KTM rule the sand roost at Lommel as KTM Factory Riders go 1-2-3 in Belgium
KTM ruled the 2017 FIM Motocross World Championship today with six podium spots in MXGP and MX2 and all five Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders holding trophies in the sandy confines of Lommel for the Grand Prix of Belgium. Jeffrey Herlings won his second MXGP ahead of Tony Cairoli and Glenn Coldenhoff to complete an MXGP 1-2-3 for KTM. To cap off a historic total domination of the event for the Austrian manufacturer, Jorge Prado Garcia had also led home a KTM 1-2-3 in MX2 (See MX2 Report Link).
MXGP 2017 – Round 14 – Lommel – MXGP Video Highlights
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MXGP 2017 – Round 14 – Lommel – MXGP Report
Much talk of the Grand Prix of Belgium revolved around Red Bull KTM Factory Racing teammates Tony Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings largely due to their pedigree and results on sandy tracks and a compelling duel that occurred in the ‘soft’ terrain of Ottobiano, Italy in June with their 450 SX-Fs. Herlings set a mean pace in Free Practice, almost three seconds quicker than the MXGP standings leader. A top ten start in the Qualification Heat was not a deterrent as Herlings soon worked his way to second place and squashed Cairoli’s five second lead to nothing with two laps remaining. It was exciting stuff: Herlings on full-charge and Cairoli making several small errors that gave the Dutchman hope. Herlings seized the lead on the last lap for his second Pole Position of his debut MXGP year and the stage was nicely ‘lit’ for the thirty-minute and two lap motos on Sunday.
The strong rain showers of Saturday that swamped sections of the sand and helped roughen the surface further were thankfully replaced by warm sunshine for race day, and a crowd of 30,000 (weekend figure) found places around the sandy venue that is a well-used and well-known training location for many of the Grand Prix elite. A reversed and altered layout for the fourth Belgian GP at Lommel helped offer a fresh challenge to the riders that would already be pushed to physical and mental limits (as well as those of their machinery).
The first race saw the third member of the crew, Glenn Coldenhoff, produce his best moto of the season so far with an excellent start and leading the first four laps of sixteen. He then followed Herlings’ superior pace for the midpart of the chase and was passed by a conservative Cairoli. As Herlings dealt with some arm-pump to remain free and claim his sixth race win, Cairoli made a mistake late on and crashed, handing second spot briefly back to Coldenhoff but soon recovered. The KTM trio ran ahead of Jeremy Van Horebeek by fourteen seconds in a dominant show.
The second race permitted Herlings and Cairoli to renew their dispute. Several close exchanges for the lead and some cat-and-mouse games ended in the last ten minutes as Herlings forged a gap and Cairoli accepted 22 points for second place and to safeguard a hefty window in the standings (now over Herlings who has moved up from third). Coldenhoff was again strong and found a way past Clement Desalle to capture fourth position; the classification allowed #259 to walk the podium for the second time in 2017 and give KTM a historic sweep of the premier class rostrum.
“We messed up a bit in Ottobiano. I never like excuses and Antonio won fair and square there but I was a bit sick that weekend. So I had something to make up [a[at Lommel]He got the better of me there and I won here; home crowd for him and also for me but I’m super-happy and I want to thank Red Bull KTM because they have put in so much effort and work and to go 1-2-3 in both classes wouldn’t be possible without a great team. They are always behind me and I feel blessed for that. I won yesterday, won both motos today and even had a pretty good start in that last moto! Five races to go and the season is done. We are second in the championship now and it would be great to finish that way.”
“It is amazing to have six KTMs on the podium and [s[see]hat this manufacturer is bringing to the sport. I’m really happy and big congratulations to all the people behind the scenes who help us. I’m very happy with the race. For sure Jeffrey is one of the fastest in the world in this type of ground. We had some good racing and Glenn was also very fast in the first moto. We are almost near the end of the season so we have to think about the championship now and it is time to look at the points and not do crazy stuff. We had some good battles in that second moto but for sure he was more motivated to get the win so congrats to him. Switzerland is one of my favourite tracks so I’m really looking forward to this race.”
“It’s a been a while! I had a good weekend and I felt really strong coming into this GP after some very competitive days [p[practicing]n the sand. I messed up my start a little bit yesterday and it was a tough day with the rain but I fixed that for the first moto today and gave myself an easier job. In the second one I was thinking of the podium from the second lap because I’ve been working hard for this together with the crew. We made a great plan after Loket and it worked out.”
Before Lommel Cairoli had a 92-point lead over Kawasaki’s Clement DeSalle with just 300 points left to win this season. After the two motos in Belgium the scenario has changed to a 99-point margin for the Sicilian over teammate Herlings (with 250 left), as the KTMs move 1-2 in the championship.
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten
- Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:34.225
- Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:27.342
- Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:39.296
- Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:53.580
- Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:56.056
- Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:00.579
- Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +1:02.065
- Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +1:06.221
- Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +1:08.869
- Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +1:22.939.
MXGP Race 2 Top Ten
- Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:44.270
- Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:23.346
- Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:41.147
- Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:53.174
- Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:55.569
- Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:57.337
- Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +1:00.060
- Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +1:17.957
- Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +1:32.207
- Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +1:43.308.
MXGP Overall Top Ten
- Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points
- Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 44 p.
- Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 38 p.
- Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 31 p.
- Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 29 p.
- Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 28 p.
- Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 27 p.
- Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 27 p.
- Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 26 p.
- Arnaud Tonus (SUI, YAM), 24 p.
MXGP Championship Top Ten
- Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 567 points
- Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 468 p.
- Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 462 p.
- Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 446 p.
- Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 376 p.
- Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 365 p.
- Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 336 p.
- Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 320 p.
- Arnaud Tonus (SUI, YAM), 303 p.
- Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 302 p.
- KTM, 609 points
- Husqvarna, 498 p.
- Yamaha, 473 p.
- Kawasaki, 462 p.
- Honda, 454 p.
- Suzuki, 318 p.;