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Race reflections: British MXGP

Race reflections: British MXGP
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The British GP was one of the best GPs of the season but ultimately ended with the same winners as Spain two weeks previously!

Antonio Cairoli won his second GP of the season, his second in a row and hasn’t lost a GP since he switched to the 450! A first and third place after a mistake in race two, Cairoli is gaining momentum and is hunting down Nagl and Desalle in the championship. Cairoli is now 21 points behind Nagl and 17 behind Desalle. The chase is on and Cairoli is the man on form. He even warned his rivals that he is only going to get better on the 450.

“I’m really happy, because the weekend went pretty perfect and I will not change nothing, said Cairoli. “I’m confident about the future, the best is yet to come and I’m really happy that I’ve made the decision to go on the 450, is much easier to ride compare to the 350, even if I still have to learn a lot how to get faster. “

Clement Desalle lost the overall by one point but rode really well all weekend. He was leading race one after passing Cairoli early only for the race to be red flagged at the halfway mark and re-run in its entirety. This time Cairoli didn’t let Desalle get close and the Italian controlled the race.

Then in race two Desalle took the lead from Shaun Simpson only for Romain Febvre to pass him and that essentially cost Desalle the overall victory. Desalle hasn’t won a GP so far this year and is getting frustrated. But the Belgian was on the podium again and is just four points behind championship leader Nagl. It’s getting close at the front!

Nagl himself got lucky. He had crashed in race one and was only in 16th with half the race gone when it got red flagged. Without the red flag Nagl would have lose the points lead but he re-grouped for the re-start and finished a fighting third right behind Desalle.

In race two Nagl got shuffled back after getting away in second and had a heated battle with Cairoli as the Italian came from seventh, neither gave an inch and you can sense there is a bit of needle between the pair.  Cairoli though won the battle as Max could only finish fifth and lost some more points to his championship rivals. But it wasn’t as bad as it could have been and Max will have the red plate for France this weekend.

Romain Febvre was frustrated seventh in race one but was simply brilliant in race two, he passed Desalle and pulled away with some impressive lines and had a sensational move going into the corner at the end of the pitlane where he jumped the braking bumps and landed in the corner with the gas on. He made a lot of time on Desalle in that one section. Cairoli was doing something similar but even he wasn’t doing it with the same speed and style of the slick Frenchman!

Evgeny Bobreyshev is getting faster and faster, the HRC Honda man didn’t get the greatest of starts but battled through the pack in both motos and even passed his teammate Paulin. Bobby is back on form and could win a moto soon!

Simpson had a brilliant day. Pic: MXGP

Simpson had a brilliant day. Pic: MXGP

Special mention has to go to the British hero Shaun Simpson, a sterling fifth in race one, Simpson holeshot race two to the delight of the huge home crowd and led for four pulsating laps before Desalle forced his way by. Simpson ultimately finished sixth but he led the best riders in the world at his home GP and battled with them all weekend. Not bad for a privateer! Simpson has also moved up to seventh in the championship.

What happened Mike Alessi? Mike was simply off the pace all weekend, Tony blamed the shock but the rest of the team pointed out that while the shock might not be perfect Mike needed to be more adaptable on the slick, square-edged British circuit. Quite simply Mike couldn’t adapt to the track, and even if the shock was slightly better he was still way of the pace of the front runners. A 22nd and 17th was not what Mike Genova spent a lot of money to get at MCR’s first World Championship event.

The racing in MX2 was stunning. A three way battle for the lead in race one and a blistering duel for the win in race two left everyone on edge for both motos!

In race one Max Anstie grabbed the holeshot and the crowd went wild! Valentin Guillod got himself into second and at the half way mark started to put the pressure on Anstie. But behind them was a quiet Jeffrey Herlings.

The Dutchman was not on his usual form on Saturday and for the first half of moto one on Sunday the top two rode away from him. But Herlings has a heart perhaps bigger than anyone in the sport. He re-grouped and found speed he hadn’t shown all weekend. He eventually caught the two leaders with a couple of laps to go, passed them in two corners and proceeded to put in the fastest lap of the racew one second quicker than anyone else! It was an outstanding performance from Herlings who later revealed was riding with an injured back from his crash in Spain.

Guillod got Anstie for second but the Brit still claimed a fine third in front of his home crowd.

But race two was just as exciting. Guillod this time got the holeshot and Herlings got himself quickly into second. Herlings made the move quickly but Guillod is riding with a different level of confidence now and passed the Dutchman straight back!

From then the two continually stepped up the pace. Each time Herlings upped his lap time Guillod responded and matched Herlings’ pace. It was something we hadn’t seen someone do to Herlings in a long, long time.

Guillod rode the race of his career in moto two. Pic: MXGP

Guillod rode the race of his career in moto two. Pic: MXGP

On the penultimate lap Herlings attacked Guillod and even went for the pass but Guillod held him off and put in his fastest lap of the race to do it! Herlings tried to make the move on the last lap but just couldn’t get close enough and Guillod won the race and the overall in the best ride of his career.  Such was their pace they beat third place Jordi Tixier by 28 seconds!

You can read what Guillod thought of his win here.

Tixier though was again on the podium  but just misses that edge to win races right now. When Guillod and Herlings stepped up the pace Tixier tried to go with them, but when they stepped it up again, he just simply couldn’t match their pace.

Max Anstie ended up fourth overall after a bad start hurt his podium chances in race two but he rode well to come through to sixth and Max is coming on strong as we get into the heart of the season.

Amazingly Herlings has only won three GPs this year out of seven but has a 92 point lead over new second place man Valentin Guillod in the championship!

Tim Gajser was the man who looked set to inherit second in the series after Ferrandis’ injury but didn’t even get to race the two main motos at the British GP after getting knocked out in warm-up. Herlings helped get the bike off an unconscious Gajser and sportingly Tim thanked the Dutchman for helping him even though he couldn’t remember a thing about the crash!

MXGP Overall Top Ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 45 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 44 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 39 p.; 4. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 36 p.; 5. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 36 p.; 6. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 31 p.; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 29 p.; 8. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 23 p.; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 23 p.; 10. Tyla Rattray (RSA, KAW), 23 p.

MXGP Championship Top Ten: 1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 295 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 291 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 274 p.; 4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 237 p.; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 235 p.; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 207 p.; 7. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 145 p.; 8. Ryan Villopoto (USA, KAW), 124 p.; 9. Todd Waters (AUS, HUS), 121 p.; 10. Tyla Rattray (RSA, KAW), 118 p.

MX2 Overall Top Ten: 1. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 47 points; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 47 p.; 3. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KAW), 36 p.; 4. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 36 p.; 5. Max Anstie (GBR, KAW), 35 p.; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 31 p.; 7. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 27 p.; 8. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 25 p.; 9. Thomas Covington (USA, KAW), 25 p.; 10. Petar Petrov (BUL, KAW), 22 p.

MX2 Championship Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 308 points; 2. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 216 p.; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 213 p.; 4. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 205 p.; 5. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 189 p.; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KAW), 189 p.; 7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 182 p.; 8. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 169 p.; 9. Julien Lieber (BEL, YAM), 167 p.; 10. Max Anstie (GBR, KAW), 158 p.

Article: Jonathan McCready

Pic: KTM Images/MXGP

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