Rodriguez (VEN, Yamaha), +0:41.937; 5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Honda), +0:43.971; 6. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Yamaha), +0:44.344; 7. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:57.170; 8. Adam Sterry (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:03.984; 9. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Husqvarna), +1:14.133; 10. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +1:23.303
MX2 Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 35:13.784; 2. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Honda), +0:02.931; 3. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:05.084; 4. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:21.652; 5. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:28.770; 6. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:40.860; 7. Anthony Rodriguez (VEN, Yamaha), +0:50.117; 8. Bas Vaessen (NED, Honda), +1:13.213; 9. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Husqvarna), +1:19.115; 10. Adam Sterry (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:28.895
MX2 Overall Top Ten:
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 47 points; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 40 p.; 3. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, HON), 38 p.; 4. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 36 p.; 5. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 34 p.; 6. Anthony Rodriguez (VEN, YAM), 32 p.; 7. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 28 p.; 8. Michele Cervellin (ITA, YAM), 25 p.; 9. Brent Van doninck (BEL, HUS), 24 p.; 10. Adam Sterry (GBR, KAW), 24 p.
MX2 Championship Top Ten:
1. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 550 points; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 550 p.; 3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 422 p.; 4. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 412 p.; 5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, HON), 369 p.; 6. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 331 p.; 7. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 286 p.; 8. Michele Cervellin (ITA, YAM), 255 p.; 9. Henry Jacobi (GER, HUS), 223 p.; 10. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), 218 p.
Photo courtesy MXGP
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