MX2 & MXGP: Who impressed in Spain?
Spain, Talavera held the ninth round of the MX2 and MXGP World Championships. We are already at the half way mark of the series and what a season it’s proving to be already; the season is flying in! We will take a look at the riders that impressed in the MX2 and MXGP classes during the Spanish GP.
During the Trentino GP of Italy, Jeffrey Herlings lost the first moto to the very determined Dylan Ferrandis. It was important for Herlings to set the record straight this weekend and reassert his authority in the class. Herlings all weekend long was on another level. He did lose the qualification race as he suffered a bad start down in thirteenth after the first lap. However, he caught right up to the front runners and was going around four seconds a lap quicker than anyone else. He collided with a backmarker which meant he ended up in fourth. During the two moto’s on race day no one got close to him and he won the moto’s by twenty seconds and seven seconds respectively. Back to winning ways for the Bullet and he now has fifty-six GP wins to his name, an incredible achievement!
The only rider to really get close to Herlings all weekend was Benoit Paturel who had a fantastic GP on-board his Kemea Yamaha. Benoit finished fourth in the first moto as he battled with Jonass all moto long but he just couldn’t make a move. Benoit got the holeshot in the second moto and led the first lap before Herlings made a move. However, Benoit pushed really hard to stay with him and didn’t let him get too far away. Benoit would have learnt a lot from Herlings in that moto. This is his first podium of the year with a second overall and with his home GP approaching this weekend don’t be shocked to see him land another!
Sometimes at the hard pack GP’s you don’t exactly know what Pauls Jonass will turn up and he can have the odd ‘off’ day. However, Spain was good for the Latvian finishing up third in both of the moto’s for third overall. That is his second podium finish on the bounce as he looks to be gaining confidence at the half way mark of the season. He is also gaining ground in the championship race as he is now only twenty-five points behind Seewer in the race for second position.
The start of the season hasn’t been good for Brian Bogers but since Latvia something has changed and he is starting to get his career back on track. When Bogers moved up from the EMX250 class I really did expect him to become a consistent top five rider. Last year he started well but was riding with an injury towards the end of the season that hindered his performances. But he is getting back on track and this weekend looked like a rider that belonged at the front again. A fifth and an eighth meant he ended up sixth overall which gives him something to build on.
As usual there was plenty of drama in the MXGP during the Spanish GP. Especially during the qualification race due to the Febvre and Cairoli incident. As those two keep tripping each other up, Tim Gajser keeps taking advantage and reaping the rewards at the moment. Tim’s starts have been on point all season long and the other riders can’t deal with his intensity during the first five minutes of the race. He gets to the front quickly in the moto’s, pulls away and then settles down and controls the races from the front. A dominate weekend for the Gariboldi rider as he deservedly went 1-1 for the overall. He stretches out his championship lead to twenty-four points ahead of Febvre and at the half way mark of the season is looking very good for the title. However, a long way to go in the title race and plenty of twists and turns left in this exciting season yet.
A very good weekend for German, Max Nagl. The Ice One Husqvarna rider comfortably finished second in both the moto’s which isn’t easy in the stacked MXGP field. Any other season that could have been two moto win’s but Gajser is too strong at the moment. The problem with Max is that he’s happy to finish second, I would like to see him put up more of a fight for the race win because he certainly can do it! There is a long way to go in the season yet but I am sure Max could win a few GP’s before the end of the season.
Since signing for HRC Honda we haven’t seen the best of Gautier Paulin. He returned to racing in Italy and showed some good speed. However, he had a very good GP in Spain and returned back on the podium with a third overall. No doubt GP21 won’t be happy with his last few seasons and now it’s coming into contract time he has to deliver and the podium in Spain is a good start. When Paulin has no pressure he delivers the goods. With that being said the 2017 season could suit him perfectly because not as many people will be picking him to win the title so he will be more of an underdog and that seems to suit him as it comes with less pressure.
Factory Kawasaki welcomed Clement Desalle back to action this weekend. It was great seeing him back racing and right at the front. A third and a sixth in the moto’s meant he just missed the podium with a fourth overall but that is probably the best Desalle we have seen so far this season. He will only get better as he regains his fitness and there is no doubt he is capable of mixing at the front and winning when he is 100%.
A shout out to Romain Febvre who had to ride in pain during both the moto’s. He showed the determination of a champion and did very well to come away with a sixth overall.
Article: Andy McKinstry
Pic: Martin Plesnik