RV2 raises the Stars and Stripes in MXGP of Thailand
Intense is one word that sums up today with temperatures soaring so high, to the point the Event Management team together with the team managers decided to reduce both MXGP and MX2’s second race by five minutes. In MXGP Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Ryan Villopoto obtained his first race and overall victory, while Jeffrey Herlings dominated both heats in MX2.
With the fans stoked to see the real Ryan Villopoto show up and do what he has been touted to do dominating race one for his first race win of the season, we were just as impressed with the all new race demeanor of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings as he rode cool and smart to remain unbeaten in Asia, as well as in the 2015 FIM Motocross World Championship.
Starting with the topic on everybody’s lips, Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Ryan Villopoto. His performance yesterday in qualifying and in race one today was nothing short of amazing. The American looked right at home on the jump riddled circuit here in Nakhonchaisri, and couldn’t be touched in those two races. While finishing seventh at the first round of MXGP is nothing to turn your nose up at when racing the best riders in the world, to someone who is so used to winning championships, the result wouldn’t have been what he wanted. Today, RV’s feat took him from zero to hero, allowing him to raise the Stars and Stripes as the middle flag on the podium of the FIM Motocross World Championship for the first time since 2009.
Ryan Villopoto:”We only had two days to test when we went back to Europe but we made good progress with the bike. We made some big suspension changes and then some fine tuning here. I think the track here is not only new for all of us, it is also a little more jumpy than the usual GP track and suited me. For sure there will be weeks when a track suits me best, and other weeks when the track suits the European guys. I didn’t ride this sort of heat for one and a half years, and it even started snowing when we were training in Belgium on Tuesday, so it was a shock change for all of us. I guess I have some things to learn too. I also backed off my pace in the qualifier but I think the other guys did so even more to save energy in the heat. There’s a strategy to GP racing but I’m gradually getting used to it. I got pushed around a little in the first few turns of race two but when I got to third I just tried to be smart, and at this stage of the season a safe third is better than risking a crash. It’s cool to come here to Thailand and see things which you would normally only see in the movies; it’s a bizarre experience.”
Meanwhile Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP’s Clement Desalle was also very impressive this weekend and is exhibiting the type of consistency that cannot be flawed. The Belgian hardly put a foot wrong and was clearly the second fastest guy in both races. After finishing with a pair of seconds, for second overall just as he did at round one in Qatar, Desalle was awarded the red plate symbolizing he is the new MXGP championship points leader.
Clement Desalle: “Yesterday when I did my first lap of the track here I was quite surprised by it but then it became better and better. My starts were better today and that’s a positive thing. Two strong results and that’s important because my goal for the moment is to be like that every moto. I’m happy with my feeling on the bike and the control I have. I am trying to enjoy myself as much as possible because I know that is when the results come. We will do some testing now and I’m excited about the chance to get a bit better in small areas. It is great to have the red plate for the first time since 2013. The bike will look nice in Argentina!”
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli made his statement in the second race when he pulled the Fox Holeshot and stormed away to his first MXGP race victory of the year. The Italian said “I cannot complain, I am getting better every weekend and I know that right now I am not in the best form, but I know that when I am, I can be up front so I am just looking forward to the next race”
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre put in some eye-opening performances today. Last year’s MX2 world championship bronze medalist, who was forced up to MXGP due to the age cap on MX2, has proved that you don’t have to be ‘big’ to ride a 450cc. The Frenchman, small in stature, has clearly got a handle on his YZ450F Yamaha which was evident when he wrapped up third in the first race and bounced back from an average start for fourth in the second race for fourth overall.
As for Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP’s Kevin Strijbos, it’s all about putting points on the board as he battled through the pain and discomfort of a wrist injury for fifth overall while Team HRC’s Gautier Paulin couldn’t find his groove and had to settle for sixth.
Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl had ‘one of those days’ and only finished seventh which has dropped him back to third in the championship standings. It was a little bit unfortunate for the German who carried the red plate into this round, but looking at the bigger picture, some points are better than no points. Just ask the likes of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing duo Tommy Searle and Ken De Dycker who both crashed and DNF’d both races.
Todd Waters enjoyed a solid GP of Thailand, placing ninth and seventh in the two MXGP races. Struggling to put together a good lap during timed practice and then not having the best of qualifying races, in both motos he battled his way inside the top 10. Ending the GP just one position behind Nagl in eighth overall, Todd ended his weekend in Thailand pleased with his riding. Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna’s Dean Ferris placed 20th and ninth in the MXGP class for 17th overall.
Todd Waters – Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing: “I wasn’t feeling great at the start of Sunday, but things really improved. I was just disappointed that things hadn’t gone well during qualifying. I couldn’t get a good lap together in practice and then didn’t have a good qualifying race. But things were much better on race day. Running closer to the front felt great. I know my speed is good, I just need to work at improving my starts so that I can get amongst things from the first lap.”
Dean Ferris finished 20th in the opening moto but bounced back with a strong ninth in the final moto.
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Ryan Villopoto (USA, Kawasaki), 34:09.149; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:10.536; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:23.931; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:28.213; 5. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:34.893; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:40.874; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:49.471; 8. Tyla Rattray (RSA, Kawasaki), +1:08.958; 9. Todd Waters (AUS, Husqvarna), +1:20.819; 10. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +1:40.905
MXGP Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 29:10.216; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:09.756; 3. Ryan Villopoto (USA, Kawasaki), +0:22.788; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:51.327; 5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:59.278; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +1:03.006; 7. Todd Waters (AUS, Husqvarna), +1:05.485; 8. Tyla Rattray (RSA, Kawasaki), +1:16.036; 9. Dean Ferris (AUS, Husqvarna), +1:18.208; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +1:19.321
MXGP Overall: 1. Ryan Villopoto (USA, KAW), 45 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 44 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 41 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 38 p.; 5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 31 p.; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 29 p.; 7. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 28 p.; 8. Todd Waters (AUS, HUS), 26 p.; 9. Tyla Rattray (RSA, KAW), 26 p.; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, YAM), 20 p.
MXGP Championship: 1. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 88 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 79 p.; 3. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 78 p.; 4. Ryan Villopoto (USA, KAW), 70 p.; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 67 p.; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 67 p.; 7. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 55 p.; 8. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 45 p.; 9. Todd Waters (AUS, HUS), 40 p.; 10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 38 p.
MXGP Manufacturer: 1. Suzuki, 88 points; 2. Husqvarna, 82 p.; 3. KTM, 79 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 70 p.; 5. Yamaha, 70 p.; 6. Honda, 67 p.; 7. TM, 28 p.
Another amazing ride is in the bag for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings as he continues to take every race as it comes. With Herlings dominating just as he has done over the previous years, the former two-time FIM MX2 World Champion is already getting questioned what are your future plans.
Jeffrey Herlings: “This was a really tough weekend and I don’t have so much riding fitness yet because I have only been on the bike four weeks. The heat really got to me but we made our way through and won both motos. I also won the qualification so I can go home happy. The track is what it is and riders have to adapt but for sure it was kind of Supercross style, and with this hear, they humidity and such a track it was really tough. Sometimes you have to fight through a wall and that’s what I did. Now I have three weeks to recover so I’m going to rest, recover and start training again on Wednesday.”
The young Latvian Pauls Jonass is really starting to turn heads now. Last weekend at MXGP of Qatar the Red Bull KTM Factory rider stole a couple of holeshots and managed to hold the pace for a couple of laps. Today in Thailand, he not only got good starts, he maintained the pace of the top guys and held off a couple of the most publicized names in MX2 to secure his spot on the second step of the podium, which for him is a career best finish.
After being ill yesterday, Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Dylan Ferrandis managed to race his way to third overall for his second podium finish of the season. The Frenchman went on to say “my goal is to win. For the last five years I have never been 100% but now I feel good, better than I ever have. I believe that when I am riding the best I can, I can race with Jeffrey and that’s what I want to do”
Ferrandis’ Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team teammate Thomas Covington is really starting to get a handle on things. The young American rode solid today for two fifth place finishes for fourth overall.
Meanwhile Standing Construct Yamaha Yamalube’s Valentin Guillod, looking as stylish as always, felt a little off due to being sick but managed to battle on and finish fifth overall.
MX2 Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:58.798; 2. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:07.602; 3. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:20.513; 4. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:26.923; 5. Thomas Covington (USA, Kawasaki), +0:30.333; 6. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:46.653; 7. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +0:52.247; 8. Mel Pocock (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:06.255; 9. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +1:22.264; 10. Petar Petrov (BUL, KTM), +1:31.510
MX2 Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 30:06.023; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:10.312; 3. Julien Lieber (BEL, Yamaha), +0:16.508; 4. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:37.006; 5. Thomas Covington (USA, Kawasaki), +0:40.267; 6. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:49.406; 7. Mel Pocock (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:51.874; 8. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +1:00.529; 9. Petar Petrov (BUL, KTM), +1:07.961; 10. Roberts Justs (LAT, KTM), +1:17.137
MX2 Overall: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 40 p.; 3. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 40 p.; 4. Thomas Covington (USA, KAW), 32 p.; 5. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 30 p.; 6. Mel Pocock (GBR, KAW), 27 p.; 7. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 25 p.; 8. Petar Petrov (BUL, KTM), 23 p.; 9. Julien Lieber (BEL, YAM), 20 p.; 10. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 20 p.
MX2 Championship: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 100 points; 2. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 78 p.; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 70 p.; 4. Julien Lieber (BEL, YAM), 62 p.; 5. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 58 p.; 6. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 56 p.; 7. Thomas Covington (USA, KAW), 53 p.; 8. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 52 p.; 9. Petar Petrov (BUL, KTM), 41 p.; 10. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 38 p
MX2 Manufacturer: 1. KTM, 100 points; 2. Kawasaki, 78 p.; 3. Yamaha, 77 p.; 4. Honda, 61 p.; 5. Husqvarna, 56 p.; 6. Suzuki, 38 p
Womens Motocross – Kiara Fontanesi dominates in Thailand
Yamaha MXfontaracing’s Kiara Fontanesi brought the heat this weekend in Thailand for round two of the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship riding a solid and fierce pace in each and every moto to claim her first WMX round win of the year as well as the coveted red plate.
On Saturday, when the gates fell it was Genette Vaage who got the jump and stretched out half a bike length on the approach to turn one before locking it up and crashing causing a bit of carnage which caught out the likes of young Dutch speedster Nancy Van de Ven and the defending champion Yamaha MXFontaracing’s Kiara Fontanesi. With the two Yamaha’s of Fontanesi and Van de Ven down on turn one it was the Kawasaki girls, Team One One Four’s Livia Lancelot and Monster Energy Kawasaki Bud Racing’s Meghan Rutledge who shot past the early race leader, Japanese wildcard Juri Hatao, to lead lap one.
While both Lancelot and Rutledge were setting a good pace up front, they soon found themselves in trouble when Fontanesi started laying down laps four seconds a lap faster than anyone else. With Fontanesi impressively erasing the space between herself and the leaders, it wasn’t long before she made light work of the Kawasaki duo and swiftly took over the lead.
Pure speed wasn’t a problem for the Italian who was clearly in her element out on the jumpy circuit here in Nakhonchaisri, which meant it was up to Lancelot to up her game if she was to challenge the reigning champ. While Lancelot did manage to rise to the challenge, she ended up biting the dust a couple of laps later.
While Lancelot still managed to recover in second she allowed Rutledge to put in a last minute charge for second but managed to hold strong forcing Rutledge to settle for third.
Meanwhile Yamaha’s Nancy Van de Ven made an amazing recovery after her first turn mishap, to come home in fourth while Twenty Suspension Suzuki’s Larissa Papenmeier rounded out the top five.
WMX Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, Yamaha), 24:04.783; 2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:04.963; 3. Meghan Rutledge (AUS, Kawasaki), +0:06.190; 4. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +1:02.427; 5. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Suzuki), +1:09.620; 6. Francesca Nocera (ITA, Suzuki), +1:16.905; 7. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), +1:19.157; 8. Genette Vaage (NOR, KTM), +1:29.841; 9. Justine Charroux (FRA, Yamaha), +2:00.082; 10. Anne Borchers (GER, Suzuki), +2:01.998.
Race two was a run-away performance for Yamaha MXfontaracing’s Kiara Fontanesi after she snuck up the inside of the holeshotter Nancy Van De Ven to take the early lead.
It wasn’t long before Fontanesi knuckled down and checked out leaving Van de Ven and Lancelot to vie for second. With Lancelot going to work on the eager young Dutch rider, Monster Energy Bud Racing Kawasaki’s Meghan Rutledge was slicing her way through the field after a shocking start left her well outside the top ten.
Rutledge had her life made a little easier when Lancelot hit the deck and handed her third but that was short lived with Lancelot bouncing back fast. After finding her way back around Rutledge, Lancelot dropped the hammer and went around the outside of Van de Ven past pitlane for second. Jumping in her slip stream, ‘Mad Meg’ also barged her way through dropping the Dutch girl back to fourth.
After battling through the intense heat here in Thailand it was Kiara Fontanesi who was on form today, taking yet another convincing victory for the round win and the championship points lead. Meanwhile Lancelot took another second with Rutledge rounding out her weekend with a pair of thirds. Van de Ven and Papenmeier kept the pattern going with their pairs of fourths and fifths.
WMX Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, Yamaha), 25:33.131; 2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:08.888; 3. Meghan Rutledge (AUS, Kawasaki), +0:13.374; 4. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +0:41.855; 5. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Suzuki), +1:12.649; 6. Francesca Nocera (ITA, Suzuki), +1:23.847; 7. Genette Vaage (NOR, KTM), +1:36.415; 8. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), +1:46.642; 9. Juri Hatao (JPN, Kawasaki), -1 lap(s); 10. Justine Charroux (FRA, Yamaha), -1 lap(s)
WMX Overall: 1. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, YAM), 50 points; 2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, KAW), 44 p.; 3. Meghan Rutledge (AUS, KAW), 40 p.; 4. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 36 p.; 5. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, SUZ), 32 p.; 6. Francesca Nocera (ITA, SUZ), 30 p.; 7. Genette Vaage (NOR, KTM), 27 p.; 8. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), 27 p.; 9. Justine Charroux (FRA, YAM), 23 p.; 10. Marianne Veenstra (NED, HUS), 20 p.
WMX Championship: 1. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, YAM), 94 points; 2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, KAW), 94 p; 3. Meghan Rutledge (AUS, KAW), 78 p.; 4. Francesca Nocera (ITA, SUZ), 63 p; 5. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 61 p.; 6. Genette Vaage (NOR, KTM), 57 p.; 7. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, SUZ), 52 p.; 8. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), 51 p.; 9. Justine Charroux (FRA, YAM), 44 p.; 10. Anne Borchers (GER, SUZ), 41 p.
WMX Manufacturer: 1. Yamaha, 94 points; 2. Kawasaki, 94 p.; 3. Suzuki, 66 p.; 4. KTM, 58 p.; 5. Honda, 32 p.; 6. Husqvarna, 20 p.