Jeffrey Herlings: It’s hard not to be impressed with this guy! A bizarre sighting lap crash broke his ankle when Jasikonis accidentally ran over the Dutchman’s foot. But Herlings lined up anyway, gritted his teeth through the pain and incredibly, won the moto in the final couple of laps in a big battle with Arnaud Tonus! Herlings just isn’t normal, his raw talent is incredible but his heart and desire to win and deal with pain is certainly up there with the toughest guys that have raced in this sport too.
Remember when Herlings rode with not a fully healed femur to try and save his MX2 world title in Mexico? Add this race in Latvia to the list of, ‘how does he do that,’ moments when it comes to riding through the pain barrier.
Herlings wrote this morning that he hopes he won’t have to have surgery this time so hopefully the Dutchman can be back for the end of the year and be ready to go at Assen for the MXoN, but he isn’t making life easy on himself! The one positive might be it gives his foot, which he said was sore on Saturday, another few weeks to heal better, so this might be a long term blessing despite the short-term pain.
Tim Gajser: In what was a bizarrely similar performance to his Honda US teammate Ken Roczen at High Point, Gajser went 6-1 in a Jekyll and Hyde kind of day, thanks unlike Roczen his 6-1 gave him an unlikely overall on a tie-break!
Gajser had a huge crash on Saturday that he was lucky to walk away from and , while he admitted being sore on Sunday, that final moto and possible Cairoli’s crash, seemed to relax the championship leader and he really began to find his stride after struggling to find lines and rhythm until then in the races. Right now it is looking like Gajser’s year with the crashes he’s getting away with and his rivals aren’t but you wonder how many more he can get away with!
Tim now has a 33 points lead and with Cairoli nursing a dislocated shoulder, Gajser might be able to ease off just a little to still get the rewards without the risk factor as we hit the second half of the season.
Jeremy Seewer: The diminutive Swiss rider was one pass away from winning the overall on the last lap until his teammate Romain Febvre passed him instead and left him off the podium! That’s how close MXGP is right now but Seewer rode fantastic and led for a long time in race two and didn’t let Gajser get away when he did make the pass.
Seewer has really upped his game this year, has found a way to be aggressive on the big bike yet still maintain his smooth technique and when he gets the start you can see he believes belongs up there as a podium contender and attacks on the opening laps.
His recent good form has also elevated him to third in the championship, which is no mean feat in just your second year in the class and his first with the factory team.
Arnaud Tonus: Arnaud Tonus rode fantastic once again in race one passing Cairoli to take the lead and until a mistake under big pressure from Herlings, looked like he might just win the moto!
When Herlings’ injury was announced Tonus became the favourite for the overall and started well in second place but perhaps the pressure of being the favourite instead of being the underdog got to him. Tonus just didn’t quite have the rhythm and pace of his previous three GP motos and dropped back to fourth, losing the chance of his first MXGP win of his career on tie-break, actually coming third overall despite having the same amount of points as winner Gajser and second overall Febvre!
“It is a bit frustrating to come this close to the win. We fight hard for this, so to be on the same points as the winner but miss it is tough. We will keep working,” admitted Tonus on coming so agonisingly close to the win.
But his time looks to be coming and once he gets that win, it could be the mental breakthrough he needs to just get to the level Gajser can produce every week under pressure.