The MXGP of Kegums was the third and final of round Grand Prix races making up the Latvian triple-header in 2020, concluding in Kegums. Racing proved hard to predict, with Tim Gajser claiming the first MXGP race win, but unable to complete Race 2 due to an electric problem, ending his his weekend.
Jeffrey Herlings claimed the Race 2 win, which combined with this fourth place in Race 1, was enough to clinch the weekend, while extending his lead on Gajser in the standings. Aussie Mitchell Evans went 12-9 to collect 21-points for his championship tally, now sitting 12th overall.
In the MX2 class Tom Vialle and Jago Geerts had to battle it out for the win, with each taking a win and a second place. Tied on 47 points the round win was awarded to Jago Geerts, with Roan Van de Moosidjk third overall. Top Aussie in Race 1 was Nathan Crawford in ninth, with Jed Beaton 11th and Bailey Malkiewicz 16th. Race 2 saw Beaton up to sixth, with Malkiewicz 20th, while Crawford was unable to finish.
Vialle retains his overall MX2 lead by eight-points from Geerts, with van de Moosdijk a distant third. Beaton is fifth, Crawford 15th, and Malkiewicz 25th.
MXGP Race 1
As the gate dropped for the opening MXGP race of the day, it was who took his second FOX Holeshot of the season. Arminas Jasikonis, as well as Tim Gajser were also right there in the top three, with Gajser quickly moving into the lead.
It was bad luck once again for Jeffrey Herlings, who got squeezed on the start straight and had to pick off some riders in order to get back into contention for the race win. Additionally, the start also saw more drama, with Arnaud Tonus and Antonio Cairoli both going down in the first corner.
Things were not looking much better for Jeremy Seewer who went down hard into turn three. Despite looking in pain, he managed to get back on his factory Yamaha and put in a few more laps, before eventually retiring from the race.
We saw Gajser the race leader, with Monticelli holding second and Jorge Prado in third ahead of Jasikonis. Meanwhile Herlings was up to seventh after making a decent recovery in the first lap.
Jasikonis then started to close on Prado as he chased second place, while Herlings was also looking to move up in the race as he passed Clement Desalle, though Desalle fired straight back making it hard for the bullet to get ahead and catch the leaders.
Herlings found himself in a battle with Monticelli for fourth place, with Monticelli doing a great job of protecting his position, as Herlings struggled for six whole laps before he finally passed the GasGas rider.
By the time Herlings passed Monticelli, Jasikonis had also managed to pass Prado for second. Though as Herlings moved into fourth place, Prado was too far ahead to bridge the gap.
With two minutes and two laps to go, Gajser continued to lead, with Jasikonis second and Prado third. Herlings meanwhile was 32 seconds down on the leader so a race win was looking unlikely.
In the end Gajser took the opening race win, Jasikonis finished in second, and Prado was third, while was Herlings fourth and Romain Febvre completed the top five. Australian rider Mitchell Evans brought home 12th.
MXGP Race 2
Race two saw Tim Gajser take the FOX Holeshot, as he led the group around the first corner by pitlane. Herlings was having a much better start to the race and was on Gajser’s tail from the get-go as Prado and Cairoli followed the two leaders.
Herlings wasted no time, quickly making a move on Gajser to become the new race leader. While Cairoli was adding pressure onto his KTM team-mate, he was also coming under fire from Febvre and Jasikonis. Though he managed to catch up to Prado, those two were then locked in a pretty intense battle, that saw Prado block pass Cairoli and Cairoli block pass him back. After several attempts, Cairoli eventually passed the MXGP rookie, Prado, and moved into third.
Gajser had started to catch back up to the #84 of Herlings, though something happened to the Honda rider and he went down, allowing Cairoli through to second.
Meanwhile Jasikonis made some quick passes on Prado and Febvre and was up to fourth, with his energy concentrated on catching Gajser ahead. He then passed Gajser to move into third, though Gajser wasn’t going to let the Lithuanian run away. As he started to catch Jasikonis, his bike suddenly stopped, forcing the defending world champion out of race two due to an electrical issue.
In the end it was Herlings with the race win, followed by Cairoli who had a strong finish in second, with Jasikonis crossing the line in third place. Aussie Mitchell Evans improved on his race 1 result to bring home ninth.
Overall it was Jeffrey Herlings who finally claimed a Grand Prix victory in Latvia, with Jasikonis reaching a career milestone with second overall, and Prado also making his first MXGP podium of his rookie season. Mitchell Evans was 10th overall, claiming 21-points.
As it stands, Herlings continues to lead the MXGP World Championship, with Gajser a further 46 points back, as Jasikonis joins in third just four-points behind the factory Honda rider. Mitchell Evans sits in 12th, with 66-points.
Jeffrey Herlings – P1
“The competition gets higher every year and we are all closer to each other, so the starts are key. I struggled a bit in the first moto, with arm-pump also, but it helped to be 4th and then leading the second moto from the second lap meant the overall. Another GP win, so another good day and I want to thank Red Bull KTM because the bike was awesome. I’m happy with the week here in Latvia. I had a few little ‘gifts’ here and there but it was good for the championship.”
Arminas Jasikonis – P2
“It was a really great day and a great way to end the week in Latvia, with second overall. The progress that the team and I made this week has been fantastic and I leave Latvia with my best ever results, so I’m really happy. As a team we are always learning and improving and we are really going in the right direction as I’m now third in the championship standings, just four points down on second place. Today was my second podium of the MXGP season and I felt strong in both races so I’m really happy with my riding at the moment. My FC 450 is set up perfectly for me so now it’s just a case of continuing the progress we are making ahead of the next GP. Finally, thank you to my team and thanks to all my fans as well who support me, it’s been a great GP for me.”
Jorge Prado – P3
“The road up until the restart of MXGP has been very tough with two injuries. The femur was horrible and the another one with the collarbone: it meant hardly any time on my bike. This year has been crazy and despite the lack of the training and the riding I could still manage a 3rd overall here. It was a very hard day. I felt good in the first moto but at the beginning of the second I was suffering. I went very, very deep. I’m super-happy to keep that position to make the podium and to come away from these races without any crashes. I hope to keep going like this.”
Tony Cairoli – P4
“Another OK weekend but I feel it was possible to win again today. I paid for the mistake and crash at the start of the first moto because I had to come from far back and could only make 9th. It should have been more. The second moto was better even if I was not riding so free because I hit my back on a landing towards the end of the first race. I tried to stay as close as possible to the front. I tried to catch Jeffrey but I was a bit tired from the first moto. Not too good, not too bad. Let’s see what we can do when we race again.”
Romain Febvre – P5
“It was an average day I would say, with two fifth positions for a fifth overall. The first moto was good; my start was not really what I wanted but I was able to come back through to fifth. I used a lot of energy in this race as it was difficult to pass some riders but I was happy with the result. In the second race my start was much better, but I just didn’t have enough energy to do better than fifth. I’m a little bit disappointed, but also happy with the results I got here for the three rounds in Latvia; they were my first GP races of the season and I scored well in each. I know where I was coming from and I’m happy with my speed but I need to improve my rhythm during the races; I go back home pretty happy with a podium and two fifth places.”
Glenn Coldenhoff – P6
“Today was always going to be a challenge with my injury. Fortunately, nothing was broken in my crash on Wednesday, just a hematoma around my ribs which is really painful, especially on a track like this. I had to ride different lines than I would normally to avoid the biggest bumps. It’s not ideal to race like this and I was expecting to be top 15, so to go 7-6 and be sixth overall is something that I’m happy with. In race one I started slowly. I didn’t want to fall down so I was patient and then as the field spread out, I could push and make passes and finished in seventh place, so this was a good ride. Race two was sixth, a little better and it was really just two results that are good for the championship and much better than expected. I’ll now work on further recovery over the next few weeks.”
Tim Gajser – P8
“After such a great first moto, where I led from the very start and just felt really good on the bike, I am very disappointed with how the second moto finished. I was in a position to get my first overall but now I just need to put it out of my mind and concentrate on doing as well as possible when we have the next MXGP. I know my team work extremely hard and I will too in this break to keep improving and I am still in second place in the championship and we still have plenty of racing to complete, so I will definitely keep fighting for every point.”
Mitch Evans – P10
“I had the goal to be better each moto this week so I’m happy to finish off with a top 10 finish in race two, which gave me 10th overall for the day. I felt a lot better today, and like I’ve said previously, the more bike time I get, the better I’ll do. Really happy with how it all went today, I felt a lot better on the CRF450RW and although I didn’t get the greatest of starts, my riding was spot on so I’m looking forward to getting in a bit more bike time in this break and then coming out swinging for the next rounds of the championship where I’ll be aiming for some top fives.”
In MX2 race one, it was Ben Watson who pulled the FOX Holeshot in the opening race, closely followed by Tom Vialle, Mathys Boisrame and Maxime Renaux. Jago Geerts and Roan Van de Moosdijk were also not far behind the top three on the opening lap.
Renaux then went down out of third and was dropping down the order, while Geerts started to close in on Van de Moosdijk, and then went after his team-mate who was in second. Mikkel Haarup had another tough race as we saw him go down in the early stages out of eighth and was showing down in 30th.
Conrad Mewse was also having a superb ride in fifth place, which he retained until the chequered flag dropped on lap 17.
On lap four, Geerts moved past Watson for second, while Vialle continued to lead the race with a five-second gap over P2. Bas Vaessen was also having a tough ride, as he crashed out of 18th, which was unfortunate for him as he was already struggling with a painful back.
Back at the front it was Vialle who was leading the race, with Geerts slowly closing in on the KTM rider, with Watson also managing to keep a steady gap on Van de Moosdijk who was behind him in fourth place.
With two laps to go Geerts put on a charge for the race win, though as he edged closer to Vialle, backmarkers started to play a part, with the factory Yamaha rider eventually going down after colliding with one, fortunately still managing to stay in second where he finished the race, with Watson in third.
Nathan Crawford was the top Aussie performer in ninth, with Jed Beaton 11th and Bailey Malkiewicz 16th.
MX2 Race 2
The second MX2 race saw another Monster Energy Yamaha Factory machine in front but this time it was Jago Geerts. Mewse had another strong start, followed by Simon Laegenfelder, with Vialle right there as well.
Geerts then continue to lead Mewse with Vialle catching up to #426 and applying the pressure for second place, before moving into second and setting his sights on the race leader.
Meanwhile Watson was down in seventh, ahead of Renaux and Moosdijk, with those three guys going at it, trying to pass for P7.
As Vialle pushed to catch Geerts, he made a mistake and almost lost it, though he managed to hold on. Van de Moosdijk tried to close in on Renaux for fifth and that’s when the battle between those two began.
Renaux caught a second wind and started to close on Jed Beaton, as both riders caught Mewse, with the Brit having to fight hard to keep them behind him. Eventually Renaux managed to move into third as Nathan Crawford was seen walking back to the pits and out of race 2.
Van de Moosdijk was able to get a good drive on the wave section, passing Renaux for third place, while Beaton lost a position to Watson who moved up into sixth position.
With three laps to go and Vialle’s pitboard read “close the gap” as he pushed for the second race win, though in the end he didn’t manage to do it and it was Geerts who crossed the line first. Vialle was second, with Van de Moosdijk third, followed by Renaux and Watson who finished in the top-five. Jed Beaton improved to sixth and Bailey Malkiewicz 20th.
Overall it was Jago Geerts who took a back-to-back win in Latvia, with Tom Vialle managing a second overall and Roan Van de Moosdijk third. Jed Beaton was seventh overall with 25 championship points, while Nathan Crawford claimed 12 in 14th overall. Bailey Malkiewicz also brought home six points.
In the championship standings Vialle is still the series leader with 217 points, with Geerts a further 8 points back and Van de Moosdijk there as well on 153 points. Jed Beaton now sits fifth in the standings, just five-points off third placed Van de Moosdijk. Crawford is 15th on 60 points, and Malkiewicz 25th on 21 points.
Unfortunately, we didn’t see Thomas Kjer Olsen due to his shoulder injury, which puts his championship efforts in danger.
Jago Geerts – P1
“It was a good day for me. It the first race I didn’t have the best start, but then I was able to make a lot of passes, after 10 minutes I think I was in second and then in the end I was coming closer to Tom but on the last lap I wanted to try to make one last move, but then the crashed with a lapper. Still second. Then in the second race got the holeshot and just rode a really good pace all race and I could win so I was really happy with that. It’s my third GP win so it was a good day.”
Tom Vialle – P2
“It is close with Jago. We shared the points and the guy who is 3rd behind us is a little bit further. It is quite tough to always fight with the same guy but I think we can say this is one of his favorite tracks, so I was happy to be there with him winning some motos and one GP. Today I didn’t lose points. I’ve improved a lot in the sand since last year. My starts were good all week, so it has been positive in Latvia and I liked the format and doing the three races here. We’ll see what is going on with the calendar now.”
Roan Van de Moosdijk – P3
“Today was tough because of the weather and my starts were not so good, but I am pleased with another podium because I really had to fight for this one. I got quickly to fourth in race one but I didn’t get into my rhythm so I was content to hold my position. The second moto I had to come from outside the top ten but my riding was much better and I made some good passes at the beginning of the race; after twenty minutes I saw Renaux and I knew it was for the podium and third in the points. I’m enjoying the one-day format we are racing at the GPs this year; it may be strange for some riders but I’m used to it from the Dutch Masters. It’s been a good trip with three podiums in eight days; we’re getting close and hope to win one soon!“
Jed Beaton – P7
“Today was another tough one. At the end of qualifying I had a pretty decent crash, but I was ok. It just set me back a bit as I’d just qualified in second place. I was ready for the races though and I had a decent start and then just washed the front end out on the opening lap, which set me back. I managed to get up to 11th but I was a little bit spent after that one due to the heat and having to ride as hard as I could all race. The second moto was a little bit better, but it was a struggle after being a little tired from putting all my effort into race one. We’ll put this week behind us and regroup ahead of the next GP and come out swinging at that one.”
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