The 2018 MXGP season has travelled to over 19 different locations in 16 countries around the world and will conclude this week with the 20th round, the MXGP of Italy. The last round of the season will take place at the new and world famous Autodromo Enzo and Dino Ferrari in Imola this Saturday and Sunday. The venue last hosted international motocross racing decades ago in 1948 for the very first time but this weekend an all new purpose built circuit will pit the world’s best riders against one another. 25,000 cubic meters of soil has been moved in the last 11 days by more than 250 people working onsite to host an outstanding season finale!
2018 MXGP Champion Jeffrey Herlings from RedBull KTM Factory Racing will go against his teammate Antonio Cairoli for one last time this season while the Red Bull KTM riders of Jorge Prado will fight for the MX2 title. Joining MXGP and MX2 this weekend will be the Women’s Motocross World Championship, the EMX300 presented by FMF Racing Championship, and the YZ125 bLU cRU Cup SuperFinale.
In WMX racing the championship is a fight between MXFONTA Racing Yamaha’s Kiara Fontanesi and Nancy Van de Ven that could be decided in Race 1 but will likely have to wait until Sunday’s Race 2. In EMX300 presented by FMF Racing Verde Substance KTM’s Brad Anderson will be able to take the championship in Race 1 if he simply finishes the race ahead of GL12 Racing’s Mike Kras.
While the 2018 MXGP Championship chase concluded with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings taking the title at the penultimate round of the Netherlands 2 weeks ago the rest of the field is still fighting for positions. Herlings will likely have a more relaxed approach to this weekend but just like any other race this season he is the one every wants to beat.
Herlings’ Red Bull KTM teammate Antonio Cairoli has secured 2nd in the championship already but the Sicilian will surely try to win in front of his home crowd this weekend. With the Italian crowd behind him and a potentially more relaxed Herlings the #222 may score his 3rd overall of the year.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Factory Racing’s Clement Desalle was the only rider to beat both Herlings and Cairoli this season and the Belgian currently holds 3rd in the championship. Desalle had good starting in Assen 2 weeks ago but then fell back in the standings. Desalle could lose third position in the championship this weekend to Team HRC’s Tim Gajser who is only 20 points behind. While it is unlikely the Slovenian will take the spot the possibility is still there with his ever improving speed and the likelihood of the Slovenian fans making the trip to what is one of the closest GPs.
Monster Energy Yamaha Official MXGP’s Romain Febvre is still not fully recovered from his crash at the MXGP of Turkey and will sit out the racing this weekend. Currently 5th in the championship Febvre will likely drop to 6th or possibly even 7th by the end of the weekend. Fellow Frenchman Gautier Paulin from Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing will likely be the one to take 5th from Febvre as he sits only 3 points behind. Paulin has been strong at times this season but mostly consistent. Invigorated by the signing of a new contract with Wilvo Yamaha for 2019, Paulin will be able to focus purely on his riding and performance this weekend.
The #77 of Alessandro Lupino from Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki Racing has had some of his best results this year and with the home crowd plus the motivation of representing his country the following weekend at the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations he will certainly be one other rider to watch for.
MXGP Championship Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 883 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 782 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 645 p.; 4. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 625 p.; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 544 p.; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 541 p.; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 511 p.; 8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 445 p.; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 404 p.; 10. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 366 p.
In MX2 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado and Pauls Jonass have fought the entire season and it all has led up to this weekend where one will be crowned 2018 MX2 FIM Motocross World Champion and the other will have to settle with 2nd! Prado has the massive advantage of 46 points over Jonass and could very well take the title in Sunday’s Race 1. With the situation similar to Herlings and Cairoli last week it will be extremely intriguing to see how it all plays out.
Third in the championship currently is Rockstar Energy Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsen. Earning 633 points so far this season Olsen has 1 race win and 1 overall but an impressive 9 overall podium appearances. Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 Team’s Ben Watson is sandwiched 4th in the points between Olsen and the other Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider of Thomas Covington. Watson is 48 points back of Olsen but only 20 ahead of Covington. Covington has 1 overall win this year coming from the MXGP of Turkey while Watson is the only rider in the top 5 to have not won an overall but the Brit will surely be shooting for his first this weekend.
Other riders to watch out for include Team HRC’s Calvin Vlaanderen who sits 6th in the championship with 1 overall win plus Honda 114 Motorsports Hunter Lawrence, and Yamaha SM Action – M.C. Migliori’s Michele Cervellin in his home GP.
MX2 Championship Top Ten: 1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 823 points; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 777 p.; 3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 633 p.; 4. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 585 p.; 5. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 565 p.; 6. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, HON), 521 p.; 7. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 366 p.; 8. Michele Cervellin (ITA, YAM), 365 p.; 9. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, HON), 331 p.; 10. Henry Jacobi (GER, HUS), 311 p.