Nagl and Ferrandis taste victory!
Nagl and Ferrandis taste victory!
By: Jonathan McCready
Max Nagl had one of the best races of his career to take a brilliant 1-1 victory on the slick, hillside circuit of the Loket in the Czech Republic.
Nagl got into the lead quickly in race one but had to hold off man of the moment, Tim Gajser, for the virtually the entire moto. In previous motos Nagl didn’t seem to want to fight Gajser for the win, content to take second but that was different, this time Max wasn’t giving in and pushed hard to make Gajser settle for second on the final lap.
In race two it was Gajser with the holeshot, by the time Nagl got inot second Gajser had around five seconds on the German but Nagl kept pushing and with five minutes to go Gajser made the mistake Nagl was hoping for when the championship leader tried a new line and slid out on the slick surface.
It gave Nagl the lead and again he held on for the win despite Gajser’s best efforts to re-group and pass the German back for the victory.
An ecstatic Nagl said: “It was a great GP for us. Despite only having the 14th gate pick, I managed to get two great starts in the final motos. In the first race I quickly passed Gautier Paulin for the lead and started pushing hard as I knew Tim Gajser was following me. I wanted to avoid being passed by any means, so I gave it all to remain out front until the end. In the second race Tim got the lead right after the start and I was third behind Butron. I quickly passed him and started putting in fast laps to close the gap to Tim. My plan was to put pressure on him and that’s exactly what happened. He made a mistake a few laps before the end and when I got the lead I just went for it. Getting two race wins for my first overall victory this season is just great. It’s so good for the team and a great confidence booster for me as well. I want to enjoy the moment and this victory and I’m looking forward to the next GP in Lommel.”
Gajser retains a commanding lead.
Gajser was understandably frustrated after throwing away what he saw as a certain overall victory. But the Honda man has increased his lead to a mammoth 109 points of Tony Cairoli.
The big news before the weekend was Cairoli switching back to the 350, we have said before in this column that Tony never looked quite the same aggressive rider on the 450 and, although his results, (7th overall) weren’t reflective of how he looked, (Loket is not a favourite track of the Italian), Tony appeared a lot more comfortable on the 2017 350, taking the lines the wants and looking more aggressive saying himself he had, “good feelings on the 350.”
The big test of course will be this weekend at Lommel, Cairoli usually wins there and despite not being on form this season I would expect him, especially on the smaller bike to be at least fighting for the win if not going 1-1.
Romain Febvre made a welcome return to race and went 3-3, with one good start and one bad start. Febvre said he got arm pump in moto one as he tried to stay with Gajser and Nagl in the second half of the race but a horrendous start in race two meant he never saw the leading duo but rode well to get through a very competitive field to third.
Ferrandis seals the deal.
A shout out too to Jordi Tixier who had his best ride on a 450 since his comeback from injury finishing sixth overall with average starts shows the potential Tixier has on the big machine and he is as good in the sand as he is on the hard pack.
In the MX2 it was all about the battle between Dylan Ferrandis and Max Anstie. Ferrandis looked like he was clearing off into the distance in race one but Anstie, after an average start, had other ideas and once into second set about reelig Ferrandis in. The only problem was he ran out of time with Ferrandis taking the win by three seconds.
In moto two Anstie beat Ferrandis out of the gate but as Max struggled to pass Dutchman Brian Bogers, Ferrandis and no such problems and the Frenchman went past both Bogers and Anstie in three corners!
This set Anstie into action and he was soon into third as they both chased down race leader Jeremy Seewer. Try as he might Seewer couldn’t hold off the rampaging duo and it came down to Ferrandis v Anstie for the overall.
With three laps to go Anstie made his move, an aggressive move up the inside that had Ferrandis hanging onto his bike for dear life with Anstie ending up on the ground. Ferrandis stayed up to take his first ever1-1 victory in GPs as Anstie remounted to finish third.
Seewer finished with 3-2 results and second overall to bring the absent Jeffrey Herlings championship lead down to a still massive 127 points. It is still uncertain if the Dutchman will race Lommel this weekend, but with such a big lead, he isn’t under massive pressure to race if not fully fit.
Pauls Jonass, who was third in the championship, won the qualifier after putting Ferrandis down on the last lap of the qualifying moto and was looking impressive in moto one on Sunday with the early lead until he cased a huge downhill double and went over the bars in a pretty ugly crash.
Fortunately there were no broken bones but Jonass did suffer a concussion and his return date is unknown.
This weekend sees the toughest race of the year at Lommel, the biggest question is can Cairoli win on the 350 and will Herlings return? KTM will hope the answer is yes to both after a very bad Czech GP for the orange brigade.
MX2 Overall Top Ten: 1. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 50 points; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 42 p.; 3. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 42 p.; 4. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 34 p.; 5. Petar Petrov (BUL, KAW), 29 p.; 6. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 29 p.; 7. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), 26 p.; 8. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 24 p.; 9. Conrad Mewse (GBR, HUS), 24 p.; 10. Adam Sterry (GBR, KTM), 18 p.
MX2 Championship Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 597 points; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 470 p.; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 403 p.; 4. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 359 p.; 5. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 358 p.; 6. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, YAM), 320 p.; 7. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 316 p.; 8. Petar Petrov (BUL, KAW), 282 p.; 9. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), 279 p.; 10. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 246 p.
MXGP Overall Top Ten: 1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 50 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 44 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 40 p.; 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 34 p.; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 34 p.; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KAW), 28 p.; 7. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 27 p.; 8. Tommy Searle (GBR, KAW), 24 p.; 9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 23 p.; 10. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 20 p.
MXGP Championship Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 576 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 467 p.; 3. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 451 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 448 p.; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 419 p.; 6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 385 p.; 7. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 286 p.; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 248 p.; 9. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 244 p.; 10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 225 p.