Championship leaders Jeffrey Herlings and Maxime Renaux topped the podium in what was an action-packed Spanish Grand Prix, adding valuable championship points to their MXGP and MX2 title chase.
Round 13 of the FIM Motocross World Championship produced one of the most incredible races of the season, thanks to the enormous crowd of fans that filled the grandstands around the intu-Xanadù Arroyomolinos circuit, showing support for home hero, Jorge Prado that created a fantastic atmosphere right from the get-go.
Once again, the competition was fierce as the title contenders continued their fight for top scoring positions, keeping the championship tight knit.
In MXGP race one, it was Prado who grabbed the Fox Holeshot from Romain Febvre, Glenn Coldenhoff and Team HRC’s Tim Gajser. Herlings struggled in the start and was down in 11th position.
Having a brilliant start though was Honda SR Motoblouz rider Benoit Paturel who was fifth ahead of Jeremy Seewer and Antonio Cairoli. The 9-time World Champion was keen on getting around Seewer and the two even banged bars, but the Swiss was able to stay ahead.
Gajser then managed to pass Coldenhoff, as Herlings got himself into ninth just behind Pauls Jonass.
Febvre charged his way onto the rear wheel of Prado as Gajser was keen on staying close and we saw something that has probably never happened before… Both Febvre and Gajser set the exact same lap time; a 1:51.692. The Frenchman then had Prado just 0.794 seconds ahead of him and the fight only intensified as the laps went on. Eventually by lap nine there was a change for the lead as the Kawasaki rider got into the driving seat.
Herlings looked stuck for a couple of laps as he couldn’t find a way past Jonass, but once he managed to do so, he quickly got by Cairoli too, but Paturel put of much more of a fight as he looked to defend his sixth place.
Meanwhile Seewer was edging closer to his teammate Coldenhoff as he searched for an opportunity to take fourth. He eventually got it done but by that point Herlings was past Paturel and catching the pair fast.
At the top end of the field though Febvre had just got the lead as Gajser caught onto the rear wheel of Prado too. The Slovenian needed to find way around the Spaniard fast as Herlings was making good progress.
After passing Coldenhoff, Herlings then got by Seewer on lap 13 and then it was game on to get to the top three. This was when Gajser started to get frustrated behind Prado and started to make mistakes as the pair battled closely. The Honda rider went down but managed to pick himself up in third just a few seconds ahead of Herlings.
It didn’t take long for Herlings to fly past Gajser and third was the best he could do as Febvre went on to win his fourth race win of the season, with Prado finishing second, putting the struggles of the French Grand Prix well and truly behind him.
In race two, Prado got the start once again as he led Gajser, Jonass, Herlings and Cairoli. But there was issue for the winner of the opening heat, as Febvre was way down the order.
Jonass, Herlings and Cairoli almost collided as they battled for third, but it was Herlings who won that fight. Jonass made a mistake and went off track which cost him two spots as Cairoli and his teammate Brian Bogers went through.
Herlings was also quick to get by Gajser as he set his sights on Prado who was 3.219 seconds ahead. But Gajser was looking to fight back as he kept it close to the Bullet.
Febvre was also making good progress as he managed to get himself into 13th position.
Herlings then set the fastest lap of the race as he got a little closer to Prado. Gajser was there too but was starting to come under attack from Bogers who was having a great ride.
The battle between Prado and Herlings sent the Spanish crowd wild, as the Dutchman was applying immense pressure onto the young Spaniard. The fight went on for a few laps but eventually by lap 10, Herlings was able to make a nice clean pass on Prado to take over first place.
Jonass then got by Bogers for fifth, as Gajser chased Prado. While his focus was on the KTM rider in front of him, Cairoli managed to sneak up of the Slovenian and join the battle for third.
By lap 13, Gajser finally managed to get around Prado for second place and Cairoli was keen on doing the same. Of course we were treated to another battle of the teammates as the two came close on several occasions, but Prado was able to keep Cairoli behind him to secure third in the race.
Herlings went on to win, crossing the line 4.281 seconds in front of Gajser who improved upon his result in race two.
Herlings secured his sixth GP win of the 2021 season as he took to the top step of the podium, while Prado celebrated second at his home round, with Gajser finishing third overall for the second weekend in a row.
Heading into the triple-header in Pietramurata, Herlings leads the championship by 12 points over Febvre as Gajser gets within three points of second position.
“We started well in time practice, but I don’t know what happened after the gate dropped,” Herlings reflected. “I had a bad turn, was around seventh or eighth and then we came back to thirteenth, then to tenth. It took me some time to get going. The first fifteen minutes were awful then the next fifteen were great, especially the last seven or eight laps. I couldn’t get the win, but I came from so far back. The second race was good, I was fourth after the start and then Tim made a mistake which allowed me to pass. Then there was Jorge who was having a great race and riding the best lines, so it was hard to pass him. Anyways, it was a great day after all and I am looking forward to Trentino where I will hopefully have a better start”.
The first MX2 race of the day saw Tom Vialle secure another Fox Holeshot as he led the way ahead of his teammate Mattia Guadagnini, Renaux and Isak Gifting.
Renaux was quick to get into second, as his teammate Jago Geerts started applying the pressure onto Guadagnini for third but came short.
Home rider Ruben Fernandez of Honda 114 Motorsports started well inside the top 10 and was going after Australian Jed Beaton and Rene Hofer. Beaton continued to move up the order as the race went on, getting by Gifting for fifth, who had dropped a few positions by that point.
Renaux then caught onto the rear wheel of Vialle, who was able to respond quickly and take the gap back up to 2.275 seconds, as Geerts dropped back to 13th. A couple of laps later, Renaux was back onto Vialle for the win as just 0.882 separated the pair, but again Vialle was able to respond and preserve that lead.
Fernandez was keen on putting on a good performance for the fans as he chased Simon Längenfelder, eventually making the pass for eighth position. He was able to pass one more rider before the chequered flag fell to finish the race seventh.
Meanwhile Geerts found himself in trouble again, as he crashed out of 11th position, eventually finishing the race 13th which was costly for the championship.
At the top end of the field Renaux was keeping close to Vialle, but then lost a load of time on the KTM rider as the gap increased to 9.591 seconds. And while Vialle led Renaux, Guadagnini was having a pretty lonely race in third, as Beaton kept it steady in fourth ahead of Hofer.
His teammate, Kay de Wole had a nice battle with Gifting for a few laps, before making a pass stick and finishing the race in sixth.
In the end, Vialle secured the race victory 6.972 seconds in front of Renaux, with Guadagnini third.
In race two, Vialle continued to assert his dominance in the starts as he got another Fox Holeshot with Geerts and Guadagnini just behind. Renaux was there too as he got around Guadagnini for third, while Geerts took the lead from Vialle.
Guadagnini came under more pressure as both Beaton and de Wolf got by the Italian pushing him down to sixth, but the KTM rider was able to retaliate and take back a spot from de Wolf not long after. The Dutchman then crashed and dropped out of sixth.
Renaux set the fastest lap of the race as he caught onto Vialle for second, while Guadagnini went down trying to get around Beaton.
Fernandez had another top 10 start in the second heat and was making good progress up the field. He eventually fought his way back up to fifth and that’s where he would also finish the race.
On lap nine, Renaux took second from Vialle and then it was a Yamaha 1-2 as Geerts led Renaux by 2.495 as the Frenchman worked away at the gap to the Belgian. By lap 13 we saw a change for the lead as Renaux jumped into first position.
But the race was far from over, as Vialle had both Renaux and Geerts in his sights with four minutes plus two laps on the clock. The top three were then just within 2.401 seconds of each other. Vialle might have pushed too hard as he went down but was lucky to not lose any positions.
In the end, Renaux secured his 7th race win of the season, with Geerts crossing the line in second and Vialle finishing third. With a 2-1 result, Renaux took to the top step of the podium, as Vialle was forced to settle for second ahead of Beaton who had another solid day, going 4-4 for third on the podium.
Renaux continues to lead the MX2 standings with a healthy 108-point vantage over Geerts, while Guadagnini is just one point behind in third.
“it feels really good, and I am really happy with the day,” Renaux said. “The first race was good. I took a good start and tried to stick with Tom, but he wasn’t making any mistakes. He was riding really good. So, I couldn’t find any gaps and was able to satisfy myself with my position. Second race was really good. Had a good start again. I was third behind Jago and Tom then I could find the spot to make a pass happen and I went for it. As you said, it was a confidence boost. Really happy to be back at the top of the podium. So, everything is going really well, good advantage on the championship as well, getting good points. I just need to stay focused till the end and it will be good”.
FIM Motocross World Championship action next weekend at the MXGP of Trentino, for the first of three consecutive rounds to take place at the Pietramurata circuit.
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), 35:26.873
2 Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:01.741
3 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:02.805
4 Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:12.719
5 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:18.366
6 Pauls Jonass (LAT, GASGAS), +0:19.087
7 Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:37.901
8 Benoit Paturel (FRA, Honda), +0:40.735
9 Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +0:41.431
10 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +0:44.620
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:16.305
2 Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:04.281
3 Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:11.717
4 Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:17.614
5 Pauls Jonass (LAT, GASGAS), +0:21.626
6 Brian Bogers (NED, GASGAS), +0:24.537
7 Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:28.027
8 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:39.716
9 Benoit Paturel (FRA, Honda), +0:52.759
10 Alessandro Lupino (ITA, KTM), +0:53.402
MXGP – GP Top 10 Classification:
1 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 45 Points
2 Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 42 Points
3 Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 40 Points
4 Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 39 Points
5 Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 32 Points
6 Pauls Jonass (LAT, GAS), 31 Points
7 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 29 Points
8 Benoit Paturel (FRA, HON), 25 Points
9 Brian Bogers (NED, GAS), 23 Points
10 Arnaud Tonus (SUI, YAM), 22 Points
MXGP – World Championship Top 10 Classification:
1 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 505 Points
2 Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 493 Points
3 Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 490 Points
4 Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 440 Points
5 Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 419 Points
6 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 373 Points
7 Pauls Jonass (LAT, GAS), 352 Points
8 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 302 Points
9 Alessandro Lupino (ITA, KTM), 233 Points
10 Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 220 Points
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 35:43.418
2 Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:06.972
3 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, KTM), +0:13.906
4 Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:17.505
5 Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), +0:17.753
6 Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:20.681
7 Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Honda), +0:23.166
8 Isak Gifting (SWE, GASGAS), +0:28.580
9 Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:33.394
10 Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +0:41.420
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), 33:49.892
2 Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:00.346
3 Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +0:20.110
4 Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:22.599
5 Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Honda), +0:26.707
6 Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), +0:31.863
7 Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:48.185
8 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, KTM), +0:51.784
9 Mikkel Haarup (DEN, Kawasaki), +0:53.333
10 Wilson Todd (AUS, Kawasaki), +0:54.953
MX2 – GP Top 10 Classification:
1 Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 47 points
2 Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 45 Points
3 Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 36 Points
4 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, KTM), 33 Points
5 Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), 31 Points
6 Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 30 Points
7 Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 30 Points
8 Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 26 Points
9 Wilson Todd (AUS, KAW), 21 Points
10 Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 21 Points
MX2 – World Championship Top 10 Classification:
1 Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 535 Points
2 Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 427 Points
3 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, KTM), 426 Points
4 Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 417 Points
5 Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 395 Points
6 Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), 364 Points
7 Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 362 Points
8 Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 331 Points
9 Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 292 Points
10 Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 230 Points