The final round of the 2019 MXGP FIM Motocross World Championship arrived at the Shanghai Off Road Circuit in China over the weekend, with big crowds turning out to witness the world’s best duke it out.
Jeffrey Herlings proved his return to form with the MXGP round overall win – his second of the season – while Jorge Prado’s untouchable form continued with another MX2 win, giving KTM the first ever MXGP of China round wins.
Being the last round of the season, the Shanghai off road international circuit witnessed the conclusion of one of the most spectacular seasons ever. Taking the top three spots in the final MXGP Championship standings were Tim Gajser, Jeremy Seewer and Glenn Coldenhoff while in MX2 class Jorge Prado, Thomas Kjer Olsen and Jago Geerts finalised the MX2 Championship standings.
MXGP Race 1
In the opening MXGP race it was Glenn Coldenhoff who led from Jeremy Seewer, Tim Gajser, Jeffrey Herlings and Pauls Jonass. Herlings was quickly into third place and relegating the MXGP champion to fourth. After a lap the battle for first place between Coldenhoff and Seewer was intense, with Herlings three seconds back in third.
Seewer had passed Coldenhoff but was repassed and then crashed in a corner as Herlings moved into second place. Seewer again crashed as he dropped to seventh place.
Coldenhoff continued to control the race, although after five laps the lead was down to just over two seconds and Gajser was five seconds back in third place while the two Arminas Jasikonis and Pauls Jonass filled the remaining top five positions.
Seewer was sixth, Ivo Monticelli seventh, Jeremy Van Horebeek eight, Gautier Paulin ninth and Jordi Tixier in 10th. After nine laps Herlings was just over two seconds behind Coldenhoff and made a move for the lead. 11 laps in and Paulin dropped back to eight while Tixier moved into ninth place.
Herlings was suddenly all over Coldenhoff as the race heated up and to make it even more exciting, Gajser joined the party. For a couple of laps the big three battled for the top spot, and the pace clearly went to another gear.
MXGP came alive again as Coldenhoff tried to fight off Herlings and Gajser. Coldenhoff hung in there to win it from Herlings and Gajser.
MXGP Race 2
The second MXGP gate dropped and Seewer took the FOX Holeshot, but got passed by Coldenhoff who lead again, Gajser was in third, then Van Horebeek, Herlings, Bogers, Jonass, Paulin, Monticelli and Jasikonis who rounded up the top 10. Herlings quickly passed Van Horebeek and was onto Gajser for third.
After a lap Coldenhoff was a second and a half ahead of Seewer who was fighting off Gajser, with Herlings fourth and Van Horebeek fifth. Tixier had worked his way into 10th place as Jasikonis dropped to 12th.
After three laps the lead remained a little over a minute while Gajser miscalculating a jump ran off the track, having to pull the board from his machine and lost places to Herlings, Van Horebeek and Jonass as he dropped to sixth position. On lap nine Gajser passed Jonass for fifth, and Seewer was still a second and a half behind Coldenhoff.
Herlings was all over Seewer for second place as he tried to get an overall victory while Coldenhoff continued to ride in cruise control and at the pace he was comfortable. Herlings made a move to take second place from Seewer and the race of the Dutchman would continue.
Coldenhoff remained calm and continued to lead Herlings, with Seewer third, Van Horebeek fourth and Gajser fifth. After 14 laps Coldenhoff was nearly three-second lead over Herlings and seemingly did enough to win the race and the Grand Prix while Gajser passed Van Horebeek for fourth position.
Herlings turned it up in the final three laps and caught Coldenhoff, then he pulled into the lead on the last lap as he won the Grand Prix with 2-1 results.
Jeffrey Herlings has won the MXGP of China with a stunning 2-1 result leading his Motocross of Nations team-mate Glenn Coldenhoff who scored 1-2 results. Third overall was Jeremy Seewer.
Jeffrey Herlings – Round Winner
“I wanted to finish the year strongly: I owed Red Bull, KTM and all my partners that after the injury. I gave everything I had and I’m very grateful to have won the last two GPs. I’ll race in the sand next week for the final preparation for Assen. Hopefully with Team Holland we can go for the win. Then, next year in MXGP, I want to fight hard to get the title back. I really enjoyed the track here – it was tough to pass in places – but we won the GP and that’s the most important thing.”
While Tim Gajser climbed again the MXGP Podium to be awarded with the Gold Medal, Jeremy Seewer celebrated the 18th round of the Championship with a silver media ensured just after race 1 and Glenn Coldenhoff clinched the bronze medal after an unpredictable season.
Tim Gajser – 2019 MXGP Champion
“First of all, I am super happy to have my third world title this year, especially winning it in front of so many fans in Imola. It was really something special. Now, after that my level maybe hasn’t been as high and I’ve struggled to find the flow but overall I’m super happy with the year and I must say a big thank you to the team for their part in that. They have been amazing this year, but they also stood behind me these past two years when things didn’t go my way, and that is when you know you have a good team around you. I must also thank all the fans who have supported this season, they have followed me around the world and it is so great to have people at the track cheering you on. People from Slovenia even came all the way here to China and I am so thankful for that. As for this Shanghai race, I really enjoyed the layout and the dirt and I really felt good out on the track. I was fast in practice and grabbed a holeshot yesterday but a mistake a couple of laps later cost me positions. This meant I had 11th gate pick but I was still able to get two good starts, inside the top three. In the first moto we were all close together and it was tight racing but it was difficult to find a place to pass so I finished third. Then in the second moto, I was running third again but I jumped off the track and got tangled in a banner and by the time I was free from that I had lost a lot of time and positions. I was still able to get back to fourth which was good enough for fourth overall. I would have loved to have been on the podium, but it was still amazing to get handed the gold medal as champion and overall it has been a great, great season.”
Jeremy Seewer – P2 Overall
“It has been incredible. My winter preparation for this season was horrible. I was in bed sick for three weeks. I came into the season battling to be in the top-ten and I had to fight my way back. I am really happy to be here now. It was a process, I started to break into the top five after the few weeks we had off in May, and then eventually got on the podium and then got six podiums and now I am here, second in the world!”
Glenn Coldenhoff – P3 Overall
“I feel like we did a great job this weekend. It was a solid start in the second race and I was second and led all the races, I started making mistakes and I was looking at the bigger picture that is the bronze medal and I got a podium, which was good. First race was great. I am so pumped, I knew I needed a great gate pick and I was able to hold of Jeffrey (Herlings) and Tim (Gajser).
Gautier Paulin – P4 Overall
“I really want to thank my team first of all, Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP team. We have had a tough season and have worked hard all year long as a satellite team. We were fighting for second in the championship to begin with and then second, and then third, and finally we came up short in fourth. It was a good year for my first year back on the Yamaha. We have some experience for the future. The bike was working good today, although it was not the best day for me. I am happy I put in a full season without injuries and could fight to the finish.”
Pauls Jonass – P6 Overall
“I have some mixed feelings after this MXGP of China. With some podium results in recent races I really wanted the same here, to end the year on a high note. But I didn’t feel as sharp as I have been feeling. I’m not sure it’s the travel, but anyway it certainly wasn’t a bad way to end the series. I got pretty ok starts in both races but dropped back a little. Both races were like that. But sixth overall is a pretty decent result. Also, to finish sixth in the MXGP championship is very positive. It was a steady start to the year, coming back from injury and also adjusting to the MXGP bike. The second half of the year was very positive – I started to improve my strength, feeling with the bike, starts and results. Now we’ll focus on the Nations, before some time at home and then preparations for next season.”
Vialle took thr FOX Holeshot in the opening MX2 race with Prado second and Vlaanderen third, then came Maxime Renaux and Roan Van De Moosdijk. Vialle slipped over in a corner and handed the lead to Prado but was able to remount in third place. Jago Geerts meanwhile passed Renaux to move into fifth place.
On lap two Geerts passed Van De Moosdijk and set out after Vialle, around the same time Olsen also passed Renaux. Thomas Kjer Olsen moved up to third place, followed by Vialle and then Vialle passed Olsen for third place, Geerts was also pushing the Danish rider, with Van De Moosdijk not that far back in sixth place. Geerts passed Olsen on lap 11, and the top five was Prado, Vlaanderen, Vialle, Geerts and Olsen.
After 13 laps Prado led Vlaanderen by four seconds, with Vialle third, Geerts fourth and Olsen fifth. Van De Moosdijk exchanged positions for a few laps, with the Dutchman finally making a mistake and dropping back outside the top ten, in fact way back in 16th place and seemingly out of the race. Prado won the first race in Shanghai from Vlaanderen and Vialle.
MX2 Race 2
Prado led the second MX2 race taking the FOX Holeshot with Vialle second and Geerts third. Just behind Geerts was Olsen and Moreau, while Vlaanderen was back in sixth place. After a lap Prado was one and a half seconds ahead of Vialle, then Geerts held third, Olsen fourth and Vlaanderen fifth.
Four laps in and Prado wasn’t pushing too hard as the lead was still just over a second, with Vialle second, Geerts third, Olsen fourth and Renaux moved into fifth. After seven laps it was Prado leading by two seconds, and Vialle a further three seconds ahead of third placed man Geerts. Olsen was fourth and Vlaanderen in fifth.
Vialle started closing up on Prado as the two KTM riders controlled the race up front while Geerts was in third. Vlaanderen passed Renaux, as Van De Moosdijk did. On lap four Vlaanderen passed Olsen but was seven seconds behind third placed Geerts with three or four laps remaining.
Suddenly Vialle was all over Prado for the lead and the GP wins, as the two teenagers fought for the victory. Once again it was Jorge Prado who has won the MX2 class at the MXGP of China with another perfect day and 1-1 results.
It was Prado’s 31st Grand Prix win in his MX2 career as he now starts to prepare for the FIM Motocross of Nations and his MXGP debut at Assen, The Netherlands in two-week’s time. Second overall was Tom Vialle with 3-2 results and third Calvin Vlaanderen with 2-4.
Jorge Prado made a statement at his last race in MX2 going on the podium not only as GP winner but to collect his Gold Medal, while Thomas Kjer Olsen stood in the second position of the podium after a consistent 2019 season. Jago Geerts managed to collect the bronze medal.
Jorge Prado – P1 Overall
“Another great season and after 2018 we managed to do it again with some great races, consistency and another title. I cannot be happier. It was incredible. This weekend was my last GP with the MX2 bike and I wanted to do well and finish on the top. Tom was riding well today so I had to push. Two weeks on the 450 now before the Nations and some solid training to arrive there in good form. It will be a big challenge and we’ll see how it goes. I have great memories at Assen and I’m really motivated.”
Thomas Kjer Olsen – P2 Overall
“We worked hard to fine-tune some new suspension settings during Saturday, so to get ninth in Qualification was disappointing and meant that I didn’t get a good gate pick today. I guess I can say it’s not been my best weekend, but on a positive note I’m healthy heading back to the Motocross of Nations and ready to start working towards 2020. I had really good speed at the start of the first moto, but maybe pushed a little too hard. When I came up on the third placed rider I lost my rhythm and went backwards again. My speed was good, so I was pleased with that. I felt like I recovered well after the first moto and got a good start. I tried to hold on to the first three guys but slowly started to lose a little time to them. My 5/5 result isn’t the way I wanted to end the series, but overall it’s been a very positive year for me. Second in the MX2 championship is great and the first half of the season went really well. Crashing in Indonesia changed things a little it seems, after that I had some more crashes and also the sickness in Turkey. But runner-up in MX2 is great. I’m really motivated to work hard so I can give all I have to fight for the title next year.”
Jago Geerts – P3 Overall
“It was a pretty good day for me. Even though I was fighting for third in the championship I didn’t feel any more nervous than normal, so that was nice. I had two solid starts and came home in fourth and third, which was enough to keep third place in the championship, and for fourth overall for the Grand Prix. So, it was a solid day and I am happy with the result.”
Tom Vialle – P4 Overall
“A really good weekend and two strong races, and it is nice to finish the championship like this. I didn’t get third place in the championship but I’m still happy with my riding. At the beginning of the season I thought the top ten or maybe even the top five would have been good race results for me but I quickly got up to fifth and then the first three. I won my first GP and was close to it again here. I enjoyed the track and the organisation was very good. My best moment this season was my first win in Sweden but I liked this last race because I got so close to Jorge. We’ll train hard this winter and hopefully go for the top place next year.”
Adam Sterry – P6 Overall
“It was close but I ended up sixth in the world, so I got the job done today. I wanted to be stronger but I didn’t feel so good this weekend and it was important not to throw away all of the hard work all season by me and the team. The years seem to have flown past so quickly and it was my last GP in the MX2 class because of the age rule. F&H are an incredible team; I moved to Holland two years ago and they really made me feel like part of the family, I wish them continued success in the future. We have one more race together as I’m on Team GB for the Motocross of Nations. I remember going to the race as a little kid in 2006, collecting autographs and being so overwhelmed by the atmosphere; now, thirteen years later, I am just so proud to be on the team.”
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