Jeffrey Herlings takes final MXGP round win of 2017
Duncan’s WMX title hopes ended by crashed backmarkers
Morgan Lesiardo crowned EMX250 Champion

The final round of the 2017 MXGP season at the Villars sous Ecot circuit in France saw a great turnout, despite weather that would challenge the riders and spectators alike, with Jeffrey Herlings taking the Grand Final round win. Championship winner Cairoli was ninth in Race 1 and pulled off and did not finish Race 2.

Jeffrey Herlings
Jeffrey Herlings

MXGP raced into the first corner Sunday and Saturday’s qualifying winner, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Anstie, took the Fox Holeshot. Almost immediately Team HRC’s Tim Gajser took the lead followed by Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Romain Febvre and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff on the first lap.

Tim Gajser
Tim Gajser

By lap 2 Anstie found his way back past Coldenhoff as Gajser and Febvre rode away out front. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin ran 5th early and held off Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings for two laps before the Dutchman made it past.

Herlings continued his charge forward passing his teammate and countryman Glenn Coldenhoff. Paulin followed suit and also passed Coldenhoff on lap 6. Back at the front the crowd vibrantly cheered on their french hero Romain Febvre as he tried to catch up enough to make a pass attempt on Gajser. Febvre would get close but never close enough to make the move.

Glen Coldenhoff
Glen Coldenhoff

On lap 12 of 16 Herlings found his way around Anstie after following the Brit for 8 laps. Anstie tried to retaliate toward the end but would come up short. Gajser took the race win ahead of Febvre, Herlings, Anstie, and Paulin.

Race 2 kicked off with another good start from Anstie and though Herlings took Fox Holeshot Anstie had the better line afterwards and took the lead. Herlings and Anstie stayed together while Tim Gajser followed the entire race.

Evgeny Bobryshev
Evgeny Bobryshev

Behind Gajser was were the early action was seen as Wilvo Yamaha MXGP’s Arnaud Tonus fought to hold off 2017 MXGP World Champion, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli and later Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev.

Cairoli later pulled off and did not finish but Bobryshev kept hounding Tonus eventually taking the position. 4 laps later Romain Febvre, who fell off of the start, took the 4th spot from Bobryshev and one lap later Bobryshev fell and would finish 23rd.

Tony Cairoli
Tony Cairoli

Back up front Herlings was looking for a way past Anstie, after recovering from a mistake, and at first had no luck. Several tries later Herlings found his way by Anstie who wasn’t in the mood to back down. The two riders had one of the best battles of the season giving the fans a proper finale.

In the end Herlings held the spot and took the overall.

Jeffrey Herlings

“The starts were key in the mud. I got covered at the start of the first moto and then had a pretty big crash and somehow only lost a few positions. I knew it would be tough to take the overall win so I had some luck with that one. I had my first holeshot of the year in the second moto! I had some good lines and Max also, it was hard to pass him and you had to be lucky with the lapped riders, especially in the last two laps when it was really slick. Six overall wins this year and eleven podiums: it has been good and I really want to thank Red Bull KTM. They have always believed in me and stuck behind me. There are a lot of good people in the team and they are all motivated. Whatever I have asked for they have tried to deliver it and whenever I wanted to test we went. I really appreciate the hard work they have put in and without them I wouldn’t have been able to come back that strong.

Jeffrey Herlings

“The second part of the season we were good and strong and have won five out of the last six and I’m super-pumped about that. It was a shame about the beginning and the injury but congrats to Tony again because he was the most consistent and maybe also the smartest rider this season. I have learned a lot and I underestimated the guys. I was living in a cloud in the winter and I should have been doing other things. I had a reality-check at the first round and I knew I had to change and stick to my programme. I think I am good to go for next year. Our bike set-up is good now and we have experienced a lot. Hopefully next season we can move one step up.”

Tim Gajser took third in race 2 but when combined with his race 1 win he finished 2nd overall tied in points for the day with Herlings. Gajser also took 5th in the championship.

Tim Gajser

“The season for me started really well, I had the red plate for the first four rounds until I crashed in Europe and got injured. From then on, my season went downhill. I was riding in pain and was not the same condition before the crash. Then I crashed again and that was pretty much how my season has gone. I am glad to finish the season strong and today I felt really good in the mud. I made too many mistakes this year and when I make a mistake I end up injured. The last few races I have been in much better condition and the riding is quite ok. I want to say a huge thanks to everyone around me and my family.”

Tim Gajser

Third overall was Max Anstie adding to his recent success in his rookie season.

Max Anstie

“The weekend started really well for me. I had a good qualifying moto and managed to get the win. It might have just been a qualifying moto win but it was my first race victory in the 450cc class. On Sunday we had a lot of rain and that made things harder for everyone. I did the best I could in the opening moto. Conditions were tricky and it was vital to avoid mistakes. I was happy with fourth and thought I could do even better in moto two. My start was great in the second race and I managed to lead the for much of the race. I had a good battle with Herlings down to the finish line.”

Max Anstie

Gautier Paulin finished in 5th overall but took 3rd in the final championship standings.

Gautier Paulin

“This last GP of the season was a tough one for all. It was cold, wet and very muddy. Despite tough track conditions my Husqvarna was working great throughout the weekend. In the opening moto I didn’t get the best of starts so had to battle my way to fifth. Then in the second moto I got loads of wheel spin out of the gate so had to push hard again to get back inside the top six. I really don’t have words to thank the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing crew for all their hard work during the season. Getting third in the championship we showed the base is there to go a step higher in 2018.”

Gautier Paulin

Antonio Cairoli expressed happiness over his championship win and of returning in 2018.

Antonio Cairoli

“I’m very happy with the season. We worked to win ‘the war’ and we made it. We have lowered our pace in the later part of the season but that was part of the plan with such a big points lead. I still enjoy riding so much and we are already looking forward to next year. I want to do some testing. The bike is already in a good place and I really like it but we have some things to do. This week was very tough because after the title we partied a little bit! It was hard to follow the ruts today! It is part of the job. You need to enjoy when you win. It is nice to race with these ‘kids’ because they are quite a bit younger than me but we will come back next year full of fire for the MXGP class again.”

Tony Cairoli

MXGP Race 1 Top Ten
  1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 36:11.477
  2. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:11.247
  3. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:39.593
  4. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:50.557
  5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +2:02.538
  6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), -1 lap(s)
  7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), -1 lap(s)
  8. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), -1 lap(s)
  9. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), -1 lap(s)
  10. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), -1 lap(s)
MXGP Race 2 Top Ten
  1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:48.664
  2. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:05.272
  3. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:36.515
  4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +1:02.368
  5. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +1:38.161
  6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +1:40.996
  7. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +1:46.297
  8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +1:56.974
  9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +2:05.011
  10. Tanel Leok (EST, Husqvarna), -1 lap(s)
MXGP Overall Top Ten
  1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 45 points
  2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 45
  3. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 40
  4. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 40
  5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 31
  6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 28
  7. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, YAM), 27
  8. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 27
  9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 26
  10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, YAM), 16
MXGP Championship Top Ten
  1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 722 points
  2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 672
  3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 602
  4. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 544
  5. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 530
  6. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 519
  7. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 443
  8. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 439
  9. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 436
  10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 424
MXGP Manufacturers
  1. KTM, 834 points
  2. Husqvarna, 698
  3. Yamaha, 659
  4. Honda, 631
  5. Kawasaki, 584
  6. Suzuki, 440

Kiara Fontanesi wins WMX title – Duncan’s title hopes ended by crashed backmarkers

The finale of the Women’s Motocross World Championship was the first race to finish this weekend and MXFONTARACING Syneco’s Kiara Fontanesi from Italy was crowned champion for the 5th time in unpredictable fashion. Weather has played a strong role in the championship this season and this weekend was no exception as riders had to race in the wet conditions.

WMX Podium
WMX Podium – Three points separated the top 3, Kiara Fontanesi, Livia Lancelot, Courtney Duncan

The championship was as tight as ever coming into the weekend with only 5 points between the top 4. WMX Race 1 started on a near perfect circuit many eyes were on the 4 Championship Contenders of Nancy Van de Ven, Kiara Fontanesi, Livia Lancelot, and Altherm JCR Yamaha’s Courtney Duncan.

An extremely unlucky occurrence extinguished Courtney Duncan’s chances of a debut title this weekend however, despite an epic comeback in the second moto where she lapped all but the second-placed rider, Duncan was forced to settle for third place in the championship.

The weekend had started positively for the Otago-based Altherm JCR Yamaha rider and she was convincingly leading the field by 15 seconds on the final lap, when she came across five riders who had crashed on the tricky hillside of the Villars sous Ecot circuit and were blocking her way. Duncan (21) was forced to take evasive action to avoid them and swerved off the track, crashing into a fence.

WMX Start
WMX Start

Her coach Josh Coppins says initially the official verdict was positive, “After a jury meeting immediately after the race, FIM decided they would award points from the lap prior due to the track being blocked and unsafe.”

Then in a heart-breaking decision for the talented Kiwi, the jury reversed the decision, retracted the adjusted results and reinstated the original standings. This gave the top four riders fighting for the championship, the first four places, meaning Italian Kiara Fontanesi took the win, Nancy van de ven, of the Netherlands was second, and France’s Livia Lancelot third.

This left Duncan fourth in the championship and nine points off the lead going into the second race yesterday. Coppins says it was a tough blow for Duncan, who had been in brilliant form following last weekend’s penultimate round in the Netherlands, where she finished up second in the championship points, despite managing a knee injury.

Josh Coppins – Duncan Courtney’c Coach

“We had a very good week you could see that in Courtney’s racing. She was around 15 seconds in the lead [in the first race this weekend]. She was the fastest and it was some of the best racing she’s done this year. Walking the track on Friday we knew that some girls would not get round if it got wet and that’s what happened. Saturday was unlucky but we all know these things can happen in racing. It was unfair and it was a real shame that it impacted the championship.”

Duncan says that while she was devastated about the race one decision she tried to clear her headspace and demonstrate what she was capable of in the second race.

Duncan Courtney

“I tried to just stay optimistic and thought it is what it is. I was disappointed naturally but there was not much I could do about it, I just had to get on and do the best job I could.”

Kiwi Courtney Duncan
Kiwi Courtney Duncan

Race 2 was the first of on the track after overnight rain and it would again be amazing. Courtney Duncan came back on a mission and jumped out to the early lead with Lancelot and Van de Ven in tow. For seven of the ten laps the top three remained the same which would have resulted in the championship for Van de Ven. However it wasn’t meant to be as Van de Ven got stuck and later fell on the uphill step, Van de Ven was passed by Larissa Papenmeier losing the points she desperately needed.

Courtney Duncan took the win ahead of Livia Lancelot and Fontanesi after lapping every rider but second place. In the championship Fontanesi beat out Lancelot by a single point for the title and Duncan took third. A disappointed Duncan says the final race was at least some bittersweet consolation.

Duncan Courtney

“I rode as hard as I could in that second race and actually lapped the new world champion, which made me feel a little bit better. I’ve turned the page and am looking ahead to next year. I’ll be looking to minimise some of the mistakes I made earlier in the year and I’ll be back for another attempt on that world title.”

Courtney Duncan
Courtney Duncan

Coppins was saddened that it has now been two years in a row that “controversial unfortunate incidents out of Courtney’s hands – call them bad luck, call them racing incidents, call them what you like – have cost her two world titles.”

Last season Duncan’s championship was derailed when an errantly-positioned photographer blocked her path on a jump, causing her to crash and injure herself.

Josh Coppins

“It was pretty disappointing that mistakes from within the promoter and Federation of International Motorcycling FIM, Youthstream officials and the hosting French Federation of Motorcycling have impacted the championship yet again. I don’t want to sound like sour grapes, we gave it our all, we did everything we can, I just feel sorry for Courtney.”

WMX Race 1 Top Ten
  1. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, Yamaha), 26:14.030
  2. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +0:26.646
  3. Livia Lancelot (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:49.100
  4. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), +1:16.439
  5. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Suzuki), +1:23.239
  6. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Yamaha), +2:07.722
  7. Jessie Joineau (FRA, Honda), -1 lap(s)
  8. Madison Brown (AUS, Yamaha), -1 lap(s)
  9. Justine Charroux (FRA, Yamaha), -1 lap(s)
  10. Virginie Germond (SUI, Yamaha), -1 lap(s)
WMX Race 2 Top Ten
  1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Yamaha), 27:36.604
  2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:46.824
  3. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, Yamaha), -1 lap(s)
  4. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Suzuki), -1 lap(s)
  5. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), -3 lap(s)
  6. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), -3 lap(s)
  7. Mathilde Martinez (FRA, Husqvarna), -3 lap(s)
  8. Virginie Germond (SUI, Yamaha), -3 lap(s)
  9. Francesca Nocera (ITA, Suzuki), -4 lap(s)
  10. Anne Borchers (GER, Suzuki), -5 lap(s)
WMX Overall Top Ten
  1. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, YAM), 45 points
  2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, KAW), 42
  3. Courtney Duncan (NZL, YAM), 40
  4. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 38
  5. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, SUZ), 34
  6. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), 33
  7. Virginie Germond (SUI, YAM), 24
  8. Mathilde Martinez (FRA, HUS), 23
  9. Justine Charroux (FRA, YAM), 21
  10. Anne Borchers (GER, SUZ), 16
WMX Championship Top Ten
  1. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, YAM), 233 points
  2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, KAW), 232
  3. Courtney Duncan (NZL, YAM), 231
  4. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 231
  5. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, SUZ), 194
  6. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), 184
  7. Nicky van Wordragen (NED, YAM), 119
  8. Francesca Nocera (ITA, SUZ), 95
  9. Virginie Germond (SUI, YAM), 94
  10. Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), 89

EMX250 – Morgan Lesiardo crowned Champion

The last round of the EMX250 Championship paired up with that of MXGP, MX2, and WMX this weekend on the challenging hillside of Villars sous Ecot. Taking the overall win was GL12 Racing’s James Dunn on his 2-stroke machine. While Dunn was the Winner of the weekend, the season’s 2017 EMX250 Champion was crowned and it was Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Morgan Lesiardo.

Morgan Lesiardo
Morgan Lesiardo

In this weekend’s EMX250 racing consistency was the key. In race 1 BUD Racing Monster Energy’s Tristan Charboneau had the key and led nearly every lap of the 14. Charboneau was passed only by Honda Redmoto’s Mathys Boisrame who only held the lead for one lap before giving it back to Charboneau.

Running second and third was GL12 Racing’s James Dunn and F&H Racing Team’s Ruben Fernandez. Dunn originally started in 2nd but dropped to 5th before climbing back to second while Fernandez held the 3rd spot the entire race. Josh Spinks and Yamaha SM Action’s Simone Zecchina took 4th and 5th while Morgan Lesiardo finished 13th and could clinched the 2017 title.

In race 2 Charboneau struggled on the start around 14th and dropped even further to 19th on lap 2. At the front was the newly crowned champion, Lesiardo followed by Zecchina and the French rider, Anthony Bourdon.

James Dunn
James Dunn

Meanwhile James Dunn had an issue on the start and was coming back from 17th on the first lap but by lap 5 was up to 5th. With only a few laps to go Bourdon took second from Zecchina and then inherited the lead from Lesiardo as he had a bike issue.

At the finish line Bourdon won the race ahead of Zecchina and Dunn. Dunn took the overall win with the consistent 2-3 finish as Zecchina took second and Bourdon took third.

2017 Champion Morgan Lesiardo decided to race the season opener at Trentino in a spur of the moment decision and continued on to first take the points lead and then was offered a ride with Monster Energy Kawasaki.

Morgan Lesiardo wins the 2017 EMX250 Title
Morgan Lesiardo wins the 2017 EMX250 Title

Lesiardo’s ability to adapt to a completely new bike and find a way back into the championship after losing the red plate is in its own quite impressive, not to mention becoming the FIM Europe Champion! Congrats Morgan on an awesome season and a well deserved title!

EMX250 Race 1 Top Ten
  1. Tristan Charboneau (USA, Kawasaki), 31:01.240
  2. James Dunn (GBR, KTM), +0:10.568
  3. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Kawasaki), +0:27.823
  4. Josh Spinks (GBR, KTM), +0:40.902
  5. Simone Zecchina (ITA, Yamaha), +1:03.258
  6. Pierre Goupillon (FRA, KTM), +1:08.591
  7. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Yamaha), +1:09.658
  8. Alberto Forato (ITA, Honda), +1:09.752
  9. Karlis Sabulis (LAT, Yamaha), +1:22.248
  10. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +1:23.952
EMX250 Race 2 Top Ten
  1. Anthony Bourdon (FRA, Husqvarna), 33:26.787
  2. Simone Zecchina (ITA, Yamaha), +0:12.836
  3. James Dunn (GBR, KTM), +1:10.794
  4. Morgan Lesiardo (ITA, Kawasaki), -1 lap(s)
  5. Tom Koch (GER, KTM), -1 lap(s)
  6. Tommaso Isdraele Romano (ITA, Yamaha), -2 lap(s)
  7. Enzo Steffen (SUI, Honda), -3 lap(s)
  8. Jan Pancar (SLO, Yamaha), -3 lap(s)
  9. Rene De Jong (NED, KTM), -4 lap(s)
  10. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Kawasaki), -4 lap(s)
EMX250 Overall Top Ten
  1. James Dunn (GBR, KTM), 42 points
  2. Simone Zecchina (ITA, YAM), 38
  3. Anthony Bourdon (FRA, HUS), 34
  4. Tristan Charboneau (USA, KAW), 33
  5. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, KAW), 31
  6. Morgan Lesiardo (ITA, KAW), 26
  7. Tom Koch (GER, KTM), 22
  8. Karlis Sabulis (LAT, YAM), 21
  9. Pierre Goupillon (FRA, KTM), 20
  10. Josh Spinks (GBR, KTM), 20
EMX250 Championship Top 10
  1. Morgan Lesiardo (ITA, KAW), 294 points
  2. Simone Furlotti (ITA, YAM), 242
  3. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, KAW), 223
  4. Alberto Forato (ITA, HON), 205
  5. Tristan Charboneau (USA, KAW), 192
  6. Marshal Weltin (USA, KAW), 180
  7. Jago Geerts (BEL, KTM), 171
  8. Ken Bengtson (SWE, YAM), 170
  9. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, HON), 167
  10. Pierre Goupillon (FRA, KTM), 140