PHOTOS/VIDEO/TEXT | MXGP & Youthstream
The second day of the MXGP of Latvia roared to life with the start of the points paying races today. The MXGP of Latvia in Kegums will be forever etched into the minds of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Jeffrey Herlings and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Thomas Kjer Olsen as each recorded their first career overall wins in their respective classes. Meanwhile, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Antonio Cairoli and local hero Pauls Jonass will go to the MXGP of Germany in two weeks time holding the Red Plate.
2017 MXGP Of Latvia | MXGP Class
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Jeffrey Herlings had a weekend of first, first in Saturday's Qualifying Race, first in Race 1, and first in Race 2, which when combined gave him his first career overall victory in the premier MXGP class. Herlings literally could not have had better results, from the fastest in each practice to the last checkered flag he dominated. Herlings in the press conference said, "This is the cherry on the cake, I'm very happy being up here! I felt good all weekend and I'm always fast on this track, we've won here a couple times now."
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Antonio Cairoli will leave Latvia with new addition to his KTM, the red plate. Cairoli's consistent ability to charge toward the front, after not the best of starts, is proving crucial in the competitive MXGP championship. While Cairoli may not have had the weekend he was looking for second overall and the points lead is nothing but impressive. Cairoli in the press conference said, "I'm ok, I'm not satisfied with my result…but it is good for the championship. I would fight for the win every weekend but I am happy with the weekend as a whole."
Team HRC's Evgeny Bobryshev returned to the podium this weekend with a 3-4 for 3rd overall in front of several Russian fans who made the trip. Bobryshev has been looking like he has podium speed lately but he has faded in the later stages of racing. He explained in the press conference, "In Valkenswaard I had some health problems and the week before Kegums I was recovering. Overall the result is good, I'm just looking forward to getting my health and physical fitness back." Bobryshev now looks to the future and continuing to improve during the week off.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team's Clement Desalle had a spectacular Race 1 where he grabbed the FOX Holeshot and he lost out only to the unstoppable #84. Desalle was also passed by Bobryshev in race one but the Belgian showed some fight and returned the favor only one lap later. In race 2 he finished 5th for 4th overall.
Last GP's winner, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Gautier Paulin put together a top 5 finish after placing 7th in both races. Paulin did fall in race 2 but will most likely be disappointed with the result of the weekend.
Team HRC's Tim Gajser came into the weekend with the points lead and battled from the back of the pack in Race 1 going from 36th up to 14th. In race 2 Gajser was running second before a mistake took him out of the race. The 14th and DNF has taken Gajser out the points lead he has worked so hard to achieve. Gajser was evaluated by medical staff onsite, he is reportedly unscathed and in good spirits.
Suzuki World MXGP's Arminas Jasikonis has been impressive lately and is noticeably improving. The Lithuanian rider took his first Fox Holeshot in MXGP Race 2 today then he led the first 4 laps. Jasikonis finished a strong 3rd in Race 2 and finished 10th overall.
2017 MXGP Of Latvia | MX2 Class
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Thomas Kjer Olsen was on a mission this weekend. Olsen started the GP by winning the Qualifying Race and Race 1 in an impressive display. Race 2 was more of a challenge as Olsen started in 8th place and with Pauls Jonass out front he knew he needed 2nd to claim the overall a feat he accomplished. Olsen in the press conference said, "I worked my way up through the pack and I'm pretty happy with my riding, I just stayed consistent all moto. It was so tough out there so I was trying to make no mistakes and ride smooth. I'm so happy with how things turned out. Last year I won here in the European Championship, it is pretty crazy that I win the GP this year."
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Pauls Jonass grew his points lead once again this weekend. In race one Jonass looked as if he was going to finish 2nd but on the last lap he was passed by the #91 Suzuki. In race 2 the determination of Jonass to win in front of his home fans was evident as he charged throughout. Jonass went 3-1 for second overall and in the press conference said, "My second race was really good…I just wanted to stay on 2 wheels and make no mistakes this weekend and I accomplished that."
HSF Logistics Motorsport's Calvin Vlaanderen nabbed the final spot on the overall podium with his 5-4 finishes. Vlaanderen made a pass on during the last lap which was for the podium. Vlaanderen in the press conference stated, "I can't really explain the feeling, it is so nice. Actually since I crossed the finish line I can't remember the podium it has all just been a blur for me. It's been an unbelievable feeling getting my first podium."
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Jorge Prado Garcia just missed the podium as he was the rider which Vlaanderen passed on the final lap of Race 2. Prado took the FOX Holeshot in both MX2 races and he lead each briefly before falling back. Prado scored the same points as Vlaanderen but his 4-5 put him 4th overall.
The final spot among the top 5 overall belongs to Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Conrad Mewse. Mewse has really started to turn his season around after struggling to score any points in the first three rounds of the championship to now a top five overall with a 3rd in Race 2.
Suzuki World MX2's Jeremy Seewer had a gritty performance in Race 1 after falling while trying to catch Jonass, he somehow regrouped and charged up to the #41's back wheel again. Seewer was going inside to outside trying to find a way past Jonass and finally did on the last lap with only 2 corners remaining. However in Race 2 Seewer slid out in the first turn and then crashed again not long after causing his bike to become unrideable.
LRT's Julien Lieber is another rider who crashed in race 2 while he was running second. Even though Lieber's crash was quite spectacular he managed to collect himself quickly and still finish in 8th for a 7th overall.