MXGP Report | Kate Checks in from Europe
By Kate Kowalchuk
After a weekend off let’s go over the last two Grand Prix’s before we return to action this weekend at Villars sous Ecotin at the MXGP of France. A lot has happened in both Portugal and Spain GP weekends. Championships have been lost, records were broken, seasons have ended, and battles have just begun… where to even start?!
Portugal was a return to action for a few different riders in the MX2 class. Top riders such as Yamaha Factory rider #93 Jago Geerts had a few off weekends, but bounced back in Portugal going 1-1-1 collecting 60 points in his championship hunt.
Following behind him on the podium for the first time this year, Factory Nestaan Husqvarna had both MX2 riders on the podium. #39 Roan Van De Moosdijk and teammate #74 Kay De Wolf pulled off some incredible last lap moves in the second moto almost catching the leader Geerts to land themselves on the podium by just one point difference back to 4th place. Unfortunately, after an incredible showing in Portugal.
Factory Husqvarna riders struggled a little bit in Spain. For the first time this season Factory Gas Gas rider #516 Simon Laengenfelder found himself right where everyone expected him to be this year going 1-1 taking the overall in Spain. However, due to a small practice crash following this dominant performance he has broken his arm and cannot defend his performance this coming weekend in France.
Following him on the podium in Spain were the top two in the MX2 Championship, Factory Yamaha’s Geerts and Factory KTM rider #80 Andrea Adamo.
Later this past week there was another unfortunate practice injury in MX2 resulting in Factory Yamaha rider #44 Rick Elzinga breaking his collarbone.
There is currently a 48 point difference in the MX2 Championship which we all know is not a very big lead with the amount of points up for grabs this season with the qualifying races.
MX2 – World Championship Classification
There were major changes in the MXGP class these past two weekends, some history breaking and others just heart breaking.
Unfortunately, Factory Yamaha rider #959 Maxime Renaux had a mid-week practice crash going into Portugal with an injured shoulder and doing everything he could to salvage points for the championship hunt.
Factory KTM rider #84 Jeffrey Herlings went 3-1 in Portugal to tie the world GP wins record recording his 101st GP win.
The points gap between the top 4 riders was quite close going into Spain. Unfortunately for a few riders, it did not stay that way.
Saturday was not the best day for two of the championship riders with the MXGP qualifying race getting a red flag start taking Factory Kawasaki’s Febvre out of the weekend with a huge start crash knocking him unconscious. After the second start, making some big moves to the front Renaux put his foot down to save himself from falling resulting in a broken foot/ankle taking him out for what is to be expected to be the rest of the season.
This one race took out 3 and 4 from the championship hunt giving a big break in points to both Herlings and Prado. Febvre is expected to return this weekend in France for his home GP.
Speaking of the top 2 in points, there were some big moves made by none other than Jeffrey Herlings. In dominating fashion the #84 went 1-1 on current red plate holder Prado’s home track to break history and not only surpass the GP wins record with 102 but also close the points gap from 17 points down to 6.
Even though Prado had a rough second moto, his teammate made up for it. #101 Mattia Guadagnini would go on to have his best weekend of the year getting his first ever MXGP podium after moving up from MX2 last season.
It was an emotional podium on Sunday with Herlings breaking the wins record, Guadagnini getting his first-ever MXGP podium, and rounding out the podium was Factory HRC rider #70 Ruben Fernandez showing up for his home fans.
MXGP – World Championship Classification
It was quite special to witness what happened in the MXGP class on Sunday. With so much happening and points gaps closing it will be exciting to watch this upcoming weekend in France.