Jeffrey Herlings continues his MXGP domination
Jorge Prado crowned MX2 Champ
Hunter Lawrence suffers technical issues from MX2 lead
Anderson EMX300 Champ – Kiara Fontanesi wins WMX title
The Italian circuit of Imola saw new MXGP World Champion Jeffrey Herlings, who had nothing to prove, come out and dominated with double race wins to take the final MXGP overall of the year.
Jorge Prado also came into this weekend already knowing he would be crowned 2018 MX2 World Champion but it didn’t stop the 17-year old from taking his 26th Fox Holeshot of the year, and the two race wins, although a bike issue put an end to Hunter Lawrence’s MX2 Race 1 lead.
The round also hosted the championship deciding races of EMX300 where Brad Anderson renewed his title and became the newest FIM Europe Champion, as well as the season finale of the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship. A hard fought season for the women concluded with Kiara Fontanesi taking her sixth FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship title.
The weekend marked the finale to 20 rounds of racing around the world over eight months with both champions capping of the year with another pair of dominant wins.
Imola’s Autodromo Enzo & Dino Ferrari track was the venue of choice and the historic venue was the first in Italy to host Motocross International racing in 1948 and is now it’s the 70th anniversary.
The first MXGP race was started with a season first Fox Holeshot from Alessandro Lupino in front of his home crowd as Antonio Cairoli opted out of racing to recover for next week’s Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations.
Behind Lupino was Tim Gajser, Jeremy Seewer, and then Herlings. Seewer and Herlings banged bars in the 4th corner was put the Dutchman up to third. Gajser took the lead from Lupino before the end of the first lap along with Herlings.
Lupino was then third but a collision with Seewer dropped the #77 out of the top 20 and the Swiss rider to 10th. Clement Desalle took over third with Gautier Paulin 4th and Shaun Simpson 5th.
On the third official lap Herlings took the lead from Gajser and a lap later Julien Lieber went to 5th past Simpson. In the remaining 16 laps the top 5 held their positions. Herlings had the race win ahead of Gajser, Desalle, Paulin, and Lieber while Seewer made a last lap pass to get by teammate Simpson for 6th.
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten
- Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:41.213
- Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:12.438
- Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:28.131
- Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:30.461
- Julien Lieber (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:32.590
- Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:34.849
- Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:35.907
- Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:43.218
- Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:51.689
- Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Suzuki), +0:54.842.
MXGP Race 2
Race 2’s Fox Holeshot belonged to Herlings who had Gajser and Desalle just behind him. Simpson had another good start in 4th with Lieber again behind him. Paulin was in 6th and had to deal with pressure from Jeremy Van Horebeek.
After 4 laps of heat from the Belgian Paulin lost 6th and Van Horebeek then went after Lieber. With 5 laps to go Lieber moved past Simpson for 4th and Van Horebeek put the Wilvo rider another spot back to 6th.
Herlings took the race win with Gajser again 2nd then Desalle, Lieber, and Van Horebeek. Paulin took 6th after passing Simpson with 2 laps to go. In the overall Herlings was the clear winner for the 84 time in his career as Gajser took 2nd and Desalle took third.
“A great way to finish the year. It has been a great experience, a great year and great memories. I especially want to thank my team. If you look to the statistics then it has been pretty unbelievable and almost an indescribable year. It will be hard to accomplish again I think. My goal now is to go 1-1 at the Nations. That would be the cherry on the cake and is the next thing on the wish list. We’ll see!”
“It’s good to finish the season on the podium: that was the goal and we did it. It was not an easy season for us, and there have been many ups and downs, but in the second part of the season we really stepped up our game and we managed to improve race after race. Overall I have to be happy, especially given what happened at the start of the year. I’m grateful and thankful that I can be here. The season went so quickly and now I cannot wait for the next one to start; hopefully things will go smoothly throughout the winter. The bike was amazing but I’m sure HRC will do their best to improve it even more. I will work as hard as I can, and I will give everything I have to fight for the title. Once again, I would like to thank everyone at Team HRC for their outstanding support; they are like a family to me.”
“I was really happy to be here and I think this place is a good way to step up our sport but we just need to work a bit better on the track. The location is fantastic and we saw a lot of people. It is a shame I could not take part in the race but I was sore after yesterday and I knew it would be very hard for me from the outside of the gate. I was thinking about the big picture and the Nations is very important for me and for Italy. Our goal is to make the podium there because the championship was already done and Jeffrey won a lot of time and deserved the title. Second place was good for our efforts this year.”
“Finishing third in the championship is really great, also it is a great feeling to be on the box at the end of the championship. My whole team works to be the best possible and to beat those guys and have the best result in the GPs. It is not easy but we are very motivated… it was a very good season overall.”
Todd Waters also fought extremely hard in this final round, to try his best and end the 2018 season on as high as note as possible.
“I’m disappointed it’s the last race of the season because I didn’t do the full championship and I’ve only done two rounds with this Redmoto team. I feel as though I’m just starting to get comfortable on the bike and set it up how I want so it’s a shame that it has to end now. This weekend I showed a bit of fight and I think it’s probably the best I’ve ridden all MXGP season so although it’s not the result that I wanted, at least I can walk away knowing that I fought this GP and tried my best.”
MXGP Race 2 Top Ten
- Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:35.763
- Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:34.828
- Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:50.772
- Julien Lieber (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:01.847
- Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +1:03.991
- Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +1:06.621
- Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +1:07.493
- Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +1:09.285
- Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +1:15.790
- Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Suzuki), +1:20.562
MXGP Overall Top Ten
- Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points
- Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 44
- Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 40
- Julien Lieber (BEL, KAW), 34
- Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 33
- Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 29
- Shaun Simpson (GBR, YAM), 28
- Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 24
- Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 23
- Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, SUZ), 22
MXGP Championship Top Ten
- Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 933 points
- Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 782
- Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 685
- Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 669
- Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 574
- Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 544
- Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 534
- Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 469
- Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 433
- Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 386
Ben Watson was a top qualifier but jumped the gate to early and was back outside the top 15 on the start of MX2 Race 1. Prado lost his lead to Simone Furlotti in the first corners and went back to 6th. Hunter Lawrence was third behind Thomas Covington but pushed the American off the track to take second.
Covington rejoined the track in 4th behind Prado while Lawrence went on to take the lead from Furlotti who then dropped another spot to Prado. The following lap Covington was up to third but lost the spot 2 laps later to his teammate Thomas Kjer Olsen.
Henry Jacobi was impressive along with Michele Cervellin. Jacobi came from 9th on the first lap all the way up to 3rd after a bike issue ended the race for the leader Lawrence.
Prado took over first after the misfortune of Lawrence and held the lead to the finish where he was met by the Red Bull KTM crew and media to celebrate his 2018 MX2 World title. Olsen took 2nd and Jacobi 3rd while Cervellin made it up to 4th ahead of Marshal Weltin.
MX2 Race 1 Top Ten
- Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 33:49.364
- Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:21.043
- Henry Jacobi (GER, Husqvarna), +0:36.879
- Michele Cervellin (ITA, Yamaha), +0:39.380
- Marshal Weltin (USA, Kawasaki), +0:44.867
- Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:48.945
- Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:50.601
- Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:56.013
- Anthony Rodriguez (VEN, Yamaha), +1:02.653
- Simone Furlotti (ITA, Yamaha), +1:04.280
Race 2 started with a 5th Fox Holeshot of the year for Thomas Covington ahead of Samuele Bernardini and Richard Sikyna from Slovakia. Prado was up into 2nd quickly while Anthony Rodriguez held 4th ahead of Olsen but the #19 fell and handed 5th to Brian Moreau in his first MX2 appearance.
Prado then went for the lead and took the spot from Covington as his teammate Olsen took 5th back from Moreau. Olsen was pushed back out of the top 5 on the next lap by Lawrence. The Aussie was on a roll and took positions away from Rodriguez, Bernardini, and Covington in the following laps.
Lawrence gained multiple seconds on Prado in each of the final laps but it was a little too late as the Spaniard took the race victory and his 12 overall win of the season. Lawrence finished second with Covington third and Olsen 4th but in the overall it was Prado, Olsen, and Covington taking the podium.
Jorge Prado’s season has been nothing short of impressive, the 17-year old becomes the first Spanish MX2 World Champion via 10 pole positions, 331 laps in the lead, 17 individual race wins, 12 overall victories and 17 podiums.
Prado scored 873 points in 20 rounds of racing averaging 43.6 points per race of the maximum 50. Prado becomes one of only 3 riders to win the title at such a young age joining Ken Roczen and Jeffrey Herlings and is also now tied for 3 most career MX2 Overall wins with Tyla Rattray behind Herlings and Antonio Cairoli.”
“I knew about being World Champion on Thursday and it was a weird moment. I didn’t expect it and thought I’d race against Pauls this weekend…but I still did my best out there today and wanted to show why I won the world title. I really felt I was world champion after that first moto and in the celebration. Overall I so happy with the weekend and the way we ended the season.”
Thomas Kjer Olsen
“It feels great to end this season with third in the MX2 championship. Throughout the year I got on the podium ten times and I also got one overall win. It’s been a long and demanding year of racing and this third place in the championship is the best reward for all the hard work. From the start of the series until the very last GP here at Imola I really did all I could. I am lucky to have this great team and I can’t thank them enough for standing by my side in every step I take.”
“With this being my last GP it’s been a stressful weekend here in Italy and I am glad I wrapped it up with a spot on the podium. The track was slippery and quite technical, but I kept pushing for the best possible result in each and every session. In the opening moto I made a few mistakes in the last few laps and missed the chance for a top-three result. Then in moto two I got off to a good start and kept a good pace from start to finish. I’m really happy to end this season on the podium.”
“I was really happy with my weekend. It was disappointing how the first moto ended but all weekend I felt pretty good. Every session we went out, I was in the top five, including a second in timed qualifying. Then in the qualification race we had a rock and mud jamming into the rear brake which lost me some places but I was still able to ride well and finish fourth. In the first moto I ripped a good start on my Honda CRF250R, made some quick passes and got myself into the lead. I then led the whole race until two or three laps to go, until we had a small technical issue, so I ended up not finishing. I wasn’t too demoralised though because I knew how well I was riding, so I regrouped in the break and got my focus back to try and do the same again in race two. Unfortunately I didn’t get such a great start but I put my head down and moved from outside the top 10 into the top five, halfway through the race. I knew my speed and fitness were good so I kept charging and got into second place and moved to within striking distance on first place before the race expired. I know deep down I was the fastest this weekend, I believe that, and I know I’ve worked really hard to be here, which is a satisfying feeling.”
MX2 Race 2 Top Ten
- Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 34:00.879
- Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Honda), +0:02.164
- Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:15.652
- Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:18.136
- Anthony Rodriguez (VEN, Yamaha), +0:20.887
- Samuele Bernardini (ITA, Yamaha), +0:28.846
- Michele Cervellin (ITA, Yamaha), +0:33.265
- Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Honda), +0:34.859
- Henry Jacobi (GER, Husqvarna), +0:42.038
- Richard Sikyna (SVK, KTM), +0:42.743
MX2 Overall Top Ten
- Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 50 points
- Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 40
- Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 34
- Michele Cervellin (ITA, YAM), 32
- Henry Jacobi (GER, HUS), 32
- Anthony Rodriguez (VEN, YAM), 28
- Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 25
- Hunter Lawrence (AUS, HON), 22
- Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, HON), 22
- Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 17
MX2 Championship Top Ten
- Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 873 points
- Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 777
- Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 673
- Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 602
- Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 599
- Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, HON), 543
- Michele Cervellin (ITA, YAM), 397
- Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 391
- Hunter Lawrence (AUS, HON), 353
- Henry Jacobi (GER, HUS), 343
Mike Kras was 27 points behind Brad Anderson coming into the weekend. Saturday hosted the first race of the two were we saw Kras take the lead as Anderson struggled and dropped from 4th to 7th before finally rebounding to finish 5th.
Third in the championship was Andero Lusbo and he was also up in third early in the race but then had a bike issue and was unable to finish. Running 4th in the points was Vaclav Kovar but he too had issues when the chain derailed off his Gas Gas. The result of the pair going out of the race along with a strong second place ride moved Erik Willems from 5th to 3rd in the championship.
Kras ended up taking the first race win with Willems second and Mattia Guadagnini third. The championship lead of Anderson dropped to 18 from 27 coming into the day’s Race 2.
The 300cc 2-strokes were the second group on the prepped track and off the start Kras took the Holeshot and lead with Kovar back in second chased by Willems and Lusbo while Anderson was 7th. On the opening laps Lusbo made an aggressive but clean move to take third from Willems just as the pair came out of the final turn.
Meanwhile Kras led Kovar by just over a second as Anderson dropped back to 9th in a fight to keep the points lead. Willems and Lusbo were back at it not long after the first pass in a fight not only for third in the race but also the championship. Willems made his way back by Lusbo just in front of Pit Lane but the pair swapped positions countless more times before Lusbo finally broke free and started to pull away from the Belgian.
As Lusbo worked to catch Kovar it was Willems who was coming under pressure from Guadagnini for 4th. No passes were made however and Kras took the race win and overall with the maximum possible 50 points. Kovar took 2nd while Lusbo was 3rd, Willems 4th, and Guadagnini 5th. The celebrations were all Anderson’s however as cross the finish in 9th for 6th overall but successfully defended his EMX300 presented by FMF Racing title.
EMX300 Race 1 Top 10
- Mike Kras (NED, KTM), 30:19.612
- Erik Willems (BEL, Husqvarna), +0:04.570
- Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:13.167
- Manuel Iacopi (ITA, Yamaha), +0:18.887
- Brad Anderson (GBR, KTM), +0:28.435
- Yuri Pasqualini (ITA, KTM), +0:28.872
- Marco Lolli (ITA, Yamaha), +0:46.309
- Manuel Beconcini (ITA, KTM), +0:55.802
- Mario Tamai (ITA, KTM), +0:56.253
- Michele Cencioni (ITA, KTM), +1:04.715
EMX300 Race 2 Top 10
- Mike Kras (NED, KTM), 29:24.443
- Vaclav Kovar (CZE, Gas Gas), +0:04.703
- Andero Lusbo (EST, Husqvarna), +0:06.000
- Erik Willems (BEL, Husqvarna), +0:11.074
- Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:13.941
- Yuri Pasqualini (ITA, KTM), +0:14.857
- Manuel Iacopi (ITA, Yamaha), +0:34.369
- Marco Lolli (ITA, Yamaha), +0:38.788
- Brad Anderson (GBR, KTM), +0:42.544
- Youri van t Ende (NED, KTM), +0:43.909
EMX300 Overall Top 10
- Mike Kras (NED, KTM), 50 points
- Erik Willems (BEL, HUS), 40
- Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, HUS), 36
- Manuel Iacopi (ITA, YAM), 32
- Yuri Pasqualini (ITA, KTM), 30
- Brad Anderson (GBR, KTM), 28
- Marco Lolli (ITA, YAM), 27
- Vaclav Kovar (CZE, GAS), 22
- Andero Lusbo (EST, HUS), 20
- Michele Cencioni (ITA, KTM), 20
EMX300 Championship Top 10
- Brad Anderson (GBR, KTM), 279 points
- Mike Kras (NED, KTM), 274
- Erik Willems (BEL, HUS), 223
- Andero Lusbo (EST, HUS), 221
- Vaclav Kovar (CZE, GAS), 210
- Greg Smets (BEL, KTM), 196
- Manuel Iacopi (ITA, YAM), 180
- Youri van t Ende (NED, KTM), 106
- Michele Cencioni (ITA, KTM), 78
- Tim Louis (BEL, HUS), 68
Both races of the Women’s final round were watched closely with the home crowd rooting for the Italian Fontanesi. Holding the championship leader’s red plate on her Yamaha Fontanesi faced her closest competitor, Nancy Van de Ven, who came into race 1 with a 8 point deficit on the defending champion.
Van de Ven took the lead early yesterday and after tight racing with back and forth action Van de Ven took the win while Fontanesi took second and lost 3 points. The top five never shifted positions in any of the laps recorded and was rounded out by Larissa Papenmeier, Amandine Verstappen, and Stephanie Laier. The gap of Fontanesi was narrowed to only 5 points for today’s championship deciding race 2.
Papenmeier and her Suzuki led off the start of Race 2 and on the opening lap with Van de Ven in second and Fontanesi 3rd. However Fontanesi made quick moves and passed Van de Ven before the first official lap was complete then dove inside of Papenmeier at the finish to be marked the leader of the first official lap. The move stopped Fontanesi from making the jump and gave Papenmeier the lead back immediately.
Less than a lap later Fontanesi was back by the German as was Van de Ven who jumped her way into second. The race was then on between the two title contenders and a game of cat and mouse ensued.
Fontanesi’s lead grew to around 3 seconds by lap 5 but with 7 minutes and 2 laps to go Van de Ven was back applying pressure less then a second and a half behind. Fontanesi found relief though as Van de Ven came up short on the uphill triple bouncing and missing her line. Then only a section after the first mistake another missed line from Van de Ven allowed the gap to grow a full second.
With only 2 laps remaining Van de Ven had again chipped the lead of Fontanesi back down but the Italian stayed strong to take the race win, the overall, and most impressively her 6th WMX World Championship!
WMX Race 1 Top Ten
- Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), 24:34.838
- Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, Yamaha), +0:05.287
- Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Suzuki), +0:07.374
- Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), +0:43.625
- Stephanie Laier (GER, KTM), +0:44.968
- Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), +1:34.274
- Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), +1:36.777
- Francesca Nocera (ITA, Suzuki), +1:42.286
- Mathilde Denis (FRA, Yamaha), +1:45.675
- Lynn Valk (NED, Yamaha), +1:49.327
WMX Race 2 Top Ten
- Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, Yamaha), 23:52.229
- Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +0:01.873
- Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Suzuki), +0:30.222
- Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), +0:38.200
- Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), +0:38.601
- Stephanie Laier (GER, KTM), +0:58.056
- Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), +1:22.743
- Virginie Germond (SUI, KTM), +1:26.310
- Line Dam (DEN, Honda), +1:27.492
- Mathilde Denis (FRA, Yamaha), +1:28.691
WMX Overall Top Ten
- Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, YAM), 47 points
- Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 47
- Larissa Papenmeier (GER, SUZ), 40
- Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), 34
- Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 33
- Stephanie Laier (GER, KTM), 31
- Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), 28
- Mathilde Denis (FRA, YAM), 23
- Virginie Germond (SUI, KTM), 20
- Justine Charroux (FRA, YAM), 20
WMX Championship Top Ten
- Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, YAM), 260 points
- Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 252
- Larissa Papenmeier (GER, SUZ), 231
- Courtney Duncan (NZL, YAM), 184
- Stephanie Laier (GER, KTM), 183
- Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), 180
- Shana van der Vlist (NED, KTM), 150
- Natalie Kane (IRL, HON), 132
- Sara Andersen (DEN, KTM), 119
- Line Dam (DEN, HON), 102