Aussie Hunter Lawrence injured while running fourth
Todd Waters standing in on HRC injured in qualifying
KTM’s Jeffrey Herling and Husqvarna’s Thomas Kjer Olsen have come away from the Latvian MXGP round, for the second year running, with the respective wins in their classes. Herlings strengthened his MXGP championship lead as a result, while Olsen closed in on MX2 leader Jonass, and second ranked Prado.
Locals turned out in force to support Pauls Jonass at his home round, with warm weather prevailing and the technical circuit offering a challenge to rider’s physical skills, not to mention their mental endurance. The circuit’s running direction was also reversed ahead of the event, adding to the challenge.
The 2018 MXGP of Latvia commenced qualifying with Jeffrey Herlings and Jorge Prado soon taking charge and leading from start to finish!
By the penultimate lap of MXGP qualifying, Gajser crashed dropping him to 7th while Cairoli passed Coldenhoff for 5th and then both Van Horebeek and Febvre on the last lap. Cairoli’s amazing comeback to third place from well outside the top 20 was however overshadowed by the massive win by Herlings where he was nearly four seconds a lap faster on average then second place, finishing 50 seconds ahead of Desalle in 2nd.
Todd Waters had an unfortunate end of what was shaping to be a very positive debut moto for the 27-year-old Australian, who was running in eighth place before overshooting a jump and being thrown over the handlebar after a hard landing. Todd is now heading to Latvia’s capital-city Riga in order to undergo more extensive medical evaluations, more information will follow when available.
“Well there is not much to say, really. It was my first day back in MXGP and obviously I was a bit nervous in the first two sessions, but in the race I managed to get all the way up to the top-ten and had a good pace. I was in eighth place and closing in on Jeremy Seewer, but then I jumped a bit too long on the uphill double, landed straight into the braking bump and got thrown over the handlebar. Obviously I’m devastated: this is surely not the way I wanted my MXGP return to be, but that’s racing: all we can do now is to do whatever is needed to be back on track as soon as possible – and as fit as I can. I want to thank the team for their outstanding work, as I was really enjoying riding the bike this afternoon.”
The MX2 class qualifying race was also a testament to the importance of a strong start on the Kegums circuit. Pauls Jonass was the clear home fan favorite and rightfully so as the Latvian leads the MX2 Championship.
However when the gate dropped it was Jorge Prado who took the Holeshot and early lead. Taking full advantage of the start was not only Prado, who created a gap which he maintained over all 12 laps, but also Conrad Mewse who was in second behind Prado the first 6 laps. Aussie Hunter Lawrence proved strong in qualifying, returning from injury, and took third. Fellow Australian Jed Beaton was 21st.
Herlings, who won his first ever MXGP overall here last year, started the weekend in dominant form first topping the Free and Time Practice sessions by a substantial margin and then winning Saturday’s Qualifying race by 50 seconds.
On the other side of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing paddock was the #222 Antonio Cairoli in his 222nd GP after 14 years in the World Championship. Cairoli was also remarkable on Saturday with a charge from near last to finish Qualifying in 3rd.
Today the fortunes swapped with Cairoli grabbing the Race 1 FOX Holeshot ahead of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Romain Febvre while Herlings was around 10th. Cairoli and Febvre battled for the lead in the first few laps while Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin ran in 2nd.
Febvre’s Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP teammate, Jeremy Van Horebeek jostled with Monster Energy Kawasaki Factory Racing’s Clement Desalle over 4th the first laps before Herlings found his way past both on lap 4. Paulin then started to get pressured by Herlings and lost his 3rd spot only 2 laps later.
Another lap later Herlings was again moving forward taking second away from Febvre. On the 9th lap Herlings claimed the lead from Cairoli. The “Bullet” then continued to stay just out of the reach of Cairoli and save energy for race 2. At the finish Herlings was 3.095 seconds ahead of Cairoli and over 30 seconds ahead of Febvre who had to fight off Paulin to the line.
Team HRC’s Tim Gajser had a challenging race 1 finishing 9th but the result was impressive after starting outside of the top 20.
Race 2 was more of the same off the start with Febvre taking the FOX Holeshot and Cairoli right alongside while Herlings was outside the top 5. Febvre crashed on the opening lap and Cairoli fought with the other Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider, Glenn Coldenhoff.
Cairoli led the field at the end of the first lap while Herlings crossed the finish in 5th. Tim Gajser made up for his poor start in race one by running in 3rd the first 2 laps of race 2. Paulin ran in 4th the first lap but lost the spot by the second time around to Herlings.
Herlings then again made his way to the front as Cairoli checked out with a 10 second lead. On lap 3 Herlings was into 3rd by Gajser and then into 2nd the following lap around Coldenhoff, on the same lap Coldenhoff was also passed by Gajser and later Paulin.
Febvre would fall for a second time when he ran into the back of Honda Redmoto Assomotor’s Arminas Jasikonis, the fall left Febvre unable to finish the race. Febvre’s fellow Frenchman, Gautier Paulin, was however able to take 3rd from Gajser on lap 12.
As Herlings cut into the lead of Cairoli the Italian simultaneously was caught in lapped traffic. Cairoli’s issues mixed with Herlings’ charge resulted in Herlings making a pass for the lead 6 laps before the finish. Across the finish line first was Herlings, Cairoli, and Paulin securing the overall in the same order. Just missing out on the overall podium was Desalle and Gajser.
“The starts weren’t so great but to keep fighting back in both motos and even be able to build a little lead was a nice feeling. It wasn’t about domination because Tony upped his game today and did a really good job. It is great to have KTM 1-2 again. Yesterday was easy-going for me but I had to fight for it today. It was a nice GP and I enjoyed the track. This place was a turning point for me last year but we are in much better shape now with a different momentum. I love this track and it was a pleasure to be here.”
“I’m really happy because the speed was good and we are in one piece. The track was difficult and the rhythm was very fast. A little bit disappointed by the second moto because I wanted to fight a bit longer for the GP win but I almost crashed with a lapped rider and Jeffrey had the chance to pass me and I didn’t get a chance to respond before he had the gap. The level [of MXGP] is high but I am happy with the results [so far] and we know the championship is long. Jeffrey was definitely the fastest here this weekend and I knew it would be really difficult…but I’m happy. It is important to always finish on the podium and when possible: try to win. This is how the championship grows.”
“It was good weekend for us. I’ve been working a lot with my team to improve all the little details, so to get on the podium was a good reward for all the hard work. I’m happy because in both motos I could ride the way I wanted to and improve myself as each race went on. In the opening moto I made a late attack for third at the final lap but it didn’t go as planned so I had to settle for fourth. My bike was working great and I was happy to get a good start in moto two. I was riding really good and managed to defend my third position until the end of the moto. Overall, my riding was good here in Latvia and the goal now is to keep this momentum and get even better in the races to come.”
“I’m happy to be going home safe; the track was already rough yesterday and today it was even tougher. It was easy to lose a lot on this track, and once more the start was very important. In the first race I didn’t get such a good start – around eighth position – but I came through to fifth without taking any unnecessary risks. The second start was similar but I made some small mistakes at the beginning before I found a good rhythm and good lines in the second half of the race to come back into the top five. I even passed Gajser for fourth and Paulin was not so far so I knew that the podium was possible but I slid out in a corner and crashed. Twice fifth, fourth overall, it’s a decent weekend and we look forward to Germany.”
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten
Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:17.750
Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:03.095
Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:30.745
Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:31.253
Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:48.939
Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:57.055
Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +1:01.142
Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +1:02.892
Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +1:05.283
Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, Honda), +1:09.370
MXGP Race 2 Top Ten
Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:20.083
Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:06.153
Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:56.082
Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +1:02.105
Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:07.560
Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +1:11.982
Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +1:19.390
Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +1:26.477
Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +1:39.387
Julien Lieber (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:41.924
MXGP Overall Top Ten
Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points
Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 44
Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 38
Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 32
Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 30
Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 29
Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 28
Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 26
Julien Lieber (BEL, KAW), 21
Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 20
MXGP Championship Top Ten
Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 336 points
Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 307
Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 244
Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 223
Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 218
Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 180
Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 179
Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 177
Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 155
Julien Lieber (BEL, KAW), 134
Coming into the MX2 races this weekend many eyes were on KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass and Jorge Prado but at the start of MX2 race 1 it was Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsen who made the biggest impression.
Olsen took the holeshot and led Jonass while Prado clipped the back of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Covington and went down. With the threat of Prado missing Jonass was able to focus on catching Olsen but the tall Dane out rode Jonass leading every single lap to the checkered flag.
Behind the two front runners was originally STC Racing Husqvarna’s Henry Jacobi and Honda 114 Motorsports Hunter Lawrence. Lawrence fell hard on lap 2 and was unable to finish the race. Jacobi held 3rd for 7 laps before a charging Covington made it past the German.
“Crash bandicoot had fun being back at the GP this weekend, was running fourth in Moto 1 until I had a freak crash and hit my head pretty bad. Was told eight times by the nurse that I couldn’t get back on my bike as I was knocked out for a while. Fingers crossed my head will heal up as soon as possible, so I can be back, and I will be just as strong. Thanks to everyone that supports me, I can’t do it without you, and everyone back home.”
2 laps after Covington’s pass on Jacobi, Kemea Yamaha Official MX2’s Jago Geerts passed the #29 and 2 laps after that Geerts’ Teammate Ben Watson did the same. At the finish Olsen beat Jonass, Covington, Geerts, and Watson while Jacobi took 6th.
Race 2 was a redemption race for Prado as he took his 7th Fox Holeshot of the season and sprinted away from the field. Jago Geerts had an amazing start in second ahead of Watson, Olsen, and LRT KTM’s Davy Pootjes. By lap 7 Olsen was getting into a flow and the next lap made a pass on Watson and Geerts directly after.
Though Olsen was in 2nd Prado was long gone but Jonass was fighting his way forward from 13th on lap one. As Prado led he fell in the first turn just before Pit Lane which essentially cost him his entire advantage over Olsen.
Prado would however rebound from the mistake well and regain a gap with the help of an error from Olsen. Across the finish Prado took the race win by 2.6 seconds over Olsen, Geerts, Watson, and Jonass. In the overall classification Olsen claimed his second Latvian GP victory in 2 attempts while Geerts achieved his first career MX2 podium in 2nd and Jonass took 3rd.
Thomas Kjer Olsen
“I’m really happy with the way things turned out here in Latvia. Coming back to Kegums after my victory last year, I immediately got a great feeling aboard my Husqvarna. I couldn’t have wished for a better performance in moto one. Getting the holeshot I put my head down and managed to remain in the lead until the flag drop. In moto two I didn’t get such a good start but did my best to put myself in a good position. Running in second behind Prado I launched an attack for the moto win, but a small mistake made things harder. Overall, it’s been a great weekend for me and I can’t thank all the members of our team enough for all their hard work during the season.”
“I was struggling a lot with the track and it was difficult to get a good start from the 12th gate pick. I had a really bad start in the second moto but my riding was the best it had been all weekend as I moved up from something like twentieth to fifth. I felt I was riding like myself only in the last fifteen minutes. Maybe a little bit of pressure didn’t help. I didn’t feel it… but I think it was in the back of my mind because home GPs are always a little bit more difficult. I’m thankful though. The fans really cheered every single pass and it helped a lot and pushed me forward. It is nice to see there are more and more spectators every year and motocross is growing here. I wanted to give them the win but things don’t always go to plan. Overall I’m happy to leave here with a podium finish.”
“Honestly, I am very happy. OK, I made some mistakes at the beginning of the first moto and had a big crash in the waves where I was lucky not to be hurt…but I kept positive and came back well today. I had nothing really to lose in the second moto although you always need to be careful on a track like this. I had the holeshot and a big lead and I’m not sure how I crashed but it meant I had to come back again and waited to push in the last two laps. I could see Olsen was finished and did what I had to do. That was the best result possible and it was good for my championship that Pauls only just made the top five in the second moto so he only gained two points. The weekend could have been way-better but I’m happy with what we leave with.”
“This weekend didn’t really go to plan; I didn’t get any good starts and that didn’t help me on this rough track. In the first moto I found it difficult to build a rhythm, then in the second I had good pace and was seventh when Covington hit me; we both went down, it broke my rhythm and I couldn’t really do much after that. The track was really strange this weekend; they watered it so the sand was heavy on some sections and very hard in others, but it was the same for everyone. Overall it wasn’t a great weekend, but I’m looking forward to Germany.”
MX2 Race 1 Top Ten
Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), 34:09.629
Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:11.055
Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:19.745
Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:30.988
Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:32.466
Henry Jacobi (GER, Husqvarna), +0:51.207
Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), +0:52.956
Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:54.718
Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, Honda), +0:57.004
Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:59.914
MX2 Race 2 Top Ten
Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 34:24.759
Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:02.681
Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:04.511
Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:09.717
Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:26.958
Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), +0:36.606
Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, Honda), +0:47.007
Michele Cervellin (ITA, Honda), +0:56.954
Iker Larranaga Olano (ESP, Husqvarna), +0:58.588
Jed Beaton (AUS, Kawasaki), +0:59.115
MX2 Overall Top Ten
Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 47 points
Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 38
Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 38
Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 36
Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 34
Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, HON), 26
Henry Jacobi (GER, HUS), 24
Michele Cervellin (ITA, HON), 23
Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), 21
Iker Larranaga Olano (ESP, HUS), 21
MX2 Championship Top Ten
Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 304 points
Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 282
Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 266
Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 210
Jed Beaton (AUS, KAW), 174
Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, HON), 156
Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 140
Henry Jacobi (GER, HUS), 128
Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, YAM), 127
Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 126
A reversed track layout provided exciting racing both Saturday and Sunday in both classes but in EMX250 Race 1 on Saturday Estonia’s Karel Kutsar took the lead early and held it for the first 12 laps before Honda Redmoto Assomotors Mathys Boisrame took the premier position away.
Boisrame who started in 3rd also passed KTM Silver Action’s Gianluca Facchetti for second on lap 3 before overtaking Kutsar. BUD Racing Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Brian Moreau was running in 4th the first 2 laps but was passed by REVO Husqvarna UK’s Martin Barr and then Barr’s teammate Mel Pocock the 2 laps after that.
Team DIGA-Procross rider Dylan Walsh started in 7th but then battled with GL12 Racing’s James Dunn on his 2 Stroke KTM. Walsh originally took the spot as Dunn dropped 2 positions but the Brit and his 2 stroke mounted a charge to pass Walsh who finished 9th later on.
Dunn then came under pressure from Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory’s Mikkel Haarup but edged out the Dane to take 6th with Haarup 7th as Boisrame won over Kutsar and Facchetti.
Race 2 was a completely different race for Haarup who took the lead on the first lap and never looked back. Running in second the entire race was Pocock but behind him early was Ceres 71’s Paolo Lugana. However after only 2 laps Lugana starting dropping positions eventually finishing 24th.
Race 1’s winner, Boisrame started in 6th and battled with Martin Barr from the first laps. ASTES4-TESAR Yamaha’s Roan Van de Moosdijk was 4th on the first 2 laps but took over third from Lugana and held the position to the finish.
Facchetti who started the race 10th moved his way forward and on the last lap made a pass on Team Suzuki Germany’s Jett Lawrence for 5th. Also making a pass on the last lap was Barr on Boisrame for fourth in turn giving Barr the red plate over his teammate Pocock.
In the overall standings Boisrame took the win ahead of Haarup and Pocock while Martin Barr keeps the Red Plate to Matterley Basin.
EMX250 Race 1 Top Ten
Mathys Boisrame (FRA, Honda), 29:27.086
Karel Kutsar (EST, KTM), +0:01.467
Gianluca Facchetti (ITA, KTM), +0:12.718
Martin Barr (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:17.281
Mel Pocock (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:23.385
James Dunn (GBR, KTM), +0:25.242
Mikkel Haarup (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:26.028
Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KTM), +0:33.452
Dylan Walsh (NZL, Husqvarna), +0:43.960
Karlis Sabulis (LAT, Yamaha), +0:44.380
EMX250 Race 2 Top Ten
Mikkel Haarup (DEN, Husqvarna), 31:09.071
Mel Pocock (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:10.195
Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Yamaha), +0:15.207
Martin Barr (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:16.476
Mathys Boisrame (FRA, Honda), +0:18.357
Gianluca Facchetti (ITA, KTM), +0:24.656
Jett Lawrence (AUS, Suzuki), +0:30.023
Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KTM), +0:32.075
Isak Gifting (SWE, KTM), +0:35.430
Jeremy Sydow (GER, KTM), +0:47.869
EMX250 Overall Top Ten
Mathys Boisrame (FRA, HON), 41 points
Mikkel Haarup (DEN, HUS), 39
Mel Pocock (GBR, HUS), 38
Martin Barr (GBR, HUS), 36
Gianluca Facchetti (ITA, KTM), 35
Karel Kutsar (EST, KTM), 29
Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KTM), 26
James Dunn (GBR, KTM), 23
Isak Gifting (SWE, KTM), 22
Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, YAM), 20
EMX250 Championship Top Ten
Martin Barr (GBR, HUS), 128 points
Mel Pocock (GBR, HUS), 126
Mathys Boisrame (FRA, HON), 120
Dylan Walsh (NZL, HUS), 103
Giuseppe Tropepe (ITA, YAM), 85
Brian Strubhart Moreau (FRA, KAW), 85
Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, YAM), 83
Mikkel Haarup (DEN, HUS), 81
Steven Clarke (GBR, HON), 81
Karel Kutsar (EST, KTM), 77
In the first race of EMX125 presented by FMF Racing it was Yamaha Europe EMX125’s Thibault Benistant who took over the lead from fast starter Emil Jonrup after 5 laps. Jonrup however would then lose 2nd to Raivo Dankers and 3rd to Rene Hofer before a big crash left him to finish 31st.
Dankers started to apply pressure to Benistant for the remainder of the race but couldn’t get by the young French rider. JD Gunnex KTM Racing’s Petr Polak came from 8th to 4th just beating out Yamaha Europe EMX125’s Jorgen-Matthias Talviku. Across the finish line it was Benistant who won over Dankers, Hofer, Polak, and Talviku.
Race 2 started out with Simon Laengenfelder leading and Polak chasing the Husqvarna rider. Meanwhile Race 1 winner, Benistant was off to a horrible start in 17th position and only managed to come back to 7th.
Rene Hofer started 5th but starting to make passes early before getting held up behind Polak for second. On lap 7 Hofer made his way past the Czech rider and only two laps later took over the lead from Laengenfelder.
At the finish Hofer took the race win and overall victory while Polak managed 2nd in the race after passing Laengenfelder which when combined with his 4th in race 1 earned him 2nd overall. Finishing out the 125 podium was Benistant with his 1-7 finishes. Hofer now leads the championship by 23 points over Benistant as the riders will now head towards Teutschenthal, Germany for the next round in one week.
EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing Race 1 Top Ten
Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), 29:25.477
Raivo Dankers (NED, KTM), +0:03.714
Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), +0:11.556
Petr Polak (CZE, KTM), +0:28.407
Jorgen-Matthias Talviku (EST, Yamaha), +0:48.396
Simon Laengenfelder (GER, Husqvarna), +0:54.252
Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:57.310
Tom Guyon (FRA, KTM), +1:01.586
Arvid Lüning (SWE, KTM), +1:02.118
Raf Meuwissen (NED, KTM), +1:03.207
EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing Race 2 Top Ten
Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), 30:19.530
Petr Polak (CZE, KTM), +0:12.124
Simon Laengenfelder (GER, Husqvarna), +0:16.821
Arvid Lüning (SWE, KTM), +0:29.159
Rasmus Pedersen (DEN, KTM), +0:32.20
Lion Florian (GER, KTM), +0:35.450
Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:43.913
David Braceras Martinez (ESP, KTM), +0:45.383
Andrea Bonacorsi (ITA, KTM), +0:46.084
Eddie Wade (GBR, KTM), +0:48.410
EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing Overall Top Ten
Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), 45 points
Petr Polak (CZE, KTM), 40
Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 39
Simon Laengenfelder (GER, HUS), 35
Arvid Lüning (SWE, KTM), 30
Raivo Dankers (NED, KTM), 30
Lion Florian (GER, KTM), 22
Andrea Bonacorsi (ITA, KTM), 21
Eddie Wade (GBR, KTM), 21
Raf Meuwissen (NED, KTM), 20
EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing Championship Top Ten
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