Factory KTM's Jeffrey Herlings has won the sixth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship, the MXGP of Italy, extending his points lead to 60-points over Tony Cairoli.
Jeffrey Herlings’ victory at the MXGP of Italy marked the fourth overall win for the Dutch rider this year, and his 90th career GP win.
The opening MXGP race saw Ivo Monticelli put his Standing Construct GasGas Factory machine out in front as he led KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado, Jeffrey Herlings and Clement Desalle from Kawasaki MXGP Team.
Though as Monticelli made a mistake on the opening lap, this allowed Prado to take the lead, with Herlings right behind him. At that point Desalle was in third place, though was coming under pressure from the Antonio Cairoli of KTM Factory Racing.
It didn’t take long for Jeremy Seewer of the Yamaha Factory MXGP squad to get up in the mix, as he started to apply the pressure onto Cairoli early in the race.
By the second lap it was a KTM 1-2-3, as Prado led Herlings and Cairoli. Meanwhile further down the field Gautier Paulin from Yamaha Factory MXGP moved into fifth as he pushed Desalle down a position and was looking to edge towards his team-mate.
Desalle then lost a position to Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and was then coming under fire by the #259 of Glenn Coldenhoff from Standing Construct GasGas MXGP team. The two riders had a close moment as they entered pitlane, though Desalle managed to retain his position.
By lap eight, Herlings was starting to close in on the #61 of Prado, as 2.7 seconds separated the two. Cairoli was still there in third, trying to fend off Seewer and Paulin. During the same lap, Mitch Evans of Team HRC lost 8th to Romain Febvre of Kawasaki MXGP Team who was making his way up the field.
A few laps later saw Gajser crash out of 6th, while the battle at the front heated up! At that point predicting a winner was hard, as Prado, Herlings, Cairoli and Seewer were all bunched up together and pushing hard.
After taking his time, Herlings finally moved into the lead on lap 13, all while Prado was coming under fire from Cairoli and Seewer as well. As Cairoli got alongside the young Spaniard to attempt a pass, he was caught out, thus allowing Seewer through into P3.
Two laps to go and the gap between the top three was just 1.7 seconds, though in the end it was Herlings who took the race win, followed by Seewer and Cairoli, with Prado down in 4th after making a mistake on the final lap.
In the second MXGP race, it was Prado who claimed the second FOX Holeshot of the day and once again leading the rest of the field. Behind him was Herlings, Cairoli and Seewer, though the #222 made a mistake and lost about 5/6 positions on the opening lap.
As Prado led the race, Paulin who was having a great ride in fourth came under attack by the defending world champion, Gajser, with Cairoli also stepping it up and getting involved in the action.
While the two factory Yamahas of Seewer and Paulin were having a top ride in the top 5, the same couldn’t be said for their team-mate Arnaud Tonus who crashed out of the race.
As Gajser and Cairoli continued to push Paulin, the Frenchman caught his leg which sent him flying into the advertising banners and out of a strong fourth place. Meanwhile at the front, just two seconds separated the top three riders, as Seewer set his personal fastest lap time of the race, clearly showing his intentions for the rest of the race.
Following the drama of the first race, that saw Jeremy Van Horebeek of the Honda SR Motoblouz squad miss the start due to what looked like a bike issue, he was running 11th in the second MXGP race. He finished 12th in the end.
As the battle for the lead continued, there was a good fight going down for fourth, with Cairoli being chased by Gajser. It also didn’t take long for Febvre to join in on the action as he eventually passed Gajser and set his sights on Cairoli.
Lap 10 and Prado continued to lead Herlings and Seewer, though that’s when you could see Herlings stepping up a gear as he pushed for the win. Though with Herlings focused on Prado, this allowed Seewer to get right on his tail, with the bullet losing a little bit of time during that lap.
Lap 13 and Herlings was the new race leader after finally finding a way past the #61 of Prado. Seewer could not afford to let Herlings run away and was able to pass for second and continue his chase of the number #84.
For the last three laps of the race a mere 1.1 seconds separated Herlings and Seewer, with the factory Yamaha using all his energy to try pass Herlings, though in the end he was not able to do so as Herlings made it 1-1 winning the MXGP of Italy.
“In the first race I almost got the holeshot, I just went a bit wide but [Jorge] Prado was really good in the beginning and the roost hurt so it was hard to overtake him as he was riding the best lines,” said Jeffrey Herlings at MXGP of Italy. “I felt like I could go faster but I couldn’t really pass. Both races when I could sense that he was tired that’s the point where I tried to overtake him in both races and open a small gap between me and Jeremy. In the second race I overtook him, the rest of the pack like Jeremy were pretty quick so I had to race to the finish line. The speed of the top ten is unbelievably fast, everybody is so close to each other, I felt good all day, I had two good starts, and two race wins so was a good day in the end…Starts are key and I will keep working on them”.
Second on the podium was Seewer following a 2-2 result. After the race Seewer said “In the first race I messed up my start by myself as I went a little bit too early, I was around 10th place. I felt really good and luckily could recover from that and catch up to the front group and finish second behind Jeffrey. I felt good, I used quite a bit of energy as I pushed the whole race and had no time to rest as I had to pass riders throughout the race so I was happy to get a good start in the second one being fourth and straight past Tony [Cairoli] and ride the whole race behind Jeffrey but as he mentioned it’s super hard to pass so I couldn’t really find a spot, he didn’t make any mistakes and I just had to go for second. I’m super happy with my performance, my bike felt great. For me mentally it’s not the easiest time but I’m happy to be second,” he finished.
Cairoli claimed the third step of the podium with a consistent 3-3 in the races. “The day started bad this morning with time practice, I didn’t feel good at all with my knee… In the first race, my start was not so bad but [Ivo] Monticelli went really wide on the corner and we almost touched together so I had to brake and came out around 8th place. I tried to re-group with Jorge [Prado] and Jeffrey [Herlings]. The pace was fast, but I was able to come closer, so I tried to make a good come back, but Jeremy [Seewer] was riding really fast in both races and passed me. In the second race I had a good start and was riding fourth in the first lap though I made a mistake, so I tried to re-group again and to be safe. I found a good rhythm and tried to attack in the last laps but again I was short on time. But I am happy because this track is tough and not one of my favourites and with two more races here I hope I can improve,” Cairoli finished.
Jeffrey Herlings continues to lead the championship by 60 points over Antonio Cairoli, with Tim Gajser in third on 196 points.
MXGP of Italy Results
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points;
2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 44 p.;
3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 40 p.;
4. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 33 p.;
5. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 33 p.;
6. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 29 p.;
7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GAS), 27 p.;
8. Mitchell Evans (AUS, HON), 26 p.;
9. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 26 p.;
10. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, HUS), 23 p.
World Championship after MXGP of Italy
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 263 points;
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 203 p.;
3. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 196 p.;
4. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, HUS), 186 p.;
5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 178 p.;
6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GAS), 173 p.;
7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 155 p.;
8. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 153 p.;
9. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 146 p.;
10. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 137 p.