Less than two weeks after fracturing his left shoulder blade when another rider landed on him at the Dutch Grand Prix and after sitting out the Czech round seven days ago, Jeffrey Herlings elected to attempt the Grand Prix of Belgium late on Saturday afternoon.
The 2018 MXGP World Champion is a renowned sand rider and wanted to keep his hand in the 2021 title dispute and at the end of the day, he achieved his goal with the runner-up place in the MX1 class.
The 26-year-old was a tenth of a second from securing Pole Position in Timed Practice and then slotted into 2nd place on the first lap of the opening moto. He chased Romain Febvre for 10 of the 15 laps and maintained his pace to eventually take the lead and win his third consecutive race by a comfortable 28 seconds. Torrential rain fell during the moto and continued sporadically into the second motos.
Herlings was unlucky to tangle with Glenn Coldenhoff three corners into the second start. The incident meant he had to cut through from the lower reaches of the top twenty and reached as high as 5th before he ran out of energy and momentum. The 1-5 was still sufficient for the second step of the podium and means he sits 5th in the standings, 42 points from 1st.
“We didn’t ride much in practice but we had a good gate pick and then in the first moto Romain had really good pace, so I just sat there to save energy,” Herlings explained.
“As everybody knows, I broke my shoulder blade and it’s not normal to be riding again in thirteen days. I didn’t know if my speed would fade because the track was so rough and hard on the body. At one point I felt I could run a faster pace. I passed Romain and made a gap.
“I started well in the second moto – fourth or fifth I think – but came together with Glenn going for an inside line. It was a shame to be last but I fought my way back to 5th…then I faded! I couldn’t hold onto the bike that well and I didn’t want to make a big crash. To go 1-5 is a good day. One week ago we thought the championship was over – and I still need to hunt down the points – but 42 points is not too bad and there are still a lot of races and options ahead. 42 away is not where I want to be but if I had this offer a week ago I would have signed for it.”
Herlings will be back in action at the Kegums circuit and Latvia in the coming days for round seven of the championship.
MXGP Results MXGP Flanders-Belgium 2021
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:37.691
2 Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:28.149
3 Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:36.418
4 Pauls Jonass (LAT, GASGAS), +0:41.724
5 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:49.914
6 Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:56.529
7 Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:57.895
8 Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +1:00.916
9 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +1:10.924
10 Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +1:19.128
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), 35:47.024
2 Pauls Jonass (LAT, GASGAS), +0:04.339
3 Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:09.748
4 Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:11.213
5 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:31.247
6 Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, Husqvarna), +0:34.905
7 Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:37.604
8 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:39.296
9 Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:47.333
10 Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:49.616
MXGP – GP Top 10 Classification:
1 Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 47 Points
2 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 41 Points
3 Pauls Jonass (LAT, GAS), 40 Points
4 Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 35 Points
5 Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 34 Points
6 Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 32 Points
7 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 29 Points
8 Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 22 Points
9 Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 21 Points
10 Brian Bogers (NED, GAS), 20 Points
MXGP – World Championship Top 10 Classification:
1 Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 226 Points
2 Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 221 Points
3 Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 217 Points
4 Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 212 Points
5 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 184 Points
6 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 180 Points
7 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 160 Points
8 Pauls Jonass (LAT, GAS), 159 Points
9 Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 111 Points
10 Alessandro Lupino (ITA, KTM), 109 Points