Saturday thoughts: Assen MXoN
- Expect the unexpected! Incredibly Holland didn’t even use Jeffrey Herlings’ score after the Dutchman took a fighting fifth following a dreadful start as a brilliant Jeremy Seewer won the race in style ahead of Tim Gajser! Despite that blip, the talented home nation are still going to the line in second but it certainly wasn’t the storyline the Dutch had in mind after race one given Herlings’ superior on track speed.
- Kevin Strijbos rode like it was 2007! The veteran Belgian led the open race early then stalked Pauls Jonass once he was passed and almost got the Latvian back on the final lap for the win! Strijbos was no doubt helped by being on the Wilvo Yamaha machine but it shows that when Strijbos is on he is still capable of elite level speed. Belgium are looking very good tomorrow if their young MX2 super talent Jago Geerts can finally get a start.
- The missing return! A couple of big GP names missed the Red Bud edition thanks to the expense of getting to America but this year new MXGP world champ Tim Gajser was back and rode very well for second in the sand while former MX2 world champion Pauls Jonass showed what he can do on the 450 to win the Open class. Both riders led their teams to qualify for the A final with ease and it was nice to have their world champion star power and speed back at the biggest race of the year. Unfortunately Arminas Jasikonis couldn’t do the same for Lithuania with the factory Husqvarna man injuring his ankle and having to pull out the event.
- Justin Cooper – the American MXoN rookie showed no fear as he kept the throttle pinned from the outside to take the lead and the win in MX2 as he left the GP regulars fighting back from some average starts. Cooper did his work early and, although Vlaanderen caught him a bit at the end once he got into second, Cooper got the job done and could be the key man for States tomorrow if they are planning on getting a podium or even the win. The only question is, will he be able to be as efficient passing tomorrow as he was leading today with a holeshot less likely against the 450s.
- Aussie Aussie Aussie! Talking of rookies, team Australia’s Kyle Webster and Regan Duffy rode superbly. Webster took a great start in second in MX2 and held strong throughout only conceding a place to a rapid Calvin Vlaanderen who was on a mission coming through the field. Regan Duffy is a giant for 17 and boy can he ride a 450 in the sand! Duffy took sixth in the open class ahead of Zach Osborne and Jordi Tixier snowing no fear a great skills. This kid could be a special talent and it would be surprising if MXGP teams aren’t frantically trying to get his attention over the weekend for a move to the world championship in the near future.
- The track – it was okay. The older layout was possibly better as passing was very difficult in the opening couple of motos in certain sections with a lot of 180 and 90 degree turns offering limited lines. In race three the track really started to take shape, making the riders think and ride with a lot of technique. However that was disappointingly ruined immediately after the race as the track crew bizarrely levelled the circuit- so it will be back to square one tomorrow! Although with rain predicted for most of the day tomorrow it could still be a very different track than today, a day that brought as many questions as answers!