MXGP made its return following a three-week summer break with Jeffrey Herlings and Tom Vialle claiming the wins in MXGP and MX2 respectively at the Bitci Grand Prix of Turkey at Afyonkarahisar.
After posting the fastest lap time in Time Practice for the eighth round of the 2021 FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship, Jorge Prado started the first race with the Fox Holeshot, as he led Glenn Coldenhoff, Romain Febvre, and Pauls Jonass.
Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and Jeffrey Herlings were side by side on the opening lap and moments later both got around Jonass who dropped to sixth.
Herlings then caught onto the back of Coldenhoff and passed his fellow Dutchman as Gajser set out to do the same. But the Slovenian struggled for 10 laps behind Coldenhoff always coming short of making a pass.
Febvre remained all over Prado for the lead, as Gajser came under fire from Cairoli who got around the Honda rider to move into sixth. He then got around Coldenhoff too and was pushing to get closer to Jonass.
Gajser then caught back up with the 259 of Coldenhoff and passed him on lap 11, as Henry Jacobi got Brian Bogers for eighth to solidify a top 10 result.
After spending the majority of the race in third, Herlings switched it up a gear and was on a charge to close in on Febvre and Prado. It did not take him long as he got Febvre on lap 13 and then just two laps later was in front of Prado.
Jonass started to challenge Febvre too and with three laps from the end of the race was able to get the job done. Herlings was the race winner, with Prado finishing second and Jonass third.
In the second heat, it was once again Prado with the Fox Holeshot as he led the race once again while Febvre, Gajser, Jonass and Cairoli followed behind. Herlings struggled further down the field as he passed Kevin Strijbos for seventh position.
Herlings then continued to make progress as he got around Coldenhoff and set his sights on Cairoli, while Gajser charged past Febvre to move into second place.
The gap was then 1.366 seconds between Prado and Gajser, as the Slovenian was clear with his intentions of going for the win.
Jonass then had a big crash as he went off the track while battling with Cairoli for fourth, with the Latvian not finishing the race. Cairoli inherited his position as Herlings started to close in too.
Gajser then made another attempt to pass Prado and was able to secure the position and take over the lead on lap nine. Cairoli then caught onto the back wheel of Febvre as the pair traded positions a couple of times before the Italian was able to make it stick and take away third from the Kawasaki rider, as Herlings did the same.
Gajser then led by 2.877 seconds, as Prado was starting to feel the force of Cairoli and Herlings who were catching up fast. Cairoli and Prado had a couple of close calls before making contact, but both remained on the bikes. Eventually, Cairoli crashed after, which allowed Herlings through.
With one lap to go, Herlings got his head down and got to work as he was able to pass Prado and secure the top step of the podium. Gajser was the race winner, with Herlings second and Prado third.
With a 1-2 result, Jeffrey Herlings was back on the top step, while Jorge Prado was forced to settle for second and Tim Gajser joining the pair in third. In terms of the championship standings, Gajser leads Prado by 13 points, while Febvre remains third a further four points behind.
“A 1-2 is good, we have some good racing and I look forward to it, I like the track but will definitely work on the starts and try some things,” Herlings said. “The arm is fine now, in Lommel it was very painful but in Latvia it was already much better, I still had a bit of pain but nothing crazy. I don’t know if you can ever be 100% but I am trying to be the best as I can because the competition is strong. If you look at the championship, the top five guys are really close”.
In the first MX2 race of the day, it was Tom Vialle who grabbed the Fox Holeshot ahead of his fellow teammate Rene Hofer as well as Jed Beaton, Kay De Wolf and Mattia Guadagnini. While championship leader Maxime Renaux was further down the field in around eighth position.
Hofer then took over the lead from Vialle, as Renaux managed to find a way through on De Wolf to move into fifth. Vialle then got to work as he caught back up with his teammate and by lap four was back in the driving seat and leading the race.
Renaux then lost a spot to Ruben Fernandez for a brief moment before getting back around the Spaniard, while Hofer was starting to come under pressure from Beaton and Guadagnini.
Though at the front of the field, Vialle continued to clock the fastest lap times of the race, as Thibault Benistant and Mathys Boisrame battled for eighth.
Guadagnini finally managed to get around Beaton on lap eight and then five or six laps later was able to get Hofer to get into second. Hofer then faded off as both Beaton and Renaux got around the Austrian, while Fernandez dived down the inside of De Wolf for sixth.
In the end, it was Vialle who won the race 5.988 seconds ahead of Guadagnini and Beaton who crossed the line in third.
In race two it was Renaux with a flying start, as he took the second Fox Holeshot of the day and led the way with Beaton second and Vialle third. Guadagnini got another strong start and so did Gianluca Facchetti.
Hofer then got around Fernandez for fifth as Vialle tried to get around Beaton, with the Australian quick to respond and claim back his second-place spot.
As Renaux stretched out his lead to 2.490 seconds, Beaton came under fire from Vialle once again, with the KTM rider finally making a pass stick on lap five. Vialle then set the fastest lap of the race as he began to close in on the race leader, Renaux. But Renaux stepped it up a gear himself to set the fastest lap of the race himself, with the two Frenchman clock fast times lap after lap.
While the battle for the win was well and truly on between Renaux and Vialle, Guadagnini was also not letting go of Beaton for third as he started to apply the pressure.
With just a couple of laps from the finish, Vialle went down as he was focused on passing Renaux which handed the Yamaha rider a victory, while Vialle was able to get back on his bike quickly and hold on to second as Beaton was able to keep Guadagnini at bay and finish the day with another third-place finish.
With a 1-2 result, Tom Vialle was on the top step of the podium while Maxime Renaux was forced to settle for second ahead of Jed Beaton in third, as he secured his second podium of 2021.
Renaux continues to lead the MX2 championship, maintaining a healthy 37-point lead over Guadagnini who has gained a bit of breathing room to Jago Geerts who is a further 15 points adrift.
“Back on top! I felt really good on the bike,” Vialle said. “I made a small mistake trying to push and catch Maxime in the second moto but I’m really happy to win again and after all the time we had to wait for the injury on my hand to get better. I think I’m back to a good speed like I was before. I want to thank the team and all the people around me.”
2021 Bitci MXGP of Turkey Results
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:42.407
2 Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:05.534
3 Pauls Jonass (LAT, GASGAS), +0:06.236
4 Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:09.174
5 Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:31.970
6 Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:35.999
7 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:52.191
8 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +0:54.267
9 Henry Jacobi (GER, Honda), +0:56.317
10 Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:57.016
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 34:39.849
2 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:04.654
3 Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:08.824
4 Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:28.683
5 Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:34.198
6 Alessandro Lupino (ITA, KTM), +0:39.772
7 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:41.305
8 Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:42.717
9 Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Yamaha), +0:45.092
10 Brent Van doninck (BEL, Yamaha), +0:46.408
MXGP – GP Top 10 Classification:
1 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), Points
2 Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 42 Points
3 Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 40 Points
4 Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 36 Points
5 Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 32 Points
6 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 28 Points
7 Alessandro Lupino (ITA, KTM), 23 Points
8 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 23 Points
9 Pauls Jonass (LAT, GAS), 20 Points
10 Brian Bogers (NED, GAS), 19 Points
MXGP – World Championship Top 10 Classification:
1 Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 310 Points
2 Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 297 Points
3 Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 293 Points
4 Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 284 Points
5 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 274 Points
6 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 234 Points
7 Pauls Jonass (LAT, GAS), 200 Points
8 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 197 Points
9 Alessandro Lupino (ITA, KTM), 157 Points
10 Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 133 Points
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 34:00.016
2 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, KTM), +0:05.988
3 Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:07.359
4 Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:16.158
5 Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), +0:27.478
6 Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Honda), +0:31.297
7 Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:34.174
8 Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:35.151
9 Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:43.644
10 Mathys Boisrame (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:50.403
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), 35:20.827
2 Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +0:01.638
3 Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:11.439
4 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, KTM), +0:12.624
5 Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), +0:28.479
6 Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:37.230
7 Wilson Todd (AUS, Kawasaki), +0:45.210
8 Mikkel Haarup (DEN, Kawasaki), +0:54.046
9 Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:56.764
10 Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:58.882
MX2 – GP Top 10 Classification:
1 Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 47 Points
2 Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 43 Points
3 Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 40 Points
4 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, KTM), 40 Points
5 Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), 32 Points
6 Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 27 Points
7 Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 26 Points
8 Wilson Todd (AUS, KAW), 24 Points
9 Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 24 Points
10 Isak Gifting (SWE, GAS), 18 Points
MX2 – World Championship Top 10 Classification:
1 Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 314 Points
2 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, KTM), 277 Points
3 Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 262 Points
4 Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 237 Points
5 Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 229 Points
6 Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 228 Points
7 Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), 216 Points
8 Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 210 Points
9 Mathys Boisrame (FRA, KAW), 204 Points
10 Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 180 Points