Honda hadn’t won an MX2 GP overall since Tim Gajser last won a GP in 2015 but that all changed at the weekend with Calvin Vlaanderen having the GP of his life winning his first GP overall. The South African had two podiums on the bounce earlier in the season but with Prado and Jonass riding so well it looked like they’d be hard to beat to the top of the box but Vlaanderen made it happen.
The HRC Honda was holding down a super second in the first moto but looked to tire a bit with the heat and Jonass passed him towards the end of the moto. In the second moto, Vlaanderen pulled his first ever holeshot in the MX2 class and looked really comfortable out at the front. He pulled out a nice gap at the front but would he tire like in moto one? Absolutely not, he comfortably won the moto with over a six seconds gap to stand on top of the podium. It will be a day Vlaanderen won’t forget for a while and will have fond memories when he looks back on the weekend but now he’s got the taste for winning he’ll want even more.
One thing with Vlaanderen this year is he’s looking super smooth on the bike compared to previous years and it’s clearly helping him on the track. Even though he was born in South Africa, Vlaanderen rides under the KNMV federation so we might see him race the Motocross Des Nations later in the year for the Netherlands with the season he’s been having!
Believe it or not that’s Thomas Covington’s third second overall in a row! Even though that’s a really good result and not only does it show he’s been super consistent recently but he’s also one of the fastest riders in the class right now. After such a tough start to the season and having problems with his knee, it’s nice to see the American rider step up his game and see him ride like we know he can.
In the first moto in Indonesia, Covington looked pretty unbeatable in that form and won by thirteen seconds. In the second moto he didn’t get a good start and was down in tenth on the first lap. He battled his way through the pack and got back to fourth at the chequered flag. Covington seems to be nailing the first moto’s but can’t quite get the second moto’s together but you’d think a GP victory is just around the corner for the American.
One of the stories in the MX2 class this year has to be Ben Watson and his improvement. The Kemea Yamaha team definitely made a great decision in signing the Brit for the 2018 season and working with Jacky Vimond on a daily basis is bringing out the best in Watson.
One area he needs to improve in are his starts, they’re costing him regular podiums which is a shame. In the first moto he was ninth on the first lap but then had a small crash and went all the way back to sixteenth. He showed impressive speed though and got back to a very good sixth. The second moto was a career best for Watson as he made a move passed Prado towards the end of the moto to finish a superb second spot. Unfortunately, he missed the podium as he ended up fourth overall again but speed is far from the issue. There’s a good chance he’ll get more podiums if he can just get better starts.
None of their riders got on the podium but it was still a good day for Kemea Yamaha as Belgian talent, Jago Geerts had a strong day during his first ever visit to Indonesia. A 7-6 scorecard meant the talented MX2 rookie ended up sixth overall. He would have enjoyed passing the world champ, Pauls Jonass in the second moto!
Geerts has officially left school so he can fully focus on motocross now and won’t be playing catch up with his training during the week anymore. We are only scratching the surface with Geerts, don’t be surprised to see him raise his level as the season continues. There’s a strong possibility that Geerts will get picked to represent Belgium at the Motocross Des Nations.
That was a very good GP for Davy Pootjes and once again he reminded us of his talent. The LRT KTM rider hit the gate at the start of the first moto which meant he was playing catch up from the first lap. The Dutch rider ended up a solid tenth.
However, the second moto went a lot better for Pootjes as he took a better start and could see the speed at the front. Pootjes sat in fourth spot and had a fun battle with Covington. Unfortunately for Pootjes he made a mistake which allowed the American to get past. However, fifth in the second moto is a very good result and it’s his best moto of the year so far. He’ll want plenty more top fives as the season progresses, tracks like Lommel and Assen should really suit him too!
It’s been a rough season so far for Adam Sterry but he’ll be hoping Indonesia is the turning point. Between injuries and small crashes the F&H Kawasaki rider hasn’t had the season he’s wanted. However, a 9-11 scorecard was enough to secure eleventh overall.
It could be a turning point and having recently started working with Marc de Reuver recently, he’ll be hoping that makes a difference. Whilst he’ll not be over the moon with an eleventh overall because the Brit has said in the past he wants podiums, it’s still a step in the right direction and a solid result to build on.
Article: Andy McKinstry