It wasn’t the most exciting GP of the season thanks to Jeffrey Herlings finally getting some good starts in MXGP. But in MX2 the championship did get a little more intriguing with Pauls Jonass losing his win streak and having his worst race of the year.
Two good starts and some great riding took young Jorge a Prado to the win and it was nice to see Thomas Covington back to his best with a perfectly planned last lap attack on Prado to win moto two, but in general there wasn’t too much passing going on.
Arco is known for its difficulty to pass but it appeared the extra soil they brought in made it even harder than normal and restricted riders to one or two main ruts in every corner instead of being able to create their own lines and angles on a hard back turn that doesn’t get rutted.
The modern era seems to deem a track with ruts as a track without lines but isn’t the case, ruts can, as they did in Arco, restrict line choice and create a follow the leader scenario. Last year for example Cairoli’s creative mind saw a that inside line that allowed h8m to work his way up to second. This year, because of the extra soil that line was gone.
Throttle control is also an important skill in the sport that should be allowed to flourish, riders like Tim Gajser and Romain Febvre excel on the hard pack but those conditions with little soil seem to be frowned upon these days. Back in the 90s however throttle control was critical to success on some tracks, too much throttle and you got no grip but also you could take a corner at any angle you wanted.
Hopefully the latest trend of every track being better with loamy soil doesn’t stick around so we can see the riders tested on every type of track even the ones with no traction! Some of the best battles have been on hard pack track with no ruts, think of the old school Luxembourg track that saw Thorpe and Malherbe go at it in 86 and Bolley and Beirier go at it in 99.
Take a look at this pure hard pack track from the San Marino GP the 250 class in 1997 – imagine the complaining now!