Who impressed: MXGP in Valkenswaard
1. Jeffrey Herlings: There is just no quit in Jeffrey Herlings. Whatever the gap he now believes he can close in on Cairoli and he is the one forcing Cairoli into mistakes. When Herlings was 15/16 he had the same pace as Ken Roczen but he would often seem to settle for second after the 15 minute mate, he didn’t quite have the self belief he could beat Roczen outside the side over 30 minutes. Now the self-belief is there against anyone and Cairoli is facing the biggest challenge of his career to beat. Herlings is becoming the complete rider as he approaches his mid 20s. Let’s just hope they both stay healthy and we get to see the best two riders in the world battle all year!
2. Glenn Coldenhoff: Two good starts and almost a podium in his home GP was an almost perfect day for Glenn Coldenhoff. At Hawkstone Park in February Coldenhoff rode fantastic and he brought that form to Valkenswaard even if he did admit Herlings and Cairoli’s pace was a bit too much for him – and tightened him up when he tried to follow their pace! Coldenhoff is a bit underrated at times but when he rides like this it shows just why KTM hired him.
3. Jeremy Van Horebeek: This weekend might have been one of Van Horebeek’s best performances of his career. A win in the heat race and a very good third in race one was marred by a heavy crash in the second moto. But JVH was brilliant all weekend and comfortably best of the rest outside Herlings and Cairoli. Fortunate Van Horebeek isn’t seriously injured and will hopefully be able to bring this form to Redsands. The Belgium seems to be back on the form that took him to world number two in 2014.
4. Tim Gajser: Just four weeks after breaking his jaw that required three plates to fix, a very tough Tim Gajser showed some very good speed in Valkenswaard even if his race sharpness was understandably not quite there. Race two saw him crash a couple of times but after two days racing with only a couple of times on the bike in a month not to mention the pain, ninth overall is a decent results for Gajser who doesn’t usually excel in the sand anyway. The tracks coming up should favour Gajser more and with more race time he should be soon back to his best.
5. Jeremy Seewer: Jeremy Seewer has had a lot of change this off-season, not only moving up to the 450 but also changing machine and team but it is so far so good for the diminutive Swiss talent. Seewer apart from a big crash in Argentina has been very competitive this season already and eighth overall on a very tough track physically as well as technically in Valkenswaard shows Seewer appears to have all the bases covered already. It’s been an impressive start to his rookie 450 season.
Maxime Desprey also deserves a mention. The Frenchman made his first GP of the season in the sand, not his favourite surface, but rode very strong in both motos for 12th overall. It will be interesting to see what he can do on the hard pack.