Every season, the Belgian Grand Prix is one of the most talked about races of the year as the track is considered to be the heartland of motocross and has played a vital part in the Motocross World Championship for many years, becoming known as one of the toughest sand circuits in the world.
Many memorable races have taken place in Lommel, including the 1981 Motocross of Nations and total of 18 GPs since 1990, including last year’s triple-header.
During the Belgian triple-header, we saw Team HRC’s Tim Gajser take two out of the three victories, while Jorge Prado of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing was the overall winner during the second of three GPs.
Meanwhile in MX2, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle won the first two events, while Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Watson finished off his MX2 career with a high to secure his first MX2 overall victory.
Other winners at the popular sand circuit include the likes of Marnicq Bervoets, Stefan Everts, Avo Leok, Ken Roczen, Max Anstie, Jeffrey Herlings and Antonio Cairoli.
The MXGP of Flanders-Belgium will be even more exciting this season as the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship riders will make their very first appearance in Lommel for round two of the championship.
New Zealand’s defending world champion Courtney Duncan of Bike it MTX Kawasaki will look to continue her dominant force with another solid result, while Larissa Papenmeier of Yamaha Racing 423 will look to keep the championship gap close, as Nancy Van De Ven and Kiara Fontanesi will look to get themselves on the podium after a tough weekend in Loket.
This weekend’s races will also see round two of the EMX2t as Fantic Factory Team Maddii’s Maximilian Spies will enter the race in Lommel as the championship leader looking to keep that gap to Verde Substance KTM’s Brad Anderson and his team-mate Federico Tuani.
Former MXGP rider Ken De Dycker will also make a wildcard appearance in the EMX2t category this weekend, so it will be interesting to see if he can make things interesting for the leaders.
In addition, there will also be races of the EMX250 category, as Fantic Factory Team Maddii’s Nicholas Lapucci will look to keep the red plate on his Fantic machine and keep SM Action Racing Team YUASA Battery’s Kevin Horgmo, Hutten Metaal Yamaha Racing’s Andrea Bonacorsi, Liam Everts of KTM Liamski and Rick Elzinga of TBS Conversions KTM Racing Team at bay.
This weekend will be a chance for Gajser to claw back some valuable championship points that he lost out on in Loket due to the crash in the second race.
Last season, Gajser won four of the six races that took place in Lommel during the Belgian triple-header, so entering the races this weekend, he is likely to pick up where he left off last time around.
Of course, there’s a field of riders who won’t make this easy, one of those riders being Cairoli who will look to continue his podium streak as he chases his fifth consecutive top three finish.
The last time Cairoli was victorious in Lommel was 2014, so a GP victory in the sand is well overdue and it will be interesting to see how he can manage this weekend.
His young team-mate, Prado, will aim to make two GP wins on the bounce after his first podium of 2021 in Loket last weekend.
Prado has somewhat struggled at the beginning of the year, though it looks like the Spaniard is picking up the pace now, as he proved this in Czech Republic with his race one win and GP victory.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre will look for redemption in Lommel after some tough races in Oss and Loket.
For Febvre staying on two wheels and consistency is the only thing missing, as he’s finding it tough to put together two strong races, which would put him in the fight for the podium and more importantly for the overall.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing riders Glenn Coldenhoff, Jeremy Seewer and Watson are all within a fighting chance of some top results this weekend and even podium finishes.
Last year in Lommel Watson secured two race wins and his first MX2 overall, so no doubt he will have an extra boost of confidence coming back to the circuit this weekend.
While his team-mate Seewer will enter the Belgian GP off the back of his first podium finish this season which is a big confidence boost for the Swiss who struggled in the beginning of the year.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Arminas Jasikonis could shine this weekend as the tall Lithuanian has been making great progress in getting back up to speed during the last couple of GP’s.
While the races in Loket didn’t deliver on the results Jasikonis would have wanted, we did however see a glimpse of what can be expected in Oss as he rode his way to a top 10 finish for the first time this season.
For Gebben Van Venrooy Racing’s Brent Van Doninck and Kevin Strijbos, along with Beta SDM Corse Motocross Team’s Jeremy Van Horebeek the races this weekend will be extra special, as the trio will want to put on their best performance for their home Grand Prix.
But the biggest talking point as we enter the sand races is whether or not Herlings will make his return after a shoulder blade injury sustained in Oss.
Herlings revealed that he would want to return for Lommel in order to keep his championship chase alive, though the smart decision would be to return a couple of weeks later.
So, it will be interesting to see what decision the team and Herlings make and whether we will see him line-up for the sand race on Sunday.
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MXGP – World Championship Top 10 Classification:
- Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 194 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 183 p.; 3. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 177 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 174 p.; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 151 p.; 6. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 143 p.; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 140 p.; 8. Pauls Jonass (LAT, GAS), 119 p.; 9. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, KTM), 109 p.; 10. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 90 p.
MX2 – World Championship Top 10 Classification:
- Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 179 points; 2. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, KTM), 177 p.; 3. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 165 p.; 4. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, KAW), 149 p.; 5. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 146 p.; 6. Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 142 p.; 7. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 140 p.; 8. Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), 137 p.; 9. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, KAW), 132 p.; 10. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 114 p.