Race report: Riola – Herlings wins his 100th GP!

After a year of injury, Jeffrey Herlings showed why he is a five time world champion by gritting his teeth, digging deep and coming from the back of the pack on a brutally rough sand dune circuit to clinch second with a crucial pass at two laps to go to seal his 100th GP win.

Herlings didn’t win a moto all weekend but two second places ensured he won his first GP of the year and is now only one win behind Stefan Everts all-time GP win record. Two more wins and Herlings will have the most outdoors wins in history, more than both Everts or Carmichael.

On this day it was his grit that won him the event after Jorge Prado cruised to the opening win and Herlings rode to a smart second and let others make mistakes around him. In race two, Prado got away top five (a bad start by his high standards) as Herlings struggled off the gate, then got pushed off track at the pitlane to start his moto buried at the back, meanwhile it was Glenn Coldenhoff up front and pulling away with Romain Febvre working his way into second and going with the Dutch rider.

Prado was initially looking good but again, like Argentina, battling with his rivals meant he lost his rhythm and he eventually stalled battling with Vlaanderen, that gave Herlings the impetus he needed, with the Dutch rider up to seventh and Prado within striking distance.

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Herlings made the move and then put on a charge, he had to get to third to win the overall and once in fourth he had five minutes to catch Renaux and he upped the pace even more. He was the fastest rider on the track as he reeled in Renaux, who had caught Febvre, and the trio put on a couple of superb laps of bar banging action with all three going for second at once, Herlings finally getting the edge and Renaux taking third.

With Coldenhoff doing what he needed to do out front to come home in front without any big mistakes, Herlings even had him in his sights on the last lap but it was Coldenhoff with the race win, Herlings two second places giving him a very hard earned GP win, with Prado passing Seewer late to claim sixth and stay on the podium with the red plate – but Herlings is now just seven points behind in the championship.

Round one GP winner, Ruben Fernandez, had a disastrous day despite having podium level speed as he crashed in both motos with a DNF in race one and 11ith in race two.

Herlings said of his 100th GP win: “I kept charging till the end. I knew it was going to be very physical the second moto. I got pushed off the track in the first, I don’t know what is going on with my starts. I spun out of the gate and I got pushed off the track in the first lap came from dead last.”

Coldenhoff said: “I’m definitely happy I had a rough start in Argentina. Really happy with the moto win, shame I didn’t win the GP but happy with the podium.”

Prado, who again won two of the three motos across the weekend, before finishing sixth in race three, commented: “The second moto was a bit worse but I am still happy I could push to the end. I lost my rhythm a bit at the beginning, bad start and I even stalled the bike at one point. But I came back at the end of the moto and made some passes. It’s not too bad, I still have the red plate.”

MXGP – GP Classification
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 44 points; 2. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 41 p.; 3. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 40 p.; 4. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 38 p.; 5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 36 p.; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 29 p.; 7. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 28 p.; 8. Brent Van doninck (BEL, HON), 25 p.; 9. Alberto Forato (ITA, KTM), 25 p.; 10. Pauls Jonass (LAT, HON), 20 p.; 11. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, GAS), 20 p.; 12. Ben Watson (GBR, BET), 15 p.; 13. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 15 p.; 14. Brian Bogers (NED, HON), 15 p.; 15. Tom Koch (GER, KTM), 11 p.; 16. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 10 p.; 17. Alvin Östlund (SWE, HON), 9 p.; 18. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, BET), 8 p.; 19. Valentin Guillod (SUI, HON), 7 p.; 20. Maximilian Spies (GER, KTM), 5 p.; 21. Kevin Brumann (SUI, YAM), 1 p.; 22. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, GAS), 0 p.; 23. Hardi Roosiorg (EST, HON), 0 p.;
MXGP – World Championship Classification
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 100 points; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 93 p.; 3. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 78 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 78 p.; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 75 p.; 6. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 65 p.; 7. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 63 p.; 8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 57 p.; 9. Pauls Jonass (LAT, HON), 56 p.; 10. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, GAS), 55 p.; 11. Alberto Forato (ITA, KTM), 45 p.; 12. Brent Van doninck (BEL, HON), 45 p.; 13. Brian Bogers (NED, HON), 34 p.; 14. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 34 p.; 15. Ben Watson (GBR, BET), 30 p.; 16. Valentin Guillod (SUI, HON), 25 p.; 17. Alvin Östlund (SWE, HON), 20 p.; 18. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, BET), 12 p.; 19. Tom Koch (GER, KTM), 11 p.; 20. Hardi Roosiorg (EST, HON), 5 p.; 21. Maximilian Spies (GER, KTM), 5 p.; 22. Joaquin Poli (ARG, KAW), 5 p.; 23. Kevin Brumann (SUI, YAM), 1 p.; 24. Agustin Poli (ARG, KAW), 1 p.; 25. Lars van Berkel (NED, HON), 1 p.;

In MX2 it was a lesson to the rest of the world in sand riding by Jago Geerts and Kay de Wolf who were both in sensational form. Geerts went down while leading race one, then stalled when he had closed back up to de Wolf and Laegenfelder, forcing him work hard again to get on the back of de Wolf, but the Dutch teen held strong under pressure to win his first moto of the year and break Geert’s unbeaten four moto streak early in the year.

Race two and Geerts made authortive moves in the first lap to get into the lead including a pass on de Wolf but de Wolf didn’t give up and set after Geerts as they sped away from the rest of the field. As close as he stayed de Wolf just couldn’t find a way to pass the Belgium with Geerts winning the GP virtu1e of winning the second moto despite the pair tieing on points overall.

Thibault Benistant rode well, espeicially in race two to take third and third overall as Lucas Coenen really impressed in the second moto after strong sixth in race one to stay on the back wheel of Benistant all moto taking fourth and his best result of the season. He’s still just sixteen rememeber, and learning remarkably quickly even on one of the roughest tracks on the planet.

MX2 – GP Classification
1. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 47 points; 2. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 47 p.; 3. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 38 p.; 4. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 34 p.; 5. Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 33 p.; 6. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 31 p.; 7. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, HUS), 29 p.; 8. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KAW), 26 p.; 9. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 25 p.; 10. Oriol Oliver (ESP, KTM), 21 p.; 11. Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), 20 p.; 12. Emil Weckman (FIN, HON), 19 p.; 13. Cornelius Toendel (NOR, KTM), 12 p.; 14. Joel Rizzi (GBR, YAM), 10 p.; 15. David Braceras (ESP, KAW), 9 p.; 16. Yago Martinez (ESP, KTM), 9 p.; 17. Lorenzo Ciabatti (ITA, KTM), 8 p.; 18. Arvid Lüning (SWE, GAS), 8 p.; 19. Filip Olsson (SWE, HUS), 8 p.; 20. Leopold Ambjörnson (SWE, HUS), 6 p.; 21. William Voxen Kleemann (DEN, KTM), 2 p.; 22. Rick Elzinga (NED, YAM), 0 p.;
MX2 – World Championship Classification
1. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 117 points; 2. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 87 p.; 3. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 86 p.; 4. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 83 p.; 5. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 79 p.; 6. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KAW), 68 p.; 7. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, HUS), 67 p.; 8. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 61 p.; 9. Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 52 p.; 10. Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), 40 p.; 11. Emil Weckman (FIN, HON), 36 p.; 12. Rick Elzinga (NED, YAM), 34 p.; 13. Yago Martinez (ESP, KTM), 25 p.; 14. Oriol Oliver (ESP, KTM), 21 p.; 15. David Braceras (ESP, KAW), 18 p.; 16. Cornelius Toendel (NOR, KTM), 17 p.; 17. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, KAW), 15 p.; 18. Leopold Ambjörnson (SWE, HUS), 14 p.; 19. Tom Guyon (FRA, FAN), 12 p.; 20. Joel Rizzi (GBR, YAM), 10 p.; 21. Tomás Moyano (ARG, KAW), 10 p.; 22. Lorenzo Ciabatti (ITA, KTM), 8 p.; 23. Filip Olsson (SWE, HUS), 8 p.; 24. Arvid Lüning (SWE, GAS), 8 p.; 25. Franco Iavecchia (URU, HUS), 5 p.; 26. Pedro Jose Suarez Jaramillo (ECU, HUS), 4 p.; 27. Maximo Caceres (ARG, GAS), 3 p.; 28. Fermin Ciccimarra (ARG, YAM), 2 p.; 29. William Voxen Kleemann (DEN, KTM), 2 p.; 30. Juan Ignacio Salgado (ARG, HON), 1 p.; 31. Jeremías Schiele (CHL, GAS), 1 p.;

Report: Jonathan McCready

Image: Joan Pablo Acevedo