Who impressed: MXGP and MX2 Kegums
Jorge Prado: It was the best performance so far on the 450 for Jorge Prado. After two good starts the Spaniad showed he has the pace and is gaining the fitness to become a regular threat in the premier class of motocross. Prado gave absolutely no favours to teammate and friend Cairoli even cutting the nine-time world champ off when required, it underlines the fact that Prado is intimated by no-one. And he’s smart with it, watching and learning the lines if he gets passed to see if that is his competitions edge.
After two injuries and limited time on the bike this was a huge deal for Prado. He doesn’t lack self-belief but he now know the pace is there and, with a couple of weekend’s off to get more bike time, he should be even stronger and even closer to 100% when the races resumes.
Prado underlines the significance of the result, saying: “The road up until the restart of MXGP has been very tough with two injuries. The femur was horrible and then another one with the collarbone: it meant hardly any time on my bike. This year has been crazy and despite the lack of the training and the riding I could still manage a 3rd overall here. It was a very hard day. I felt good in the first moto but at the beginning of the second I was suffering. I went very, very deep. I’m super-happy to keep that position to make the podium and to come away from these races without any crashes. I hope to keep going like this.”
Jeffrey Herlings: Entering the final moto of six and week-long stint in Latvia, Herlings crown as the fastest man on the planet wasn’t really holding up. First turn crashes. bad starts and even a crash while leading meant Herlings hadn’t won a moto in the previous five, and his competition from Tim Gajser to Jeremy Seewer were gaining confidence. Herlings was becoming more “beatable” in the minds of his rivals than at any time since his first world title. Then the final moto came and Herlings set the record straight.
He got a decent start, fourth, and in front of him were his main rivals on paper heading into the season, Cairoli, Prado and Gajser. Herlings made the move quickly on Cairoli and Prado then went after Gajser, his closest competitor in the world championship, and immediately made the pass. This was a statement from a frustrated champion who is trying to balance consistency with his usual desire to win every moto. At some point you have to win, and Herlings recognized this as the moment to do it. He made it happen and won the overall to take his second GP win of the year and 89th in his career. Thanks to Gajser’s two DNF’s and Herlings’ ability to make his bad motos decent, the Dutchman now has a 46 point lead in the championship – but still came away saying he had a lot of work to do to get back to his level!
Glenn Coldenhoff: The Dutchman isn’t just fast he is tough. After a bad crash on Wednesday at Latvia 2, Coldenhoff gritted his teeth, endured the pain and gutted out two hard fought top ten motos on Sunday to take 6th overall and underline his credentials as a rider than can deal with whatever his thrown him and just get one with it. This is a performance that was as impressive as his GP win a week earlier and was a brilliant damage limitation in the championship that sees Coldenhoff lie fifth in the world.
“Today was always going to be a challenge with my injury, commented Glenn. “Fortunately, nothing was broken in my crash on Wednesday, just a hematoma around my ribs which is really painful, especially on a track like this. I had to ride different lines than I would normally to avoid the biggest bumps. It’s not ideal to race like this and I was expecting to be top 15, so to go 7-6 and be sixth overall is something that I’m happy with. In race one I started slowly. I didn’t want to fall down so I was patient and then as the field spread out, I could push and make passes and finished in seventh place, so this was a good ride. Race two was sixth, a little better and it was really just two results that are good for the championship and much better than expected. I’ll now work on further recovery over the next few weeks.”
Ben Watson: A third place in race one was just what Ben Watson has been chasing all year a long. A good start and getting the see the leader’s pace is what the young Brit needed and he finally got to show what he can do. It was a bit much to expect him to take the win considering he hadn’t really been at the front so far this season but it did give him a barometer of what it takes to win and its that experience that will help him going into the next Grand Prix. Watson didn’t quite make the podium with a fifth in race two despite a fifth in race two and a late race surge that saw him run down Renaux and Van de Moosdijk but it was the best GP so far for the man desperate to win a GP before the season is over.
“Result wise it was a pretty good day. But to be honest, I was a little bit off today,” said Watson. I didn’t have a good feeling the entire day. I wasn’t as good as the previous two races, but was consistent. My holeshot helped a lot in the first race. It’s a really good feeling to get out of the gate like that. Mu start of the second race was mediocre. I felt tired after a few minutes, like I hit a wall. It took me a while to get into the groove. Unfortunately too late for a spot on the podium. Fourth place. Again. A bit frustrating. But I keep on learning.”
Conrad Mewse: Starts might be even more important for Conrad Mewse than they are for Ben Watson! Mewse, on the Hitachi fuelled by Milwaukee KTM, is a rider of such talent that he just needs to see the pace of the leaders to be able to do the pace, even if he got 15th the week before! There are not many riders with that ability but Mewse desperately needs the starts to show he can still do it. Mewse followed the leaders pace in race one for a decent amount of time but eventually the intensity told and he would finish fifth, he backed that up with seventh in race two after another good start for 6th overall, a huge improvement over the rest of the week and he is now up to ninth in the world championship too. Mewse now knows he can still run with the best, he just needs to keep qualifying well to give himself the best chance of getting away at the front. The talent has never been in question so it’s nice to see a return on the investment for Mewse and the whole team.
Maxime Renaux: Consistent without flash. That is how Maxime Renaux generally operates but he was sneakily impressive in Latvia! Fifth overall and his best points tally of the three race day, Renauz was strong all day and rode really good in race two holding off the charging Watson when the conditions where at their toughest. It means after five rounds of the championship Renaux is handily placed in fourth in the championship and still has hard pack tracks coming up where he could really shine as long as he gets away with Geerts and Vialle.
Article: Jonathan McCready