Gorgeous bright blue skies and sunshine welcomed MXGP of The Netherlands with open arms. While there was a chill in the air with a crisp winter breeze taking the edge off of the direct sunlight, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s pair of reigning FIM Motocross World Champions Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings rewarmed the atmosphere with their impressive performances in both races to dominate round six of the FIM Motocross World Championship.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli continues to prove why he is the seven-time FIM Motocross World Champion. After breaking his front wheel early in race one the Italian continued to fight to the finish and remarkably managed to salvage third. In race two, the champ took his second Fox Holeshot of the day and went on to lead every lap unchallenged to stand on top of the box here in Valkenswaard for the fifth year in succession.
Fast becoming an MXGP podium fixture, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek put in a couple more solid performances to land himself on the second step of the podium for the second time this year. “I was feeling good all weekend out there. I got good starts and I just rode my own race, I could have gone faster but then I would have made too many mistakes, like I tried to push and make up some time on Kevin (Strijbos) in the last race, but then I made a big mistake so at that point I knew I was second on the podium today, so I just let him go.”
Meanwhile raising the second Belgian flag on the podium of MXGP, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Kevin Strijbos managed to turn up the heat in the second race to put a super sweet pass on his countryman Van Horebeek for second. With a fifth in race one and a second in race two Strijbos rounded out the top three. “I didn’t feel good in the first race, I made some changes to my set up and then I felt better in race two. I am just really happy to be on the podium today,” Strijbos concluded.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s duo of Clement Desalle and Kevin Strijbos are stuck together like magnets this season. While Strijbos took home his second podium result this year, his teammate Clement Desalle rode two smart races for a trio of fourths (4-4, for fourth overall).
Another rider to verify that Belgian’s (like the Dutch) are great sand riders, J-Race Racing’s Joel Roelants rode like a man on fire in race two to pass Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Steven Frossard for fifth with two laps to go. After finally banking a top five score, Roelants, who was eighth in race one, managed come home as the fourth Belgian inside the top five with fifth overall.
Race one winner Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Gautier Paulin had a gnarly crash on the opening lap of race two which has left him with a suspected broken collarbone. Meanwhile two MXGP fan favorites made their awaited returns this weekend, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Ken De Dycker and CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy’s Tommy Searle. Both riders’ comebacks seemed a little pre-mature, but plaudits must be given to De Dycker for gritting his teeth and finishing the first race and half of the second race purely for the racing experience. Meanwhile Searle, at the last minute, opted out of a ‘pre-mature’ return withdrawing from both races after warm-up this morning.
On the note of injuries, the team at MXGP would like to wish a full and fast recovery to Team HRC’s Max Nagl, Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Todd Waters and Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Glenn Coldenhoff who were all injured while training in the two-week break between MXGP’s round five in Bulgaria and today’s round six here in Valkenswaard.
MXGP RACE 1 (17 laps = 26.350 Km)
1 / PAULIN, Gautier / FRA / Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team / Kawasaki / 34:53.781 / 0.000
2 / VAN HOREBEEK, Jeremy / BEL / Yamaha Factory Racing / Yamaha / 35:03.540 / 9.759
3 / CAIROLI, Antonio / ITA / Red Bull KTM Factory Racing / KTM / 35:12.152 / 18.371
4 / DESALLE, Clement / BEL / Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP / Suzuki / 35:24.573 / 30.792
5 / BOBRYSHEV, Evgeny / RUS / Team HRC / Honda / 35:26.476 / 32.695
6 / STRIJBOS, Kevin / BEL / Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP / Suzuki / 35:40.745 / 46.964
7 / RATTRAY, Tyla / RSA / Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory racing / Husqvarna / 35:42.627 / 48.846
8 / ROELANTS, Joel / BEL / J-Race Racing Team / Honda / 35:44.758 / 50.977
9 / DE REUVER, Marc / NED / / Honda / 36:10.336 / 1:16.555
10 / FROSSARD, Steven / FRA / Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team / Kawasaki / 36:11.570 / 1:17.789
11 / LEOK, Tanel / EST / TM Ricci Racing / TM / 36:16.029 / 1:22.248
12 / GUARNERI, Davide / ITA / TM Ricci Racing / TM / 36:16.093 / 1:22.312
13 / RAUCHENECKER, Pascal / AUT / / KTM / 36:35.206 / 1:41.425
14 / PHILIPPAERTS, David / ITA / DP19 Racing Yamaha / Yamaha / 36:36.914 / 1:43.133
15 / BENGTSSON, Filip / SWE / / KTM / 36:37.906 / 1:44.125
16 / SIMPSON, Shaun / GBR / Hitachi Construction Machinery UK KTM / KTM / 36:40.130 / 1:46.349
17 / NICHOLLS, Jake / GBR / Wilvo Forkrent KTM / KTM / 36:40.363 / 1:46.582
18 / KARRO, Matiss / LAT / Wilvo Forkrent KTM / KTM / 37:00.457 / 2:06.676
19 / POTISEK, Milko / FRA / Team 2B Yamaha / Yamaha / 35:11.387 / -1 Lap
20 / GETTEMAN, Jens / BEL / 24MX Honda Racing / Honda / 35:11.907 / 0.520
Fastest Lap: CAIROLI, Antonio; 1:54.401 in lap 6 with 48.776 Km/h
MXGP RACE 2 (17 laps = 26.350 Km)
1 / CAIROLI, Antonio / ITA / Red Bull KTM Factory Racing / KTM / 35:21.488 / 0.000
2 / STRIJBOS, Kevin / BEL / Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP / Suzuki / 35:32.171 / 10.683
3 / VAN HOREBEEK, Jeremy / BEL / Yamaha Factory Racing / Yamaha / 35:41.992 / 20.504
4 / DESALLE, Clement / BEL / Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP / Suzuki / 35:51.196 / 29.708
5 / ROELANTS, Joel / BEL / J-Race Racing Team / Honda / 36:00.549 / 39.061
6 / FROSSARD, Steven / FRA / Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team / Kawasaki / 36:02.266 / 40.778
7 / RATTRAY, Tyla / RSA / Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory racing / Husqvarna / 36:05.281 / 43.793
8 / SIMPSON, Shaun / GBR / Hitachi Construction Machinery UK KTM / KTM / 36:10.024 / 48.536
9 / BOOG, Xavier / FRA / 24MX Honda Racing / Honda / 36:35.139 / 1:13.651
10 / KARRO, Matiss / LAT / Wilvo Forkrent KTM / KTM / 36:38.467 / 1:16.979
11 / LEOK, Tanel / EST / TM Ricci Racing / TM / 36:40.472 / 1:18.984
12 / BENGTSSON, Filip / SWE / / KTM / 36:58.744 / 1:37.256
13 / GONCALVES, Rui / POR / Bike It Yamaha Cosworth / Yamaha / 36:59.996 / 1:38.508
14 / PHILIPPAERTS, David / ITA / DP19 Racing Yamaha / Yamaha / 37:09.059 / 1:47.571
15 / RAUCHENECKER, Pascal / AUT / / KTM / 37:11.914 / 1:50.426
16 / NICHOLLS, Jake / GBR / Wilvo Forkrent KTM / KTM / 37:14.395 / 1:52.907
17 / ULLRICH, Dennis / GER / KTM Sarholz / KTM / 37:18.680 / 1:57.192
18 / BOBRYSHEV, Evgeny / RUS / Team HRC / Honda / 35:26.676 / -1 Lap
19 / GETTEMAN, Jens / BEL / 24MX Honda Racing / Honda / 35:47.666 / 20.990
20 / DE REUVER, Marc / NED / / Honda / 36:57.989 / 1:31.313
Fastest Lap: CAIROLI, Antonio; 1:55.974 in lap 1 with 48.114 Km/h
MXGP Overall top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 45 points; 2. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 42 p.; 3. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 37 p.; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 36 p.; 5. Joel Roelants (BEL, HON), 29 p.; 6. Tyla Rattray (RSA, HUS), 28 p.; 7. Steven Frossard (FRA, KAW), 26 p.; 8. Gautier Paulin (FRA, KAW), 25 p.; 9. Tanel Leok (EST, TM), 20 p.; 10. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 19 p
MXGP World Championship Classification Top Ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 267 points; 2. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 236 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 230 p.; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, KAW), 205 p.; 5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 182 p.; 6. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HON), 166 p.; 7. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 114 p.; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 113 p.; 9. Joel Roelants (BEL, HON), 112 p.; 10. Xavier Boog (FRA, HON), 108 p.
MXGP Manufacturer: 1. KTM, 267 points; 2. Suzuki, 240 p.; 3. Yamaha, 236 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 233 p.; 5. Honda, 202 p.; 6. Husqvarna, 145 p.; 7. TM, 108 p.
It may come as no surprise to the majority, Red Bull KTM Factory Racings Jeffrey Herlings was right in his element here on a track so close to home he even went as far to say “this track here in Valkenswaard is like my back garden.” After winning both races with ease, ‘The Bullet’ wrapped up his fifth Grand Prix win of the year and took back the coveted MX2 red plate.
One rider to stand out with two very impressive performances at the front of the pack, Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre put all those laps around his team’s home circuit of Lommel to good use. Looking very comfortable in the sand, Febvre rode in second for 99% of both races only to make a small fault with less than 100m to go, not once but twice. Despite the costly errors, Febvre kept the bike on two wheels on both occasions to come home with a bitter yet sweet pair of thirds for second overall and his best finish of the year.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jordi Tixier was looking in great shape in race one when he wasted no time in slicing through the pack to take over third. Once in third, the determined young Frenchman rode a relentless race, chasing down and passing fellow Frenchman Febvre with one turn to go to take second place. Unfortunately in race two, Tixier got off to a great start but fell under the pressure of his race one nemesis Febvre. After failing to re-group, the best he could do was fifth, which was enough for third overall and his second consecutive podium finish this season.
Another impressive performance is in the bag for Standing Construct KTM’s Swiss sensation Valentin Guillod. Guillod was riding an incredible pace in race one, but unfortunately a bad start ruined what could have been a podium finish this weekend. Nonetheless, the MX2 rookie should be happy with his performance, taking a fourth and a seventh for fourth overall.
Coming into MX2’s Grand Prix of The Netherlands, CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy Arnaud Tonus, who was carrying the red plate up until now, was realistic in saying he didn’t really expect to beat Jeffrey Herlings in the sand but definitely felt he was more than capable of two times second. Despite a disappointing race one which saw him lay his bike down a couple of times and only bounce back for twelfth, the stylish Swiss redeemed himself in race two with a spectacular pass on his teammate Dylan Ferrandis and Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre on the last lap for second in race two and fifth overall.
Australian Luke Styke brought home 17th and 18th place finishes on the Kemea Yamaha. “This was one tough race… For sure the roughest track I’ve ridden so far this year. Once again I learned a lot this weekend. Problem is there are so many things to learn for me this year. I hoped to adapt to everything a little faster but clearly that’s not the way it’s going. I feel improvement every week though, both physically and racing wise. The results just don’t show it yet, so the main focus to improve those; therefore I need to work on my starts too.” Commented Styke.
MX2 RACE 1 (17 laps = 26.350 Km)
1 / HERLINGS, Jeffrey / NED / Red Bull KTM Factory Racing / KTM / 34:15.867 / 0.000
2 / TIXIER, Jordi / FRA / Red Bull KTM Factory Racing / KTM / 35:23.580 / 1:07.713
3 / FEBVRE, Romain / FRA / Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing / Husqvarna / 35:25.156 / 1:09.289
4 / GUILLOD, Valentin / SUI / Standing Construct KTM / KTM / 35:38.095 / 1:22.228
5 / TONKOV, Aleksandr / RUS / Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing / Husqvarna / 35:45.121 / 1:29.254
6 / ANSTIE, Max / GBR / Bike It Yamaha Cosworth / Yamaha / 35:46.353 / 1:30.486
7 / LIEBER, Julien / BEL / Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe / Suzuki / 35:55.132 / 1:39.265
8 / FERRANDIS, Dylan / FRA / Team CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy MX2 / Kawasaki / 35:59.136 / 1:43.269
9 / GAJSER, Tim / SLO / Honda Gariboldi / Honda / 36:02.659 / 1:46.792
10 / BUTRON, Jose / ESP / KTM Silver Action / KTM / 36:04.830 / 1:48.963
11 / SEEWER, Jeremy / SUI / Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe / Suzuki / 36:05.311 / 1:49.444
12 / TONUS, Arnaud / SUI / Team CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy MX2 / Kawasaki / 36:08.366 / 1:52.499
13 / BOGERS, Brian / NED / HSF Logistics Motorsport Team / KTM / 34:16.088 / -1 Lap
14 / KULLAS, Harri / FIN / Sahkar KTM Racing / KTM / 34:31.808 / 15.720
15 / PETROV, Petar / BUL / Kemea Yamaha Racing Team / Yamaha / 34:36.490 / 20.402
16 / MONTICELLI, Ivo / ITA / Marchetti Racing Team KTM / KTM / 34:40.566 / 24.478
17 / STYKE, Luke / AUS / Kemea Yamaha Racing Team / Yamaha / 34:50.703 / 34.615
18 / JUSTS, Roberts / LAT / Latvia – Husqvarna Racing / Husqvarna / 34:58.624 / 42.536
19 / GRAULUS, Damon / BEL / Standing Construct KTM / KTM / 35:00.749 / 44.661
20 / DESPREY, Maxime / FRA / Honda Jtech / Honda / 35:03.049 / 46.961
Fastest Lap: HERLINGS, Jeffrey; 1:52.847 in lap 16 with 49.447 Km/h
MX2 RACE 2 (17 laps = 26.350 Km)
1 / HERLINGS, Jeffrey / NED / Red Bull KTM Factory Racing / KTM / 34:41.469 / 0.000
2 / TONUS, Arnaud / SUI / Team CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy MX2 / Kawasaki / 35:27.306 / 45.837
3 / FEBVRE, Romain / FRA / Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing / Husqvarna / 35:28.294 / 46.825
4 / FERRANDIS, Dylan / FRA / Team CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy MX2 / Kawasaki / 35:29.378 / 47.909
5 / TIXIER, Jordi / FRA / Red Bull KTM Factory Racing / KTM / 35:50.120 / 1:08.651
6 / BUTRON, Jose / ESP / KTM Silver Action / KTM / 35:53.702 / 1:12.233
7 / GUILLOD, Valentin / SUI / Standing Construct KTM / KTM / 35:54.254 / 1:12.785
8 / TONKOV, Aleksandr / RUS / Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing / Husqvarna / 35:57.256 / 1:15.787
9 / GAJSER, Tim / SLO / Honda Gariboldi / Honda / 36:04.140 / 1:22.671
10 / LIEBER, Julien / BEL / Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe / Suzuki / 36:10.363 / 1:28.894
11 / COVINGTON, Thomas / USA / Team CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy MX2 / Kawasaki / 36:11.985 / 1:30.516
12 / GRAULUS, Damon / BEL / Standing Construct KTM / KTM / 36:31.170 / 1:49.701
13 / MONTICELLI, Ivo / ITA / Marchetti Racing Team KTM / KTM / 36:35.916 / 1:54.447
14 / PETROV, Petar / BUL / Kemea Yamaha Racing Team / Yamaha / 36:43.165 / 2:01.696
15 / VAN DER VLIST, Frederik / NED / HSF Logistics Motorsport Team / KTM / 34:42.463 / -1 Lap
16 / KULLAS, Harri / FIN / Sahkar KTM Racing / KTM / 34:43.492 / 1.029
17 / BOGERS, Brian / NED / HSF Logistics Motorsport Team / KTM / 34:56.979 / 14.516
18 / STYKE, Luke / AUS / Kemea Yamaha Racing Team / Yamaha / 35:19.602 / 37.139
19 / JUSTS, Roberts / LAT / Latvia – Husqvarna Racing / Husqvarna / 35:20.428 / 37.965
20 / SEEWER, Jeremy / SUI / Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe / Suzuki / 35:21.165 / 38.702
Fastest Lap: HERLINGS, Jeffrey; 1:52.950 in lap 1 with 49.402 Km/h
MX2 Overall top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, HUS), 40 p.; 3. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 38 p.; 4. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), 32 p.; 5. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, KAW), 31 p.; 6. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 31 p.; 7. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 29 p.; 8. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 26 p.; 9. Julien Lieber (BEL, SUZ), 25 p.; 10. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 24 p.
MX2 World Championship Classification Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 244 points; 2. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, KAW), 229 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, HUS), 198 p.; 4. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 185 p.; 5. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 185 p.; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, SUZ), 176 p.; 7. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 159 p.; 8. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 145 p.; 9. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), 139 p.; 10. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 131 p.
MX2 Manufacturer: 1. KTM, 274 points; 2. Kawasaki, 251 p.; 3. Suzuki, 204 p.; 4. Husqvarna, 204 p.; 5. Yamaha, 163 p.; 6. Honda, 155 p.; 7. TM, 6 p.
Stunning blue skies were in contrast of the gnarly black sand here in Valkenswaard for round three of the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship where Bud Racing Kawasaki’s Meghan Rutledge put in two solid and consistent performances to take home her second WMX round victory this year.
When the gates dropped for WMX’s second race this morning, Bud Racing Kawasaki’s Meghan Rutledge nailed the holeshot but was quickly passed by both Team One One Four’s Livia Lancelot and HM Plant KTM UK’s Natalie Kane. While Lancelot went on to pull a small gap and lead eleven solid laps for her first WMX race win of the season, a vast game of cat and mouse was in play between Rutledge and Kane.
Meanwhile back in fourth, local Dutch heroine Nancy Van De Ven was holding off Team Dragon Moto’s Stephanie Laier, while yesterday’s race one winner Chiara Fontanesi was on damage control after a mistake early on in lap one left her buried at the back of the pack.
As Fontanesi continued to pick the riders off one-by-one, which was made a little easier when Van De Ven crashed out of fourth, the battle between Kane and Rutledge started to get serious. With lap traffic coming into play and four laps to go, a determined Rutledge took the advantage and second place.
Heading into the last lap of the race it appeared a battle for the win could have unfurled between Team One One Four’s Livia Lancelot and Bud Racing Kawasaki’s Meghan Rutledge, but after passing pit-lane and realizing she had the overall win in the bag, Rutledge chose to back off and settle for a safe second only one second clear of HM Plant KTM UK’s Natalie Kane in third. Race one winner Chiara Fontanesi put in a remarkable ride to redeem fourth with Team Dragon Moto’s Stephanie Laier rounding out the top five.
Although Chiara Fontanesi had a tough second race, her win in race one in combination with her fourth in race two was enough for second overall and to claim the WMX red plate for the first time this season. Meanwhile Natalie Kane added up two third place finishes for third overall and now sits second in the overall standings one point behind Fontanesi. The Australian Meghan Rutledge was consistently second this weekend and now jumps from fifth to third in the championship standings, only two points short of the red plate.
Due to a mechanical failure in race one, race two’s winner Team One One Four’s Livia Lancelot only finished ninth overall for WMX’s round of The Netherlands and has now dropped back to fifth in the overall standings trailing the lead by twenty-two points.
WMX Race 1 top ten: 1. Chiara Fontanesi (ITA, Yamaha), 26:20.086; 2. Meghan Kat Rutledge (AUS, Kawasaki), +0:04.392; 3. Natalie Kane (IRL, KTM), +0:06.894; 4. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +0:21.413; 5. Stephanie Laier (GER, Suzuki), +1:05.213; 6. Marianne Veenstra (NED, Husqvarna), +1:24.911; 7. Anne Borchers (GER, Suzuki), +1:27.478; 8. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Suzuki), +1:45.634; 9. Gabriela Seisdedos (ESP, Kawasaki), +1:47.792; 10. Joanna Miller (POL, Suzuki), +1:55.694
WMX Race 2 top ten: 1. Livia Lancelot (FRA, Kawasaki), 26:06.326; 2. Meghan Kat Rutledge (AUS, Kawasaki), +0:05.394; 3. Natalie Kane (IRL, KTM), +0:11.851; 4. Chiara Fontanesi (ITA, Yamaha), +0:30.727; 5. Stephanie Laier (GER, Suzuki), +0:32.093; 6. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +1:02.877; 7. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Suzuki), +1:15.291; 8. Marianne Veenstra (NED, Husqvarna), +1:25.336; 9. Anne Borchers (GER, Suzuki), +1:40.392; 10. Nina Klink (NED, KTM), +1:50.628
WMX Overall top ten: 1. Meghan Kat Rutledge (AUS, KAW), 44 points; 2. Chiara Fontanesi (ITA, YAM), 43 p.; 3. Natalie Kane (IRL, KTM), 40 p.; 4. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 33 p.; 5. Stephanie Laier (GER, SUZ), 32 p.; 6. Marianne Veenstra (NED, HUS), 28 p.; 7. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, SUZ), 27 p.; 8. Anne Borchers (GER, SUZ), 26 p.; 9. Livia Lancelot (FRA, KAW), 25 p.; 10. Joanna Miller (POL, SUZ), 20 p.
WMX World Championship Classification Top Ten: 1. Chiara Fontanesi (ITA, YAM), 121 points; 2. Natalie Kane (IRL, KTM), 120 p.; 3. Meghan Kat Rutledge (AUS, KAW), 119 p.; 4. Stephanie Laier (GER, SUZ), 104 p.; 5. Livia Lancelot (FRA, KAW), 99 p.; 6. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 93 p.; 7. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, SUZ), 85 p.; 8. Marianne Veenstra (NED, HUS), 75 p.; 9. Francesca Nocera (ITA, SUZ), 68 p.; 10. Anne Borchers (GER, SUZ), 68 p.
WMX Manufacturer: 1. Kawasaki, 138 points; 2. Yamaha, 126 p.; 3. KTM, 120 p.; 4. Suzuki, 104 p.; 5. Husqvarna, 75 p.; 6. Honda, 20 p.
A busy Grand Prix of the Netherlands marked the FIM Motocross World Championship’s first visit to northern Europe this season with the sand of Valkenswaard providing the challenge.
For this race Evgeny Bobryshev (Team HRC) was the sole works CRF450R runner after team mate Max Nagl suffered an injury in training and missed the event. The Russian placed tenth overall whilst Antonio Cairoli (KTM) took his fourth MXGP victory of 2014. The Sicilian defeated Jeremy Van Horebeek (Yamaha) and Kevin Strijbos (Suzuki) to the top of the podium. The event was the scene of a career-best finish in the premier class for privateer Honda rider, Joel Roelants, as the Belgian ranked fifth on the CRF450R from the confines of his own J-Race team.
The black terrain of the Eurocircuit did not offer a deep festival of ruts and sandy berms due to the decent weather but the ground was slippery and hard in places as well as very bumpy and draining in others. The sand still required a special technique and schooling and healthy degree of caution.
Bobryshev launched into the weekend with indifferent memories of Valkenswaard. It was here in 2010 that he pushed himself onto the highest level of the premier class by leading part of the MX1 Grand Prix and finishing fourth in what was his maiden season on the 450s. However in 2012 a thumb injury at the same venue for the campaign-opener started a difficult run of physical setbacks and niggles and stalled the excellent progress he had made as a factory Honda racer in 2011.
‘Bobby’ is at least returning to a decent state of fitness and form since re-breaking his leg earlier this year. Mindful of the need for consistency the 26 year old started well and rode to a decent fifth position in the first moto and was close to securing fourth spot until Clement Desalle (Suzuki) snuck past on the final lap. ‘777’ was set for a similar standing near the top of the leaderboard in the second outing until he was involved in a freak incident. Gautier Paulin (Kawasaki) crashed entering a turn next to him and the spiralling Kawasaki hit his handlebar, damaging his right little finger and the rear wheel became wedged around his front brake. He needed a marshal’s help to get untangled and from there tried to regain ground but only reached eighteenth position by the end of the thirty minute and two lap distance.
Max Nagl was absent from the Grand Prix after a training accident the previous week left the German with a broken wrist. Nagl is already undergoing treatment and could miss up to four rounds as the injury heals and a rehab programme is addressed. Max hopes to be back on the CRF450R in time for his home event at Teutschenthal towards the end of June.
Joel Roelants was inspired at a circuit that almost constitutes a home Grand Prix. The Belgian found a good rhythm in the first moto to score eighth position but was even stronger in the second to finish in fifth place. The latter result marked his best in just his second season in MXGP and delivered fifth overall; another personal highest position.
In the MX2 class, Tim Gajser (Honda Gariboldi) continues to be a presence among the top half of the division with his works CRF250R. The Slovenian rode to a solid fourth position in Saturday’s Qualification Heat and in the sunshine of Sunday fought hard. Gajser was embroiled in a second turn pile-up in Moto1 that cast him towards the back of the pack and he rallied back to ninth position. In the second moto he conceded some ground in the opening laps until finding a more effective rhythm and again took ninth by the chequered flag giving him 10th overall in the GP classification. Team-mate Kei Yamamoto weathered his first Grand Prix in the sand with twenty-ninth position overall.
In the overall standings Dutch rider Jeffrey Herlings (KTM) dominated with wins in both motos to take the top step of the podium with Romain Febvre (Husqvarna) and Jordi Tixier (KTM) in second and third place.
Round six of the 2014 calendar takes place next weekend with Talavera de la Reina, close to Madrid, hosting the first Grand Prix of Spain since 2011. The hard-pack circuit welcomes the FIM Motocross World Championship for first time since 2000 when Gordon Crockard earned the 250cc GP victory riding a Honda CR250.
Evgeny Bobryshev: Race Result: 5th/18th Championship position: 7th “Again I’m at the centre of someone else’s accident! The weekend started well and we had a good set-up with the bike and the first race was OK for me. I wasn’t really that happy but it was a consistent performance. I am really missing bike time. I have been able to train and I feel better but still not like normal and that’s what caused me to slow down at the end of the first race. I was feeling positive for the second moto but I saw Paulin have a big accident just ahead of me and his bike just spun up on top of my handlebar. I didn’t crash but his brake disc became jammed and I could not get free. A flag marshal came and helped me and I could get out. I started coming back but after a few laps my hand started to hurt a lot and it was tough to hold on. It was a real shame because I like this track but again something seems to happen to me!”
Tim Gajser: Race Result: 9th/9th Championship position: 8th “I had a really good start in the first race but couldn’t help getting involved in the crash on the second corner. I restarted in twenty-third and came back to ninth place. It was not so bad and I was happy with the lap-times. In the second race I touched with Jeffrey [Herlings] and someone else coming out of the gate so I had to back-off. I didn’t have a great feeling on the bike in the beginning but it was getting better by the end. Not such a great weekend, but it could be worse!”
The typically rough and bumpy Valkenswaard sand demanded a special skill set from the FIM Motocross World Championship riders at the Grand Prix of the Netherlands and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek responded admirably to finish as runner-up, take his fifth podium result in a row and from the six rounds of the MXGP series so far.
27,000 spectators turned out under blue skies and in pleasant conditions at the staple Dutch venue a short distance south of Eindhoven and close to the Belgian border. Van Horebeek started the weekend in fine form once more with the fastest lap-time in Timed Practice and then a strong run to second place in Saturday’s qualification Heat. The team had been testing refinements to the sand setting on the YZ450F as well as reinforcing their prowess out of the starts. JVH came into the race nursing some bruises after a fall during another victorious run in a Belgian Championship meeting on the May day holiday on Thursday.
The YZ450FM was a rocket out of the start gate in Holland and Van Horebeek was inside the top three around the tight chicane section in both motos. In the opening sprint he set a pace to remain third behind Antonio Cairoli and Gautier Paulin and when the world champion developed a problem with his front wheel was able to relegate the Italian and move into second spot. In the second moto Van Horebeek was second to Cairoli and being chased by Kevin Strijbos. Safe in the knowledge that he had the overall runner-up position in the bag – and after one or two mistakes – ‘89’ let his quicker countryman through and circulated to his eighth top three ranking from the twelve races run in the year so far.
The champagne spray and another trophy means that Van Horebeek is now second in the MXGP Championship standings (6 points in front of Clement Desalle and 31 behind Cairoli) with over a third of the season now wrapped.
DP19 Yamaha racing’s David Philippaerts ended the weekend with fourteenth overall. The former world champion was limiting the damage at a difficult circuit after a severe bout of the Flu had left him bed-ridden for over half a week following the wet Grand Prix of Bulgaria. The Italian was fourteenth in both motos. Bike it Yamaha Cosworth’s Rui Goncalves was twentieth at the end of the day and struggled to hone his set-up in terms of suspension to get a decent feeling on the sand. The Portuguese continued to work with the Ohlins technology and made improvements in the second outing to finish thirteenth. A mishap at the beginning of the first race meant he was last by a healthy distance and could not reach the points.
The Grand Prix of Spain at Talavera de la Reina will represent the seventh round of seventeen in the 2014 campaign and is likely to see confirmation that the date in mid-August that was originally slated for the GP of Ukraine to be removed from the schedule. Talavera will play host to the first Spanish fixture of the FIM Motocross World Championship since 2011.
Jeremy Van Horebeek – “I had a race at the Belgian Championship on Thursday and a crash there, so I was still a bit sore this weekend and not feeling 100%. Overall it was a good day though and I am happy to be on the box again. We improved our starts today also, so I’m pleased. There were a lot of fans here and this place is only twenty minutes from my home but as a Pro sportsman you have to adapt to the pressure and the spotlight. I did my own race. I was feeling pretty good in the second moto but when I tried to go even faster I was making too many mistakes. I knew even if Kevin [Strijbos] passed me then I would still be second so I let him by. A big thanks to the team; we are five in a row now so I am stoked about that.”
David Philippaerts – “A difficult race. I was not fully fit this weekend because I was sick after Bulgaria and spent four days in bed with a fever and temperature near forty degrees! I didn’t ride the bike since the last Grand Prix so not ideal preparation for the sand. I pushed as much as I could but I felt finished in the second moto. The result was not good but we’ll see the next race. There are some good tracks for me coming up and I want to take as many points as possible because this will be important for the championship.”
Fontanesi the bright runner on YZ250F technology in Holland
The Grand Prix of the Netherlands drew sunny skies over the bumpy and dark Valkenswaard sand as Yamaha looked upon the positive speed of Kemea Yamaha Racing’s Petar Petrov in the MX2 class for what was the sixth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship. The third round of the EMX125 series saw Alvin Ostlund shine on the YZ125 with second place overall and the third event in the FIM Women’s World Championship allowed Kiara Fontanesi to post her second successive podium on the YZ250F and rise to the summit of the standings.
The Eurocircuit was its usual mix of teasing lumps, bumps and berms; a draining surface for both the riders and the resistance of the race engines. 27,000 fans came to the first visit by the competition to northern Europe after recent treks to Italy and Bulgaria.
After his stirring performance on home soil two weeks ago Petar Petrov was again setting impressive lap-times on the YZ250F in Kemea Yamaha Racing colours. The Bulgarian was plagued by bad luck in the motos however and also some fatigue. He was taken down on the second corner of the first race as part of multi rider pile-up and had to return from the rear of the field to reach fifteenth. A similar incident occurred in the second race but negotiating the fourth turn! Petar again had his work cut-out to arrive to fourteenth. Yamaha’s best performer from the two sprints was Max Anstie who emerged from a five-rider tussle for sixth position in Moto1 victorious for what was his best ranking since the Grand Prix of Brazil for round three. The Briton suffered a fall and damaged clutch in the second moto however and pulled out of the action. Luke Styke was competing in his first Grand Prix in the sand as he nears the end of the first half of his maiden term in the FIM contest. The Australian was 19th overall with a best result of 17th in the first moto.
The support card in Holland boasted Yamaha protagonists in the EMX125 (the career step before GP feeder category EMX250) and also the FIM Women’s World Championship. On the YZ125 two-stroke Alvin Ostlund posted his best result of the three rounds so far with second position overall and a scorecard of 4-2. Kemea’s Cyril Genot was fourth. Kiara Fontanesi dominated the first moto of WMX on her YRRD-kitted YZ250F but a crash in the formative stages of the second race on Sunday meant she had to hit the bumps even harder to get back to fourth by the finish. The Italian was second overall but at least earned the red plate by one point to again set the pace in the championship chase that she has won the last two years.
The Grand Prix of Spain at Talavera de la Reina next week will not only be the first FIM event to have visited the popular hard-pack circuit south of Madrid since 2000 but also – for Yamaha – see the return of Christophe Charlier on the YZ250FM. The Corsican has recovered from his broken leg sustained in Thailand for round two and has been training to get back on the bike and into the GP paddock.
Kiara Fontanesi – “I’m happy because I have the red plate and that was my goal for this Grand Prix. My job is to keep it until the end now and I know I can do it. I know I could have won this weekend if I hadn’t have crashed but then I don’t feel too bad because I did the best I could.”
Max Anstie – “We struggled with our set-up all weekend. I pulled it together to get sixth in the first moto but a bad start and a clutch lever problem after a crash in the second moto which put me out. I’m not too happy with how the last weeks have gone but we have all put 100% into it and it’s just not working at the moment. We will come back to work this week and come in feeling good for Spain.”
Petar Petrov – “I’m so disappointed with this weekend for myself and for the team. As it was like a home GP and I like the track I hoped to be fighting for the top five here. I was feeling empty all weekend long. I don’t know what the problem was I felt tired after one lap and had no energy left. A bad gate pick was a big disadvantage to get a good start and for the confidence. In the second race a rider crashed in front of me and I couldn’t avoid him. I tried all I could to come back. It is what it is.”
Luke Styke – “This was one tough race… For sure the roughest track I’ve ridden so far this year. Once again I learned a lot this weekend. Problem is there are so many things to learn for me this year. I hoped to adapt to everything a little faster but clearly that’s not the way it’s going. I feel improvement every week though, both physically and racing wise. The results just don’t show it yet, so the main focus to improve those; therefore I need to work on my starts too.”
Rockstar Energy Suzuki Report
Hot Dutch sunshine shone down on the sand of Valkenswaard as Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP’s Kevin Strijbos nudged team-mate Clement Desalle from the third-step of the podium in front of a decent 27,000 crowd for what was the sixth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship.
The Grand Prix of Netherlands is almost a home event for the Lommel-based factory team. The Eurocircuit sand was dry, bumpy and tricky with some hard and slick sections but also vast berms and ruts by the time of the second motos on Sunday. The terrain required some refinement to the set-up after the first day of action and the team worked steadily to find the optimum configuration for both riders.
Strijbos was a lonely sixth in the first moto but altered his RM-Z450 again before the second race and was a more proactive threat. The Belgian chased Jeremy Van Horebeek hard for second position and pushed his countryman down the order in the final two laps. Strijbos’ best result in 2014 allowed him to swap places with Desalle and secure his second trophy of the campaign.
Desalle also rode effectively across the sand and at a circuit that has not usually been one of his strongest in past seasons. He pursued Evgeny Bobryshev in the first sprint and overtook the Russian with two laps remaining to score fourth place. In the second moto he was a lonely fourth again and ended the day with the same slot.
Desalle is third in the MXGP table, six points behind Jeremy Van Horebeek. Strijbos is fifth and 23 behind Gautier Paulin, who crashed and broke his collarbone in the second moto.
The team will head back to the workshop across the border and quickly re-stock before starting the long drive down to Talavera de la Reina, southwest of Madrid this week, for the first Grand Prix of Spain since 2011.
Kevin Strijbos: “I’m happy. After the first race I wasn’t feeling good. The bike wasn’t working well for me and we had some problems. We had tested a lot a few weeks ago and we thought we had a good set-up but things didn’t work out. So we changed back to the old system before the second race and that really helped me. I’m pleased to be back on the podium, my arm-pump problem has gone; and we were working on that. There are still a couple of things to sort-out but generally it is all coming together.”
Clement Desalle: “Fourth place is OK because I had such a bad feeling on Saturday. Every time I got on the bike on Sunday I was better, so that was good. Actually I’m satisfied with the result today; the podium would have been better but at least it was Kevin who took it! In the first moto Bobryshev came across me but I got through the first two turns quite well. I was fifth but passed him at the end which was good. I gave all I had until the end. In the second moto Kevin was riding well and it was difficult to follow him. It was a lonely race.”
Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe Report
Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe faced the Grand Prix of the Netherlands without principal star Glenn Coldenhoff, but riders Julien Lieber and Jeremy Seewer gave a good account of themselves through the tough Valkenswaard sand with Lieber scoring his best season result.
The shallow sand was bumpy and ruthless in some sections due to the presence of five racing classes throughout the weekend. The sun shone on the sixth round of the FIM Motocross World Championships and 27,000 spectators came-out to enjoy the weather and some first-class racing action.
Seewer made a fantastic start in the first moto on the RM-Z250 and was running in third position. A slew of riders disputed slots in the second half of the top-10 and Lieber burst through to secure seventh place as the young Swiss found his rhythm further back in 11th. It was Lieber’s highest finish of the season so far and since the same meeting in 2013. In the second race Seewer was driven wide into the fast left hander before the run to the finish and crashed in what was the early stages of the moto. He picked himself up but the bike was quite badly damaged, but he pushed-on to take one point for 20th.
Lieber was also on the ground on the first lap. A mistake trying to turn too tight meant he quickly had to pick up the RM-Z and get back into the fray. Again his riding was strong and he broke into the top ten for ninth-place overall.
Coldenhoff was still nursing pain from his recent knee surgery so could not be present at his home Grand Prix to receive the attention of the fans after a stellar start to the 2014 campaign that delivered three podium finishes.
Brian Hsu was in attendance for the third round of the EMX125 championship and had an eventful meeting. The youngster was fighting for second position in the first moto until a short landing on a jump saw him tweak his groin and he had to slow to seventh. Three crashes in the second moto banished him out of the points and down to 28th, culminating in 15th overall.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe will eat kilometres this week in the journey from northern Europe to Spain and Talavera de la Reina circuit that is preparing to welcome the FIM MXGP series for the first time in 14 years.
Julien Lieber: “This weekend was difficult due to my starts. Always mid-pack. I came back to seventh in the first moto but I had some pain in my back after all the sand practice I have been doing these last weeks. I was between 10th and 15th in the second Heat and just turned the bike too quickly in a corner and lost the front end. From 20th I came back to 10th. Overall it was a good weekend and we are starting to move in a good way again. There are a lot of races ahead to do better.”
Jeremy Seewer: “It was my first sand GP ever and up until now it has not been my favourite type of ground! I knew my speed was there for the top-10 after Saturday. My start was pretty good in the first one and I was third in the beginning. I was doing the pace I needed for the first laps but after a few mistakes I lost some positions and it started to feel heavy. Eleventh wasn’t too bad even if top-10 was my goal. In the second race my start was good again and my speed was a lot better. We had made some changes to the suspension. I got block-passed-out in the corner before the finish jump and went completely into the heavy fence. The bike was broken with no clutch and the left side of the radiator shroud missing. I couldn’t even shift the gears at one point. One point for 20th was all I could do. Overall I am not too happy but my feeling in the sand was OK and I could go with the other guys.”
Brian Hsu: “Today is a bad story! My qualifying was OK but in the first moto I cased a jump while I was pushing for second position and my feet came off the pegs. I pulled my groin a little bit and it was really painful. I had some cramp, so I went from almost taking second place to dropping to seventh. In the second moto I was elbowed-out at the start and crashed. I was last and worked-up to 17th when I hit a fallen rider and then went down a third time in the waves. I need some more luck.
At the end of a demanding day’s racing Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre secured a fantastic overall runner-up MX2 class result at round six of the 2014 FIM Motocross World Championship at Valkensward. Enjoying the challenging sandy circuit the fast starting Febvre delivered two determined performances to twice place third, coming agonisingly close to finishing second in each moto.
Sixth in qualifying Febvre shot out of the gate in Sunday’s opening MX2 moto, claiming the holeshot and leading early on during the first lap. Unable to match the pace of Jeffrey Herlings, Romain nevertheless held station in the runner-up position lap after lap. As the end of the moto drew closer the FC 250 mounted rider found himself suffering with arm pump. Becoming locked in a two-rider battle for the final podium positions with Jordi Tixier, Romain ended the race third having frustratingly been demoted from second in the very last corner. Aleksandr Tonkov determinedly worked his way forwards during the opening MX2 race to claim fifth at the chequered flag.
In many ways the second moto was very similar to the first for Febvre. Jumping out of the gate to lead as the MX2 riders rounded the first turn, a brief spell in third position was followed by 14 laps holding down the runner-up spot. But with the finish line within his sight Romain was passed Arnaud Tonus and pushed to third, matching his result from the opening moto. Securing a top 10 result Aleksandr Tonkov overcame a not so good start to finish eighth. In doing so he placed seventh overall.
Continuing his comeback from injury, Tyla Rattray ended the GP of The Netherlands in sixth position overall, having placed seventh in each moto. Competing alone for the Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing team following team-mate Todd Water’s recent practice accident, Tyla claimed two seventh place results and delivered his strongest performances so far this season. Starting well in each race Tyla delivered two notably improved performances as he focuses on closing in on the top five in the MXGP class.
The FIM Motocross World Championship continues with round seven at Talavera de la Reina, Spain on May 11.
Romain Febvre: “To get second overall in a really great result. Both races went really well for me, but as they finished I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to hold second both times. In the first race I was battling with Jordi Tixier for two or three laps and got third, and in the second race I was in the runner-up position for so many laps. But I wasn’t able to hold it to the finish. That was disappointing, but to get second overall is really great. The team really did a great job this weekend, it’s such a good feeling to get the runner-up spot.”
Tyla Rattray: “I felt like I put in two solid motos, and took a step closer to the top five guys. Valkenswaard is always a tough track and it certainly got that way towards the end of the second moto. I gated well in both races and felt good. In the first race I started to tighten up a little mid-race, so I relaxed a little and then pushed hard towards the end. I felt fresh going into the second moto and although I made things a little harder for myself by letting a few guys passed early on I pushed hard to climb back to seventh. It’s frustrating that I’m not where I want to be yet, but we’re getting there. My hands are still really tender, but they’re getting stronger. It’s back to hard pack training now ready for next weekend’s GP in Spain.”