Round 2 – The Netherlands
The weekend at the sand pit that is Valkenswaard has come to an end, as Red Bull KTM Factory riders Jeffrey Herlings and Tom Vialle dominate the MXGP and MX2 classes at the MXGP of The Netherlands. KTM Factory now leave round two of the 2020 FIM Motocross World Championship with two red plates as they lead both championships.
Jed Beaton put in a strong showing for fourth overall in the MX2 class, going 6-2, and narrowly missing out on the podium overall – by just two-points.
Fellow Aussie Nathan Crawford also put in a strong showing claiming 14 championship points in 12th overall, with a 17-11 result. Bailey Malkiewicz went 25-12 for nine championship points and was 17th overall.
MXGP Race 1
Coming into the weekend, all eyes were on Herlings and what he could do on a sandy circuit and in front of his home fans,with the biggest question being who would join him on the podium.
In race one, it was Jorge Prado with the FOX Holeshot closely followed by fellow KTM factory rider Jeffrey Herlings and Jeremy Seewer. Just a couple of moments later though, Seewer made a mistake and crashed out of the race.
A lot happened on the first lap, as Arnaud Tonus and Pauls Jonass came together with both riders going down, loosing quite a few positions. Also getting caught up in a bit of drama was Henry Jacobi and Glenn Coldenhoff. Both riders crashed out and were left with a lot of work to do. Meanwhile Arminas Jasikonis was in seventh position, making his way through the field.
On the official first lap of the race, it was Prado who led the way followed by Tim Gajser, Herlings and Jasikonis. Privateer Shaun Simpson got off to a good start and was running in an impressive fifth place.
Gajser didn’t wait long and made a swift move on the MXGP rookie, Prado. Herlings also followed, bringing Jasikonis with him, pushing the young Spaniard down a further two position. A few laps later and Gajser had already ran away with it, extending his race lead to 7.425 second over Herlings who was being chased down by the #27 of Jasikonis.
With the top three making a run for it, the battle was then on for fourth place. Simpson was clearly feeling good out on track and was taking time out of Prado who was ahead of him. He may have pushed a little too hard though, as he took a pretty big fall, finishing the race in 25th.
Having a good ride in the race was Gautier Paulin who was in fifth, before making a pit-stop for goggles, losing a position to Clement Desalle. With fresh goggles, the Frenchman was able to catch the Kawasaki rider and muscle his way through to move back into P5. Both riders finished the race in fifth and sixth respectively.
With just a few laps to go, Herlings was pushing to find new lines and improve his lap times, but by this point Gajser was already 13.967 second ahead, as Jasikonis continued to follow in third. In the end Gajser took the first race win, as Herlings was forced to settle for second, and Jasikonis finishing third.
Coldenhoff made a good come back from the back of the field, as he placed 9th ahead of Red Bull KTM Factory’s Antonio Cairoli who rode a steady race, despite his struggles with his knee injury.
MXGP Race 2
Then it was time for race two, and the second time around it was Herlings with a flying start, to secure the second FOX Holeshot of the weekend. Cairoli, Gajser and Jasikonis followed in tow, while Jonass had another unlucky start to the race, going down in the opening lap.
Gajser wasted no time in this race, knowing that he couldn’t let Herlings run away just yet, he made a quick move on Cairoli and put his head down to chase down the Dutch rider. Not long after Jasikonis also found his way past the 9-time world champion to move up to P3. Pushing not to lose the guys ahead, Jasikonis was improving his sectors as it was clear that he was set on making sure he was stood on that podium at the end of the race.
Getting another good start in the second MXGP race was Shaun Simpson who was down in fifth, ahead of Evgeny Bobryshev and Jeremy Van Horebeek.
All the while, Gajser had his sight set on the win, as he took a chunk of time out of Herlings, with just 2 seconds separating first and second. While it was obvious that Gajser was keen to secure a win here in Valkenswaard, he may have been pushing a little too hard at times, as he made several mistakes in one lap, losing around 2 seconds on the leader.
Keen to make up for the crash in race one, Simpson was moving quick and it paid off as he was able to catch and pass Cairoli for P4, pushing the KTM Factory rider to 5th.
As Herlings continued to lead the way with two laps to go, it looked like Gajser had found a second breath of air and by the following lap had already halved that gap between him at 1st place, and that’s when the race for the win was really on.
Though Gajser pushed hard, it wasn’t quite enough, and it was Herlings who took the second race victory, to take the overall win in front of his home fans in Valkenswaard. Gajser finished second, with Jasikonis able to hold on to third, despite a big crash and a pit-stop to change his goggles.
Jeffrey Herlings topped the MXGP podium
Jeffrey Herlings – P1
“It’s been a great weekend for the whole Red Bull KTM Team, it was very demanding but I’m very pleased to win my 9th overall here in Valkenswaard. We had great battles, my team did a very good job, I’m so glad to be on top at my home GP. Everything so far is better than last year, I’m really happy but it’s a long season and many things can happened that I think the most important thing is to stay consistent and that’s my goal for this year”.
Tim Gajser – P2
“Overall I’m super happy, especially with what happened yesterday and also with the gate pick that I had for today, it was difficult to make a good start but I managed to make two solid ones in top 5. First race was nice as I was able to make quick passes in the beginning and a little gap to control the race. In the second race I was behind Jeffrey and we were really pushing. In the second lap I got roosted and could see properly but anyway I tried to stay with him. Overall I’m super happy and already looking forward to Argentina”.
Arminas Jasikonis – P3
“The last race was really tough. The last 15 minutes were difficult in my mind, not physically. I had quite a big crash but that didn’t stop me, I stopped for goggles because it was so difficult with lappers. Overall it was a tough race, but it was worth it for a podium. It’s been a long way for me and thanks to all my team, they always kept believing in me, they gave me a chance, and this is a little pay back for their hard work but for sure I will keep going for many more”.
Shaun Simpson finished in a strong fourth position, followed by Cairoli and Van Horebeek as well as Glenn Coldenhoff who finished the race in seventh.
MXGP of Netherlands 2020 – Results