Who impressed: MXGP class in Valkenswaard
Tim Gajser: Yes, he had another big crash that cost him points in the championship, but his riding this year has been fantastic. Showing yet more grit, Gajser came back to seventh after his moto one prang then hounded Cairoli for the entire second moto but just couldn’t quite get close enough to make the move at the end. Gajser looks comfortable in the sand this year in what has always been his weakest surface and seems ready to challenge Cairoli for this title on speed. But he knows more than anyone that he has to cut out the crashes to really pressure the cool Italian, who seems to have the mental edge on the Slovenian right now.
Gajser commented: “I’m quite happy to finish on the podium again. I’m just a little bit disappointed with the first race. I made a mistake and finished seventh, but I’m trying to learn as much as possible from these mistakes so I don’t make them in the future. The second race was good though. My speed was good, my start was good. We were really close to the front and the pace was high so overall I’m quite happy and I’m really looking forward to next weekend in Arco di Trento. A huge thanks to everyone in the team, they did an amazing job with the bike and I felt comfortable on it in both the motos.”
Arminas Jasikonis: The big man was flying in Valkenswaard and he showed he could even come through the stacked field! This was the rider we saw in the second half of the 2017 season when he was with factory Suzuki and Jasikonis, back again with factory support and a good off the bike structure, is beginning to really show what he can do.
Fourth in race one with laptimes on par with the leaders and then ninth to fourth in race two meant it was Jasikonis’ best race of the year and only lost out on a podium due to a tie-break.
“For me it was a really good weekend here in The Netherlands. I felt on top form and kept improving my pace every time I was on track. If my starts were a little bit better in the final motos, my overall result would have been even better. Not getting the best of starts in either race, I had to fight my way through the pack. Despite not getting great starts I ended up sharing the exact same points as third placed Tim Gajser and that gives me the extra motivation to continue pushing hard. I am really happy with where I’m at right now and I am looking forward to the next GP in Italy,” commented the 20 year old rising star.
Shaun Simpson: The Scot just does what he does and the tougher the track the more he seems to get inspired! Simpson does a great job of blocking out all the distractions and just focusing on getting the start and riding his laps. Bouncing back from a crash in qualifying, Simpson delivered when it mattered on Sunday to go 9-8 for eighth overall and moved back to eighth in the championip. It’s been a great start to the year for Shaun who is back where he belongs fighting for top tens on a weekly basis and credit too to the new RFX powered by PAR Homes KTM team who are providing the support to help Simpson get the job done.
Jeremy Van Horebeek: It was another great performance for Van Horebeek who tore through the field in race one and then matched Cairoli and Gajser for 20 minutes in race two despite not being on factory equipment.
You have to wonder where this performance and pace have been the last couple of years because Van Horebeek is really showing his true talent and fight this year and it’s impressive. That’s three top five overalls in a row and he appears to be in some of the best form of his career.