PM: MXGP of Italy, MXGP


After a muddy Saturday, bright sunshine burst through onto the mighty Maggiora Park for the main Grand Prix races on the Sunday afternoon of the MXGP of Italy and the ever-drying surface provided an incredible day of racing across both GP classes!

In MXGP, the leading three Championship contenders provided a nail-biting first race, won by Team HRC’s red plate holder, Tim Gajser. Race two saw a multi-rider pile-up between turns one and two, which saw reigning World Champion Jorge Prado pull out of the race with his Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing machine.  After a late fall by Gajser, Jeffrey Herlings took the second race win for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, but it was not enough to deprive the Slovenian of his 47th career Grand Prix win as he extends his series points lead.

The MX2 class was won, for the second weekend in a row, by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Sacha Coenen, after two wildly different races saw crashes for several riders and resulted in a reduced points lead for Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s red plate holder Kay de Wolf.

The RAM Qualifying Race winner Tim Gajser took to the starting line first, with his closest Championship rival Jorge Prado coming to the line in sixth position after another difficult race in the mud on Saturday.

It mattered little to the reigning Champion, however, who fired out of the gate faster than anyone in the first race, apart from Kawasaki Racing Team rider and last year’s winner here, Jeremy Seewer who took FOX Holeshot! Gajser was right with them and took his chance to make a move on Prado, launching himself into second as the Spaniard stumbled into the third corner!

Jeffrey Herlings had his hands full on lap one with Calvin Vlaanderen, as the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP rider kept his more experienced countryman at bay until the KTM man leaned into a faster line coming around the second corner to make a clean pass! 

Just when Seewer looked like he was going to register a full lap in the lead, Gajser railed the outside of the final turn to lead across the finish line jump, then the Swiss got the following corner all wrong and fell after colliding with the track marker barriers!

This put the top three in the Championship in the same running order for the race, and somehow through the race they conspired to get closer to each other, as first Herlings attacked Prado, then the pair of them caught the leader as the Spaniard set the fastest lap of the whole race on lap 14 of 17! He needed to in order to hold back the advances of Herlings, who very nearly got through on several occasions!

Behind them, Vlaanderen held onto fourth despite a small tip-over and a late run from Seewer, who finished fifth at the flag ahead of the Fantic Factory Racing pair of Brian Bogers in sixth and Glenn Coldenhoff in seventh. Andrea Bonacorsi, in his first home GP on a 450, took eighth from Valentin Guillod of Team Ship To Cycle Honda Motoblouz SR, with De Baets Yamaha man Benoit Paturel just behind him.

Ultimately, despite the tense and exciting battle of the top three, who were all on the limit and making small mistakes with the intensity, none of them could pass each other and it stayed as a win for Gajser, Prado second, and Herlings third with just 2.3 seconds covering all of them!

Race two saw an explosive start, firstly as Mattia Guadagnini looked good until he overshot the first corner and had to take to the grassy bank outside the track! He was almost lucky he did so, as Guillod tried to squeeze between Prado and Seewer into the second corner, hit the floor, and started a domino effect that took down nearly a dozen riders, including Yamaha men Vlaanderen and Bonacorsi, Coldenhoff, and the Schmicker Racing KTM of Cornelius Toendel.

Most significantly of all, however, was the figure that limped to his feet with the number 1 on his back. Prado had got tangled with Vlaanderen’s bike on the ground and looked to be in serious discomfort.  He tried to carry on with the race but ultimately had to surrender to the pain and pull into the paddock. 

Meanwhile, Fox Holeshot Award winner Gajser had Herlings for company, with Seewer giving chase in what was a lonely third position.  The Dutchman drew near, just as Bogers won an entertaining back-and-forth battle with JK Racing Yamaha man Isak Gifting, who would finish a great sixth on his first weekend back from injury, just succumbing to a last lap pass from the recovering Vlaanderen for fifth behind Bogers. The Fantic man took 4th overall to continue his good run of form.

Guadagnini also got back into the top ten to claim seventh ahead of TEM JP253 Racing privateer Jan Pancar, with Paturel ninth ahead of another first lap survivor, Glenn Coldenhoff.

After setting the Acerbis Fastest Lap for the weekend on lap nine, Herlings went for an inside pass on Gajser over the steep cambered “horseshoe” section opposite the start straight, and nearly got it badly wrong, running over a trackside tuff block! A couple of laps later and it was Gajser who made the mistake, washing out the front end on a banked left hander, putting him on the floor and allowing Herlings through for the victory! It puts the Dutchman on 198 career Grand Prix race wins! 

Gajser held on for second, good enough to take the overall Grand Prix trophy, and with Prado’s zero score it leaves the Slovenian with a much bigger points lead of 34.  Herlings is now 37 behind the Spaniard, whilst Vlaanderen and Seewer, who took his first career GP podium for Kawasaki, both leap-frogged past the injured Febvre for fourth and fifth in the standings.

Tim Gajser: “It was a good weekend you know,already yesterday I felt very good on the track. It was rougher and more technical today, the crew made a great job because how muchvrain we had during the night ! It wasn’t easy to make a difference but it was great racing. Two good races and good starts so I’m super happy! Really looking forward to Indonesia now with a back-to-back there. I thank again all my team because they work so hard, always improving the bike! Thanks to all the people around me and all the fans and especially the Slovenian ones who made the journey here”

Jeffrey Herlings: “I found that the speed was there in the first race. After it wasn’t easy to pass and hard when I was behind Prado in the first race and Gajser in the second. I had the speed to pass but couldn’t make it happen but was a bit luck with Tim crashing but another day on the podium. 3-1 for 2nd overall .. I take it! Up to Indonesia now. “

Jeremy Seewer: “There was a bit of luck in the second race with Jorge (Prado) as I didn’t get the best start but someone hit us from behind and I was lucky to leave the crash intact and that I stayed up. I could finally show my ride a bit you know but didn’t push the limit but just ensure that I was riding my bike and that’s what counts. Now the podium finally even if there’s a bit of luck but after the year that I had I strangely think that I deserve it somehow so I will take it and need it to close the gap with the first guys”

MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 33:55.146; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +0:01.374; 3. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:02.321; 4. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:29.700; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Kawasaki), +0:34.573; 6. Brian Bogers (NED, Fantic), +0:51.398; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Fantic), +0:59.333; 8. Andrea Bonacorsi (ITA, Yamaha), +1:04.229; 9. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Honda), +1:06.397; 10. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +1:07.617

MXGP – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:14.215; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:11.833; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Kawasaki), +0:53.624; 4. Brian Bogers (NED, Fantic), +1:04.318; 5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +1:05.932; 6. Isak Gifting (SWE, Yamaha), +1:06.716; 7. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, Husqvarna), +1:15.299; 8. Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), +1:19.816; 9. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +1:22.262; 10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Fantic), +1:33.866

MXGP Overall – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 47 points; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 45 p.; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, KAW), 36 p.; 4. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 34 p.; 5. Brian Bogers (NED, FAN), 33 p.; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, FAN), 25 p.; 7. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 23 p.; 8. Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), 22 p.; 9. Andrea Bonacorsi (ITA, YAM), 22 p.; 10. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 22 p

MXGP – World Championship – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 511 points; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 477 p.; 3. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 440 p.; 4. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 339 p.; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, KAW), 332 p.; 6. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 327 p.; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, FAN), 302 p.; 8. Pauls Jonass (LAT, HON), 274 p.; 9. Brian Bogers (NED, FAN), 213 p.; 10. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, HON), 206 p.

MXGP – Manufacturers Classification: 1. Honda, 528 points; 2. GASGAS, 477 p.; 3. KTM, 452 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 432 p.; 5. Yamaha, 377 p.; 6. Fantic, 328 p.; 7. Beta, 142 p.; 8. Husqvarna, 132 p.

After Saturday’s wet RAM Qualifying Race, Liam Everts went to the line first for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, ahead of Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing man Simon Laengenfelder. Series leader De Wolf was left with the tenth gate pick, and Lucas Coenen was two places further down, so many wondered if the two Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing riders would have to charge through the pack from average starts.

However, those starts didn’t go as expected! De Wolf hit the floor in a first corner pile-up with Fantic Factory Racing MX2’s David Braceras and VRT Yamaha’s debutant Gavin Towers, then Lucas Coenen fell into the outside bank of the second turn!  His brother Sacha Coenen, fresh from his first GP win a week ago, took the Fox Holeshot Award for the eighth time this season, and Everts was right with him! Laengenfelder, back into second in the points standings after Saturday, was there in third ahead of the third factory KTM of Andrea Adamo. 

Early on lap two, Sacha tipped over in the tight left hander before the biggest downhill, and Everts happily inherited the lead ahead of Laengenfelder and Adamo.  With the crowd urging on their reigning World Champ, the Italian attacked the back wheel of the German, but could not make a move to get past!

Behind them, Beddini GASGAS Factory Juniors wild card Valerio Lata was impressive in moving up to fifth at the flag behind Sacha Coenen. Meanwhile, De Wolf and Lucas Coenen were fighting through the pack together, as well as against each other on occasion. The red plate holder made a break from his teammate, however, and fought up to seventh at the flag, just behind the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 machine of Rick Elzinga. Monster Energy Triumph star Mikkel Haarup tagged along with De Wolf’s charge to claim eighth position at the finish, while Lucas Coenen could only get as high as tenth behind F & H Racing’s Quentin Prugnieres.

Everts kept his composure to claim his third race win of the year by nearly seven seconds, with Laengenfelder’s second place hacking De Wolf’s Championship lead down by eight to 46 going into race two!

The slightly younger of the twins, Sacha Coenen, grabbed a ninth Fox Holeshot Award for the season, and with the Acerbis Fastest Lap in his pocket from the fifth lap, he simply never made a mistake, even with Lucas chasing him all the way.  Holding third, also throughout the race on a track that was proving difficult to pass on, was the wildcard sensation Valerio Lata!  Laengenfelder made a run at the youngster on lap eight, but then fell on the approach to a jump and would come home in eighth. Zanchi and Prugnieres would finish behind him to round out the top ten.

De Wolf also found it difficult to pass, ending the race in sixth just ahead of Haarup, while the frustrated factory KTM men Everts and Adamo, despite being all over the back of Lata, could not make a move. This left Everts second overall for the day, losing the GP win on the tie-break with Sacha Coenen. Adamo had to settle for fourth overall in front of his home fans, while Lata, in his special “Polizia” uniform liverie for his home race, celebrated his first overall podium in Grand Prix racing!

There was no taking it away from Sacha Coenen, however, who makes it two straight GP wins in the MX2 class, and five straight for the family! He is still eighth in the Championship but significantly closer to Rick Elzinga ahead of him.

The second race result for De Wolf left him with a 48-point lead over Laengenfelder, who is now four ahead of Lucas Coenen in third.

At the halfway point in the season, both classes are still far from settled. After a week’s break, the fight will resume in the islands of Indonesia.

Sacha Coenen: “It was a big win! I felt so good on the track and fought hard with my brother as he finished second. It’s a shame we couldn’t be on the podium together again but it’s really nice form and I’m really happy and look forward to rest of the season”

Kay de Wolf: “On one side I’m very happy, on the other I’m disappointed on a race I wanted to win but this is good. Very positive weekend. It difficult to pass but gave my all so I can’t do much more, it is the way it is!

Valerio Lata: “I don’t have the words! This is my dream and I work every day for this. For the first time I cried after a race! This is unbelievable and thank you to my team, the mechanics and my sponsors because they work hard every day. Thank you!”

MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:  1. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 34:57.023; 2. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +0:06.951; 3. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), +0:14.257; 4. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), +0:21.726; 5. Valerio Lata (ITA, KTM), +0:32.473; 6. Rick Elzinga (NED, Yamaha), +0:41.740; 7. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:57.784; 8. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, Triumph), +0:59.669; 9. Quentin Marc Prugnieres (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:00.960; 10. Lucas Coenen (BEL, Husqvarna), +1:02.160

MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification : 1. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), 34:07.146; 2. Lucas Coenen (BEL, Husqvarna), +0:02.064; 3. Valerio Lata (ITA, KTM), +0:04.869; 4. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +0:05.400; 5. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), +0:06.014; 6. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:07.992; 7. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, Triumph), +0:14.858; 8. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +0:35.888; 9. Ferruccio Zanchi (ITA, Honda), +0:36.190; 10. Quentin Marc Prugnieres (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:54.822

MX2 Overall – Top 10 Classification: 1. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), 43 points; 2. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 43 p.; 3. Valerio Lata (ITA, KTM), 36 p.; 4. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 36 p.; 5. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 35 p.; 6. Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 33 p.; 7. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 29 p.; 8. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, TRI), 27 p.; 9. Quentin Marc Prugnieres (FRA, KAW), 23 p.; 10. Ferruccio Zanchi (ITA, HON), 22 p

MX2 – World Championship Classification: 1. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 473 points; 2. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 425 p.; 3. Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 421 p.; 4. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 394 p.; 5. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 368 p.; 6. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, TRI), 314 p.; 7. Rick Elzinga (NED, YAM), 300 p.; 8. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), 278 p.; 9. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 226 p.; 10. Quentin Marc Prugnieres (FRA, KAW), 197 p

MX2 – Manufacturers Classification: 1. Husqvarna, 524 points; 2. KTM, 499 p.; 3. GASGAS, 432 p.; 4. Yamaha, 358 p.; 5. Triumph, 339 p.; 6. Kawasaki, 221 p.; 7. Honda, 206 p.; 8. Fantic, 143 p.; 9. TM, 39 p

Text/Bild: Infront