Herlings Notches Up Eighth Win Of The Season at MXGP of France


Jeffrey Herlings extended his lead at the top of the FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship standings after his fourth consecutive win, eighth of the season and seventh ‰Û÷double‰Ûª at Saint Jean D‰ÛªAngely.
The 2018 MXGP of France has concluded at the beautiful Saint Jean d‰ÛªAngely circuit where Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Jeffrey Herlings and Jorge Prado stole the show and the overall wins once again at the half-way point of the season.

The whole weekend from Saturday morning until the final podium on Sunday, French fans filled the hillsides and watched the best riders of the FIM Motocross World Championship. An overnight storm naturally watered the track for today and even if it was soft in the morning it later developed into prime conditions. The occasional air horns and gas powered noise makers were drowned out by even louder cheers from the thousands of spectators.

MXGP Race 1 was off to an interesting start when Jeffrey Herlings used his first gate pick to line up on the far outside. The gamble however payed off as the harder packed dirt gave him a head start and a massive Fox Holeshot. Herlings lead only grew as he put in fast lap after fast lap.

Crossing the line second in what was easily his best start of the season was Standing Construct KTM‰Ûªs Valentin Guillod who was followed by another Swiss rider, Wilvo Yamaha MXGP Official Team‰Ûªs Jeremy Seewer.

However by the end of the first lap Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team‰Ûªs Clement Desalle, along with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Glenn Coldenhoff and Antonio Cairoli, had made it around the Swiss duo.

Desalle then latched onto the speed of Herlings while Coldenhoff fought Cairoli to stay in the top 3. Cairoli was throwing everything at Coldenhoff from different rhythms to the inside of a corner on one lap and to the outside on the next. For 9 laps Cairoli tried to get past Coldenhoff before finally making into third. All the while Herlings pulled away from Desalle.
A massive French crowd watch Tony Cairoli grab the holeshot in Moto 2. Photo: Youthstream
Slightly further back Seewer was 5th ahead of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP‰Ûªs Romain Febvre. On lap 13 of 17 total Febvre was passed by Team HRC‰Ûªs Tim Gajser who was on a late charge. Gajser was 8th on lap 2, but after his pass on Febvre he was in a rhythm and carried on to pass Seewer and Coldenhoff finishing 4th behind Herlings, Desalle, and Cairoli.

At the start of Race 2 Herlings tried for another Fox Holeshot but had no such luck and was outside the top 5 in the first corner while Cairoli led Seewer over the line. Gajser massed Seewer on the opening lap as Herlings made several quick passes to get into 4th.

By the end of lap 2 Herlings was third but Cairoli and Gajser had already started to pull away. The French fans were on their feet as hometown hero Gautier Paulin moved from 5th to 4th with a pass on Seewer.

3 laps later the home crowd was again yelling because Febvre was alongside Seewer. At the halfway point Herlings made a pass on Gajser stick for second and looked forward to Cairoli in the lead. At the same time the French favorites, Paulin and Febvre, where in a battle for 4th. Febvre tried taking the spot in the first turn just past pit lane and on his second attempt in 2 laps made it happen.
World Champion Antonio Cairoli once again had to play bridesmaid to his team-mate and finished runner-up in the MXGP class, Photo: Youthstream
At the front Cairoli‰Ûªs lead was gone and Herlings made a pass at the top of the uphill with just over 4 laps to go. Cairoli was unable to counter and settled for 2nd with Gajser taking 3rd, Febvre 4th, and Paulin 5th. For the overall podium Herlings stood on the top step ahead of Cairoli, and Gajser.

‰ÛÏIt was a really cool weekend, a beautiful one actually," Herlings said. "That track was special and I hadn‰Ûªt really seen a place like that until I was fifteen! So it‰Ûªs nice to have so much experience now. The fastest pre-qualifying time meant I could control the Heat race on Saturday and then have an advantage for the first moto gate pick, which helped towards that holeshot. I could control the race and not use much energy. I was a bit late with the gate in the second moto and I really had to work for it! It was a difficult one because Tony had a big gap when I had already got to third: it wasn‰Ûªt easy on this track. I‰Ûªm looking forward to the next one now because Ottobiano is one of my favourite tracks. The plan is to go for the podium at least and hopefully fight for another win," the 23-year-old concluded.

World Champion Tony Cairoli ended the Grand Prix as runner-up for the second week in a row.

‰ÛÏI feel good but this weekend was not one of the best," the Sicilian lamented. "Last week I hurt my knee and could not train this week. When you are at this level if you already miss a couple of days of riding then you really feel it. Jeffrey is very fast at the moment so you cannot really rest and you always have to be on the pace. The track was a bit more muddy and harder in the first moto compared to the second. I had a bad start in the first moto and tried to come through the top ten as quick as possible. It was OK, but we shouldn't be making these mistakes at the start. In the second moto I tried my best to stay at the front but got very tired in the last ten minutes and Jeffrey was making very fast laps. I made a few mistakes and he came very close. Second is OK, but we want to work to be more competitive and hopefully we can make it next week.‰Û
HRC Honda's Tim Gajser stepped on the podium for the third time this year by finishing third overall in the MXGP of France. Photo: Bavo
HRC's Tim Gajser stepped on the podium for the third time this year after finishing third.

"I‰Ûªm quite happy with third place and the podium finish. My riding was good and the speed was there, just in the first moto we had some issues at the start as I had a coming together with another rider and almost went down," Gajser explained.

"We came from behind to finish fourth, which wasn‰Ûªt a bad result all things considered. The second moto was much better: I had a great jump out of the gate and I was near the front early on. I rode at a good pace for twenty minutes, but Toni and Jeffrey were faster so I did my best to keep third place at the line. We‰Ûªre quite happy, but we still need to improve a little bit in every area. The bike was really good though, so thanks to the team for their hard work!

Desalle missed the podium by just 1 point and was the lone Monster Energy Kawasaki rider in the race today since Julien Lieber opted not to start following his crash from Matterley Basin last week.
Another win in France saw Jorge Prado close the championship gap to team-mate Pauls Jonass down to 16 points from 28. Photo: Youthstream
MX2 Race 1 started with a rarely seen FOX Holeshot from Thomas Covington ahead of Henry Jacobi. The usual MX2 holeshot king, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Jorge Prado, was third while points leader and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Pauls Jonass was back in 10th.

Several positions were shifted in the opening lap with Prado falling as and Jacobi losing spots to Thomas Kjer Olsen and Jonass. Prado‰Ûªs crash dropped him to eighth but he rebounded quickly gaining 3 positions on lap 2.

Jonass meanwhile was battling with Jacobi for 3rd and the pressure of Prado closing pushed him back around the German. Prado then made a pass on Jacobi 2 laps later. Prado then had his sights set on Jonass and after chasing his teammate for laps took an outside line which then turned to the inside allowing him to push past.

Next to challenge Jacobi was Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 team‰Ûªs Jago Geerts and Honda 114 Motorsport‰Ûªs Hunter Lawrence. Lawrence went down on the start and was charging back to the front from 17th. Geerts passed Jacobi on lap 11 and 2 laps after Jacobi fell which helped Lawrence into 6th.

For the start of Race 2 Jonass returned to the front of the field but only until he fell on the first half of the opening lap. Jonass completed the first official lap in 17th while Prado pulled away from Geerts in the lead.
American Thomas Covington tied on points with eventual GP winner Jorge Prado. Photo: Youthsteeam
Yamaha SM Action - M.C. Migliori‰Ûªs newly signed rider, Michele Cervellin, was 3rd the first laps before Olsen jumped past on a charge where he gained 3 positions in one lap. Cervellin also lost a spot to Covington and Team HRC‰Ûªs Calvin Vlaanderen.

Pauls Jonass was on a mission to salvage points and did so climbing up the standings from 17th to 6th with his pass on Cervellin during lap 13. Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 Team‰Ûªs Ben Watson was also fighting his way through the field and finished 7th.

When the checkered flag came out Prado took the win over Geerts and Covington who found his way past Olsen. On the overall podium Prado and Covington tied in points but the victory went to the Spaniard with his better performance in race 2. Olsen rounded out the podium making it the first time the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team had both riders in the top 3.

‰ÛÏThe weekend started well on Saturday and I felt good on the bike and the track," round winner Prado said. "It was quite muddy this morning and my start wasn't the best in the first moto but I passed a lot of people. I hit a stone at one point and had a small crash but recovered right away and was happy with my riding, especially in those conditions where last year it was a big struggle for me. It was a shame that Pauls crashed on the first lap of the next race‰Û_but it was good for me! I kept the lead until the end‰Û_it was a perfect weekend. I‰Ûªm really happy with our work.‰Û
Thomas Kjer-Olsen secured third overall. Runner-up in the opening moto and fourth in the second moto, the young Dane remains third in the Championship standings.
Runner up, Thomas Covington, added, ‰ÛÏOverall it was a really good weekend for me, I have been struggling the first half of the season so it is good to get some consistent races in a weekend. I felt really strong, especially at the end, I really found my rhythm.‰Û
Jeffery Herlings has now had seven 1-1 finishes for the year and now looks unstoppable as he charges towards his maiden MXGP title. Photo: Ray Archer
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:05.232
2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:05.660
3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:06.322
4. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:27.283
5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:28.840
6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:29.420
7. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:31.420
8. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +1:03.975
9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Suzuki), +1:14.751
10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), +1:16.726.

MXGP Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:38.032
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:08.838
3. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:40.401
4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:49.798
5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:52.800
6. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:55.315
7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:56.529
8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:56.531
9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Suzuki), +1:16.573
10. Ivo Monticelli (ITA, Yamaha), +1:17.441.

MXGP Overall Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 42 Points
3. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 38 Points
4. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 37 Points
5. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 32 Points
6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 30 Points
7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 29 Points
8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 28 Points
9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, SUZ), 24 Points
10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, YAM), 18 Points

MXGP Championship Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 486 points
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 424 Points
3. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 351 Points
4. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 323 Points
5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 296 Points
6. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 295 Points
7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 267 Points
8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 226 Points
9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 219 Points
10. Maximilian Nagl (GER, TM), 177 Points

MX2 Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), 35:58.425
2. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:03.573
3. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:05.910
4. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:11.808
5. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:15.171
6. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Honda), +0:31.713
7. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:57.033
8. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Yamaha), +1:00.917
9. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +1:03.209
10. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), +1:09.790

MX2 Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 34:19.853
2. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:03.163
3. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:05.751
4. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:12.352
5. Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, Honda), +0:18.444
6. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:22.634
7. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:23.243
8. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Yamaha), +0:34.681
9. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:35.047
10. Stephen Rubini (FRA, KTM), +0:47.071
13. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Honda),

MX2 Overall Top Ten:
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 45 points
2. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 45 Points
3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 40 Points
4. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 38 Points
5. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 33 Points
6. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 26 Points
7. Michele Cervellin (ITA, YAM), 26 Points
8. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 26 Points
9. Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, HON), 25 Points
10. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, HON), 23 Points

MX2 Championship Top Ten:
1. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 434 points
2. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 418 Points
3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 328 Points
4. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 305 Points
5. Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, HON), 259 Points
6. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 217 Points
7. Jed Beaton (AUS, KAW), 216 Points
8. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 211 Points
9. Henry Jacobi (GER, HUS), 187 Points
10. Michele Cervellin (ITA, YAM), 187 Points

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