MOTOCROSSTIME - NEWS FROM KTM
MXGP returned to Spain for the first time in over a year and was welcomed by a new Grand Prix host. Redsand MX Park, close to the town of Castellon on the east coast, is well known to world championship riders as a winter testing and training venue. For the third round of the 2018 campaign the facility underwent a significant upgrade and the mix of hard-packed red soil but with loose terrain in sections was fast and ‘busy’ through a series of jumps and obstacles.
Watched by 26,000 fans Cairoli was in the mood for full points following runner-up positions in both Argentina and Holland. The Sicilian stalked Romain Febvre for seven laps of the first moto and crossed the line almost five seconds in front of teammate and championship leader Jeffrey Herlings. In the second outing #222 seized the holeshot. He passed Gautier Paulin and massaged a race-winning margin over a battling Herlings to record his first 1-1 of the campaign. The Grand Prix of La Comunitat Valenciana delivered the defending number one’s 84th career success and 300th top three moto finish. Cairoli’s achievement also ensured at least one victory in all fifteen of his world championship seasons since 2004.
Herlings went 2-2 and lamented a poor start in the first moto and a first lap tumble in the second. The Dutchman had a tough day cutting through the pack – setting the fastest lap both times – but the victor of Argentine and Dutch rounds secured a third consecutive trophy and ties on points with Cairoli at the tip of MXGP. Despite the same number of triumphs and second places the FIM have given the red plate to Cairoli for round four by virtue of his status as the most recent winner.
Glenn Coldenhoff was satisfied with a second moto result of 7th. The Dutchman was limited by a mediocre first race getaway which meant a hard slog to 11th. 8th position overall for Glenn allows #259 to maintain 6th spot in the standings.
Cairoli: “I’m really happy about the weekend. We made some changes to the bike for improvement and I was very pleased to get back from a bad start to second on the first lap of the first moto. I struggled a bit to pass Romain. I had the better speed but took a while to make it happen. It was good to win. A holeshot in the second moto and Paulin was aggressive and with a good rhythm but I could pass him and control the situation. I knew Jeffrey was coming back strong but we could respond with some good lap-times. Everything went well and I’m really happy to win here in Spain. It is my 84th win; it’s really nice and the season is going good. I’m happy to fight with Jeffrey and the other guys. The red plate doesn’t matter too much at the moment. It is about trying to improve and we are trying different things but we have a good set-up.”
Herlings: “It wasn’t a good weekend and I came to this track aiming to win but I messed up both starts; the second one wasn’t too bad but I crashed on the first lap and had to come back from somewhere around fifteenth and was still able to fight my way up to Tony. The bike we have is really solid but we might have some new parts to try for the starts and hopefully we can improve with that. Once the starts are better – and I also need to look at what I am doing on the bike – then we’ll be able to put ourselves in a much better position. The competition is strong here and it is tough to come through the pack; every weekend has been like this and I either barely make it or run out of time. I have a great team behind me and we’ll be working on it in the coming weeks.”
Coldenhoff: “Definitely a better second moto! I made some mistakes in the first: I started to wheelie, pulled the clutch and had too much wheelspin. Coming through – like I had to do on Saturday also – was really tough. The second moto was better and I could run with the top guys and it was where I needed to be. Eighth overall and I think sixth in the standings so we are looking quite good.”
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “I am definitely proud of this fantastic team because they put in some incredible work but the outcome is amazing; I’ve never seen a motocross team on this level. Having two riders who are so strong fighting for the win every weekend and for the points lead in both classes is outstanding. I hope we can keep these boys healthy and go through the season. For sure there will be some up and downs but we have to enjoy these moments. It was another incredible weekend and we cannot forget that Marvin Musquin won in Indianapolis [AMA 450SX] so it was a clean sweep for us across the world.”
A close battle for MX2 Pole Position between teammates Pauls Jonass and Jorge Prado on Saturday was decided by just half a second and won by the world champion for the second time this year on his KTM 250 SX-F.
Prado excelled with passionate home support to take second place behind a strong and resolute Jonass who extended his unbeaten run to five motos in the first race. The Latvian was superb to control proceedings from the front in the second sprint: beating Thomas Kjer Olsen and a flying Darian Sanayei with Prado coming home in 3rd. The classification means the second consecutive 1-2 for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team, Jonass is unbeaten in 2018 and is the first rider since Jeffrey Herlings in the summer of 2016 to win six motos in a row.
With a perfect score Jonass has a 30 point advantage in the standings over Olsen. Prado is 3rd and another 15 points back.
Jonass: “It is nice to start the season with six wins from six motos but motocross is never easy! Many people at home have been saying ‘that looked like an easy race for you…’ but every moto is difficult. You need to stay focussed. This weekend was not easy because Jorge was there in the first moto all the time and in the second Darian, Jorge and Thomas were close! I tried not to make any big mistakes and stayed calm to control the race. I enjoyed the track today.”
Prado: “It was a good weekend and I am happy with my second place. The first moto was good, the second I struggled a bit but we’ve been working hard so I’m pleased. For sure everybody wants to win here and Pauls is difficult to beat! Lately he has been riding even better than usual. So we’ll keep trying!”
MXGP breaks for Easter weekend with round four taking place at Arco di Trento and the Pietramurata circuit for the Grand Prix of Trentino (the first of three visits to Italy this year and with the calendar now extended to twenty events due to the late inclusion of Bulgaria to the slate) on April 7-8.
Results MXGP Comunitat Valenciana 2018
1. Tony Cairoli (ITA), KTM (1-1)
2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), KTM (2-2)
3. Clement Desalle (BEL), KTM (4-4)
4. Romain Febvre (FRA), Yamaha (3-5)
5. Gautier Paulin (FRA), Husqvarna (7-3)
See full results: MXGP OF LA COMUNITAT VALENCIANA