Round 18 – Shanghai, China
The final round of the 2019 MXGP FIM Motocross World Championship arrived at the Shanghai Off Road Circuit in China over the weekend, with big crowds turning out to witness the world’s best duke it out.
Jeffrey Herlings proved his return to form with the MXGP round overall win – his second of the season – while Jorge Prado’s untouchable form continued with another MX2 win, giving KTM the first ever MXGP of China round wins.
Being the last round of the season, the Shanghai off road international circuit witnessed the conclusion of one of the most spectacular seasons ever. Taking the top three spots in the final MXGP Championship standings were Tim Gajser, Jeremy Seewer and Glenn Coldenhoff while in MX2 class Jorge Prado, Thomas Kjer Olsen and Jago Geerts finalised the MX2 Championship standings.
MXGP Race 1
In the opening MXGP race it was Glenn Coldenhoff who led from Jeremy Seewer, Tim Gajser, Jeffrey Herlings and Pauls Jonass. Herlings was quickly into third place and relegating the MXGP champion to fourth. After a lap the battle for first place between Coldenhoff and Seewer was intense, with Herlings three seconds back in third.
Seewer had passed Coldenhoff but was repassed and then crashed in a corner as Herlings moved into second place. Seewer again crashed as he dropped to seventh place.
Coldenhoff continued to control the race, although after five laps the lead was down to just over two seconds and Gajser was five seconds back in third place while the two Arminas Jasikonis and Pauls Jonass filled the remaining top five positions.
Seewer was sixth, Ivo Monticelli seventh, Jeremy Van Horebeek eight, Gautier Paulin ninth and Jordi Tixier in 10th. After nine laps Herlings was just over two seconds behind Coldenhoff and made a move for the lead. 11 laps in and Paulin dropped back to eight while Tixier moved into ninth place.
Herlings was suddenly all over Coldenhoff as the race heated up and to make it even more exciting, Gajser joined the party. For a couple of laps the big three battled for the top spot, and the pace clearly went to another gear.
MXGP came alive again as Coldenhoff tried to fight off Herlings and Gajser. Coldenhoff hung in there to win it from Herlings and Gajser.
MXGP Race 2
The second MXGP gate dropped and Seewer took the FOX Holeshot, but got passed by Coldenhoff who lead again, Gajser was in third, then Van Horebeek, Herlings, Bogers, Jonass, Paulin, Monticelli and Jasikonis who rounded up the top 10. Herlings quickly passed Van Horebeek and was onto Gajser for third.
After a lap Coldenhoff was a second and a half ahead of Seewer who was fighting off Gajser, with Herlings fourth and Van Horebeek fifth. Tixier had worked his way into 10th place as Jasikonis dropped to 12th.
After three laps the lead remained a little over a minute while Gajser miscalculating a jump ran off the track, having to pull the board from his machine and lost places to Herlings, Van Horebeek and Jonass as he dropped to sixth position. On lap nine Gajser passed Jonass for fifth, and Seewer was still a second and a half behind Coldenhoff.
Herlings was all over Seewer for second place as he tried to get an overall victory while Coldenhoff continued to ride in cruise control and at the pace he was comfortable. Herlings made a move to take second place from Seewer and the race of the Dutchman would continue.
Coldenhoff remained calm and continued to lead Herlings, with Seewer third, Van Horebeek fourth and Gajser fifth. After 14 laps Coldenhoff was nearly three-second lead over Herlings and seemingly did enough to win the race and the Grand Prix while Gajser passed Van Horebeek for fourth position.
Herlings turned it up in the final three laps and caught Coldenhoff, then he pulled into the lead on the last lap as he won the Grand Prix with 2-1 results.
Jeffrey Herlings has won the MXGP of China with a stunning 2-1 result leading his Motocross of Nations team-mate Glenn Coldenhoff who scored 1-2 results. Third overall was Jeremy Seewer.
Jeffrey Herlings – Round Winner
“I wanted to finish the year strongly: I owed Red Bull, KTM and all my partners that after the injury. I gave everything I had and I’m very grateful to have won the last two GPs. I’ll race in the sand next week for the final preparation for Assen. Hopefully with Team Holland we can go for the win. Then, next year in MXGP, I want to fight hard to get the title back. I really enjoyed the track here – it was tough to pass in places – but we won the GP and that’s the most important thing.”
While Tim Gajser climbed again the MXGP Podium to be awarded with the Gold Medal, Jeremy Seewer celebrated the 18th round of the Championship with a silver media ensured just after race 1 and Glenn Coldenhoff clinched the bronze medal after an unpredictable season.
Tim Gajser – 2019 MXGP Champion
“First of all, I am super happy to have my third world title this year, especially winning it in front of so many fans in Imola. It was really something special. Now, after that my level maybe hasn’t been as high and I’ve struggled to find the flow but overall I’m super happy with the year and I must say a big thank you to the team for their part in that. They have been amazing this year, but they also stood behind me these past two years when things didn’t go my way, and that is when you know you have a good team around you. I must also thank all the fans who have supported this season, they have followed me around the world and it is so great to have people at the track cheering you on. People from Slovenia even came all the way here to China and I am so thankful for that. As for this Shanghai race, I really enjoyed the layout and the dirt and I really felt good out on the track. I was fast in practice and grabbed a holeshot yesterday but a mistake a couple of laps later cost me positions. This meant I had 11th gate pick but I was still able to get two good starts, inside the top three. In the first moto we were all close together and it was tight racing but it was difficult to find a place to pass so I finished third. Then in the second moto, I was running third again but I jumped off the track and got tangled in a banner and by the time I was free from that I had lost a lot of time and positions. I was still able to get back to fourth which was good enough for fourth overall. I would have loved to have been on the podium, but it was still amazing to get handed the gold medal as champion and overall it has been a great, great season.”
Jeremy Seewer – P2 Overall
“It has been incredible. My winter preparation for this season was horrible. I was in bed sick for three weeks. I came into the season battling to be in the top-ten and I had to fight my way back. I am really happy to be here now. It was a process, I started to break into the top five after the few weeks we had off in May, and then eventually got on the podium and then got six podiums and now I am here, second in the world!”
Glenn Coldenhoff – P3 Overall
“I feel like we did a great job this weekend. It was a solid start in the second race and I was second and led all the races, I started making mistakes and I was looking at the bigger picture that is the bronze medal and I got a podium, which was good. First race was great. I am so pumped, I knew I needed a great gate pick and I was able to hold of Jeffrey (Herlings) and Tim (Gajser).
Gautier Paulin – P4 Overall
“I really want to thank my team first of all, Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP team. We have had a tough season and have worked hard all year long as a satellite team. We were fighting for second in the championship to begin with and then second, and then third, and finally we came up short in fourth. It was a good year for my first year back on the Yamaha. We have some experience for the future. The bike was working good today, although it was not the best day for me. I am happy I put in a full season without injuries and could fight to the finish.”
Pauls Jonass – P6 Overall
“I have some mixed feelings after this MXGP of China. With some podium results in recent races I really wanted the same here, to end the year on a high note. But I didn’t feel as sharp as I have been feeling. I’m not sure it’s the travel, but anyway it certainly wasn’t a bad way to end the series. I got pretty ok starts in both races but dropped back a little. Both races were like that. But sixth overall is a pretty decent result. Also, to finish sixth in the MXGP championship is very positive. It was a steady start to the year, coming back from injury and also adjusting to the MXGP bike. The second half of the year was very positive – I started to improve my strength, feeling with the bike, starts and results. Now we’ll focus on the Nations, before some time at home and then preparations for next season.”