Jeffrey Herlings has never been beaten at Valkenswaard in the Netherlands and Monday’s race was his seventh GP win on that circuit. He took a clean 1-1 moto victory and in both races finished with impressive margins to retain his perfect scorecard for the 2016 season. After just three of 18 rounds he has won all the motos and already has a 38-point lead in the MX2 World Championship.
Second overall went to Herlings’ Red Bull KTM Factory Racing teammate Pauls Jonass (LAT) with a 2-2 result. Jeremy Seewer was third.
Herlings started on pole and while conceding the holeshot in his opening moto to teammate Jonass, he quickly took control of the race in only the second lap. He went on to build an impressive lead on a track that had been deluged with rain only 30 minutes beforehand. When he took the checkered flag Herlings had a 36-second lead and Jonass, second behind Herlings, had also laid the foundation stone for a solid end result.
Buoyed by his first race win, and riding in front of his army of loyal Dutch fans, Herlings went out strong in his second moto, grabbed the holeshot and had already taken a six-second lead by the end of the opening lap. Meanwhile Jonass quickly advanced into second past Alexandr Tonkov and the two Red Bull KTM Factory Racing teammates went on to dominate the rest of the race. At the end of the 30-minutes plus two laps race, Herlings had such an impressive lead, he had lapped riders up to tenth position and backed off in the final lap to enjoy his victory.
Davy Pootjes, the younger member of the team’s trio of MX2 riders made a comeback from injuries sustained in the opening round in Qatar. Despite not being completely fit he put in two solid motos to finish overall 10th. All three riders conpete on the KTM 250 SX-F machine.
Herlings: “It was a really good weekend. We were fast in each practice and I had three good starts. That was important on this track especially with the heavy rain we had before the first moto. I took my time in the first moto to get into the lead and once I was there I rode my own race. The second moto I took the holeshot and checked out. I’m really pleased with my riding and happy and grateful that I won. Now I’m looking forward to the next GP.”
Jonass: “I felt really good because after Thailand we did a lot of riding hours on the bike and I felt confident coming to Valkenswaard. We had a good week of testing and we improved the bike suspension. Today Jeffrey was faster. He’s the king in the sand and I was really happy with second place. That was my goal and I though that would be the best scenario. Now I’m very excited to go to Argentina (the next GP on the calendar) because this is one of my favorite tracks so I’m looking forward to the next GP.”
Pootjes: “I’m happy to be back riding because last week it wasn’t sure if I could ride. I still had a lot of pain in my shoulder and I was back at the hospital. They said I had a damaged nerve in the shoulder and a broken rib. But I’m happy with the race. The first moto I finished sixth so that was good for the first time back racing. I had a bad start in the second race because someone crashed in front of me. I came back to 12th but then I crashed again. But I took some points and now we have two weeks before Argentina and hopefully I will be fit by then.”
Dirk Gruebel, MX2 Team Manager: “Jeffrey was in a class of his own today, all weekend actually. It was an outstanding result – to win 50GPs at such a young age is something else. Pauls had some awesome races. He led the first race for a couple of laps and rode smart, fought for it and he’s a top rider. Davy wasn’t able to ride the last two weeks because he broke his collarbone in Qatar. But in the first race he had a good start, was in fifth position for a while and battled for it to finish sixth. That was outstanding. He was not so fortunate in the second race when the guy in front crashed in the first turn. But he make his way up to 15 and even 13 at one point. I’m really proud of all my team and all the mechanics, it was a hard day with the weather conditions.”
The MXGP class saw a strong comeback ride by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tony Cairoli, particularly in an impressive second moto where he led the field until half way through the final lap. The multi-world champion, who has been recovering from injury, registered a 7-2 moto result to finish overall fourth. The GP went to Roman Febvre, winner of the second moto with Max Nagl and Tim Gajser taking the minor podium places. Cairoli, who took the holeshot and led the race right through to the final stages was in line for a podium place until the second half of the final lap. Then a real dogfight among the following group of riders shook up the potential podium places in the last minutes of the race. KTM factory-supported Shaun Simpson (GBR) was overall eighth and factory team rookie Glenn Coldenhoff (NED) was ninth. Caioroli and Coldenhoff both ride the KTM 450 SX-F.
Cairoli: “For sure I am really disappointed because I led the last race for all the laps and I got passed in the last part of the final lap. That’s not the best way to end the moto but already 2-3 laps before I was tired and I knew my condition is still not so good at the moment. Its getting better every day for but such a rough track in the sand there is still something missing. I’m not so happy because at the beginning for the first race I was a bit too careful and I finished seventh. That was the lowest point of the weekend. But it was better in the second race and the speed was there. I made a little mistake because I was tired and Febvre is really fit at the moment. For sure he deserved the victory but soon we will come back to the podium.”
Coldenhoff: “The second moto was good. I fought with the top guys right from the beginning and that’s good for my confidence. The last GP was really bad, so it was good to bounce back like this. For sure it wasn’t what we were hoping but my riding was good and I felt good out there. I finished overall ninth and that was good compared to the last weeks. Hopefully we can train well in the next two weeks and come back strong in Argentina.”
Next Race: April 10, 2016 – Neuquen (ARG)
Results MXGP Valkenswaard 2016
1. Romain Febvre (FRA), Yamaha (3-1)
2. Max Nagl (GER), Husqvarna (2-4)
3. Tim Gajser (SLO), Honda (1-8)
4. Tony Cairoli (ITA), KTM (7-2)
5. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL), Yamaha (5-3)
8. Shaun Simpson (GBR), KTM (10-9)
9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED), KTM (13-7)
Standings MXGP 2016 after 3 of 18 rounds
1. Febvre, 137 points
2. Gajser, 124
3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS), Honda, 107
4. Van Horebeek, 104
5. Cairoli, 100
7. Simpson, 80
10. Coldenhoff, 55
Results MX2 Valkenswaard 2016
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), KTM (1-1)
2. Pauls Jonass (LAT), KTM (2-2)
3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI), Suzuki (4-3)
4. Brent van Doninck (BEL), Yamaha (5-4)
5. Benoit Paturel (FRA), Yamaha (7-6)
10. Davy Pootjes (NED), KTM (6-15)
Standings MX2 2016 after 3 of 18 rounds
1. Herlings, 150 points
2. Jonass, 112
3. Seewer, 112
4. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS), Yamaha, 91
5. Van Doninck, 78