Race Report: MXGP of Brazil

Race Report: MXGP of Brazil

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For the second Grand Prix in succession Red Bull KTM rider Tony Cairoli was irrepressible in the premier MXGP class. Through a comprehensive double on the rain-softened, rough and punishing Beto Carrero dirt in Brazil the Sicilian again took his 350SX-F to another 1-1 and clocked the 65th overall victory of his career. While the world champion again looked invincible and even joked afterwards that the beach setting of the latest two rounds in Thailand and Brazil had got him in the mood for this success, it was the feat of CLS Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Arnaud Tonus in the MX2 class that provided the more emotional narrative of this third round of eighteen in the 2014 campaign.

Tonus went 1-2 in what was a day of firsts in the 250s. The Swiss rider not only banked his first chequered flag, but also his first overall triumph and also the first-ever win for his country in Grand Prix. That Switzerland is starting to mobilise as a small force in motocross was evident by the presence of two promising other young Swiss riders in the overall top ten: European Champion Valentin Guillod on the Standing Construct KTM and consistent (and impressive) 19-year-old rookie Jeremy Seewer on the Rockstar Suzuki. Fifth overall but banking the first top three moto finish for Slovenia was another former European Champion, Tim Gajser, on the works Gariboldi Honda. To round off the stats sheet this was a first KTM-free podium in MX2 since the final round of 2012.

Tonus was on the brink of tears after taking the first moto ahead of charging teammate Dylan Ferrandis (fourth overall after a bad start in Moto1 and crash on the first lap while leading in Moto2) and then was the picture of elation after cruising to second place behind Rockstar Suzuki’s Glenn Coldenhoff in the second race. The 1-2 took the overall. Coldenhoff was keeping Dutch hopes up in the absence of injured world champion Jeffrey Herlings and elongated the theme of “firsts” with his maiden moto chequered flag. Back to Tonus, though, and this overdue celebration came after a ruined season in 2012 with a broken shoulder and wrist, and 2013 with a broken leg (snapped at Lommel for the MX of Nations). The potential was finally fulfilled for one of the nicest guys in the paddock and there was a sizeable amount of goodwill for the rider who finally put the starts and the style together.

In the absence of Jeffrey Herlings, Arnaud Tonus won his first career MX2 overall.Photo: MXGP
In the absence of Jeffrey Herlings, Arnaud Tonus won his first career MX2 overall.Photo: MXGP

“It is unreal. I don't feel like I have won,” Tonus said afterwards. “Everything went so great today and it has been so emotional after what has happened over the past two years. I’m so happy.”

For the first time, Brazil will host two Grands Prix. Since 2009 the FIM series has travelled to this area of the world and the Beto Carrero facility was host for the third year in succession, but attention (and backing) was split with the upcoming State of Goias entertaining a GP in September for what will be the penultimate round of the championship.

Beto Carrero might have seemed smaller in scale due to the two events in 2014 but the capacity crowd remained bananas for the racing and on volume, enthusiasm and atmosphere alone it is a shame that Grand Prix only comes here twice.

The weather forecast for the weekend had made for miserable reading in the days before the event and this led to some uncertainty with the preparation of the hard-pack. Threatening clouds blew across the facility from the sea constantly on Sunday and unloaded for a period of about an hour. The consequence was a horribly rutty, bumpy and bruising mass of tackiness and the narrow layout—in sight of the nearby rollercoasters and theatrical stunt show—was another track that was frugal for passing opportunities. The humidity also gave everybody constant sweats, literally.

Coldenhoff (left) and Anstie would join Tonus on the MX2 podium. Photo: MXGP
Coldenhoff (left) and Anstie would join Tonus on the MX2 podium. Photo: MXGP

In MXGP, factory riders Gautier Paulin, Clement Desalle and Jeremy Van Horebeek all showed commendable capability at Beto Carrero but there was nobody who could even hope to challenge 222. This sport can dump you in the gutter in the amount of time it takes to hit a kicker on a take-off, but Cairoli is already putting the building blocks for title number eight in place. He will return to Europe with a 30-point lead in MXGP and even though he was wincing post-race after twisting his troublesome ankle, Brazil can be classed as one of the most convincing of his many victories in the last three years. Elsewhere, Kevin Strijbos had sealed a second pole position from three events on Saturday but couldn’t carry the form into Sunday through arm-pump problems, and damaged goggles hindered his progress in Moto1. Portuguese veteran Rui Goncalves made a welcome return to the overall top ten while Husqvarna IceOne Racing’s Todd Waters caught the eye with his progression of speed in only his third Grand Prix.

Back in MX2 and Jeffrey Herlings was at the centre of another “will-he, wont-he” episode in the build-up to the Grand Prix. The World Champion had suffered a shoulder muscle injury in practice for the second round of Dutch series the previous weekend and had already been ruled out of participating in Brazil (thus foregoing his designs on the perfect MX2 season in 2014). Whispers at Beto Carrero on Friday had the Dutchman angling to fly and race after a late medical check was positive. However, unlike the U-turn for his home Grand Prix and the final round of the 2013 series, Herlings would be denied a late entry this time. Last September the MX2 title had already been won and while “84” would win in front of his fans he would re-aggravate a separate shoulder injury and subsequently miss the Motocross of Nations. With a 23-point advantage in points already, KTM Sport Director Pit Beirer allegedly put the block on Herlings taking an unnecessary risk in Brazil. And the class remained open with only Coldenhoff among the throng boasting GP winning experience.

Antonio Cairoli was in perfect form in Brazil.Photo: MXGP
Antonio Cairoli was in perfect form in Brazil.Photo: MXGP

Tonus stepped up to become only the fourth winner in over a year of MX2 competition while names like Jordi Tixier, Romain Febvre, Alex Tonkov and Alex Lupino either ate roost or grabbed a close-up look at the floor. Max Anstie, on the Bike it Yamaha Cosworth, rounded off the podium behind Coldenhoff for the second GP in a row but the feisty Brit is desperately trying to make up points in the standings after his mechanical woes in Qatar, where he should have gone 1-1.

Red Bull KTM might see the season going to plan in MXGP with Cairoli but the upset with Herlings means that four racers are now split by just fifteen points and there are not many who would have predicated that scenario after the flyaway stint of the calendar.

The Grand Prix of Trentino in Italy will formulate round four of the schedule and it might be the last wild-card outing for Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Thomas Covington. The American teenager walked away from Beto Carrero with barely any points and a 17-DNF to show for his efforts and some pacey lap-times. A crash and delay starting the KX250F in the first moto saw him lapped, while in moto two an attack for sixth was ruined by the presence of a backmarker and he went down again, unable to restart on this occasion. The big question now for Covington is whether he continues with his plan to line-up at Glen Helen or follows-on with his Grand Prix adventure. All to be revealed next to the vast Dolomite mountain range in two weeks.

Desalle (left) and Van Horebeek would round out the MXGP podium. Photo: MXGP
Desalle (left) and Van Horebeek would round out the MXGP podium. Photo: MXGP

MXGP Moto1

1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 35:20.774;
2. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:15.869;
3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:20.205;
4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), +0:23.385;
5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:38.482;
6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:40.168;
7. Todd Waters (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:40.489;
8. Joel Roelants (BEL, Honda), +0:42.346;
9. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:48.790;
10. Rui Goncalves (POR, Yamaha), +0:50.241;
11. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +0:54.997;
12. Xavier Boog (FRA, Honda), +1:01.630;
13. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +1:05.309;
14. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:07.050;
15. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +1:14.937;
16. Davide Guarneri (ITA, TM), +1:41.437;
17. Pascal Rauchenecker (AUT, Husqvarna), +1:45.785;
18. Antonio Balbi (BRA, Kawasaki), +1:49.001;
19. Tanel Leok (EST, TM), -1 lap(s);
20. Matiss Karro (LAT, KTM), -1 lap(s);

MXGP Moto2

1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 35:51.801;
2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:05.250;
3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:08.899;
4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:12.086;
5. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), +0:17.009;
6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:20.798;
7. Rui Goncalves (POR, Yamaha), +0:47.380;
8. Matiss Karro (LAT, KTM), +0:50.317;
9. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:52.792;
10. Todd Waters (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:55.113;
11. Joel Roelants (BEL, Honda), +1:01.671;
12. Xavier Boog (FRA, Honda), +1:13.104;
13. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +1:13.768;
14. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +1:34.720;
15. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +1:36.317;
16. Davide Guarneri (ITA, TM), +1:45.971;
17. Tanel Leok (EST, TM), +1:47.794;
18. Herjan Brakke (NED, Kawasaki), +2:08.298;
19. Augusts Justs (LAT, Husqvarna), +2:21.205;
20. Antonio Balbi (BRA, Kawasaki), -1 lap(s);

MXGP Overall Result

1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 50 points;
2. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 40 p.;
3. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 40 p.;
4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, KAW), 37 p.;
5. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HON), 34 p.;
6. Rui Goncalves (POR, YAM), 25 p.;
7. Todd Waters (AUS, HUS), 25 p.;
8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 23 p.;
9. Joel Roelants (BEL, HON), 23 p.;
10. Steven Frossard (FRA, KAW), 19 p.;
11. David Philippaerts (ITA, YAM), 19 p.;
12. Xavier Boog (FRA, HON), 18 p.;
13. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 16 p.;
14. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 16 p.;
15. Matiss Karro (LAT, KTM), 14 p.;
16. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 14 p.;
17. Davide Guarneri (ITA, TM), 10 p.;
18. Tanel Leok (EST, TM), 6 p.;
19. Antonio Balbi (BRA, KAW), 4 p.;
20. Pascal Rauchenecker (AUT, HUS), 4 p.;

MXGP World Championship standings after 3 of 18 rounds

1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 142 points;
2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, KAW), 112 p.;
3. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 112 p.;
4. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 111 p.;
5. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HON), 110 p.;
6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 73 p.;
7. Steven Frossard (FRA, KAW), 68 p.;
8. Todd Waters (AUS, HUS), 68 p.;
9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 67 p.;
10. Joel Roelants (BEL, HON), 61 p.;
11. Rui Goncalves (POR, YAM), 53 p.;
12. Xavier Boog (FRA, HON), 49 p.;
13. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 48 p.;
14. Davide Guarneri (ITA, TM), 45 p.;
15. David Philippaerts (ITA, YAM), 36 p.;
16. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 32 p.;
17. Tanel Leok (EST, TM), 30 p.;
18. Tommy Searle (GBR, KAW), 29 p.;
19. Matiss Karro (LAT, KTM), 28 p.;
20. Pascal Rauchenecker (AUT, HUS), 14 p.;

MX2 Moto1

1. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Kawasaki), 35:30.500;
2. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:13.621;
3. Romain Febvre (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:15.684;
4. Max Anstie (GBR, Yamaha), +0:16.672;
5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +0:26.901;
6. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +0:29.197;
7. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), +0:30.725;
8. Petar Petrov (BUL, Yamaha), +0:33.119;
9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:35.951;
10. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:37.658;
11. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:41.745;
12. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:51.388;
13. Julien Lieber (BEL, Suzuki), +0:55.546;
14. Luke Styke (AUS, Yamaha), +1:40.143;
15. Mel Pocock (GBR, KTM), +1:51.760;
16. Roberts Justs (LAT, Husqvarna), +2:29.284;
17. Thomas Covington (USA, Kawasaki), -1 lap(s);
18. Kei Yamamoto (JPN, Honda), -1 lap(s);
19. Rodrigo Andrade dos Santos (BRA, TM), -1 lap(s);
20. Magne Klingsheim (NOR, Yamaha), -1 lap(s);

MX2 Moto2

1. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), 36:33.018;
2. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Kawasaki), +0:07.947;
3. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:14.954;
4. Max Anstie (GBR, Yamaha), +0:19.783;
5. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), +0:21.869;
6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:35.115;
7. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +0:40.215;
8. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki), +0:41.676;
9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:42.322;
10. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:44.807;
11. Romain Febvre (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:57.573;
12. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +1:23.469;
13. Mel Pocock (GBR, KTM), +1:43.976;
14. Luke Styke (AUS, Yamaha), +1:52.262;
15. Julien Lieber (BEL, Suzuki), +2:00.691;
16. Roberts Justs (LAT, Husqvarna), +2:02.722;
17. Hector Assuncao (BRA, Honda), +2:05.828;
18. Magne Klingsheim (NOR, Yamaha), -1 lap(s);
19. Kei Yamamoto (JPN, Honda), -1 lap(s);
20. Rodrigo Andrade dos Santos (BRA, TM), -1 lap(s);

MX2 Overall Result

1. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, KAW), 47 points;
2. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, SUZ), 41 p.;
3. Max Anstie (GBR, YAM), 36 p.;
4. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 33 p.;
5. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 30 p.;
6. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), 30 p.;
7. Romain Febvre (FRA, HUS), 30 p.;
8. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 29 p.;
9. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 26 p.;
10. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 24 p.;
11. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 18 p.;
12. Mel Pocock (GBR, KTM), 14 p.;
13. Luke Styke (AUS, YAM), 14 p.;
14. Julien Lieber (BEL, SUZ), 14 p.;
15. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, KAW), 13 p.;
16. Petar Petrov (BUL, YAM), 13 p.;
17. Roberts Justs (LAT, HUS), 10 p.;
18. Kei Yamamoto (JPN, HON), 5 p.;
19. Hector Assuncao (BRA, HON), 4 p.;
20. Magne Klingsheim (NOR, YAM), 4 p.;

MX2 World Championship standings after 3 of 18 rounds

1. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, KAW), 112 points;
2. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, SUZ), 110 p.;
3. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 107 p.;
4. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 97 p.;
5. Romain Febvre (FRA, HUS), 96 p.;
6. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 87 p.;
7. Max Anstie (GBR, YAM), 77 p.;
8. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 77 p.;
9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 74 p.;
10. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 63 p.;
11. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), 59 p.;
12. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, KAW), 55 p.;
13. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 47 p.;
14. Thomas Covington (USA, KAW), 37 p.;
15. Mel Pocock (GBR, KTM), 37 p.;
16. Christophe Charlier (FRA, YAM), 32 p.;
17. Julien Lieber (BEL, SUZ), 32 p.;
18. Petar Petrov (BUL, YAM), 31 p.;
19. Maxime Desprey (FRA, HON), 22 p.;
20. Roberts Justs (LAT, HUS), 20 p.;

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