Who impressed: MXGP class in Latvia
Jeffrey Herlings: The fastest man on the planet did it again my word was he in sensational form Latvia! Winning by 50 seconds in the qualifier was impressive but the two motos might just have been even better. Herlings ran down a motivated Cairoli in both motos and in the second moto dropped his laptimes in the last ten minutes to out Cairoli Cairoli and prove that whatever Cairoli has right now, Herlings can find a little bit more.
After beating third placed Febvre by 30 seconds in race one Herlings beat third placed Paulin by 56 seconds in race two with a best lap 3 seconds faster – showing just how much the KTM duo were pushing in the later stages of the moto. Herlings was unbelievable through the waves section but he also has a unique ability to find traction in bumps, Herlings is sensational to watch but he isn’t getting carried away, acting like it was just another race as his focus switched to Germany.
Tony Cairoli: I almost feel a bit sorry for Cairoli this year! He might be 26 points back of the headline act Herlings but he is dominating the rest of the competition to a level he never has before. It once again shows just how much left in the tank Cairoli had during his domination while he was in his 20s. Yes he might not be able to push the incredible pace Herlings has for 30 minutes but he isn’t far away and he is doing all this at 32 years old – imagine if they were both in their mid-20s!
Cairoli has in his own way has been very impressive, maybe riding as good or better than he ever has, but Herlings just keeps getting the better of him so far.
To put Cairoli’s performances into perspective he has only been outside of the top two twice all year and he still got a fourth and a fifth! If it wasn’t for Herlings moving up, that would equate to winning 11 moto wins out of 14 this season!
Cairoli also appears to still be playing the long game and with 13 rounds left anything can happen but even if he doesn’t win the championship this year Cairoli is riding brilliantly and pushing like we have never seen him before – Herlings has just taken things to another level and only Tony can hang with him week-in, week-out.
Arminas Jasikonis: The Assomotor Honda rider and been getting better and better in recent weeks as he gerts used to the Honda and gets back in form after his hip inury at the end of last season. Jasikonis scored a brilliant fourth in timed qualifying to show his raw speed is coming back and he backed it up with a top ten in race one with only a difficult final moto due to the head and including that collision with Romain Febvre, relegating him to 14th overall. But Jasikonis is still 13th in the championship and appears to be really hitting his stride as the championship hits mid-season.
Gautier Paulin: Paulin loves Latvia and performed very well again on the sandy circuit admitting he had a lot of fun on the bike, but quite how Paulin, as technical and talented as he is can bridge the gap to Herlings and Cairoli remains a mystery. Paulin rode really well but finished nearly minute down on the Red Bull KTM pair in moto two and he was the best of the rest! Paulin is fifth in the championship just five points behind countryman Romain Febvre as he has another solid season.
Paulin said: I’m happy because in both motos I could ride the way I wanted to and improve myself as the race went on. Overall my riding was good here in Latvia and the goal now is to keep this momentum and get even better in the races to come.