Herlings and Cairoli dominate in Sweden
Herlings and Cairoli dominate in Sweden
Antonio Cairoli does it again! Just when Clement Desalle had another ray of hope, Cairoli went 1-1, combined with a second moto DNF by Desalle, and now Cairoli is back in complete control of the championship.
But it was race one that Cairoli really took back the momentum. Cairoli took the holeshot with Desalle very close in second, which is what both riders wanted, no excuses in a straight up dog fight. But Cairoli, who after a frantic first ten minutes, gradually opened up a gap of five seconds as the race wore on. Desalle then came under pressure from Van Horebeek and Strijbos and ended up fourth losing seven points in the championship. This put the pressure on Desalle even more in race two, but it all went wrong in the first turn. Desalle got squeezed by his teammate Strijbos and high-sided into the dirt, which also caused him to get hit by oncoming riders. Desalle was on the ground for a while, but eventually was able to walk away. No points and the championship almost out of reach was the costly result of an ill-timed coming together with his own teammate.
Cairoli getting the holeshot on his 350 is becoming a usual sighting
Strijbos apologised on the podium, and the Belgian had a very good day going 2-4 for third overall. Strijbos has stepped up the pace again mid-season, and is a regular podium contender. He even caught Cairoli at the end of the first moto after passing both Desalle and Van Horebeek to get second. Strijbos has had the odd day or moto, where it looks like he can win, but finding that speed consistently is proving difficult. Kevin is having a solid comeback year on the Suzuki, but whether he believes he can really win a title is doubtful. He could win the MXDN this year and looks to be a shoe-in for the defending champions, with USA not even sure if they are going, Belgium will go in as favourites provided none of their big three get hurt.
Jeremy Van Horebeek got yet another podium and has moved into second in the points. It has been the best season of Van Horebeek’s career, but yet again, he came up just short of getting a moto win. Van Horebeek has five rounds left to claim his maiden MXGP moto victory. Max Nagl had a nice ride to third in race two to confirm he will be a podium threat for the rest of the year, while Tommy Searle had two more bad starts and has equalled his best overall since his comeback claiming fifth. Searle still hasn’t had a podium since he went to MXGP, and that is pretty surprising to some. Both David Philippaerts and Davide Guarneri were in the top ten as they battled out to be Cairoli’s teammate for the Des Nations. Philippaerts has the edge right now, but Guarneri is doing well on the TM this season.
Herlings is on fire!
Jeffrey Herlings dominated once again in MX2 and was also going even faster than all of the 450s. Herlings is arguably the fastest rider on the planet, and that makes it even more frustrating that he will stay MX2 next season. In fairness to Herlings, it seems that it is more KTM’s decision than the 19 year old Dutchman, but for the fans, it is frustrating not to see him matching up against Cairoli and potentially RV next year in the MXGP class when he undoubtedly has the speed to challenge them both for the title. Behind Herlings, Jordi Tixier was on the podium again and the Frenchman has also now moved into second in the championship, capitalising on Tonus’ injury and regaining some consistency in his riding.
Star of the future Tim Gajser was on the podium once more, and the HRC kid is becoming a regular in the second half of this season. Gajser is still a full time student, and at 17, has an incredible amount of potential left to unlock, but every week he is showing everyone that he is beginning to figure it out in his debut GP season. If Honda can make the bike better for 2015 and Gajser continues to believe, he may be the one guy who has the raw talent to trouble Herlings next season. Romain Febvre should have been on the podium. The Frenchman was arguably the second fastest rider all day, but a crash in both motos pushed him down to fifth overall, just behind the consistent Valentin Guillod. Dylan Ferrandis qualified fastest on Saturday, but hit the gate and crashed on the second lap in the first race to destroy his chances of a podium. He rebounded with a third in race two, but is being caught by Gajser for fifth in the championship.
Tim Gajser was on the podium
In more silly-season news, it seems last year’s EMX125 Champion Pauls Jonass is in talks with factory KTM. The 16 year old has had his season ruined by illness, but got 11th in the second moto in Sweden to show the raw talent he has is still there. If the deal is done and Everts gets to work with Jonass, expect big things from this kid over the next few years. And if Davy Pootjes also gets the factory KTM ride, the orange brigade will have two of the most talented kids in the world ready to go for the MX2 title when Herlings eventually leaves.
Jordi Tixier is out at KTM and it seems he has agreed to join CLK Kawasaki. Maybe a change of scenery will work for Tixier, as he didn’t make the improvements many expected of him this season. Perhaps not being in Herlings shadow at CLS will allow the Frenchman to believe in himself more. It seems that the Gautier Paulin to HRC Honda is a done deal. Factory Kawasaki is apparently not too happy about it, but it intensifies the rumours of RV going to Kawasaki in his place. Rumours suggest that RV wants Rattray as his teammate, and if that happens, Rattray would be the luckiest rider out there because it was looking unlikely he would hold on to his factory Husky ride next year. That would mean Steven Frossard, who has been very fast the last few weeks could be let go, but might even end up on KTM as Cairoli’s teammate. If I was Kawasaki, however, I would keep the Frenchman and have a three man team. Choosing Rattray over Frossard at Kawi would be a strange decision ( and unlucky for Frossard), but if it means they get RV, then you can understand why it might happen.
Tixier took second in the championship
Romain Febvre has to move up from MX2 and wants to ride a 350 in MXGP next year, so that means he is looking for a KTM or Husky deal. It would make sense for Husky to keep him and move him up to MXGP, as the Frenchman has a lot of potential for the future. Febvre rode a 350 in the Belgian championship the previous weekend in Kester, and was on the pace, so everyone now knows he can adapt to the machine and should be a top ten factor next season. Dean Ferris went 13-DNF in his comeback to MXGP, and it seems the Aussie found it tough to get on the speed of the GP boys in his first race after a wrist injury. In time, Ferris should be running top ten though, and if he wants a factory ride next year, he will want to be challenging for the top five by the end of his four race stint. Ferris’ 19 year old British fill-in teammate, Nathan Watson, had a good day on the factory Husky and is putting himself in the frame for an MXGP ride next season. Watson is excellent in the sand and most be looking at a top ten in Finland next weekend.
MXGP Overall top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 50 points; 2. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 42 p.; 3. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 40 p.; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HON), 32 p.; 5. Tommy Searle (GBR, KAW), 31 p.; 6. Steven Frossard (FRA, KAW), 28 p.; 7. David Philippaerts (ITA, YAM), 25 p.; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 25 p.; 9. Davide Guarneri (ITA, TM), 24 p.; 10. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 22 p.
MXGP World Championship Classification Top Ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 527 points; 2. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 482 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 470 p.; 4. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 390 p.; 5. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 267 p.; 6. Steven Frossard (FRA, KAW), 265 p.; 7. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HON), 237 p.; 8. David Philippaerts (ITA, YAM), 210 p.; 9. Davide Guarneri (ITA, TM), 207 p.; 10. Gautier Paulin (FRA, KAW), 205 p.
MX2 Overall top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 40 p.; 3. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 37 p.; 4. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), 32 p.; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, HUS), 30 p.; 6. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 29 p.; 7. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 28 p.; 8. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 27 p.; 9. Christophe Charlier (FRA, YAM), 27 p.; 10. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 23 p.
MX2 World Championship Classification Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 544 points; 2. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 409 p.; 3. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, KAW), 389 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, HUS), 388 p.; 5. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 372 p.; 6. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 350 p.; 7. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), 288 p.; 8. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 284 p.; 9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 265 p.; 10. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 234 p.
Report: Jonathan McCready
Pictures: Ray Archer/KTM Images & YS