Racer X Race Report: Valkenswaard GP

Racer X Race Report: Valkenswaard GP

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“I get out of bed and I go riding on these tracks.” A simpler explanation couldn’t be offered as to how Red Bull Teka KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings decimated the MX2 class at the Grand Prix of the Netherlands – round two of fifteen - for the second year in succession.

The Dutch teenager brought back memories of Ryan Villopoto at the 2007 Budds Creek MX of Nations in the manner with which he departed from his peers around the endless ripples of the Valkenswaard sand, scorched by freak spring sunshine (three years previously there had been snow at the venue). Even Herlings’ nemesis in factory orange, Ken Roczen was powerless to resist the stomp in front of the biggest crowd the circuit has seen in recent memory.

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For the second consecutive year Herlings dominated the field at Valkenswaard.
Photo: Ray Archer

The KTMs were in a different league and although CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy Pro Circuit’s Tommy Searle filled the final podium spot for the second event in a row (the same MX2 top-three as at the season-opener in Bulgaria two weeks ago) there were a couple of sub-plots going on behind as Herlings wildly dashed away to lap riders up to ninth and eleventh in both heats.

Monster Energy Yamaha’s Gautier Paulin managed fifth overall in spite of pain around his kidneys that had the Frenchman in tears during warm-up. Stylish Swiss rider Arnaud Tonus was the only rider – aside from Searle – in the leading sect that was constantly making forward progress and was denied a second career podium when he tipped over on the penultimate lap of the last moto. Max Anstie hit the deck a couple of times on his eighteenth birthday in what was a pretty violent introduction to Dutch sand at world championship level, and the USA’s Zach Osborne exercised caution for most of the day and was a little subdued with eight overall even though he sported a crater of a blister on his right hand.

KTM cleaned the floor in MX2 and then ‘polished the surface’ with another 1-2 in MX1. Fittingly, World Champion Tony Cairoli collected his third win at Valkenswaard on the day when he announced he would be a KTM works rider for another two years. The Sicilian – sporting a bizarre new haircut – also ignited his season in determined form after the lukewarm opening at Bulgaria and with strained knee ligaments after an incident at Sevlievo.

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Roczen helped KTM to a 1-2 finish in the MX2 class, but never came close to matching Herlings.
Photo: Ray Archer

Cairoli shared moto spoils with Max Nagl. The German is looking increasingly at home on the 350SX-F even though he couldn’t sit down for long in the post-race press conference due to a sore back. Monster Energy Yamaha duo David Philippaerts and Steven Frossard where next in the classification and both were a big part of two gripping races as the MX1 ticket again provided the main entertainment bill on the day. Frossard’s fourth position was noteworthy in itself as a strained ligament on his collarbone meant that the Frenchman was almost on the verge of pulling out of the GP during warm-up, but two excellent starts again pushed him to the front. Only a late crash in the second race dumped him off the podium in favour of his Italian team-mate. The 23-year-old did however snare the red plate as series leader in his rookie campaign; the first time for France in the premier class since Mickael Pichon six years earlier.

Full props to Honda’s Rui Goncalves, a former winner at Valkenswaard, for a strong top five finish on the factory CRF while other riders such as Clement Desalle (wary of his 2010 crash in the sand), Steve Ramon (physical problems), Jonathan Barragan (lacked rhythm and confidence) and Ben Townley (completely exhausted after the first moto at his first GP appearance since 2005, and at the site of his first career podium as a meek 17 year old in 2002) faced their own travails.

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MX1 podium. Nagl (2nd), Cairoli (1st), Philippaerts (3rd).
Photo: Ray Archer

Glen Helen awaits the world championship flock in three weeks for the second U.S. Grand Prix with rumours that Ryan Villopoto will square up to the GP field.

MX1 Moto1
1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 40:49.442;  2. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), +0:06.303; 3. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), +0:10.631; 4. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:34.320; 5. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:43.305; 6. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +0:43.485; 7. Ken de Dycker (BEL, Honda), +0:57.195; 8. Steve Ramon (BEL, Suzuki), +0:59.698; 9. Tanel Leok (EST, TM), +1:02.322; 10. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +1:23.387

MX1 Moto2
1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), 39:21.653; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:14.447; 3. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:22.047; 4. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +0:27.150; 5. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), +0:44.569; 6. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:53.640; 7. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +1:09.411; 8. Ken de Dycker (BEL, Honda), +1:15.250; 9. Tanel Leok (EST, TM), +1:21.478; 10. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, Kawasaki), +1:25.000;

MX1 Overall Classification
1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 47 points; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), 45 p.; 3. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 38 p.; 4. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), 38 p.; 5. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 33 p.; 6. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 31 p.; 7. Ken de Dycker (BEL, Honda), 27 p.; 8. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), 25 p.; 9. Tanel Leok (EST, TM), 24 p.; 10. Steve Ramon (BEL, Suzuki), 22 p.;

MX1 World Championship Standings After 2 of 15 Rounds
1. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), 85 points; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), 80 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 78 p.; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 72 p.; 5. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 63 p.; 6. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 62 p.; 7. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, Kawasaki), 53 p.; 8. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), 52 p.; 9. Davide Guarneri (ITA, Kawasaki), 45 p.; 10. Steve Ramon (BEL, Suzuki), 42 p.;

MX2 Moto1
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 39:55.351; 2. Ken Roczen (GER, KTM), +0:37.452; 3. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:45.031; 4. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +0:47.152; 5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +1:01.981; 6. Zachary Osborne (USA, Yamaha), +1:19.739; 7. Harri Kullas (FIN, Yamaha), +1:22.253; 8. Joel Roelants (BEL, KTM), +1:24.197; 9. Nicolas Aubin (FRA, KTM), +1:29.839; 10. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), -1 lap(s);

MX2 Moto2
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 41:04.993; 2. Ken Roczen (GER, KTM), +0:11.010; 3. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:31.875; 4. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), +0:42.303; 5. Joel Roelants (BEL, KTM), +0:58.448; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +1:09.328; 7. Harri Kullas (FIN, Yamaha), +1:18.048; 8. Zachary Osborne (USA, Yamaha), +1:46.443; 9. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:50.253; 10. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), +2:00.631;

MX2 Overall Result
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Ken Roczen (GER, KTM), 44 p.; 3. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 40 p.; 4. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), 36 p.; 5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), 31 p.; 6. Joel Roelants (BEL, KTM), 29 p.; 7. Harri Kullas (FIN, Yamaha), 28 p.; 8. Zachary Osborne (USA, Yamaha), 28 p.; 9. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), 23 p.; 10. Nikolaj Larsen (DEN, KTM), 19 p.;

MX2 World Championship Standings After 2 of 15 Rounds
1. Ken Roczen (GER, KTM), 94 points; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 86 p.; 3. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 84 p.; 4. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), 67 p.; 5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), 65 p.; 6. Zachary Osborne (USA, Yamaha), 60 p.; 7. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), 51 p.; 8. Joel Roelants (BEL, KTM), 48 p.; 9. Harri Kullas (FIN, Yamaha), 46 p.; 10. Nicolas Aubin (FRA, KTM), 36 p.;

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