Race Report: MXGP of Germany

Race Report: MXGP of Germany

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It was hard not to think of the noise, colours and thousands of fans that somehow tried to squeeze into the 2013 Motocross of Nations last summer as the sunken and winding hard-pack track in Teutschenthal again resumed traditional Grand Prix duties in Germany. It was still busy, but for the first time since 2009, the race missed the “Roczen effect” and with another high profile German, Honda World Motocross’ Max Nagl, only just returning from a broken scaphoid, the fever of recent editions of the German FIM date was not so high pitched.

Teutschenthal is still a fast, hard, rutty and difficult racing stage—just ask Eli Tomac, Ryan Dungey or Justin Barcia—and for this eleventh round of seventeen it was a corner for Rockstar Suzuki’s Clement Desalle to resurrect his title bid with a 2-1 overall win. It also allowed Nagl to restart his tenure with HRC (in a contract year) with a surprising 1-7 in his first GP back since round four. Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek blew away the last traces of a cold with a 4-3 for an incredible tenth podium finish in a row on the YZ450FM in just his second season in the premier class and first on blue.

Clement Desalle cut into Antonio Cairoli's points lead with a 2-1 performance in Germany. Photo: MXGP
Clement Desalle cut into Antonio Cairoli's points lead with a 2-1 performance in Germany. Photo: MXGP

Over in MX2 and Red Bull KTM’s Jeffrey Herlings is unbeaten in action since the 2012 GP at the same track and with the inevitable 1-1 is now perfect for the last seven rounds. His sheer dominance means his alleged decision to remain in MX2 for 2015 is a bizarre and only partly comprehensible decision (he cites age—he is only nineteen—and record books as his principal motivation … but there is no denying the lucrative side also). Herlings likes to toy with the fans and press so his noises about MX2 could also be a rouse for a welcome leap into MXGP. We’ll see by round twelve in Sweden. Second in the class was the fast developing seventeen-year-old Tim Gajser, who went 2-2 on the factory Honda and fell in somewhere between Herlings and all the rest. Herlings’ KTM teammate Jordi Tixier made it onto the box for the third time in a row after some feisty French battles against the likes of Monster Kawasaki’s Dylan Ferrandis (frustrated by a second moto first lap crash after finishing third in moto one) and Husqvarna’s Romain Febvre. Heavy rumours have Tixier moving away from the “Herlings Show” at KTM for 2015 and his last year in MX2.

The weekend began on a sour note with the paddock still sombre in the wake of last Saturday’s accident involving 24-year-old Belgian and former factory rider Joel Roelants in Italy. Many racers wore “34” stickers on their bikes or team wear. Against this backdrop Arnaud Tonus had a hard crash in the first laps of the GP. After just signing a Pro Circuit deal in the U.S. for 2015 and 2016, he crashed negotiating the first laps of the slick track Saturday morning and dislocated his left shoulder and knocked himself out. Apparently the joint was quickly re-inserted and there were early hopes that Tonus will be okay for Sweden. The incident essentially gave Herlings a 50-point extension in the MX2 standings.

Jeffrey Herlings (84) rode to another perfect weekend.  Photo: MXGP
Jeffrey Herlings (84) rode to another perfect weekend.  Photo: MXGP

The Tonus crash was another hit to the gate numbers. Both factory Husqvarna riders are out (Tyla Rattray needing another month after a thumb operation), as well as Gautier Paulin, Evgeny Bobryshev, Glenn Coldenhoff, Xavier Boog, and now Tonus. Thankfully Nagl and Christophe Charlier were able to get back in the mix but Thomas Covington was a new addition to the list. A broken bone in his left foot involved too much pain to withstand, despite a dose of medication on Saturday, and he decided to immediately end the torture and maximise the two-week break before more international commitments.

Teutschenthal was frugal with overtaking spots and the relative simplicity of the track left many riders frustrated in their attempts to make ground. Good starts were the basis for sound results. It worked for Nagl with a holeshot and rapid pace in moto one. The race was the best of the day as Desalle shadowed closely but could not pass the German who suitably animated the crowd in absence of Roczen (the current 450MX leader in the U.S. made a wild-card appearance here in 2012 and then was at the Nations in 2013). Just behind, Van Horebeek and Red Bull KTM’s Tony Cairoli engaged in the mother-of-all-duels for fourth. The Belgian rode superbly—as he did at the Nations nine months earlier—to hold off the champion. Cairoli was having a bad day. A virus meant that he provided the quote of the weekend afterwards by saying he “rode s**t, in the two senses of the word.” Apparently the antibiotics the Sicilian was taking meant repeated trips to the toilet even up to the point when the bikes were in the waiting zone. Cairoli managed to settle down some of the time in moto two in another battle with Van Horebeek and impressive privateer Shaun Simpson. The champions’ 5-4 was total damage limitation.

Desalle chipped 13 points away from Cairoli’s lead at the top of the standings thanks to his second superlative start of the day and little challenge from Simpson and German wild-card Dennis Ullrich in the formative stages. Wrestling issues of arm-pump was Desalle’s teammate Kevin Strijbos, who nevertheless was the most proactive among the front-runners in moto two and gave the Suzukis a 1-2 on the results sheet. Monster Kawasaki’s Steven Frossard rode to a comfortable third spot in moto one but bafflingly pulled out with broken goggles and dust in his eyes in moto two.

German Max Nagl had the fans in an uproar with a Moto1 win.  Photo: MXGP
German Max Nagl had the fans in an uproar with a Moto1 win.  Photo: MXGP

On the support card, teenager Brian Hsu took his RM125 Suzuki to victory while runaway series leader Davy Pootjes jeopardised his championship aspirations after dislocating his shoulder on Saturday. The Dutch youngster gets a reprieve as the penultimate round of the competition takes place in the Czech Republic at the end of July. The FIM Women’s World Championship, meanwhile, marked the tightest contest on the track. After five rounds Kiara Fontanesi and Meghan Rutledge are divided by just four points and with one meeting remaining. The rivals took a moto a piece in Teutschenthal but the Australian (Rutledge) earned the top step thanks to her success in the second sprint.

Elsewhere, visitor Ryan Villopoto exercised patience to fend off countless enquiries over strong gossip that he was intending a Grand Prix switch for 2015 and the final year of his contract with Monster-backed Kawasaki (MXGP also having a factory green team, also with Monster the principal sponsor of the series). As the Supercross Champion repeatedly pointed out, he has another year of obligation in the U.S.

Great Britain, France, Italy and now Germany have been chalked off through a strong phase of the campaign. A week off precedes the journey to northern Europe where Grands Prix in Sweden and Finland will pull the series into July.

Tim Gajser took second overall in MX2. Photo: MXGP
Tim Gajser took second overall in MX2. Photo: MXGP

MXGP Moto1

1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), 35:05.736;
2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:01.314;
3. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:09.685;
4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:10.918;
5. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:11.663;
6. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:43.193;
7. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:47.214;
8. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:53.044;
9. Valentin Teillet (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:55.988;
10. Milko Potisek (FRA, Yamaha), +1:00.682;

MXGP Moto2

1. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 35:11.077;
2. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:06.867;
3. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:18.229;
4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:23.148;
5. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:26.615;
6. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:28.055;
7. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), +0:29.208;
8. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:30.926;
9. Dennis Ullrich (GER, KTM), +0:40.411;
10. Davide Guarneri (ITA, TM), +0:43.911;

MXGP Overall Result

1. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 47 points;
2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HON), 39 p.;
3. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 38 p.;
4. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 36 p.;
5. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 34 p.;
6. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 31 p.;
7. Tommy Searle (GBR, KAW), 26 p.;
8. David Philippaerts (ITA, YAM), 25 p.;
9. Davide Guarneri (ITA, TM), 20 p.;
10. Milko Potisek (FRA, YAM), 20 p.;

MXGP World Championship standings after 11 of 17 rounds

1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 477 points;
2. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 452 p.;
3. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 440 p.;
4. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 350 p.;
5. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 242 p.;
6. Steven Frossard (FRA, KAW), 237 p.;
7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, KAW), 205 p.;
8. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HON), 205 p.;
9. David Philippaerts (ITA, YAM), 185 p.;
10. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 184 p.;

MX2 Moto1

1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:05.455;
2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:21.320;
3. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:23.651;
4. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:23.844;
5. Romain Febvre (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:44.408;
6. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), +0:47.939;
7. Julien Lieber (BEL, Suzuki), +0:49.403;
8. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:51.097;
9. Petar Petrov (BUL, Yamaha), +0:56.270;
10. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), +0:57.018;

MX2 Moto2

1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:28.150;
2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:41.321;
3. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:51.532;
4. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), +0:52.224;
5. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +0:56.392;
6. Romain Febvre (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:58.995;
7. Julien Lieber (BEL, Suzuki), +1:00.355;
8. Max Anstie (GBR, Yamaha), +1:00.840;
9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +1:02.281;
10. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), +1:03.035;

MX2 Overall Result

1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points;
2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 44 p.;
3. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 38 p.;
4. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), 33 p.;
5. Romain Febvre (FRA, HUS), 31 p.;
6. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 29 p.;
7. Julien Lieber (BEL, SUZ), 28 p.;
8. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 25 p.;
9. Christophe Charlier (FRA, YAM), 22 p.;
10. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 19 p.;

MX2 World Championship standings after 11 of 17 rounds

1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 494 points;
2. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, KAW), 389 p.;
3. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 369 p.;
4. Romain Febvre (FRA, HUS), 358 p.;
5. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 343 p.;
6. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 313 p.;
7. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), 256 p.;
8. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 256 p.;
9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 238 p.;
10. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 211 p.;

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