Herlings on making history

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings has set a new all-time Grand Prix win record with a comprehensive 1-1 moto haul in Madrid, Spain and the sixth round of the 2023 FIM World Championship. Across a rough and rutty hard-packed course south of the capital, Herlings was dominant with his KTM 450 SX-F for his second triumph in a row, his third of the season, a first 1-1 of the year and the 102nd of a career that began in Red Bull KTM colors in 2010.

  • Jeffrey Herlings is victorious for the second time in a week and the fourth time on Spanish soil to move to within 6 points of the MXGP world championship lead.
  • Seven days after equaling Stefan Everts’ old 101 record the 28-year-old Dutchman sets the new standard with 102, and 192 career moto wins, all achieved with KTM 250 SX-F and KTM 450 SX-F machinery and in 23 different countries and 43 different circuits.
  • Andrea Adamo celebrates his fourth MX2 podium from six rounds with 3rd place in Spain.
  • After back-to-back Grands Prix on the Iberian Peninsula, MXGP now travels to Villars sous Ecot in the east of France and for the time since 2017.

The purpose-built circuit of Intu Xanadu Arroyomolinos gathered thousands of Spanish motocross fans for what was the fourth MXGP event to take place at the site south of Madrid. A collection of tight corners, a narrow trajectory and some spectacular jumps were formed by hard-packed and rough terrain.

The climate for qualification was hot and sunny and the weather remained stable and therefore demanding on Sunday. Jeffrey Herlings came to Spain on the positive momentum of his victory from the Portuguese GP the previous weekend. The win had brought Herlings level with the all-time record of 101 career triumphs, and the Dutchman already boasts the most checkered flags by any rider and well over 7000 career points accumulated. He took 2nd position in the RAM Qualification Heat, missing P1 by just one second. In the first moto he patiently set his pace and moved up from 3rd to 1st by the midway stage. The second outing was similar and he made three positions in typically attacking style to head the pack by the final ten minutes of the moto.

Herlings’ place in motocross history is guaranteed but for the narrative of 2023 he now has three wins from six and five podium appearances. The gap to Jorge Prado and the red plate is just six points.

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Andrea Adamo started on the fringe of the MX2 top ten with his teammates Liam Everts and Sacha Coenen in the first moto. The Italian improved his pace to take 5th as Everts completed a lonely race in 7th and Coenen 9th. In the second moto the trio launched further forward and Adamo had a consistent run to 3rd: ensuring his third trophy from the last four Grands Prix. Everts improved to 6th for the same overall ranking while Coenen gained more important race mileage with 11th and 9th overall. Adamo is 2nd in the championship standings, 48 points behind Jago Geerts.

The Grand Prix of France will turn to the steep hillside of Villars sous Ecot for round seven on May 20th-21st.

Jeffrey Herlings, 1st and 1st for 1st overall in MXGP“I’m super-happy to improve my moto wins total and take the GP win record outright. The rest of the guys have really stepped it up this season – Jorge is riding awesome – and they are really pushing, so I did not expect this would come so soon. It is still anyone’s game on any particular Sunday. To have won three from six until now is something I wouldn’t have imagined. My starts got a bit better, not great though, and top five positions were enough today. In the second moto I could always see a leader in front of me, so I could rely on that, even though it was tough to pass here because there was only really one fast line. In the end I could control the moto. I enjoyed the fans here; they were amazing for their home heroes. I hope I can win a couple more world titles in my career and then I’ll lay on the beach knowing I’ve done enough!”

Andrea Adamo, 5th and 3rd for 3rd overall in MX2“I was happy to find my way to pass riders to reach 5th in the first moto because my start was not good enough. It was not easy to overtake. You had to wait for some mistakes by the others. The second moto start was better and I made it to 3rd in the first laps but after that, well, Simon was just faster today and made a big gap for the win. We go home with P3, which is a solid result but we need to try and start at the front and see how it can be better. Across a season you need to be fast, smart and consistent. It is not about being fast for a couple of motos. You need to always be ‘there’ and that’s what I am trying to do.”

Liam Everts, 7th and 6th for 6th overall in MX2“It was a weekend of catching-up because I missed my starts at this GP. I was being too gentle and cautious on the first laps with the other riders and that cost me a better result. The speed was good, especially in the second part of the second moto. I liked the track: deep lines and very technical. It suited me and it was good fun out there but I’m a bit disappointed not to have finished higher.”

Sacha Coenen, 9th and 11th for 9th overall in MX2: “I was feeling better on the track and the bike today. My first start was not great but I worked my way up to 9th and that was OK for the short time I have been back and I’m working for top ten results at the moment. The second race was really good and I was up to 3rd but after twenty minutes I made a few mistakes. I had to re-group and finished 11th. Not amazing but my speed is getting better and I’m finding more flow on the bike. We’ll keep on working and see how it goes in France.”

Words: KTM

Image: Ray Archer