The 2018 MXGP of Russia has seen its first day of racing at the Orlyonok circuit where the beautiful weather matched up with a perfect location for the event, just above the beaches of the Black Sea.
Topping the field in the MXGP class was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Jeffrey Herlings and in MX2 it was the #1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Pauls Jonass.
At the drop of the MXGP starting gate Team HRC‰Ûªs Tim Gajser looked like he would have a great start just behind Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Jeffrey Herlings and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP‰Ûªs Romain Febvre. Gajser however ended up clipping the back of Herlings which sent the Slovenian to the dirt. Herlings was thrown off by the contact allowing Febvre to take the holeshot.
Febvre‰Ûªs Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP teammate Jeremy Van Horebeek ran second and TM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Max Nagl ran third before being passed by Herlings and later Clement Desalle.
Meanwhile Desalle teammate, Julien Lieber was back in 17th. In the next laps Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Antonio Cairoli moved into fifth with a move on Nagl.
In the second half of the race Nagl battled with Wilvo Yamaha MXGP‰Ûªs Jeremy Seewer but then both were passed by a charging Julien Lieber. The early leader, Febvre fell twice during the race sending him back to 12th where he would only gain back one position.
Back at the front Herlings found his way past Van Horebeek for the lead and Cairoli passed Desalle for third. Cairoli made a mistake in front of Desalle causing the Kawasaki rider to miss his line and allow his teammate, Lieber, into fourth.
Only moments later Cairoli lost the front end whilst closing in on Van Horebeek. The mistake allowed Lieber into third while Herlings took the win. Van Horebeek finished second ahead of the career best MXGP qualifying result from Lieber that made impressive passes finishing in third.
For Jeffrey Herlings it all seems to be clicking as the championship leader notched up another qualifying race win.
‰ÛÏI had a long trip to get here but I made it just in time, in the time practice I struggled a bit as these guys were warming up in the morning while I was traveling," Herlings said. "I still managed to get second in the time practice and I won the Qualifying, thus I eventually had a good day, so I hope to have also a good night of sleep and looking forward to tomorrow. Here the track is pretty fast and starts are the main thing, if you have a good start you can fight for the win and have good results.‰Û