Herlings, Cairoli, Prado, Vialle and Hofer on Valkenswaard
Copious rainfall created a rough and treacherous Eurocircuit in Valkenswaard south of Eindhoven for the second round of 2020 MXGP. The sand was demanding and technical and a thorough test for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing quintet.
Jeffrey Herlings got back to winning ways on home territory after missing the Dutch GP in 2019. With moto tallies of 2-1 he shared the same points total as Tim Gajser but ruled the final event standings courtesy of his second race result. The 25-year old Dutchman maintains his grip on the red plate as MXGP series leader after his second victory of the season.
Tony Cairoli, still competing with a tweaked right knee, rode two solid motos in the draining conditions to record a 7-5 scorecard and only just missed out on a successive rostrum appearance. The nine-times world champion was 4th overall and five places in front of Jorge Prado in 9th. The Spaniard guided his factory KTM 450 SX-F to a decent 4th in the first moto and was lucky to escape a high-speed crash and pile-up at the start of the second outing. Prado picked up and raced back to 13th for what was only his second MXGP fixture.
Jeffrey Herlings: “This was one of the most difficult Valkenswaard wins. Tim did a great job but it was important for us to think about the overall than the 1-1 and to not lose points. This was a good GP for us. Going to Argentina I hope we can find some good weather! It has been two in a row now with rain! We’ll try to make the best of the situation there and go again for a podium spot.”
Tony Cairoli: “Valkenswaard is a race where we struggle a bit but with some experience we could come away with 4th overall, which is good and in spite of the conditions and my knee. I wasn’t comfortable and it wasn’t the best for a track where you need to attack. In the end we have to be happy even if this is not the result that we normally want. We know in the first races we have to stay in the top five. Let’s hope in Argentina the race will be a bit more flowing with some more places to pass. Today was a very difficult track.”
Jorge Prado: “I’m happy with the way things are going in these first rounds considering I had so little bike time and my leg was not feeling great. It has been getting better and I showed really good speed here. I had the holeshot in the first moto and was riding my own rhythm. To finish fourth was great and not anticipated. In the second moto I lost the front in the first corner. It was a big crash and luckily nobody hit me. I got up and tried to push hard to gain some positions. The track was really physical in the second moto and I was struggling a little bit. I was 9th overall, better than last week, and now we are 8th in the championship. It’s all positive.”
Tom Vialle triumphed for his second career Grand Prix victory and made sure of his spoils in Holland with a commanding second moto win. The Frenchman used the power of the works KTM 250 SX-F to gain both holeshots on Sunday. He was passed for the lead by local favourite Jago Geerts in the first race but escaped to take the chequered flag in the second. Vialle’s results mean he leads the MX2 FIM World Championship for the first time and at the start of just his second season in Grand Prix. Rene Hofer showed his fast adaptation to the rigours of MX2 by classifying 4th in the first race at Valkenswaard. An early crash in the next sprint required a pitstop and led to several small errors that forced the Austrian out of the points. Hofer was 9th for the day.
Tom Vialle: “A really good weekend for me and I’m really happy with the result. I took two holeshots and led almost the whole moto but then I had a small problem with my goggles and I didn’t want to take too many risks. I was really motivated for the second moto and went full gas in the first laps to make a gap. I was quite far ahead by the end. I’m happy to have the red plate. We still have a long way to go, and now I’m looking forward to Argentina.”
Rene Hofer: “All in all a good weekend. It was positive to get the 4th starting position on Saturday and then the first race was amazing. I was second behind Tom and then made a little mistake and dropped back but still managed a 4th place which was really good for my first sand race in MX2 and on such a rough track. I had a massive start crash in the second race and had to sort out my forks in the pitlane it took some time to do that and then I crashed again and damaged the bike a bit more. I struggled but will take the good parts from that first moto. We go to Argentina now. It will be my first time and I hear it is a long way but a really nice track.”