Herlings Takes Fifth Win While Thomas Kjer-Olsen Takes His First


Red Bull KTM with Jeffrey Herlings (84) claiming a fourth moto ‰Û÷double‰Ûª and fifth MXGP victory of the season. Photo: Ray Archer
Round seven of twenty in the 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship at the fast Kegums circuit and the Grand Prix of Latvia presented more trophy bounty for Red Bull KTM with Jeffrey Herlings claiming a fourth moto ‰Û÷double‰Ûª and fifth MXGP victory of the season.

Thomas Kjer-Olsen claimed the overall MX2 class victory, repeating his win at the same venue last year with a win and a second place.

Latvia‰Ûªs Kegums circuit was reversed ahead of this weekend‰Ûªs racing but the changes had little effect on Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Jeffrey Herlings. Herlings, who won his first ever MXGP overall here last year, started the weekend in dominant form first topping the Free and Time Practice sessions by a substantial margin and then winning Saturday‰Ûªs Qualifying race by 50 seconds.

On the other side of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing paddock was the #222 Antonio Cairoli in his 222nd GP after 14 years in the World Championship. Cairoli was also remarkable on Saturday with a charge from near last to finish Qualifying in 3rd.

Today the fortunes swapped with Cairoli grabbing the Race 1 FOX Holeshot ahead of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP‰Ûªs Romain Febvre while Herlings was around 10th. Cairoli and Febvre battled for the lead in the first few laps while Gautier Paulin ran in 2nd.

Febvre‰Ûªs Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP teammate, Jeremy Van Horebeek jostled with Clement Desalle over 4th the first laps before Herlings found his way past both on lap 4. Paulin then started to get pressured by Herlings and lost his 3rd spot only 2 laps later.
Antonio Cairoli finished his 222nd start with second place in MXGP. Credit. Ray Archer
Another lap later Herlings was again moving forward taking second away from Febvre. On the 9th lap Herlings claimed the lead from Cairoli. The ‰ÛÏBullet‰Û
Frenchman Gautier Paulin rounded out the MXGP podium. Photo: Youthstream
Cairoli led the field at the end of the first lap while Herlings crossed the finish in 5th. Tim Gajser made up for his poor start in race one by running in 3rd the first 2 laps of race 2. Paulin ran in 4th the first lap but lost the spot by the second time around to Herlings.

Herlings then again made his way to the front as Cairoli checked out with a 10 second lead. On lap 3 Herlings was into 3rd by Gajser and then into 2nd the following lap around Coldenhoff, on the same lap Coldenhoff was also passed by Gajser and later Paulin.

Febvre would fall for a second time when he ran into the back of Honda Redmoto Assomotor‰Ûªs Arminas Jasikonis, the fall left Febvre unable to finish the race. Febvre‰Ûªs fellow Frenchman, Gautier Paulin, was however able to take 3rd from Gajser on lap 12.

As Herlings cut into the lead of Cairoli the Italian simultaneously was caught in lapped traffic. Cairoli‰Ûªs issues mixed with Herlings‰Ûª charge resulted in Herlings making a pass for the lead 6 laps before the finish. Across the finish line first was Herlings, Cairoli, and Paulin securing the overall in the same order. Just missing out on the overall podium was Desalle and Gajser.

‰ÛÏThe starts weren‰Ûªt so great but to keep fighting back in both motos and even be able to build a little lead was a nice feeling," Herlings said. "It wasn't about domination because Tony upped his game today and did a really good job. It is great to have KTM 1-2 again. Yesterday was easy-going for me but I had to fight for it today. It was a nice GP and I enjoyed the track. This place was a turning point for me last year but we are in much better shape now with a different momentum. I love this track and it was a pleasure to be here.‰Û
Tony Cairoli chases team-mate and winner Jeffery Herlings. Photo: Youthstream
In his 222nd start, Cairoli was happy with his spoeed and to once again be on the podium.

‰ÛÏI‰Ûªm really happy because the speed was good and we are in one piece," Cairoli said. "The track was difficult and the rhythm was very fast. A little bit disappointed by the second moto because I wanted to fight a bit longer for the GP win but I almost crashed with a lapped rider and Jeffrey had the chance to pass me and I didn't get a chance to respond before he had the gap.

"The level [of MXGP] is high but I am happy with the results [so far] and we know the championship is long," the Italian continued. "Jeffrey was definitely the fastest here this weekend and I knew it would be really difficult‰Û_but I‰Ûªm happy. It is important to always finish on the podium and when possible: try to win. This is how the championship grows.‰Û
MX2 winner Thomas Kjer Olsen won the same round the year before. Photo: Youthstream
Coming into the MX2 races this weekend many eyes were on Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Pauls Jonass and Jorge Prado but at the start of MX2 race 1 it was Thomas Kjer Olsen who made the biggest impression.

Olsen took the holeshot and led Jonass while Prado clipped the back of Thomas Covington and went down. With the threat of Prado missing Jonass was able to focus on catching Olsen but the tall Dane out rode Jonass leading every single lap to the checkered flag.

Behind the two front runners was originally Henry Jacobi and Honda 114 Motorsports Hunter Lawrence. Lawrence fell hard on lap 2 and was unable to finish the race. Jacobi held 3rd for 7 laps before a charging Covington made it past the German.
Yamaha's Jago Geerts continued his strong form with second in MX2. Photo: Youthstream
2 laps after Covington‰Ûªs pass on Jacobi, Kemea Yamaha Official MX2‰Ûªs Jago Geerts passed the #29 and 2 laps after that Geerts‰Ûª Teammate Ben Watson did the same. At the finish Olsen beat Jonass, Covington, Geerts, and Watson while Jacobi took 6th.

Race 2 was a redemption race for Prado as he took his 7th Fox Holeshot of the season and sprinted away from the field. Jago Geerts had an amazing start in second ahead of Watson, Olsen, and Davy Pootjes. By lap 7 Olsen was getting into a flow and the next lap made a pass on Watson and Geerts directly after.

Though Olsen was in 2nd Prado was long gone but Jonass was fighting his way forward from 13th on lap one. As Prado led he fell in the first turn just before Pit Lane which essentially cost him his entire advantage over Olsen.
MX2 Championship leader Pauls Jonass salvaged a podium at his home GP after a tough day at the office. Photo: Ray Archer
Prado would however rebound from the mistake well and regain a gap with the help of an error from Olsen. Across the finish Prado took the race win by 2.6 seconds over Olsen, Geerts, Watson, and Jonass. In the overall classification Olsen claimed his second Latvian GP victory in 2 attempts while Geerts achieved his first career MX2 podium in 2nd and Jonass took 3rd.

‰ÛÏIt is a good feeling winning and I don‰Ûªt know, there is something about this place that I really like," Kjer Olsen said. "I have always had a good feeling here even in my European Championship days. It kind of reminds a little bit of Denmark but this is how I want to ride every weekend.‰Û
Spaniard Jorge Prado (61) won the second MX2 Moto but a tenth in the opening moto cost him a podium. Photo Ray Archer
For championship leader Pauls Jonass his home GP never ended in the win he would have liked but still stood on the podium,

‰ÛÏThe home GP is always a little more difficult than the others but overall I‰Ûªm really happy to be on the podium," Jonass said. "The fans were really crazy, I could hear them when I made every single pass which was really good, they pushed me forward and I‰Ûªm really thankful for everyone who came to support me, it helped a lot!‰Û
Aussie Hunter Lawrence crashed out in the first moto on his MX2 return and would take no further part in the round. Photo: Bavo
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:17.750
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:03.095
3. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:30.745
4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:31.253
5. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:48.939
6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:57.055
7. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +1:01.142
8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +1:02.892
9. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +1:05.283
10. (LTU, Honda), +1:09.370

MXGP Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:20.083
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:06.153
3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:56.082
4. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +1:02.105
5. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:07.560
6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +1:11.982
7. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +1:19.390
8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +1:26.477
9. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +1:39.387
10. Julien Lieber (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:41.924

MXGP Overall Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 44 p.
3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 38 p.
4. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 32 p.
5. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 30 p.
6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 29 p.
7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 28 p.
8. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 26 p.
9. Julien Lieber (BEL, KAW), 21 p.
10. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 20 p.

MXGP Championship Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 336 points
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 307 p.
3. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 244 p.
4. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 223 p.
5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 218 p.
6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 180 p.
7. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 179 p.
8. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 177 p.
9. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 155 p.
10. Julien Lieber (BEL, KAW), 134 p.

MX2 Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), 34:09.629
2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:11.055
3. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:19.745
4. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:30.988
5. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:32.466
6. Henry Jacobi (GER, Husqvarna), +0:51.207
7. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), +0:52.956
8. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:54.718
9. Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, Honda), +0:57.004
10. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:59.914.

MX2 Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 34:24.759
2. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:02.681
3. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:04.511
4. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:09.717
5. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:26.958
6. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), +0:36.606
7. Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, Honda), +0:47.007
8. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Honda), +0:56.954
9. Iker Larranaga Olano (ESP, Husqvarna), +0:58.588
10. Jed Beaton (AUS, Kawasaki), +0:59.115.

MX2 Overall Top Ten:
1. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 47 points
2. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 38 p.
3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 38 p.
4. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 36 p.
5. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 34 p.
6. Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, HON), 26 p.
7. Henry Jacobi (GER, HUS), 24 p.
8. Michele Cervellin (ITA, HON), 23 p.
9. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), 21 p.
10. Iker Larranaga Olano (ESP, HUS), 21 p.

MX2 Championship Top Ten:
1. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 304 points
2. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 282 p.
3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 266 p.
4. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 210 p.
5. Jed Beaton (AUS, KAW), 174 p.
6. Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, HON), 156 p.
7. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 140 p.
8. Henry Jacobi (GER, HUS), 128 p.
9. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, YAM), 127 p.
10. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 126 p.

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