Herlings and Covington take Inaugural MXGP of Turkey wins


Jeffrey Herlings could seal the 2018 MXGP FIM Motocross World Championship at his home Grand Prix in two weeks time after a fifteenth win of the season at Afyo. Photo: Youthstream
Jeffrey Herlings and Thomas Covington have taken the wins in MXGP and MX2 respectively as the FIM Motocross World Championship made it first visit to Afyon, Turkey.

Herlings continued on a roll towards his first MXGP World Championship title. Today was another impressive showing from the Dutchman who did exactly what was required to win.

Race 1‰Ûªs start was a close fought battle between Herlings and Team HRC‰Ûªs Tim Gajser and while the Slovenian took the Fox Holeshot Herlings was into the lead by turn two. Glenn Coldenhoff was just behind Gajser but lost spots quickly to Clement Desalle and Antonio Cairoli.

By lap two Cairoli was up to second past Desalle while Herlings pulled away at the front. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP‰Ûªs Jeremy Van Horebeek took fifth away from Coldenhoff on lap four but made no further progress.

Cairoli made his way around Gajser just after the finish while Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP‰Ûªs Jeremy Seewer was also moving up a spot to seventh past Frenchman Gautier Paulin. At the finish it was a win to Herlings with Cairoli just over 25 seconds back then Gajser, Desalle, and Van Horebeek.

MXGP Race two was led by Herlings again just after the exit of turn two but Desalle was the winner of the Fox Holeshot for his first time this year. Also getting around the Belgian was Paulin while Brit Max Anstie fell which led to a crash from Cairoli.
Tim Gajser put his Honda CRF450RW up on the podium for the second round in succession. Photo: Youthstream
A mistake from Paulin then allowed Desalle back past and into second but Gajser took the spot quickly. Coldenhoff was also on a charge from 10th passing Tommy Searle followed by iFly JK Racing Yamaha‰Ûªs Ivo Monticelli and finally Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP‰Ûªs Shaun Simpson to take seventh.

Anstie continued to struggle but Paulin fought to hold 4th from the attacking Swiss rider Jeremy Seewer. Cairoli who at one point was back in 19th worked forward only a few spots to finish 15th.
Clement Desalle raced onto the podium of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship for the third consecutive weekend with third place at Afyon in Turkey. Photo: Youthstream
At the front Herlings came under pressure from Gajser on the last few laps but responded to the intensity of the #243 well reopening a gap and winning by 4.6 seconds. Desalle took 3rd with Paulin and Seewer rounding out the top 5. The only difference between the race two finish and the overall result was Van Horebeek in 5th with a single point more than Seewer. Herlings now leads the championship by 95 points heading into the MXGP of the Netherlands at Assen in two weeks.

‰ÛÏIt was really awesome, the track was pretty nice, I was surprised because it developed really well," Herlings sai. "I think the organization did a good job and it was a good weekend. I'm so close and I have worked so hard so the next 2 weeks are going to be tough and I can't wait for Assen.

For Tim Gajser it was another good week as his speed and consitency gets better day by day.

‰ÛÏIt was a good weekend, I was enjoying it, the track was nice and I felt good on the bike. 2nd overall is good and I have done it 2 weeks in a row so I am really happy and looking forward to the next one," Gajser said.
Todd Waters had another mid pack finish in the Turkish heat. Photo: Bavo
Clement Desalle remained a model of consitency and solifified his position in third place in the standings with another podium.

‰ÛÏI am really happy with this podium, because yesterday I wasn't feeling that great on track so it is good. Every time I went on track I felt better and better. Now three GPs in a row I'm on the podium which is consistent and it is good results for the team who are working really hard," Desalle said.

Australian Todd Waters was sixteenth and fourteenth in the two encounters, showing some more steps forward in what was a hot day in Western Turkey.

After coming close to securing MX2 class victory on more than one occasions this season, American Thomas Covington finally secured a well deserved overall. Photo: Youthstream
While MXGP racing was dramatic on its own the MX2 class was just as epic as the two title contenders of Pauls Jonass and Jorge Prado squared off Thomas Covington took the win.

Race 1 started perfect for Covington as he scored a long desired Fox Holeshot over Prado. Jonass took the lead from Covington at turn two however and Prado was right alongside to add extra pressure.

Honda 114 Motorsport‰Ûªs Hunter Lawrence jumped past Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 Team‰Ûªs Ben Watson in a close move to take 4th as Thomas Kjer Olsen and Henry Jacobi fought over 6th.

Prado was trying on many occasions to pass Covington for second and the American was only able to keep the #61 at bay for the first lap and half. As soon as Prado took second he had his sights set on the win and beating his teammate Jonass.
Pauls Jonass gave his hopes of a successful MX2 title defence a small boost with 2nd place overall behind victor Thomas Covington. Photo: Youthstream
Team HRC‰Ûªs Calvin Vlaanderen crashed hard at the end of the pit lane straight while in tenth but was lucky to get back up in 16th uninjured. A battle ensued for the lead between Jonass and Prado peaking when Prado dove past Jonass who jumped and landed on the rear of points leader‰Ûªs bike sending the Latvian down hard and Prado off track.

Jonass remounted and rejoined the race in 6th while Prado came back on track in third. Inheriting the lead and second place was Covington and Lawrence. At the finish Covington took the race win followed by Lawrence, Prado, Watson, Olsen, and Jonass.

The first race saw Jonass claw back another five championship points back of the thirty that Prado led by coming to Afyon. Another Fox Holeshot from Covington started race two with Watson second, Prado third, and Jonass fourth.
Thomas Kjer-Olsen finished third overall in Afyonkarahisar. Photo: Youthstream
Jonass made two quick moves in the first turns to get past both Prado and Watson for second. Lawrence then passed Prado for fifth and the Spaniard continued to drop positions to seventh.

Covington rode a solid race at the front while Jonass tried to force an error and with 4 laps to go Covington tucked the front end on a roller. The mistake gave Jonass the lead and Olsen second while Covington got up in third.

The top ten held their positions for remainder of the race which meant a win for Jonass followed by Olsen, Covington, Watson, and Lawrence. In the overall Covington took the GP victory for the first time this season with his consistent 1-3 finishes over Jonass and Olsen.

The points gap which started as thirty then went out to thirty five is now twenty four and Prado still maintains the red plate with the 3-7 finishes as the championship heads to Assen.

‰ÛÏI got off to two good starts in the races here and I saw the opportunity to win then just tried to hang on to it. I really wanted to get the 1-1 but just pushed a little too hard... luckily I got back up pretty quick and was still able to get the overall," Covington said.

Pauls Jonass was happy to make up a small margin in th championship chase. ‰ÛÏAll weekend I was feeling good. After the first race I wasn't sure how it was going to be with my knee when I race but like I said yesterday it is not over till it is over. I gained 6 points in the championship this weekend, there is still 100 points on the table and like I said nothing is over, we are going to fight until the end because for me there is nothing to lose anymore," Jonass said.

Jorge Prado was not to flustered in missing the podium. ‰ÛÏI was feeling good this weekend. I am still pretty happy how everything went, I didn't go down so I'm safe, just struggled a little in the second race."

After three consecutive weekends of action MXGP will reassemble for the last two rounds of the 2018 campaign in a fortnight‰Ûªs time with the Grand Prix of the Netherlands taking place at Assen for the fourth year in a row.
Hunter Lawrence was extremely unlucky to miss out on what would have been his third MX2 podium in a row as the Australian finished fourth overall, tied on points with the third place rider. Photo: Bavo
MXGP Results

MXGP Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 33:57.381
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:25.513
3. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:29.532
4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:42.173
5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:46.354
6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:52.976
7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:55.735
8. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:56.936
9. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:58.123
10. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:01.027

MXGP Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:38.520
2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:04.656
3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:31.485
4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:35.466
5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:37.832
6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:46.893
7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:52.943
8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:53.732
9. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:54.544
10. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki), +1:11.577

MXGP Overall Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points
2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 42 Points
3. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 38 Points
4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 31 Points
5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 31 Points
6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 30 Points
7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 29 Points
8. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 28 Points
9. Shaun Simpson (GBR, YAM), 25 Points
10. Tommy Searle (GBR, KAW), 23 Points

MXGP Championship Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 833 points
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 738 Points
3. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 619 Points
4. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 591 Points
5. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 544 Points
6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 514 Points
7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 475 Points
8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 423 Points
9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 404 Points
10. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 328 Points

MX2 Results

MX2 Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), 35:10.583
2. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Honda), +0:02.864
3. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:09.798
4. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:12.576
5. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:20.431
6. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:30.968
7. Anthony Rodriguez (VEN, Yamaha), +0:37.418
8. Henry Jacobi (GER, Husqvarna), +0:51.496
9. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Yamaha), +0:52.593
10. Simone Furlotti (ITA, Yamaha), +0:53.798

MX2 Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 34:43.374
2. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:03.148
3. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:06.927
4. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:08.533
5. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Honda), +0:21.677
6. Anthony Rodriguez (VEN, Yamaha), +0:28.718
7. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:34.789
8. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Honda), +0:37.153
9. Bas Vaessen (NED, Honda), +0:47.812
10. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Yamaha), +0:56.440

MX2 Overall Top Ten:
1. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 45 points
2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 40 Points
3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 38 Points
4. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, HON), 38 Points
5. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 36 Points
6. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 34 Points
7. Anthony Rodriguez (VEN, YAM), 29 Points
8. Michele Cervellin (ITA, YAM), 23 Points
9. Henry Jacobi (GER, HUS), 23 Points
10. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, HON), 21 Points

MX2 Championship Top Ten:
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 773 points
2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 749 Points
3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 593 Points
4. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 551 Points
5. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 525 Points
6. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, HON), 483 Points
7. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 346 Points
8. Michele Cervellin (ITA, YAM), 337 Points
9. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, HON), 305 Points
10. Henry Jacobi (GER, HUS), 301 Points

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