Herlings narrowly takes MXGP win from Cairoli – 47p each
Calvin Vlaanderen takes MX2 win from Covington
Todd Waters 15-14 – Lewis Stewart 19-20
The MXGP of Indonesia has proven one to remember with the track’s technical and rutted nature ensuring interesting racing, with KTM’s Jeffrey Herlings narrowly winning from Antonio Cairoli, with both ending the round on 47 points. This keeps Herlings in the overall lead with a 12 point buffer.
HRC’s Calvin Vlaanderen scored his first ever career victory in MX2, with two-points separating him from Thomas Covington come weekend’s end, with the two taking a win a-piece, and just two points between them for the round. Pauls Jonass leaves the round with the MX2 overall lead, from Jorge Prado.
The welcoming Indonesian atmosphere was also highly evident with the start of the Motocross World Championship racing kicking off with an epic opening ceremony including a massive marching band performing alongside traditional Indonesian dancers.
The MXGP class is undeniably stacked with talent but mostly it is filled with some of the most dedicated, hard working, and resilient riders on the planet. On a regular basis the KTM Factory Racing duo of Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings exemplify the traits mentioned above and Indonesia was a prime example of such.
MXGP Race 1 started with a Fox Holeshot from Herlings ahead but with Cairoli just behind. The pair led Gautier Paulin and Tim Gajser on the first laps but by the start of lap three Gajser and Clement Desalle had passed Paulin.
Paulin then had Romain Febvre lurking in the distance while Cairoli was challenging Herlings for the lead. A bobble from Herlings gave Cairoli the opportunity to pass the #84 who made another mistake to give Cairoli a gap.
Herlings managed to keep Cairoli within sight for a while but realized 2nd was good enough after only breaking his collar bone 2 weeks ago. In a battle for 5th was the Frenchmen of Paulin and Febvre but Febvre took the position just past the halfway point.
A few laps later Desalle took 3rd from Gajser and charged up to Herlings who then responded to hold the position. For the remaining laps the lead group stayed the same and Cairoli took the win nearly 10 seconds ahead of Herlings, Desalle, Gajser, and Febvre.
MXGP’s second and final race of the day decided the overall, was full of battles, and even through in some plot twists. On the start it was a Fox Holeshot from Herlings after he pushed wide to hold Gajser off. Herlings soon realized he had faded to far outside however as Cairoli took the lead and he found himself jostling with Desalle.
Out of the exchange off the start Cairoli took the lead and Gajser was second with Herlings third. The intensity from the top three on the first laps was incredible starting with Gajser passing Cairoli for the lead.
Only a turn later Herlings railed around the outside to take second from Cairoli and proceed to catch Gajser. Gajser was then caught off guard as Herlings carried a massive amount of speed through the rollers and jump to the inside of the Slovenian in front of Pit Lane.
Cairoli was quick to pass Gajser back through the first turn but on the following lap missed a double which let Gajser back into second. Similar to the move of Herlings the lap prior Cairoli stayed to the inside down the pit lane straight and retook 2nd place.
Throughout it all Febvre was 4th with a front row view ahead of Paulin and Glenn Coldenhoff. Febvre came close to the action ahead of him when Cairoli ejected over the front of the bike through turn 2. The mistake of Cairoli gave second back to Gajser and nearly gave 3rd to Febvre.
It only took another lap though before Cairoli passed Gajser for 2nd position his 3rd time. Gajser and Febvre then proceeded to battle for 4th swapping positions nearly every lap. Just passed the halfway point Febvre made a strong move past Gajser and was then able to create a gap.
As the race winded down Cairoli chipped at the lead of Herlings but was still over 5 seconds back with 4 laps to go. Just before crossing the line with three laps to go Herlings fell in the last turn.
Slow to pick his bike up after seeing Cairoli take the lead Herlings seemed to be content with second. This was until Cairoli crashed in turn 2 for the second time just ahead of him.
Herlings took the lead just ahead of Cairoli who remounted his KTM with bent bars and a missing throttle grip. Cairoli tried to retake the lead but was unable to do so giving Herlings both the race win and overall for a dramatic conclusion to the weekend. Febvre took third in both the race and the overall while Gajser and Coldenhoff scored 4th in 5th place in race 2.
“I’m very happy with the weekend and we couldn’t have dreamed it would have gone like this just two and a half week after breaking my collarbone. I wasn’t sure I would be able to race here so to come out with a win is pretty amazing. I lost a bit of feeling on the bike with the surgery and lack of bike time but physically I was OK and we’ll work to come back to 100%. Injury is part of this game when we are pushing. We’ll try and get the best out of the situation next week now.”
“Overall a good weekend except for the pain I have in my thumb. I hope it will get better but I worried it might be something I’ll have to deal with for a few weeks. When Jeffrey and I pushed we were able to make a big difference over the others and at a high level. Jeffrey made a very good race on his comeback from injury. I had a crash on the third lap of the second moto but came back and had the lead but made another mistake, which cost me the win and hurt my thumb. I hope it will be a bit better for next week. The gap in the championship has stayed the same so overall I’m happy.”
“I am happy with this weekend. It’s an important step for me because I haven’t been able to train properly since Germany when I hurt my ankle. When the track, is not so difficult I can feel strong for the whole race, but on tracks like the last one in Ottobiano and with the weather being so hot I felt like my condition was not there. I actually stayed in Italy after Ottobiano to train in the hot weather for this race. It was good and I feel like I am getting better and better every weekend and it’s nice to stand on the podium for the second time.”
“In recent GPs I seem to have difficulties with the second race and I must find a solution. My first race was good. I had a decent start but Gajser rode aggressively during the first few laps and I had to be patient before I passed him for the third position; I came close to Herlings who was second but he defended his position and I couldn’t find a way to pass him. I found some really good lines in the first two corners of the second race and I was up to second place just before the finish jump but we were several of us trying to use the same rut; I chose a different one but I hit a piece of mud and lost four or five places. I was patient to pass two or three riders, but then I had a small crash in a corner; the ruts made it very easy to make mistakes in the second race and it took me several laps to find my rhythm again. I finished eighth, not really what I was expecting, but I will try to do better again next week.”
“Things went better than yesterday. I had a solid start to the first race and made some passes at the beginning, and I was riding in third. I made a couple of mistakes and Desalle caught me and got past, and then together we managed to bridge the gap with Jeffrey [Herlings] but couldn’t make a pass. In the second race I had a great start; I was second and then I made a pass early on, so I was leading for a lap or so. Jeffrey then bridged the gap and overtook me, and soon after Toni [Cairoli] the same. I tried to stay with them but I ended up making few mistakes and crashed. Romain then passed me but I tried to get back because I knew I had to finish ahead of him to get on the podium. I passed him, but then lost my rhythm due to some more mistakes and couldn’t catch him again. It’s disappointing not to finish on the podium despite having the same amount of points as third place, but the next opportunity is right around the corner. I want to thank the team for the amazing job done, the bike was really fun to ride.”
“I felt really good all weekend but it was really difficult to do something here if you don’t get the start you need. At one point I was pushing so hard I was going backwards! I was making too mistakes but eventually found my flow and went from 15th to 7th. It wasn’t that bad but we are working for more and the second moto was a little better. I passed some ‘big players’ to again make sixth overall – again! – but I feel like I am consistent and we are up there pushing the top five every weekend. Next weekend will be tough as well but physically I am pretty strong and on a good pace.”
“I started the weekend getting fourth in qualifying and overall I had a good feeling going into the final motos. In the opening race I got off to a good start but a few small mistakes made me drop a few spots for sixth at the flag. My start wasn’t that good in the second moto, but I pushed even harder to make up some ground. Conditions were treacherous and the harder you pushed you increased the chances of making a mistake. I struggled to get some consistent lap times in these conditions. To be honest I was expecting more coming into this GP. We move on from that and now it’s on to the following GP here in Indonesia this coming weekend.”
Australian Todd Waters had two solid results as he eases himself back into this extremely competitive class, finishing just outside the top 10 in both races.
“Race one was not the best: we came through but then faded back. I made a little bit of a game plan for the second moto, despite knowing that my fitness is still not there. Unfortunately I crashed on the first lap: a rider in front went into a rut and it folded on me. I came from 20th to 14th, which is not bad all things considered. Definitely not the result we wanted, but at this stage I take all I can get and keep training hard in order to return to a good level of form.”
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten
Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 35:04.336
Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:09.864
Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:11.509
Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:13.998
Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:24.568
Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:39.048
Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:59.381
Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +1:01.956
Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Suzuki), +1:08.131
Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +1:12.088
…15. Todd Waters
…19. Lewis Stewart
MXGP Race 2 Top Ten
Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:59.818
Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:09.419
Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:38.775
Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:43.053
Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:44.545
Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:47.722
Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +1:02.639
Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:10.912
Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Suzuki), +1:16.932
Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +1:18.060
…14. Todd Waters
…20. Lewis Stewart
MXGP Overall Top Ten
Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 47 points
Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 47
Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 36
Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 36
Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 33
Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 30
Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 29
Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 25
Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, SUZ), 24
Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 24
…15. Todd Waters
…20. Lewis Stewart
MXGP Championship Top Ten
Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 533 points
Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 521
Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 407
Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 390
Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 368
Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 363
Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 319
Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 279
Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 257
Maximilian Nagl (GER, TM), 211
…28. Tod Waters, 14
MX2 was nearly as unpredictable as that of MXGP with a similar championship scenario at the front of many minds. Pauls Jonass and Jorge Prado are also in a title fight similar to that of Cairoli and Herlings with the older rider and defending champion battling the young talent.
In MX2 Race 1 however, we witnessed Thomas Covington take the Fox Holeshot ahead of Calvin Vlaanderen. Prado and Jonass weren’t far behind in 3rd and 4th and by the end of lap 2 Jonass took 3rd from Prado.
Covington’s strong start allowed him to create a gap over Vlaanderen which only grew as the race went on. Back in 5th position was Covington’s teammate Thomas Kjer Olsen. Vlaanderen’s pace was impressive even pulling away from Jonass.
By the last half of the race Jonass had closed the gap back down and, with Prado on his heels, took 2nd from Vlaanderen. Prado seeing Jonass get away put his focus into passing Vlaanderen but the Honda rider held the Spaniard off the final four laps.
At the finish it was Covington with the win, Jonass 2nd, then Vlaanderen, Prado, and Olsen. Just missing out on a top five result was Ben Watson with his 6th place comeback from 16th position on lap 2.
MX2 Race 2 was season first Fox Holeshot for Vlaanderen ahead of Jonass, Olsen, Prado, and Watson. On the opening lap Olsen dropped two spots to both Prado and Watson with the #919’s rare good start.
Vlaanderen focused on putting in solid laps while Prado hounded Jonass for 2nd. Davy Pootjes took 5th away from Olsen on lap 7 as Vlaanderen gapped Jonass and Prado. The following lap Prado made a move on Jonass to take second. Less than a lap after losing a spot to Prado, Jonass lost 2 more after being passed by Watson and Pootjes.
Jonass immediately came under pressure from race 1 winner Covington who had just passed Olsen on his way forward from 10th on the first lap. Olsen then fell and dropped back to ninth while Covington passed Jonass for 5th. Continuing to drop back Jonass lost another spot to Jago Geerts just after Watson made a pass on Prado for 2nd.
At the finish Calvin Vlaanderen took the race win and his first overall victory along with South Africa’s first win since Tyla Rattray in 2008. Watson took 2nd with Prado 3rd, Covington 4th, and Pootjes 5th.
Jonass meanwhile took a frustrating 7th behind Geerts. In the overall standings Covington was second with his 1-4 losing out to Vlaanderen’s 3-1 and Prado was 3rd with a 4th and 3rd.
“I wasn’t expecting this win! In race one I got a good start and was second for most of the race, but then kind of blew the last few minutes and got passed. Third place was not bad, but before the second moto I was fired up: I told one of the mechanic that I felt like a holeshot was coming, and it happened! When you have a clear track ahead you can take the lines you prefer and do your own thing. It’s such a cool feeling to cross the line in first place, and to win the first GP is unbelievable. Since I was three it was my dream to win a Grand Prix and I finally done it. I felt it was coming and I’m glad to be rewarding the team with a win; they have always supported with their hard work and helped me improve as a rider, so a huge thank you to them – they deserve it!”
“Everything worked well for me in the opening moto. I got the holeshot and did my own race for the win. As for the second moto, my start wasn’t perfect and I had to dig deep to get up front. Once again we showed the overall victory was well within our reach and I’m a little bit disappointed for finishing second overall for the third time in a row. I am happy with where I’m at in terms of my speed and stamina and I need to work on my second moto performances. I can’t thank enough my team for their great support and I am looking forward to the following GP here in Indonesia.”
“It was a great weekend. I’ve been training well but this is such a difficult sport and on a track like this anything can happen so you also need some luck. The track was soft today so you had to ride with a lot of power and it was easy to feel off balance. I’m happy to leave here healthy and to keep being consistent. The track next week looks to be really nice. They say it will be warmer but I hope the humidity is less! It will be a new challenge anyway.”
“The weekend didn’t go as smoothly as I wanted. In the first moto I felt really good actually and made some good passes and was doing well physically in the heat. I had a fast start in the second moto but after 10-15 minutes I just hit a wall. I struggled with the track and was pushing too hard; it is one of those places where if you almost try too much then you go backwards and that was the main problem for me. Our goal is to win the championship but I am trying not to focus on that, maybe it is in the back of my mind somewhere. We’ll have a week here now in Indonesia so I have time to put some thoughts in the right places.”
“My starts were good in both motos and I could run with the guys up front. The speed was there but I had one crash in each moto and that made things a lot harder. I struggled to find a good race pace after the crashes and that had me settle for fifth in the first moto and ninth in the last one. Obviously, I was looking for more coming into this GP but I am happy I am still in one piece after another tough weekend. Our eyes are set now on next weekend’s GP here in Indonesia.”
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