Jeffrey Herlings took his 101st career Grand Prix and his second of the 2023 MXGP series at a sunny Agueda for the Grand Prix of Portugal while in MX2 Jago Geerts had the perfect weekend.
The distinctive red soil of Agueda staged the FIM Motocross World Championship once more but provided the riders and teams of the MXGP and MX2 classes with a reversed course and other modifications to the quick, jumpy and relentless layout. Agueda has been a steadfast and consistent date on the MXGP slate for the competition’s most westerly European appointment.
Two rounds after Jeffrey Herlings crested the three-figure barrier in the Grand Prix record books, the five-times world champion was back to his attack on the sport’s statistics. A 3rd place in the first moto (finishing two seconds from the winner Jorge Prado) despite arm-pump was forgotten with a rampaging performance and victorious run in the second outing. Herlings is now one GP triumph away from the outright #1 status in the world championship record books. In the framework of 2023 Herlings is 2nd in the MXGP championship table, staring at a slender 17 point deficit to Jorge Prado with the red plate.
“It’s really great to come and get another win,” Helings said. “It’s been a long road and I feel I am getting back to my old self in some ways. A good performance today. The first moto wasn’t that positive and I had some arm-pump again – I really don’t know why – but in the second one I felt like a different rider and could really push. I’m looking forward to Spain. 101 GP wins is pretty special and now just one more for the record.”
Romain Febvre finished runners-up to elevate himself to third in the series.
The Frenchman displayed his experience through the wide sweeping first two turns of the opening moto to emerge second and immediately settled into a good rhythm as he tracked the leader at arm’s length. Having dropped the chasers off his rear wheel after three laps he closed significantly on the rider ahead through the next three laps but could not quite get close enough to present the opportunity for a pass and he eventually settled back into a good rhythm. Another charge during the closing stages saw him pull back the race-long leader Jorge Prado to come up less than two seconds short of victory at the chequered flag.
Momentarily losing momentum through the second turn of race two as a rider directly ahead of him lost traction saw the Frenchman fifth the first time past the timekeepers but he immediately pounced to sweep under the series leader halfway round the first lap for fourth. Looking to chase down the leaders he faced a frustrating quarter-of-an-hour as the rider in third made it awkward to pass. He eventually lined up a scintillating move through the waves but by then Jeffrey Herlings and Ruben Fernandez were too far ahead for him to run them down. However, third in moto earnt second overall on the day and, more significantly, saw him pull back points on the series leader as he moves third in the points chase.
“I was feeling good all weekend,” Febvre shared. “I had to push quite hard yesterday but I managed fifth from seventeenth in Qualifying so I knew I just needed to take decent starts today. Many of us had similar speed and I knew I had to pass quickly so I was happy with second in the first race. The second moto was tougher. I had a good clean fight with Seewer but then the two guys in front were gone. It’s good to be back on the podium and take points back in the championship; I look forward to pulling back more next weekend in Spain.”
Jorge Prado continued his fine run of form at the Grand Prix of Portugal, which is not far from his home, as he ripped to a comfortable victory in the first moto. Unfortunately, the second moto was a little trickier as a mediocre start halted his progress somewhat. ’61’ was classified in sixth place in that, which was enough for third overall on the day. Most importantly, his series lead is sat at seventeen points.
“Overall, I am quite happy with my day,” Prado said. “I am in a good position in the championship and riding well. I feel like I can replicate what I did in moto one, so that is good. I got pushed wide at the start of the second moto, so I lost some positions early on. I charged hard at the end of the race and almost made progress. I am confident. It is my home Grand Prix next, so I am excited.”
Jago Geerts took a perfect double-race win in MX2. Consequently, the Belgian star has strengthened his position at the top of the MX2 World Championship standings and now leads by 36 points.
Despite warm and sunny conditions, the opening race of the Portuguese Grand Prix was wet and muddy after the track was heavily watered to prevent excess dust. In response, Geerts took a mature approach and gradually eased into the race, patiently following early race leader Andrea Adamo after a top-three start.
Leveraging his five years of experience pursuing a maiden MX2 world title, the Belgian used the full 30-minute duration to find his lines before executing a calculated move on Adamo with two laps remaining. Once in the lead, the ’93’ proved untouchable as he charged to a commanding race win ahead of Adamo and Kay de Wolf.
Continuing his unstoppable momentum, Geerts maintained his dominance in the second and final race of the weekend. The Yamaha ace put in another exceptional performance in which he led all 18 laps to secure his sixth race win of the season. This time Kay de Wolf followed him home on second while Roan Van De Moosdijk grabbed third.
In the overall Geerts was the overall winner with de Wolf second and Van De Moosdijk third.
“It was a perfect weekend for me,” Geerts said. “I felt good on the track right from the first lap of practice, so I knew it was going to be a good weekend. And it was! It was a nice weekend; I am really happy with the three moto wins. I can’t say much more. I just really enjoyed it, and I am happy with the 60-points.”
Kay De Wolf was consistent in the first stint, as he picked his way into third in the early stages and secured that position when the chequered flag waved. The fact that he recorded the third-fastest lap time was indicative of his form. The second moto was made more difficult by a rather mediocre start – he ended lap one in the lower half of the top ten and carved his way to second in what was a superb ride. 3-2 scores put him in second overall on the day. Third is where he lies in the championship standings.
“The second moto was really, really good,” De Wolf reflected. “I did not have the best start, but I kept working. It was a tough weekend and we turned it around. I am really happy with what we did today and cannot wait to build on this moving forward.”
For Moosdijk, third overall was a brilliant step forward in what has been a positive campaign thus far. ’39’ raced to fourth place in moto one and then made impressive progress in moto two to put himself in the fight for second. Eventually finishing in third in the stint was enough to secure the same position in the overall classification. In addition, he managed to edge closer to the top five in the championship standings.
“I am slowly getting back to where I should be and I am happy about that!” Moosdijk said. “I knew that I had to pass Simon Langenfelder in the second moto and I did that, so that was good. It has been a tough road to get to this point and I would not have been able to do it without my team.”
Teams will travel 500 kilometers east for the sixth round of the championship, which will take place next weekend, May 6th and 7th, in Madrid, Spain.
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), 34:26.447
2 Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:01.738
3 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:02.026
4 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +0:27.079
5 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:28.693
6 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, GASGAS), +0:30.083
7 Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Honda), +0:35.527
8 Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:37.909
9 Alberto Forato (ITA, KTM), +0:40.778
10 Valentin Guillod (SUI, Honda), +0:43.643
MXGP- Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 33:53.358
2 Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Honda), +0:09.221
3 Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:14.358
4 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:15.144
5 Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:15.937
6 Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +0:19.269
7 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +0:31.594
8 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, GASGAS), +0:33.579
9 Valentin Guillod (SUI, Honda), +0:36.402
10 Brent Van doninck (BEL, Honda), +0:44.611
MXGP – GP Top 10 Classification:
1 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 45 Points
2 Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 42 Points
3 Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 40 Points
4 Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 36 Points
5 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 34 Points
6 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 32 Points
7 Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 29 Points
8 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, GAS), 28 Points
9 Valentin Guillod (SUI, HON), 23 Points
10 Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 18 Points
MXGP – World Championship Top 10 Classification:
1 Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 246 Points
2 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 229 Points
3 Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 214 Points
4 Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 202 Points
5 Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 182 Points
6 Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 162 Points
7 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 152 Points
8 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 148 Points
9 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, GAS), 139 Points
10 Alberto Forato (ITA, KTM), 116 Points
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), 34:01.984
2 Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), +0:05.446
3 Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:13.477
4 Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Husqvarna), +0:18.749
5 Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +0:23.846
6 Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), +0:46.109
7 Rick Elzinga (NED, Yamaha), +0:50.633
8 Mikkel Haarup (DEN, KTM), +0:52.851
9 Lucas Coenen (BEL, Husqvarna), +0:53.849
10 Emil Weckman (FIN, Honda), +0:59.498
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), 34:21.031
2 Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:07.084
3 Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Husqvarna), +0:13.090
4 Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +0:18.737
5 Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), +0:30.801
6 Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Kawasaki), +0:32.506
7 Lucas Coenen (BEL, Husqvarna), +0:34.405
8 Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:49.007
9 Rick Elzinga (NED, Yamaha), +0:50.291
10 Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), +0:50.747
MX2 – GP Top 10 Classification:
1 Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 50 Points
2 Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 42 Points
3 Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, HUS), 38 Points
4 Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 38 Points
5 Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 34 Points
6 Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 26 Points
7 Rick Elzinga (NED, YAM), 26 Points
8 Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), 26 Points
9 Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KAW), 24 Points
10 Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 21 Points
MX2 – World Championship Top 10 Classification:
1 Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 265 Points
2 Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 229 Points
3 Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 220 Points
4 Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 206 Points
5 Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 201 Points
6 Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, HUS), 191 Points
7 Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 157 Points
8 Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KAW), 143 Points
9 Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 130 Points
10 Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), 115 Points