MXGP of France, Lacapelle Marival – Round 12
Lacapelle Marival held Round 12 of the MXGP Championship over the weekend, as riders duked it out in France for top honours, with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing topping both classes. Jeffrey Herlings took the narrowest of wins from Romain Febvre, with the two tied on points, while Tom Vialle swept the two MX2 races, although Renaux retains a healthy lead.
Top Australian was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jed Beaton in securing a strong fourth place overall result in the MX2 class. Starting race one in the best way possible, Beaton rounded the first turn up front and quickly moved into fourth place during the opening lap. With his sights set on the podium, the Australian then worked his way around Jago Geerts on lap five before enjoying a largely untroubled moto to secure a deserved third-place finish.
In race two, Beaton didn’t quite secure the start needed for a repeat podium finish. Able to make several passes through the early laps and move into sixth, he went on to finish right behind the battle for the top-five, placing sixth in the moto for fourth overall.
Jed Beaton – P4
“I guess overall It was a good day but on this track you really needed two good starts. I got a great one in race one and brought it home for third so that was pretty decent, and I was happy with my riding. I didn’t quite execute the same start in race two but I was able to make a few passes early on and ended up sixth. Not too bad but with a better start I know I could have been much closer to the front. It’s a little frustrating but now it’s onto Spain next weekend.”
Bike It MTX Kawasaki’s Wilson Todd once more showed top ten pace and was poised for his best-ever result until an incident in race two robbed him of his just rewards. He wasn’t able to capitalise completely on his seventh place in Qualifying as he lost traction momentarily leaving the start in race one but used the benefit of an inside gate to emerge top ten from turn one and advance two further positions before the end of the moto.
A fifth-placed start in race two augured well and he kept the leaders in sight until he was pushed into the trackside fence. Rejoining the race twenty-second he was quickly back to sixteenth but, faced with a deficit of eight seconds to the next rider, that was also his position at the finish. He was eleventh overall in the GP, just missing another top-ten GP finish on the tie-break.
Wilson Todd – P11
“Something happened at the start of race one but I had the inside at turn one and came out round about tenth. I settled in through the opening laps and then I closed down Roan and got round him. I went after Renaux too but I got held up and he was gone. I got a good start the second race but I ended up on my head. I’m looking to finish top ten every moto when I can and move into the top five. It all depends on getting out of the gate and how I’m gelling with the track.“
MXGP of France Highlights
MXGP Race 1
In the opening MXGP race, it was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings who was fastest out of the gate and went on to claim the Fox Holeshot. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer was second ahead of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre and Glenn Coldenhoff of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing.
Team HRC’s Tim Gajser struggled in the start and started the race in around 10th position.
While Herlings led, Febvre was quick to get around Seewer, as he set his sights on the Bullet. Meanwhile a little further behind there was Jeremy Van Horebeek of SDM Corse Racing Team who was having a great ride in fifth place, ahead of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli.
Gajser was pushing his way up the field as he found himself in eighth place behind Arnaud Tonus of Hostettler Yamaha Racing. The Slovenian then made a small mistake which cost him two positions, which meant he had to start all over again.
Meanwhile, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado was keen to salvage some important championship points as he fought inside the top 20. It was clear that the Spaniard was struggling after the crash in Germany as he only managed to come back to 16th.
Herlings continued to lead, but it was clear that Febvre was not going to let him have the win. The Frenchman set the fastest lap of the race as he worked away at the gap and before he knew it, he was on the rear wheel of the factory KTM rider.
On lap eight we saw Febvre take over the lead, as Herlings dropped to second. Meanwhile Seewer was still third followed by Standing Construct GasGas Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass.
Gajser then managed to pass Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing’s Calvin Vlaanderen to move into eighth and then worked hard to get around Tonus too. Also making moves was Cairoli who finally found an opportunity to get past Van Horebeek, as Gajser also caught onto the Beta rider.
Unfortunately, Van Horebeek did not finish the race as he crashed while under pressure from Gajser.
In the final few laps, we saw Herlings step it up, as he caught onto the back wheel of Febvre, and it was game on for the win! Febvre did a great job to manage under immense pressure from the Dutchman and his efforts paid off as he was victorious in the first race. Herlings was second as Seewer held on to third.
MXGP Race 2
In race two, it was Cairoli who took the Fox Holeshot from Herlings, Febvre, Gajser and Seewer.
Cairoli’s time in the lead did not last long as the Italian made a mistake which allowed both Herlings and Febvre through. Herlings then controlled the race by 2.835 seconds but that gap came down quite quickly as Febvre was on a charge.
Gajser then caught onto the back of Cairoli. The Slovenian needed to make the pass, not only for the championship points, but also for a spot on the podium.
Herlings then has a small bobble which played into the hands of Febvre who wasted no time to get out in front. The Frenchman was the new race leader on lap eight and immediately stretched out his lead to 3.614 seconds.
Gajser continued to search for a way past Cairoli, as Herlings was looking to make up for lost ground. And he did just that. As Herlings closed in, Febvre started to make little errors which proved to be costly in the end as Herlings was able to pass the Frenchman on lap 16.
The factory Kawasaki rider tried to respond but it was not enough, as Herlings took the win with Febvre second and Gajser third. And that’s exactly how the riders finished on the podium, with Herlings taking a 95th career Grand Prix victory.
Herlings is now back in the driving seat of the MXGP championship standings as he leads the way with 460 points, while Febvre moves to second and is just six points behind, while Gajser drops to third on 450 points.
Jeffrey Herlings – P1
“Actually today was pretty good. I raced here three years ago so I definitely knew Romain was going to be good today and that I had to step up my game. This morning you could see that nobody could really match my speed. We were two seconds ahead of the 3rd. Going into the race I knew I had to bring my A game. Actually, the set up I had for race one was pretty difficult. I was struggling a bit and got arm pump. Then I just could not hold Romain and he made a pass. I had to let him go and try to close him at the end of the race but it was too late and I could not put a good fight anymore. He won fair and square. Second race, I had a good start again. He beat me on the first turn, then I managed to pass him on the second or third turn. I was trying to pull away, but it was tough with his speed. I think I had a 2 or 3 second gap, then I had an issue. I’m lucky I did not lose much time and kept the 3 second gap. I managed to win this race and win the overall and looking forward to next weekend.”
Romain Febvre – P2
“I was happy to win the first race, especially because I haven’t won a race in a long time so I am happy with that. Our speed with Jeffrey was really fast which made the second race really challenging because we were again 1 and 2 after a few turns, I knew it was going to be challenging until the end. Like he said, he made a mistake in the turn which allowed me to go around him and pass him. I tried to make a few fast laps to make a gap. At the end, I wasn’t that fast in a few sectors, then he caught me. Obviously, I was disappointed because I almost won at home, but anyway it’s good to be on the podium. It’s great to see a lot of fans out there. They deserved the win but I could not make it happen. We are really close in the championship which means every weekend you can take the red plate, which for me is fine. Hopefully we keep it like this until the end and we have to find something in the pocket in the few last rounds.”
Tim Gajser – P3
“It was a bit of a frustrating day here, despite ending up on the podium. I knew coming in that starts would be crucial because the track is so tight and narrow in a lot of places, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to get out of the gate well enough in either moto. In the first race I was around 10th place early on and it was just really difficult to make any passes, it was hard to find a good rhythm, but eventually I worked my way through to sixth, which was all I could manage. In race two, my start was a bit better but I couldn’t latch onto the top two and battle with them and so once I got into third, I was too far behind to catch them. Still, there are a lot races to come and I will now focus on next weekend when we head to Spain.”
Jeremy Seewer – P4
“I was quite close to a podium. I had two really good starts, but I had Jeffrey (Herlings) come somehow into my line and then into a scary straight. I ended up losing some spots to the freight train behind me. So, that was a bit unlucky. Overall, P.3 in moto one was a massive comeback, two good starts and a good timed practice. To sum it up, it was one of my best GPs of the whole year. I am starting to enjoy it again. I had a lot of fun riding my bike today. I am on my way up. I still have energy, and I feel like I am becoming more fresh. There are still plenty of GPs left and I just want to keep moving up and hopefully be back on the podium soon.”
Tony Cairoli – P5
“It seemed better today compared to last week in Germany but I’m still struggling a lot. It’s four weeks now since I’ve been able to ride during the week. I didn’t do much before Sardinia because I knew it would be a heavy GP but then I crashed and haven’t trained since. I cannot do much cardio either because the ribs hurt. It’s hard to keep my condition like it was before. Today I was 5th in the first moto and could push until the end but in the second I started to suffer. It was good to get the holeshot in the second and be 3rd. I was riding a bit conservative but Gajser was chasing me a lot and I started to get cramps in my side and back. I was hard to hang-on anymore. It was a shame to be 4th because another few laps would have given me the podium. I have to accept that things are not easy for me at the moment in this condition and with the training. I can only hope that this week I can do a bit more than I could recently and regain some more speed with the bike.”
Pauls Jonass – P6
“On paper today was a good day overall, although a fourth and a fifth for sixth is a little bit difficult to accept! I felt pretty strong on the bike in both races and the set up that we have on my MC 450F is working really well, it’s just that I’m missing that last little bit of speed early on in the races. Today was an improvement in that respect from last week, though, so it was actually a pretty decent day with decent points, and we still have a lot of racing to go in the championship.”
Thomas Kjer Olsen – P7
“I’m really happy with my results today and I’m also a little bit relieved as well. It’s been a little bit up and down this season but today showed that I can do it. I’ve been making steps forward in recent weeks and it all came together today. I qualified well, which gave me a good gate pick, and that meant I could start up front and overall it was just a great day all round.”
Glenn Coldenhoff – P8
“I felt pretty good this morning. The times were really close in Timed Practice and I was eighth, which was still good for the start position. In the first race, I got a really good start, but there was a bit a of chaos in front of me with riders changing lines, and then I hit a kicker as well and went down while in fifth position. On a track like this, it’s very difficult to come through the pack, especially with the times so close to each other. In the second race, I wasn’t really feeling it. I stayed way too long behind the riders in front of me. I found some better lines in the end, but only finished eighth. 13-8 are disappointing results. We will work towards Spain.”
Jorge Prado – P14
“Coming here this weekend I didn’t know if I could even ride the bike but I had the mentality to try. I’m in the fight for the championship and to get some points is something. After these two motos the cut looks OK and it’s not worse. It was a rough day because I didn’t feel there was much strength in the arm. I didn’t get a good lap in Timed Practice, so I didn’t get a good gate and then actually touched the gate for both starts with my front wheel! I did what I could, and I began to feel better in the second moto. We got some valuable points and now we’ll get ready for the home GP because I want to bounce back as soon as possible.”
In the opening MX2 race it was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle who once again grabbed the Fox Holeshot as he led Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Mattia Guadagnini and Rene Hofer.
Championship leader and home hero Maxime Renaux of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing did not get the best start as he began the race in around 10th position.
Geerts then looked like he was closing in on Vialle for the lead but a couple of laps later, the Belgian crashed and fell back to fourth place, which allowed Guadagnini and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jed Beaton through.
Renaux spent a couple of laps to find his rhythm but once he did, we witnessed the type of intensity from the Frenchman than we did not see before. After eventually finding his way past F&H Kawasaki Racing’s Roan Van de Moosdijk, Renaux went after Hofer.
A couple of laps later Renaux was in sixth after finding his way past Hofer, and his teammate Thibault Benistant was the next rider he needed to get around. It wasn’t easy but Renaux was able to make it happen to steal fifth position from Benistant.
Geerts was the next rider to come under attack from the hard-charging Frenchman who was looking to put on a show for his home fans. Renaux and Geerts battled intensely for fourth, but after several laps Renaux was finally able to get the job done.
In the end, it was Vialle who won the race on home soil, crossing the finish line ahead of Guadagnini and Beaton.
MX2 Race 2
In race two, it was Vialle once again who grabbed the Fox Holeshot ahead of Guadagnini, Geerts, Benistant and Hofer. Renaux started down in eighth.
Bike it MTX Kawasaki rider Wilson Todd started well and was fifth behind Hofer, before going down and fading down the order. In the end he was able to recover and come back 15th.
At the top end of the field, Vialle stretched his lead to 3.100 seconds over Guadagnini as Geerts kept it close too. But further behind the leaders, Renaux was keen on making some fast passes once again. First to come under attack was Beaton and after it was Hofer.
The pressure only pushed Hofer further as he set his fastest lap of the race and caught onto the back of Geerts who was ahead in third. Despite his best efforts to keep the Frenchman behind him, Hofer lost out on a spot as Renaux went through.
And then it was like ‘Déjà vu’ of the first race as we witnessed a nice fight between Geerts and Renaux. It took Renaux four laps before he was able to pass his teammate and set his sights on Guadagnini ahead in second.
With just a few laps remaining, Vialle was comfortably in the lead as Guadagnini was coming under attack from Renaux. The pair were not afraid to get their elbows out, as they touched at one point coming into a turn and eventually it was Renaux who came out on top and took over second place.
But as the chequered flag fell it was Vialle who celebrated his victory in race two, with Renaux crossing the line second ahead of Guadagnini.
With two race wins, Vialle stood on the top step of the podium which sent the French crowd wild, as Guadagnini celebrated on the second step of the podium while Renaux was forced to settled for third.
Renaux now leads the MX2 World Championship standings with an impressive 91-point gap to his teammate Geerts, while Guadagnini is a further four points behind in third.
The riders will continue their championship battle next weekend in Arroyomolinos at the MXGP of Spain.
Tom Vialle – P1
“I was a really nice day, it’s the first time I won the French GP, so it’s just amazing to ride in front of the public and it’s really nice to have them at the race. There was a little bit more pressure than a normal GP but I managed to do good. I’m really happy because the start was really important today as it was not so easy to pass and I did two great starts. I’m really happy to win both races again and it’s just amazing for the fans.”
Mattia Guadagnini – P2
“I’m happy to be back on the podium, especially coming back from last weekend because the feeling was really bad, I was not very good. We come here and we did great job, so I’m really happy and I was also about taking my first pole position and here was really important for the start, I took two good starts and I tried to do my best. The track was tough, the start was really important, I’m happy to finish second. The second race, I lost a bit of rhythm on the track, made a few mistakes and Maxime passed me but anyway I’m happy to take second place and hopefully we will have some good races in the next few weeks.”
Maxime Renaux – P3
“The intensity actually came from a bad start. At that point you are just ok, now you go and you don’t think. So I had to really work hard in both races and I think I started two times out of the top ten, eventually could find a great intensity, great lap times and I find some different lines and try to pass. I had to keep my elbows out sometimes, the track was really nice, I am really happy about myself because I did the job, just struggled with the starts but anyway I’m really happy for the riding as I got good points for the championship, no risks, no crashes, everything is good.”
Jago Geerts – P5
“It was a good day for me. Last night I felt really bad and needed to throw up a couple of times. This morning i didn’t even know if I could ride. I was really unwell, so I’m really happy with 5-4 moto scores. Now I will rest this week and hopefully feel 100% again in Spain.”
“Coming here I thought it would be better for passing but it turned out to be pretty one-line. The starts were quite OK and I was happier with the second race because my pace was good and 5th place was quite solid. I made a few mistakes in the first race and that was the key moment because I couldn’t make the passes. We can definitely keep on progressing and we gained pretty good points for the championship. My confidence is up and I feel much better compared to the beginning of the season. I haven’t ridden the next track in Spain but I like the look of it. We’ll put in the hard work this week and will be ready to go again.”
Thibault Benistant – P7
“The weekend was not so bad. I struggled a little bit with my starts and my feeling on the bike was not the best today. The result was not too bad, but the riding itself could be improved. Sometimes we have days like these. It is what it is and I look forward to the next one.”
Roan van de Moosdijk – P8
“It wasn’t a perfect day but it wasn’t too bad. The times were really close this morning; I was eleventh but less than three-quarters of a second from pole. I enjoyed the track but I just couldn’t find the tenths to make passes. In the first moto I got a good start around fifth or sixth but I had to go a little wide at the first turn and lost a couple of places. The first fifteen minutes were good but after that I started to feel a little pain in my hand; this track is typical French and hard on you if you are not 100% so I slowed down a little to be sure of making it to the finish. I started top ten again in the second moto; I changed line to pass Bénistant but the back wheel jumped out of the rut. I looked round in the corner, saw Mikkel and we almost touched. I tried to pass back but it was difficult to pass your teammate here as you had to force it.“
Mikkel Haarup – P9
“It seems like I have Qualifying dialed now with another P4. I didn’t get off the gate well in the first race but I made a few passes to finish twelfth; the speed was really good but it’s pretty difficult to make many passes here. I made a better start in race two and had a good battle with Roan. I hadn’t been on the bike all week as I had been sick but I rode consistently all day.“
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.