The first round of the 2020 FIM Motocross World Championship season saw Dutchman Jeffrey Herlings and Belgian rider Jago Geerts take the wins in the MXGP and MX2 classes.
Going into the weekend, the overall winner for the MXGP class was hard to predict. With a full line-up of extremely strong riders, who have been training hard this winter, the list of favourites was never ending.
Following Saturday’s practice session, Team HRC rider Tim Gajser was among the top favourites as he clocked in the fastest lap-time during the session. Second was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Arminas Jasikonis, followed by Red Bull KTM Factory pilot Antonio Cairoli.
In the opening race of the weekend, it was the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory’s Jeremy Seewer who claimed the first holeshot of the season, closely followed by Herlings and Gajser. Team HRC’s newest recruit and MXGP rookie Mitch Evans, from Australia, also got off to a flying start in fifth.
But, on the downhill corner after pitlane, Gajser found himself in trouble as he banged bars with Honda SR Motoblouz’s Jeremy Van Horebeek, which left him having to fight back from 13th position.
On the opening lap, Evans was moving quick as he made a move on Seewer. The 2013 MXGP of Great Britain winner Clement Desalle, of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team, also got a good start in fourth, before getting cross-rutted in the second lap and falling down to 7th.
As KTM rider Herlings continued his lead, Seewer found his way back past Evans, knocking the factory Honda rider down to third. Meanwhile the battle for 4th, 5th and 6th was on between Cairoli, Desalle and the Standing Construct Gas Gas MXGP rider Glenn Coldenhoff. Desalle did muscle his way past the GasGas Factory rider, while Cairoli was able to maintain his fourth place position.
Towards the end of the race, Gajser found himself battling the 2019 MX2 World Champion Jorge Prado, of the Red Bull KTM Factory Team, with the Honda rider able to pass the MXGP rookie. He then set his sights for higher positions, but a crash on the last corner before the Monster Energy finish line of the last lap left him having to settle for P8 in the race, allowing Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP rider Gautier Paulin to move up a position to seventh.
In the end it was Herlings who took the race win with a 0:11.879 second lead over Seewer in second. Having a fantastic ride and making an impressive debut to his MXGP rookie campaign was Australian Evans, who placed third in the race.
In race two, it was the SM Action M.C Migliori–J1 Racing’s Henry Jacobi who took the FOX Holeshot, but Gajser moved swiftly into the lead, with Cairoli following him to also pass Jacobi. Meanwhile, Herlings was behind in 4th and Paulin in 5th. Bad luck for Evans, who came around the first turn virtually last, leaving him with a lot of work to do in this second MXGP race.
By lap four, Herlings was already charging, making a pass on Cairoli for 2nd position. Paulin was sitting in 3rd, where he remained throughout the race, also keeping Desalle at bay in 4th. From then onwards the top 5 remained the same until the race concluded, while the battles heated up behind.
Evans found himself moving quickly, and by lap 5 was already in 6th position as he passed both Seewer and Jacobi. Seewer then came under threat by Coldenhoff, with the Dutch rider able to make the pass stick on lap 11.
With two laps to go, Desalle and Coldenhoff found themselves in an intense battle, with the two riders getting close to each other on several occasions, but the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider stayed strong to finish 5th. Desalle’s Monster Energy Kawasaki team-mate Romain Febvre did not line up at Sunday’s races as for an injury to his knee during the past week, he’ll be back racing in Valkenswaard next week.
Gajser claimed the race win and with it a second overall, while Herlings made a strong come-back as the overall Grand Prix winner. Cairoli finished 3rd both in the race and the podium.
Photo courtesy KTM Europe
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RESULTS AND STANDINGS:
MXGP – Race 1 Results:
- Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:33.506; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:11.870; 3. Mitchell Evans (AUS, Honda), +0:17.051; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:25.377; 5. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:29.331; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GASGAS), +0:30.365; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:38.148; 8. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:39.702; 9. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:41.135; 10. Henry Jacobi (GER, Yamaha), +0:56.640.
MXGP – Race 2 Results:
- Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 35:44.501; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:23.382; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:28.395; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:30.195; 5. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:32.276; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GASGAS), +0:33.945; 7. Mitchell Evans (AUS, Honda), +0:36.870; 8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:38.209; 9. Henry Jacobi (GER, Yamaha), +0:48.109; 10. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Honda), +1:00.115.
MXGP – GP Classification:
- Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 47 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 38 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 38 p.; 4. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 35 p.; 5. Mitchell Evans (AUS, HON), 34 p.; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 32 p.; 7. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 32 p.; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GAS), 30 p.; 9. Henry Jacobi (GER, YAM), 23 p.; 10. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 21 p.
MX2 – Race 1 Results:
- Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), 36:43.110; 2. Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:04.920; 3. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, Kawasaki), +0:08.010; 4. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:09.481; 5. Alberto Forato (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:13.963; 6. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +0:24.521; 7. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:25.937; 8. Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), +0:28.707; 9. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Kawasaki), +0:31.644; 10. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Yamaha), +0:34.181.
MX2 – Race 2 Results:
- Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 36:05.077; 2. Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), +0:01.963; 3. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, Kawasaki), +0:03.508; 4. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:07.568; 5. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:10.936; 6. Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:17.277; 7. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:19.310; 8. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:30.016; 9. Alberto Forato (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:31.897; 10. Nathan Crawford (AUS, Honda), +0:44.728.
MX2 – GP Classification:
- Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 43 points; 2. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 40 p.; 3. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, KAW), 40 p.; 4. Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 37 p.; 5. Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), 35 p.; 6. Alberto Forato (ITA, HUS), 28 p.; 7. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 26 p.; 8. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, KAW), 22 p.; 9. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 22 p.; 10. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, KAW), 21.