Herlings and Prado Dominate in the Tough Sands of Lommel


Jeffrey Herlings extended his MXGP lead with another dominate 1-1 performance. Photo: Youthstream
Jeffery Herlings and Jorge Prado have extended their championship lead in the MXGP and MX2 classes respectively with a dominate performance at round 15 of the FIM World Motocross Championship held in the deep sands of Lommel, Belgium.

The site of the 2018 Fiat Professional MXGP of Belgium is truly in the center of the worldwide motocross. Nearly every team in the paddock calls Lommel or its surrounding regions home with many riders and personnel living in the area along with various team workshops. The area is also home to tens of thousands of motocross fans who arrived in massive numbers to watch the riders perform on the edge of perfection.

From the start of the weekend Jeffery Herlings was on fire with the fastest times in Free Practice and Timed Practice followed by a Qualifying race win. Race day started just as strong with a heater of a lap time in Warm Up followed by his 7th Fox Holeshot of the season to begin Race the opening moto.

Title rival Antonio Cairoli was second across the chalk and the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP rider of Romain Febvre was next with Team HRC‰Ûªs Tim Gajser running 4th.
Antonio Cairoli was once again bridesmaid with the runner-up place in MXGP. Photo: Youthstream
Before even crossing the finish line to start the first official lap Herlings already had a several second lead over Cairoli. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP‰Ûªs Belgian rider Jeremy Van Horebeek chased Gajser and his teammate Febvre early but had Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP‰Ûªs Jeremy Seewer and Brit Max Anstie putting on pressure.

Frenchman Gautier Paulin was off to a difficult race after falling twice on the opening lap and crossing the line to start the race in 34th. Seewer moved past Van Horebeek on the second lap and Anstie passed the Belgian a lap later. At around the same time Gajser passed Febvre for 3rd but only held the position for 3 laps before the Frenchman took it back.

The same lap saw Anstie pass Seewer to reach the top 5 and several laps after that Gajser dropped a spot to Anstie on his way backwards to 7th place. At the finish of Race 1 Herlings won by 13 seconds even after a fall of his own while Cairoli took 2nd, Febvre 3rd, Anstie 4th, and Seewer rounded out the top 5. Glenn Coldenhoff took 6th.

Moto 2 saw a different holeshot winner with Gelnn Coldenhoff getting the jump on the field with Anstie and Gajser 2nd and 3rd but Herlings shot himself into second only a few corners later and took the lead before the end of the opening lap.
Brit Max Anstie rounded out the MXGP podium. Photo: Youthstream
Cairoli was behind Anstie and Gajser as his teammates ran in 1st and 2nd but took the 4th spot from Gajser quickly and took 3rd from Anstie on the same spot the next lap. The same section worked well again for Cairoli as he passed Coldenhoff to get into second.

Herlings had grown his lead to an impressive gap at that point and showed no signs of slowing as he put in an unmatchable pace. Febvre and Gajser battle for 5th briefly in which Febvre came out ahead. Anstie took 3rd from Coldenhoff but mistakes allowed the Dutchman back through.

Herlings lapped his way through the field but on the final lap lost control sending him down. Herlings lead was massive however and though the fall cost him several seconds he still came away with a lap time faster than most riders on the track.

Across the finish line Herlings won by 33 seconds over Cairoli and left only the top eight on the lead lap with Clement Desalle starting his final lap as Herlings took the checkered while Van Horebeek finished 1 lap down and nearly 7 seconds later. Coldenhoff took 3rd but missed out on the podium to Anstie who took 4th ahead of Febvre.
Aussie Todd Waters had another tough weekend after crashing early on in both motos. Photo: @shotbybavo_5
‰ÛÏThe weekend was really good. I am very pleased, I took three good starts and won the qualifying, both races and was fastest in each practice," Herlings said. "It is one of my favorite tracks on the calendar anyhow but I'm happy to extend the championship by 6 points and I'm looking forward to Switzerland."

World Champion Tony Cairoli had made progress from his left thumb injury and completed two lonely races in a comfortable runner-up position. The 2-2 by the Sicilian meant that Herlings only extended his margin in the standings by 6 points and the difference between the teammates is now 36. Cairoli has accumulated 13 podium results.

‰ÛÏOverall I‰Ûªm happy because I know in the sand and on this type of track Jeffrey is very fast," Cairoli said. "It would have been nice to be a little bit closer but I‰Ûªve had issues with my thumb and could not train exactly as I wanted in the sand lately. I know how to ride it but to keep this kind of speed the whole moto is very tough. Two-times second is OK and for the rest of the season we‰Ûªll try to stay as close to Jeffrey‰Ûªs wheel as possible and make a win where we can. A lot can still happen in the races to go. I‰Ûªm looking forward to Switzerland. It is a track I really like and hopefully we can have a better result.‰Û
Young Spaniard Jorge Prado extended his points lead to 28 in the MX2 Championship with a strong round win. Photo: Youthstream

The MX2 racing was just as interesting and showcased nearly as dominant of a performance from young Spaniard Jorge Prado. Similar to Herlings in MXGP, Prado took Saturday‰Ûªs qualifying race win and backed it up with a Holeshot to start Race 1 today.

Prado had Thomas Covington behind him first but title adversary Pauls Jonass was alongside and took second from the American immediately.

Thomas Kjer Olsen chased Covington with Team HRC‰Ûªs Calvin Vlaanderen following both. In a heated battle over 6th was Conrad Mewse and Kemea Yamaha Official MX2‰Ûªs Jago Geerts. Geerts had the upper hand however with it being his home GP the fans cheered him on to pass the Brit in what was his first race in nearly 6 weeks.
American Thomas Covington was second in the MX2 class. Photo: Youthstream
The biggest moment of the race however was the crash of Jonass as he tried to catch Prado for the lead. Jonass miss timed the massive SIDI jump into rollers and landed heavy which ejected him from his bike. Lucky to get away from the fall uninjured Jonass rejoined the race in 4th but lost another spot while trying to kick his clutch lever back into place.

At the finish Prado took the win with Covington 2nd, Olsen 3rd, and Jonass 4th after he passed Vlaanderen back 2 laps after the crash. Mewse managed to take the 6th spot back from Geerts after following the Belgian‰Ûªs lines for 6 laps.

Race 2 was consistent with the Race 1 for Prado who took the Fox Holeshot again leading Covington and Olsen while Jonass fell remounting in 14th. Kemea Yamaha Official MX2‰Ûªs Ben Watson started well in 4th but dropped to 7th before the opening lap was complete.
Thomas Kjer Olsen rounded out the MX2 podium. Photo: Youthstream.
Geerts in the other hand battled again with Mewse taking the spot and advantage of a crash from Vlaanderen. Geerts continued his charge forward taking 3rd from Olsen and then going after Covington for 2nd.

Covington made a mistake and jumped off the track while under pressure from Geerts and lost the spot but somehow managed to stay on the bike and take 3rd. Prado‰Ûªs 2nd race win was followed by Geerts, Covington, Olsen, and Watson while Jonass fought back to 6th.

In the overall podium result it was perfect 50 points from Prado followed by Covington‰Ûªs 2-3 and Olsen‰Ûªs 3-4. Prado now leads the championship by 28 points after gaining 17 points on Jonass this weekend.

‰ÛÏIt was a great weekend getting the qualifying win yesterday and today I felt really good already in warm up with the bike and the track," Prado said. "The first race I got a good start and could win then in the second race got the FOX Holeshot and won again. We train really hard and you can tell we get to a track like this."

Thomas Covington was happy to finally come to terms with the tough Lommel circuit.

‰ÛÏThis weekend I'm really happy to be up here on the podium in Lommel," Covington. "I really struggled here my first few years in Europe so to come away with a podium is pretty big for me, I think it has been a long time since an American was on the podium at Lommel so it is a pretty cool accomplishment."

After a few tough rounds Thomas Kjer Olsen was happy to be back on the podium.

‰ÛÏIt is really great to be on the podium again," Kjer Olsen said. "I had a couple of rough weeks off the podium so I was really motivated to get back on the box, just get 2 good starts, and ride like I know I can. I am happy for me and for the whole team to have 2 riders on the podium at the home GP."

Aussie Hunter Lawrence was in the wars again with the Honda 114 Motorsports rider having to struggle from down the field after crashing. Lawrence finished the round with 16-12 scorecard for 13th overall.

The Grand Prix of Switzerland at the popular and enclosed circuit of Frauenfeld-Gachnang will be the scene of round sixteen in two weeks.
Aussie Hunter Lawrence had a hard weekend spending more than his fair share of time on the ground. Photo: @shotbybavo_5 .
MXGP Results MXGP of Belgium

MXGP Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:45.618
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:13.091
3. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:51.594
4. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +1:04.034
5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +1:11.944
6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +1:19.765
7. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +1:27.384
8. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +1:38.816
9. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, KTM), +1:49.886
10. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:59.284

MXGP Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:34.847
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:33.050
3. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:47.722
4. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:54.030
5. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +1:15.523
6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +1:35.515
7. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +1:44.319
8. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +2:13.053
9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), -1 lap(s)
10. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Suzuki), -1 lap(s)

MXGP Overall Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 Points
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 44 Points
3. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 36 Points
4. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 36 Points
5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 35 Points
6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 31 Points
7. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 28 Points
8. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 25 Points
9. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 24 Points
10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, YAM), 20 Points

MXGP Championship Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 683 Points
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 647 Points
3. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 503 Points
4. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 478 Points
5. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 468 Points
6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 435 Points
7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 388 Points
8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 350 Points
9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 337 Points
10. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 267 Points

MX2 Results MXGP of Belgium

MX2 Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 34:59.736
2. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:11.439
3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:21.141
4. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:31.144
5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Honda), +0:33.899
6. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:45.443
7. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:56.360
8. Adam Sterry (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:02.821
9. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Yamaha), +1:07.739
10. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Husqvarna), +1:11.923

MX2 Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 34:51.222
2. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:04.083
3. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:12.715
4. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:21.133
5. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:24.378
6. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:39.784
7. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Honda), +0:52.172
8. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:59.965
9. Adam Sterry (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:06.985
10. Marshal Weltin (USA, Kawasaki), +1:21.222

MX2 Overall Top Ten:
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 50 Points
2. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 42 Points
3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 38 Points
4. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 36 Points
5. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 33 Points
6. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, HON), 30 Points
7. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 28 Points
8. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 26 Points
9. Adam Sterry (GBR, KAW), 25 Points
10. Brent Van doninck (BEL, HUS), 21 Points

MX2 Championship Top Ten:
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 645 Points
2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 617 Points
3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 492 Points
4. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 453 Points
5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, HON), 444 Points
6. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 417 Points
7. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 346 Points
8. Michele Cervellin (ITA, YAM), 291 Points
9. Henry Jacobi (GER, HUS), 261 Points
10. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), 218 Points

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