Cairoli and Herlings on a frustrating Swedish MXGP!
Jeffrey Herlings set off from a third pole position of the season across fine and roughened Swedish soil at the altered and widened layout at Uddevalla; a circuit returning to the Grand Prix schedule after missing the calendar in 2016. Changeable weather across the weekend meant regular showers. The terrain held up well in the conditions but was still slick and unpredictable. Herlings, on the KTM 450 SX-F, pulled through from a mediocre start in the first moto on Sunday morning to snare second position behind race winner Tim Gajser. He was then attacking Romain Febvre and Gajser early in the second moto before suffering a mechanical problem (a stone dislodged his chain) that halted his participation on lap three.
Herlings: “It’s a shame and things like that can happen in this sport. I didn’t have any luck today. I came from mid-pack to second in the first moto and was then about to attack the leader in the second race and I’m sure I would have won both the race and the overall. These things happen. I was trying to win three races in a row. I’m very motivated.”
Glenn Coldenhoff was then the lead KTM. The Dutchman had recovered from a rough Saturday and two falls to run as high as second in the opening moto – and for half of the duration – until he eased back to fifth. Glenn then found a more effective rhythm to again pull through to the top five later in the afternoon and the final sprint on the Swedish GP programme. #259 has jumped to ninth in the standings and with seventh place in reach.
Coldenhoff: “It was a good weekend, for sure, and didn’t start that well with a crash in free practice and also with Van Horebeek in the heat which meant only 15th in the gate today…but I came out really good. I was second for a long time in the first moto but didn’t feel so comfortable with the rhythm and had to slow down a little bit. My riding was a lot better in the second one. I’m quite happy with the results and they are what I should be taking every weekend.”
Tony Cairoli came to Scandinavia defending a lead of more than 90 points over Herlings in the championship. The Sicilian didn’t find his ideal flow and feeling across Uddevalla despite a superlative record of six previous triumphs at the venue. #222 rode two smart and intelligent motos to go 9-7 for seventh overall. Thanks to Herlings’ misfortune Cairoli was able to leave Sweden and into the final free weekend of the season with a gap of 101 at the top of the standings and just 150 points left in the 2017 contest.
Cairoli: “This weekend was OK. It is important to look for the championship and I don’t care too much about single races. We are nearly at the end and it is easy to make a mistake and hurt yourself and we really want to bring the title back to KTM. I’m really looking forward to that and I don’t have any pressure to make it happen quickly. We are experienced and can deal with some average results like today. This was never one of my favourite tracks but I have won here six times – equal with Stefan Everts – but I always arrived before without championship pressure and more in ‘attack’ mode. I made some mistakes today and we struggled a little bit. Overall it was OK to finish here safe and healthy for the next one.”
Holeshot king Jorge Prado was again the MX2 pace-setter at the front of both motos on his KTM 250 SX-F in what is the Spaniard’s maiden term at the highest level and his first visit to Uddevalla. Jorge initially led from first-corner-to-flag to clinch the chequered flag and his third victory of the year. A fall cost the teenager time in the second dash of thirty-minute and two laps distance but he recovered strongly to make fifth position and the second step of the MX2 podium: Sweden was his fourth rostrum appearance of 2017.
Pulling his total up to fourteen for the season and twelve in row was Pauls Jonass. Like Cairoli, Jonass has his championship lead now weighing on his race performances and the Latvian rode a little tight and endured some mistakes on his way to two third places and the same spot in the overall ranking. Pauls is 45 points in front of Jeremy Seewer.
Jonass: “For the second weekend in a row we are third and I’m not too happy with that but we made the podium again and it is always good to be consistent. I didn’t have my best weekend and it seemed Saturday went better than today! I made some mistakes in both motos but still managed to salvage two third places and only lost a couple of points in the championship. I need to focus in the last races. I am feeling good. We’ll have a few days off now and then get right back to work.”
Prado is seventh in the MX2 table.
Prado: “I made two really good starts today and in the first moto I didn’t spent too much energy. The set-up on the bike was just perfect. The track was a bit different in the second moto and I just couldn’t go any faster. I fought all the way until the last lap and passed Paturel and Lawrence back to get second overall. I was really happy with my riding. I cannot say this is my best track but I think I am riding well quite now and physically I am quite strong. I hope I can do some nice races before the end of the season.”
The USGP at WW Motocross Park in Jacksonville will represent round seventeen of nineteen in two weeks time and precede another three races in a row to the end of 2017 MXGP.
Next Round: September 03 2017 – WW Motocross Park (USA)
Words and Pic: KTM