The FIM Motocross World Championship dropped into Kegums, Latvia for Round 9, where Tim Gajser and Jorge Prado put on a repeat performance of the Russian MXGP, to claim the wins in their respective classes. The result sees both red-plate holders continue to build their standings leads, and marked Prado’s 24th GP win, with Gajser bagging his 20th.
In the MXGP class, Romain Febvre took runner up, with Arnaud Tonus third. MX2 saw Jago Geert as runner up with Thomas Kjer Olsen filling the final podium spot.
In MX2 Aussie Jed Beaton went 10-13 for 10th overall earning 19 championship points, while Mitch Evans had a rough weekend going 9-22 to finish 15th for the round. Evans sits seventh in the standings as a result, while Beaton is 13th.
With a mix of sunshine and overcast skies, a large crowd and the always beautiful Kegums circuit made sure there was more than enough positives to leave the circuit satisfied with the racing and results. Unpredictable racing combined with electric crowd attendance and incredible weather was the cherry on the cake of an epic MXGP of Latvia.
Amazingly the winner of the MXGP qualification race on Saturday, Jeffrey Herlings crashed in the warm-up lap and his injured foot was run over by Arminas Jasikonis, causing the Dutchman a lot of pain prior and during the opening MXGP race. It was later learnt that Herlings had broken his ankle, that injury obviously saw him pull out of the second MXGP race.
Jeffrey Herlings took the FOX Holeshot in the opening MXGP race but got past straight away from Antonio Cairoli. The pair of Red Bull KTM riders were followed by Arnaud Tonus, Romain Febvre and Tim Gajser who got past by Febvre at lap 2.
Tonus moves past both Herlings and Cairoli and Herlings then also went past Cairoli for second and was looking stronger as the race moved into the second half.
Tonus had extended his lead to more than three seconds over Herlings, but then Herlings started closing ground on Tonus for the lead and it was clear the Dutchman wanted to take the win. Cairoli had also pushed harder to get away from Febvre.
It was a brilliant battle the one Tonus and Herlings put on a show for the Latvian crowd, then he swept up the inside of Tonus and then around the outside for the race lead. Herlings won Race 1 from Tonus and Cairoli.
As the gate dropped at the second MXGP Race Jeremy Seewer led the second MXGP race from Tonus and Gajser, but then the race lost yet another rider with Cairoli crashing out hard and injured his shoulder, he could not continue the race, luckily no major issues are reported for the moment and more details on his injury conditions will be communicated shortly.
Seewer continued to lead with Tonus and Gajser battling for second just behind and close enough to the leader, the three of them think about the race win. Gajser managed to move into second place and started to push Seewer and look for a way into the lead. It seemed just a matter of time before the HRC rider would take the lead and on lap 12 he did just that. Seewer though was not about to hand the race win to the red plate owner.
Febvre moved past Tonus and the chance for a GP victory for the time being was gone for the Swiss rider. Gajser, Seewer and Febvre were all close together in the final lap of the race, Febvre blasted past Seewer for second, but it was Gajser who won the race and the overall followed by Febvre and Tonus, all of them with 40 points
Local hero Pauls Jonass experienced a tough Latvian GP as did his teammate Arminas Jasikonis. Jonass fell down in race 1 dropping to 28th but managing to finish 17th while Jasikonis was forced to finish the race earlier due to a technical issue.
Tim Gajser – P1
“I’m really happy because I really didn’t expect this after yesterday’s performance. I had 18th gate pick after a horrible crash and I wasn’t feeling great in that first moto today either. I couldn’t find good lines or a good rhythm so I was only able to finish sixth. In the second race I had an even better start and although it took a few laps, I passed my way into the lead with about 10 minutes remaining. I’m really happy to win another overall and a big thanks to all of the team who work so hard, because that hard work is really paying off so a big thanks to everyone. Still there are a lot of races to go so I will continue to go into each GP trying to have fun, giving my best and hoping to come out on top and remain leading this MXGP championship.”
Romain Febvre – P2
“I finished on the same points as the overall winner, so I am happy but disappointed at the same time. This weekend didn’t start so well, I didn’t feel comfortable on the track yesterday, but it was much better today. I made some changes to my bike and I really want to thank my team Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP for the work they are putting in. It has not been long since my injury and I have already been on the podium twice, so I am happy with that.”
Arnaud Tonus – P3
“I have to be happy with this weekend. It is a bit frustrating to come this close to the win, we fight hard for this so to be on the same points as the winner but miss it, it’s tough. We will keep working. It still feels great to be on the podium, so I need to thank my team and all of the people around me. I will enjoy this podium finish a lot and keep fighting for the win in the future.”
Jeremy Seewer – P4
“I had an amazing weekend, probably the best this year even though I was on the podium last weekend but not this weekend. I still finished on the same points and I was able to lead a lot of laps which was really cool. I got passed on the last lap, ‘chapeau’ to my teammate Romain, he was riding really fast on the last and we were able to catch Gajser. It was a great battle and I really enjoyed this weekend podium or not. I am really looking forward to Germany, it is one of my favourite tracks, so it is going well at the moment and I want to keep moving in this direction and fighting for more podiums.”
Gautier Paulin – P7
“I have had two big impacts at the previous two GP’s and this has affected my physical condition, so I felt this weekend was tough with my energy levels being very low. The Qualifying Race was not good for me with two crashes, but even with a bad gate-pick the team have given me a really good bike, so I managed to get decent starts, but I just didn’t feel 100% today. To take the positives away from the day today, I had two consistent races with no crashes, so I will build on this to get back to the level where I should be.”
Tony Cairoli – P11
“On Saturday I had the Flu and a fever, and my arm was not as strong as I wanted after the crash in Russia. I could battle with the guys for first position in the first moto but then I got a bit tired and settled for third, which was good for the championship. In the second moto I was fourth and trying to follow [Arnaud] Tonus. I had quite a big crash and when I stood up I felt my shoulder was out. My hope is to be ready to at least start next week in Germany. I don’t want to give up at all and I want to be there as much as possible for the championship.”
Dirk Gruebel – Red Bull KTM MX2 Team Manager and Technical Co-ordinator
“The MX2 boys did outstanding today but MXGP started very weirdly with Jeffrey’s crash on the Sighting Lap. We had to straighten the bike and he then rode great and won the race: this was also outstanding. Afterwards we found out he had another small fracture in his leg and he was unfit to continue, so we had to call it a day. Tony went down hard in the second race and dislocated his shoulder so it was a hard ending to the day.”
In the opening MX2 race of the day it was pole setter Jorge Prado who led from Thomas Kjer Olsen and Ben Watson. Jago Geerts who was looking for a way to past his teammate did it for third place and after five laps the lead was three seconds between Prado and Olsen.
Prado held a four second lead on lap seven, and Mitch Evans moved past Jed Beaton for ninth spot on the same lap. Soon after Bas Vaessen also went past Beaton, but Beaton wasn’t about to give up and passed the Dutchman back. Eventually Vaessen did pass for 10th.
Geerts was all over Olsen on lap 12 and looked for a way into second place, but Prado was long gone, nearly eight seconds ahead of the two fighting for second.
On the 17th lap Prado was five seconds ahead of Geerts, who had passed Olsen, then Watson and Maxime Renaux filled out the top five. While Vaessen made charge when he passed Evans, Tom Vialle and Michele Cervellin to move into sixth position Prado won his 14th MX2 heat in 2019.
Prado crossed the white line of Race 2 for first taking the second FOX Holeshot of the day with Olsen and Vialle in second and third. Well back in the pack were Evans in 19th place, Henry Jacobi 26th and Darian Sanayei in 28th.
Great riding by Mitchell Harrison as he moved into 12th place, but not so good from Evans as he crashed and dropped out of the top 20. After five laps Prado held a five second lead from Olsen, with Vialle third.
A massive lead after 11 laps and Prado was as smooth as silk in first place, while Olsen fought hard to keep Geerts off his back wheel, the Belgian looking quicker. Geerts passed Olsen with two laps to go and Vaessen again moved up to seventh place. Prado eventually won from Geerts and Olsen.
Jorge Prado – P1
“This weekend was a bit down for the team. There were some ‘ups’ like my victory and the good ride by Tom but then Jeffrey and Tony getting injured is upsetting. I wish a speed recovery for both of them. From my side it was a perfect weekend. I headed every single session, so really good. Teutschenthal next and I won there last year. Big ruts! Hopefully we can train well this week and keep focussed on the goal.”
Jago Geerts – P2
“Pretty good start, but the first three corners I messed up a little, I tried everything I could do to pass Thomas and I am really happy with the weekend.”
Thomas Kjer Olsen – P3
“It’s been a hugely positive GP, but also a little frustrating. Another overall podium result is great, I got two really good starts and held second for so many laps in both motos. So, I feel like I should have got the overall runner-up result. I gave the second moto everything to finish second, and get second overall, but it wasn’t to be. I’m frustrated because I didn’t get far enough ahead of Jago (Geerts). He rode really strong, but I also felt like I rode well – fast and consistent, lap after lap. Lots of positives to take away from the GP.”
Tom Vialle – P7
“It was a special weekend and set of conditions: it was complicated to work out the track for my first visit but I’m happy with the result. My speed was good and two solid finishes and more experience for me. I know I need more training and practice in the sand and to be better on all types of terrain next year. Teutschenthal will be another new place for me but the hard-pack will be good.”
For Jed Beaton the ninth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship was made all the more difficult when the Australian went down with the flu just days before the event. Despite suffering with a fever, he gave his all to finish 10th in the opening MX2 class moto and then 13th in the second race.
Jed Beaton – P10
“It’s been a really tough GP for me, but I’m pleased I came away with points in both motos. I got sick with the flu on Thursday before the race and I really struggled with a fever and low energy. I worked hard during the qualification race and did all that I could during today’s motos.”
Mitchell Evans – P15
“It was a tough day today. I had a decent start in race one from a pretty poor gate choice and made my way forward into ninth place. After my qualifying race crash I didn’t really gel with the track and struggled to find my flow but I was quite happy with race one. I didn’t get a great start in race two and was battling through the pack and then had a pretty big crash again. Then after the crash I was riding in fear of crashing again. It was a tough race and a tough weekend. I’ll rest up this week and come back swinging in Teutschenthal.”
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