Herlings and Hampshire Bring the Heat in Florida as Lawrence podiums


The 2017 Monster Energy MXGP of USA took to the sandy, rough, and demanding circuit of Jacksonville, Florida‰Ûªs WW Motocross Park.

The event brought thousands of fans to view the best riders in the world go against one another. The racing didn‰Ûªt disappoint the fans with close racing, epic actions, and demanding conditions. The two riders who handled the challenge best and winning their respective classes were Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Jeffrey Herlings and Geico Honda‰Ûªs RJ Hampshire while Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Antonio Cairoli and Pauls Jonass kept their Red Plate to take back to Europe next week.
Jeffrey Herlings on the way to a win at the US MXGP. Credit: Youthstream
MXGP Race 1 started with FOX Holeshot from Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing‰Ûªs Max Nagl followed by American Champion, Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team‰Ûªs Eli Tomac. Tomac came into the day with a strong time in the MXGP Warm Up after a disappointing qualifying race on Saturday but managed to lead every lap of Race 1 ahead everyone including the former world champion Team HRC‰Ûªs Tim Gajser for the first 5 laps.

Behind Gajser originally was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing‰Ûªs Max Nagl, Team Suzuki World MXGP‰Ûªs Arminas Jasikonis, Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team's Clement Desalle, and Autotrader/JGR/Suzuki Team‰Ûªs Justin Barcia. Jasikonis, while running 3rd, went over the bars on a large tabletop which would end his day painfully. Meanwhile Barcia fell out of fifth early in lap 2 into 10th, which happened to be where Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Jeffrey Herlings was coming back from off of the start.

By the end of lap 2 Herlings was up to 5th behind Cairoli. Herlings made it by the Itlalian one lap later and moved into third past Nagl 2 laps after that. Cairoli followed and the battle was on between the points leader and Max Nagl.

While Cairoli found his way by Nagl, Herlings had passed Gajser and set his sight on the long gone Eli Tomac. Cairoli was keen to pass Gajser as well and did so relatively quickly. With Tomac out front Herlings had to much time to make up and decided to maintain both his gap over Cairoli and his energy. At the checkered flag Tomac won the race by 28 seconds over Herlings, Cairoli, Gajser, and Nagl.
American Champ Eli Tomac took the opening moto win and third in the sedond for 2nd overall.. Credit: Youthstream
The Race 2 FOX Holeshot went to the #222 of Cairoli ahead of Herlings, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Gautier Paulin, and Tomac. From there it was an all out sprint from the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Duo. It was clear Cairoli wanted to take home the title as he put in the fastest lap of the Race on lap 3 of 16. Herlings nearly matched the pace of Cairoli as he pushed to keep the championship from being decided this weekend.

Tomac meanwhile had found his way past Paulin, who had a miraculous race 1 crash. Paulin wasn‰Ûªt the only rider who was making a comeback from a disappointing race 1 as Suzuki World MXGP‰Ûªs Kevin Strijbos tried to rebound from a bike issue. Strijbos indeed did rebound and came out with a season best race finish when of 5th.

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing‰Ûªs Romain Febvre took a nasty spill in race 1 and in turn wisely decided to sit out race 2.

On lap 8 Cairoli made a mistake in a corner while leading which allowed Herlings to take over the top spot. Herlings never looked back and won the race by 15 seconds over Cairoli to take the overall.

‰ÛÏToday I felt really good, I had a great battle in the first race, obviously me and Tony both had a bad start and Eli ‰Û_ was gone," Hearlings said.

"By the time we were second and third he had a big gap. I was second for the first race, which was pretty good, I kept everything open for the overall. Second race I had a good start, followed Tony and just waited for the last couple of laps, I knew it was going to be brutal and both of would be tired in the end. I didn‰Ûªt want to pass him too quick because I know Tony will fight back and I was actually waiting either for a mistake or to attack him the last 3 or 4 laps.

"I stayed close to him and he made a small crash and he handed it over to me. So I‰Ûªm very satisfied with a 2-1 and winning the overall, I had some great battles with my teammate so hopefully many more will come and I‰Ûªm looking forward to my home GP next weekend.‰Û
Antonio Cairoli (222) needed to beat team-mate Jeffrey Herlings (84) in the second moto to claim the 2017 MXGP crown but didn't. He will ahve to wait until round 18.. Credit: Youthstream
While Cairoli took second in race 2 he took third overall and lost 8 points in the championship to Herlings.

‰ÛÏWe are always happy to finish on the podium, in a season like this it is really important to be consistent and that is what we have done," Cairoli said. "It is one of my best seasons ever and I want to get the title as soon as possible to have some time on the last races because I‰Ûªm riding a little bit carefully, I don‰Ûªt want to crash or break something. I did my best to close it today, I could let him go easily but I tried to fight back and yes I made a mistake, but this is part of racing.‰Û
Florida native Geico Honda‰Ûªs RJ Hampshire dominated the MX2 class going 1-1 in front of his hometown fans. . Credit: Youthstream
When the Monster Energy MXGP of USA MX2 riders took the track, Florida native Geico Honda‰Ûªs RJ Hampshire excelled on his home soil and so did Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing‰Ûªs Thomas Covington and while Covington took both Fox Holeshots, Hampshire took double race wins.

Both race started nearly identical with Covington leading the first laps and Hampshire chasing. MX2 points leader Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Pauls Jonass had a horrible start to race 1 where he fell off of the start and had to come from last position. Jonass gained 12 positions on the first lap and kept fighting from there eventually making his way to 10th by the finish just behind title rival, Suzuki World MX2‰Ûªs Jeremy Seewer.

For the first portion of race one Covington held off Hampshire but the speed of the Honda rider proved to be too much and he took the lead on lap 5. Meanwhile Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha‰Ûªs Mitchell Harrison and Team Suzuki World MX2‰Ûªs Hunter Lawrence battled over 3rd positon. Harrison had the spot but eventually lost it the relentless charges of Lawrence.

Hampshire looked to have the race under control but with three laps to go he fell and all of a sudden had both Covington and Lawrence right on his back wheel. Covington rejuvenated after seeing the mistake of Hampshire tried to jump to the inside and take back the lead even trying the opposite line through the inside outside section, all were to no avail. Hampshire took the win over Covington, Lawrence, and Harrison.
Aussie gun Hunter Lawrence had his best result of the season with 2nd overall.. Credit: Youthstream
Race 2 was similar but with a better start for Jonass inside of the top three behind Hampshire and Covington. While Covington had the FOX Holeshot Hampshire took the lead quickly. Lawrence was again up front in 4th while his teammate Seewer started 8th.

After 5 laps Seewer caught Lawrence in 4th and started to pressure the #96. Lawrence responded perfectly though by passing Jonass and Seewer followed his move to take fourth from Jonass. The teammates then paired up to take on Covington as they moved to second and third.

Lawrence made a charge the last lap to close right next to Hampshire but it wasn‰Ûªt to be as Hampshire crossed the finish first to take double race wins and the overall.

‰ÛÏI was excited to come racing here as it is my home state," Hampshire said. "I felt good in the warm up and knew that we could make something happen today. In the first race I didn‰Ûªt have a great start but made some quick passes. It was cool to battle with Covington today, I was excited especially to come to race with him.

"The guys from Suzuki were coming for me there at the end of the second race, I mean they‰Ûªre lying if they say they weren‰Ûªt. I was just trying to stabilize some breathing room and he was right there at the end but honestly I did not want to go any faster than what I had to because I was hurting.‰Û
American Thomas Covington was on the podium at his home GP with third. Credit: Youthstream

MXGP Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Eli Tomac (USA, Kawasaki), 35:45.724
2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:28.267
3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:36.781
4. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:44.426
5. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:50.234
6. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:55.850
7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:58.113
8. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +1:03.577
9. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:05.334
10. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +1:14.770.

MXGP Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:50.247
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:15.990
3. Eli Tomac (USA, Kawasaki), +0:29.282
4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:37.540
5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:41.951
6. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:47.523
7. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:52.404
8. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:00.454
9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +1:06.688
10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +1:13.118.

MXGP Overall Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 47 points
2. Eli Tomac (USA, KAW), 45 p.
3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 42 p.
4. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 32 p.
5. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 30 p.
6. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 26 p.
7. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 25 p.
8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 25 p.
9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 23 p.
10. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 22 p.

MXGP Championship Top Ten:
1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 673 points
2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 577 p.
3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 545 p.
4. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 544 p.
5. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 485 p.
6. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 441 p.
7. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 400 p.
8. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 390 p.
9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 377 p.
10. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 366 p.

MX2 Race 1 Top Ten:
1. RJ Hampshire (USA, Honda), 36:18.487
2. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:03.630
3. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Suzuki), +0:04.689
4. Mitchell Harrison (USA, Yamaha), +0:06.477
5. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:16.340
6. Chase Sexton (USA, Honda), +0:21.813
7. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:25.789
8. Justin Cooper (USA, Yamaha), +0:28.740
9. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:40.481
10. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:49.613.

MX2 Race 2 Top Ten:
1. RJ Hampshire (USA, Honda), 34:28.589
2. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Suzuki), +0:01.190
3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:02.826
4. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:15.486
5. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:23.499
6. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Yamaha), +0:25.316
7. Julien Lieber (BEL, KTM), +0:29.345
8. Chase Sexton (USA, Honda), +0:32.742
9. Mitchell Harrison (USA, Yamaha), +0:34.681
10. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:39.847.

MX2 Overall Top Ten:
1. RJ Hampshire (USA, HON), 50 points
2. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, SUZ), 42 p.
3. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 40 p.
4. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 32 p.
5. Mitchell Harrison (USA, YAM), 30 p.
6. Chase Sexton (USA, HON), 28 p.
7. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 27 p.
8. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 26 p.
9. Brent Van doninck (BEL, YAM), 25 p.
10. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 25 p.

MX2 Championship Top Ten:
1. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 696 points
2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 656 p.
3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 523 p.
4. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 504 p.
5. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 457 p.
6. Julien Lieber (BEL, KTM), 450 p.
7. Jorge Prado Garcia (ESP, KTM), 392 p.
8. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 356 p.
9. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, SUZ), 326 p.
10. Brent Van doninck (BEL, YAM), 298 p.

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