MX2 & MXGP: Who impressed in Holland?
Valkenswaard GP held the fifth round of the MX2 and MXGP championships, gatedrop will take a lot at a handful of riders that impressed over the course of the weekend.
The most impressive rider in MX2 this weekend has to be Brian Bogers, the HSF logistics KTM rider has showed glimpses of what he can do so far this year but has struggled to put two good moto’s together. Finally at Valkenswaard he was able to put two good moto’s together as he finished fifth and sixth ending up fourth overall. Hopefully this result will give Brian the confidence to know he can put the moto’s together because he certainly has the talent to run up front and speed isn’t the issue for the Dutchman. If Brian can get stronger and keep getting results like that then the Netherlands will have a strong team for the nations with Coldenhoff and Herlings alongside him.
Valkenswaard is Jeffrey Herlings playground; he’s now won six GP’s and twelve moto’s in a row at the track! Watching him riding sand is just incredible; he does things that no other rider in the world can replicate. He won moto one by a massive forty-two seconds and ‘only’ won the second moto by twenty-seven seconds after a crash. His lap times were quicker than all the MXGP riders which is just incredible, it’s going to be awesome when he moves up to the MXGP class. He has now opened up a nice points lead in the championship after Dylan got punished for his ‘kick’ on jonass.
Aleksandr Tonkov looks like a new rider on the 2016 Husqvarna; he pulled three holeshots over the weekend so it’s certainly helping him get out of the gate which is a big positive, especially in such a stacked class. The bike is actually brand new and totally different which Aleksandr stated in the press conference, “the bike is completely different, nothing is the same as before and I feel a lot more comfortable on the bike”. He is still adjusting to the bike so expect him to run more at the front as he keeps getting used to the bike and he should only get quicker.
The first four GP’s certainly haven’t went well for Jens Getteman as crashes and some bad luck haven’t helped him but his speed has been good. At Valkenswaard he was finally able to put two good moto’s together with a twelfth and a ninth on Sunday. This will give the JTech Honda rider something to build on and I expect to see him get plenty more top ten finishes before the end of the season as he certainly has the speed!
Before Valkenswaard I don’t think too many people would have predicted Gautier Paulin to dominate the weekend but he did just that! The HRC Honda is certainly set up perfectly for sand as Gautier gelled with the bike and the track, it must be a relief for the Frenchman! Before Valkenswaard people were forgetting that it was Gautier that was out of form, if Honda have got the bike sorted out in the hard pack then I have no doubt he will be running at the front in Spain. Gautier is now thirty-six points behind Max Nagl for the championship, in this form don’t rule him out for the title just yet. Last year Gautier got injured at Valkenswaard which ended his hopes of being world champion but it looks like Valkenswaard has kicked his season in gear this year!
Gautier’s teammate, Evgeny Bobryshev also impressed this weekend. He finished third and fourth in the moto’s which is encouraging for him and the team, he seems to be improving every GP. It’s hard to believe it as he looked so good on the track but he was riding in pain, “I compressed my back last Wednesday so we’ve been working with the team physio all weekend and I was fighting through the pain”. Bobby is a tough guy and always pushes himself through the pain barrier; a fully fit bobby will definitely get plenty of podiums before the end of the season!
It’s been a very tough few years for Tyla Rattray but he actually rode well at Valkenswaard. He finished sixth and eighth in the moto’s for sixth overall which is encouraging for him. This is the best he has rode since he came back to GP’s last year, sand has always been one of his strengths! He needs to get up to speed on hard pack tracks so he can get more top ten results as the first four GP’s haven’t went well for him, Valkenswaard could turn his season around though.
It was a good weekend for Shaun Simpson who looked comfortable on the tough Valkenswaard circuit. He ended up fifth overall which is his best result so far this season and he was the first KTM rider this weekend which he can be pleased about. The track was pretty dangerous so they flattened it for the second MXGP moto, Shaun is probably one of the riders who was disappointed by that as it meant the track was very fast and he prefers it more technical. Never the less, it was a good weekend for Shaun who keeps going under the radar with all the big names in the class but he has also stepped it up this year!
Article: Andy McKinstry
Pics: Nigel McKinstry