Motocross

Jeffrey Herlings and Tom Vialle Make It Three In A Row With MXGP of Sardegna Wins

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Jorge Prado (61) and Romain Febvre (3) lead the MXGP field away at the MMXGP of Sardegna. Photo: Ray Archer

Jeffrey Herlings and Tom Vialle added a third consecutive Grand Prix victory with a win at the MXGP of Sardegna in Riola Sardo with the win seeing Herlings take over the MXGP Championship lead.

The deep sandy conditions of the circuit in Riola Sardo mixed with humidity and the intense Sardinian sunshine tested the field who fought for top scoring positions. And despite these challenges, the MXGP and MX2 categories once again showcased some close racing.

In the first MXGP race of the day, it was Jeffrey Herlings with the Fox Holeshot as he led the way ahead of Ben Watson, Jorge Prado, Jeremy Seewer and Calvin Vlaanderen.

Team HRC’s Tim Gajser was one of the unlucky riders to crash in the first turn and then pushed his way to 19th position by the end of the race to score two vital championship points.

Though back at the front of the field Herlings was looking comfortable as he pulled a gap to Watson and Prado. Seewer remained close by as Romain Febvre charged through on Vlaanderen and started to chase down the Swiss.

Watson continued to guard his second-place position from Prado but eventually succumbed to the pressure by lap four as he dropped to third.

As Febvre looked to go around Seewer, Vlaanderen made the most of this opportunity and caught the pair out, to steal two positions and get into fourth. It was then game on for the Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing rider as he got around Watson for third pretty quickly too.

Herlings then stretched the lead to 9.487 seconds as Prado couldn’t do anything to stay close.

Jeffrey Herlings won his 94th Grand Prix with his first 1-1 of the 2021 season and now takes the lead of the championship. Photo: Ray Archer

Watson then came under more fire as both Seewer and Febvre forced their way through and as Febvre climbed up the field, Seewer did the opposite and eventually finished the race in sixth position as Brian Bogers made a close pass on the Swiss on the final lap.

In the final few laps of the race, we saw Febvre catch up with Vlaanderen as the pair battle for third, though eventually, it was the Frenchman who came out on top, as Herlings won the race 42.419 seconds ahead of Prado. Thomas Kjer Olsen and Arminas Jasikonis had a strong race to finish eighth and ninth respectively.

In the second MXGP heat it was Prado with the Fox Holeshot that time around as he edged out ahead of Herlings, Febvre and Pauls Jonass.

Vlaanderen had another good start and was running seventh on the opening lap, while Gajser started much better that time around and was 12th. Watson also had another good start in sixth place.

Jorge Prado finished second in MXGP for his fourth podium of the season. Photo: Ray Archer.

Much of the second MXGP race saw Prado being chased by Herlings, with the Bullet trying all that he could to get around the young Spaniard. Prado was riding defensive which made it extremely hard for Herlings to get around and after countless failed attempts the Dutchman was able to make a pass stick 12.

While Prado and Herlings were busy battling at the front, Febvre was not too far behind as on several occasions the Frenchman was within striking distance of the pair.

Further down the field, Gajser was fighting for every single championship point as he worked his way up the field passing the likes of Alberto Forato, Shaun Simpson, Olsen and Bogers on the final lap to get up into eighth by the chequered flag.

Romain Febvre moved to within four points of the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship pace-setter with another podium finish at Riola Sardo on Sardinia. Photo: Ray Archer

Vlaanderen was also chasing another strong race as he got around Watson for fifth. He was also able to pass Jonass and Seewer to finish the race fourth.

In the end, Herlings was the race winner with Prado second and Febvre closely behind in third. With a 1-1 result, Herlings took to the top step of the podium, with Prado there in second and Febvre third. Vlaanderen narrowly missed out on the podium after a solid 4-4 in the races.

The biggest shock of the weekend came from Antonio Cairoli who had an unfortunate crash in the MXGP Time Practice and did not line up for today’s races. The 9-time World Champion had a scan which showed no injuries but just as a precaution the team made a decision to withdraw from the day’s races and focus for the upcoming weeks while Team HRC’s Tim Gajser entered the Sardinian Grand Prix nursing an injury, making today’s races a real challenge for the defending champion.

Tim Gasjer couldn’t have had a worse day with crashes and injury, the result of nineteenth and only fifteen championship points sees him drop back to second in the standings.

With Gajser only scoring 15 points in the races, this has allowed Herlings to take the championship lead by just a single point, as Gajser drops to second and Febvre remains third a further three points behind.

“I am Happy from one side and unfortunate from the other because it’s a sad way to take the red plate,” Herlings lamented “The points have never been so close before after 10 races, as it is right now, we are super close. For today, I was first in time practice and then the first race I managed to get the holeshot, which was a surprise, and then managed to control the rest of the race. In the second race I started behind Jorge, I tried to overtake him, and it was tough to pass. I tried many times and eventually, I managed to pass him, pull a gap and control the rest of the race. It was a picture-perfect weekend and I hope I have more of those throughout the season. For now, we keep going and be the best every weekend. We have improved on many occasions this season, like the starts, we have worked hard on this”

“Speaking of the MXON, with the team we have for Holland, I think we have a chance to win, and I will do my best to help my team to come out on top but Italy also has a strong team but we will see”.

MX2

Tom Vialle went 1-1 for the second time this year in MX2 and his fourth victory of the season. Photo: Ray Archer

In the opening MX2 race of the day, it was Tom Vialle who grabbed the Fox Holeshot from his teammate Mattia Guadagnini as well as Thibault Benistant. Rene Hofer followed behind with Wilson Todd and Maxime Renaux.

Ruben Fernandez went down in the first corner and did not re-join the race as the first lap also caught out Mathys Boisrame, Australian Jed Beaton and Jago Geerts who went down later in the lap. He was ninth before the crash.

Vialle then got his head down and focused on leading the race as Renaux began his charge up the field. The first rider to come under attack of the Frenchman was Hofer.

Kay De Wolf had a nice battle with Isak Gifting for seventh position, with the youngster eventually going through. De Wolf finished the race in fourth after some nice moves on Todd and Benistant.

As Renaux pushed to pass Hofer, the pair caught onto the back of Benistant who was third at the time. The pressure must have gotten too much for the MX2 rookie as he crashed out allowing Hofer and Renaux through.

By lap 10 Renaux was finally able to get Hofer who went down, as the Frenchman set his sights on Guadagnini who was second. Just two laps later the factory Yamaha got around the KTM rider to move into second and start his charge for the win.

Maxime Renaux secured second overall at a scorching hot and stuffy Sardinian Grand Prix in Riola-Sardo. Renaux now has a 71-point lead in the championship.

Meanwhile, Vialle had an almost five-second lead which quickly started to come down as Renaux continued to push. By the final few laps Renaux was all over Vialle, with Vialle managing to keep control and take the race win. Renaux was second and Guadagnini third.

As the gate dropped for race two, it was once again Vialle with the Fox Holeshot ahead of Guadagnini, Bastian Beogh-Damm as well as Todd, Benistant, Renaux and Geerts.

Boisrame and Hofer had an unlucky start to the race. The pair crashed on two separate occasions, with Boisrame not finishing the race while Hofer fought back to 14th place. Simon Längenfelder was another rider to retire from the race early on.

As Vialle continued to lead, Boegh-Damm was coming under pressure from Renaux, who managed to pass the Dane by lap three and focus on going for the win.

De Wolf then had the fastest lap time of the race, a 1:52.600 as he looked to pass Benistant for fourth. Though Benistant was focused on his own thing as he got Boegh-Damm for third position.

Conrad Mewse was having a good race as he fought his way inside the top 10. The Brit eventually finished the race in ninth.

Boegh-Damm then dropped a couple more positions as Geerts and De Wolf went through, while Benistant caught onto the back of Renaux. Several laps later Geerts was able to get past Benistant and focus his efforts on catching Renaux, while De Wolf was looking to do the same.

Kay de Wolf battled his way to an impressive third-place overall MX2 class result at the MXGP of Sardegna. Photo: @jpacevedo.photo.

Benistant then crashed which also caught out De Wolf who could not avoid him, with the pair dropping a few positions. De Wolf got going fairly quickly behind his teammate Beaton who he passed not long after.

Guadagnini then took his day from bad to worse as he crashed for the second time and did not finish the race as he struggled to fire up his factory KTM machine.

Vialle went on to win the race, while Renaux was caught out by Geerts in the final four laps thus having to settle for third in the race as his teammate finished second.

With a 1-1 result, Vialle made it his third GP victory in a row, while Renaux occupied the second step of the podium, and De Wolf joined the pair to round out the top three of the Sardinian Grand Prix.

With Guadagnini having an unlucky day, this has allowed Renaux to edge out in the championship standings by 71 points, with Geerts remaining third and Benistant moving up to fourth.

“First time for me in Sardegna, it was pretty tough but very good,” Vialle said. “I liked the track but I didn’t feel so good, so my time practice was not my best one. But I had a great start, holeshot in the first race and cleared every lap to win the first race. I was pretty confident after that. In the second race, I felt really good on the track and I could pull a gap on Maxime and Jago. It was pretty nice to win again. Two race wins, I am really happy”

“It is pretty exciting. First time for me representing Team France at the Motocross of Nations. Mantova is a track I really like, so it is going to be nice. It’s the first time so I don’t really know what is going to happen. We will see. We have a good team in France, so I am pretty excited to race there”.

 The FIM Motocross World Championship action returns on October 3 for the MXGP of Germany

For Jed Beaton, it was a challenging day in Italy with the Australian ultimately claiming seventh-overall. Photo: @jpacevedo.photo.

MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:22.630
2 Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:42.419
3 Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:53.010
4 Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:55.993
5 Brian Bogers (NED, GASGAS), +1:02.253
6 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +1:05.689
7 Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +1:06.273
8 Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +1:10.065
9 Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, Husqvarna), +1:12.978
10 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +1:18.017

MXGP – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:10.289
2 Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:05.710
3 Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:08.406
4 Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:46.791
5 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:54.984
6 Pauls Jonass (LAT, GASGAS), +0:55.933
7 Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:58.705
8 Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +1:02.481
9 Brian Bogers (NED, GASGAS), +1:11.310
10 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +1:14.477

MXGP – GP Top 10 Classification:
1 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 Points
2 Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 44 Points
3 Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 40 Points
4 Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 36 Points
5 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 31 Points
6 Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 28 Points
7 Brian Bogers (NED, GAS), 28 Points
8 Pauls Jonass (LAT, GAS), 23 Points
9 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 22 Points
10 Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 21 Points

MXGP – World Championship Top 10 Classification:
1 Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 371 Points
2 Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 370 Points
3 Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 367 Points
4 Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 359 Points
5 Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 326 Points
6 Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 280 Points
7 Pauls Jonass (LAT, GAS), 254 Points
8 Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 234 Points
9 Alessandro Lupino (ITA, KTM), 185 Points
10 Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 171 Points

MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 34:04.946
2 Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:01.117
3 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, KTM), +0:19.765
4 Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:23.298
5 Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:23.558
6 Isak Gifting (SWE, GASGAS), +0:47.898
7 Wilson Todd (AUS, Kawasaki), +0:50.279
8 Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:50.784
9 Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), +0:53.709
10 Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +1:01.053

MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification:
1 Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 34:35.642
2 Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:08.264
3 Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:28.916
4 Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:50.502
5 Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:53.508
6 Isak Gifting (SWE, GASGAS), +0:57.493
7 Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Kawasaki), +1:07.288
8 Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +1:15.083
9 Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +1:31.452
10 Bastian Boegh Damm (DEN, KTM), +1:42.014

MX2 – GP Top 10 Classification:
1 Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 50 Points
2 Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 42 Points
3 Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 36 Points
4 Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 35 Points
5 Isak Gifting (SWE, GAS), 30 Points
6 Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 29 Points
7 Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 24 Points
8 Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, KAW), 23 Points
9 Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 23 Points
10 Wilson Todd (AUS, KAW), 20 Points

MX2 – World Championship Top 10 Classification:
1 Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 403 Points
2 Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, KTM), 332 Points
3 Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 325 Points
4 Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 290 Points
5 Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 290 Points
6 Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 277 Points
7 Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 273 Points
8 Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), 263 Points
9 Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 251 Points
10 Mathys Boisrame (FRA, KAW), 223 Points

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