AFYON (Turkey)—The racing continues in Turkey as we head into the second Grand Prix taking place at the Afyon circuit with the Bitci MXGP of Afyon.
This will be the ninth round of the 2021 FIM Motocross World Championship as things continued to heat up both the MXGP and MX2 World Championships. The previous Grand Prix, just a day ago, presented some tense battles that saw Red Bull KTM Factory Racing celebrate a double victory with Jeffrey Herlings and Tom Vialle back on the top step of the podium. This time around it will be interesting to see if the pair can repeat their success.
Alongside the MXGP and MX2 categories, the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship as well as the EMX Open riders will once again line up for their races, as Bike IT MTX Kawasaki’s Courtney Duncan will look to pick up more solid points following her win on Saturday and keep her championship rival Kiara Fontanesi at bay.
Meanwhile tomorrow will be a very important day for Davide De Bortoli who will look to secure the EMX Open title as early as the first race, while Nicolas Dercourt and Simon Croci will do their best to make this harder and also pick up as many points as they can themselves as only four points separate them in second and third place in the championship.
n MXGP, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings is closing in on the championship fast following his 1-2 result yesterday which put him back on the top step of the podium. Herlings remains undefeated here as he has won all three GP’s that have taken place in Afyonkarahisar since the first race in 2018 and he will no doubt want to keep this streak going on Wednesday.
Starts will be key for the Bullet, who shared in the post-race press conference that some changes will need to be made to his bike in the hope that it will help him improve his starts which were the main issue during the races yesterday.
While Herlings struggled with the starts, his teammate Jorge Prado did not. Prado took two Fox Holeshot’s yesterday and led both races for the majority of the duration. However, the Spaniard could not bring it home in either one of the races but will give it another go on Wednesday as he looks to close in on Team HRC’s Time Gajser in the championship standings.
Gajser now leads by just 13 points as the championship gets tight. The Slovenian will be looking for a more consistent day, as he struggled in the first race after getting stuck behind Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff and losing his rhythm to then having a much better second race as he got around Prado and Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre to take the win.
For Febvre the last GP was a missed opportunity as he had the possibility to go for the podium. But rightly so, Febvre opted for a more consistent day going 4-4 and doing a good job of staying out of trouble, which was a struggle for him in the previous GP’s.
Another rider having a consistent day was Antonio Cairoli of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing. The Italian finished both races in fifth place but was involved in some nice battles which created some interesting racing. Unfortunately, Cairoli got caught out in a crash in the second race as he chased Prado for second place, but it was clear that the 9-time World Champion has the speed to challenge for top positions around the hard pack circuit here in Afyon.
Also getting unlucky was Standing Construct GasGas Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass who was looking incredibly strong all day. In the first race the Latvian battled at the sharp end of the field and finished the race in third, while in the second heat he was looking to do the same but was unlucky and had a big crash which resulted in a DNF. The GasGas rider will look to re-group and come back strong for the next race.
Also having some strong races was MRT Racing Team KTM’s Alessandro Lupino who finished the weekend seventh overall, while JM Honda Racing’s Henry Jacobi had a nice battle with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsen and Standing Construct GasGas Factory Racing’s Brian Bogers in the first race to finish ninth while Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing’s Calvin Vlaanderen and Kevin Strijbos had a nice second heat to finish eighth and ninth.
Bitci MXGP of Turkey – MXGP Top 5
In MX2, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle will chase another victory as he looks to bounce back and re-join the title fight. Following his overall win yesterday, the Frenchman is currently 10th in the series standings, with these next few races crucial if he wants to pick up some solid points.
Meanwhile the current championship leader, Maxime Renaux of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing will look to have a more consistent day on Wednesday. Starts are crucial here in Afyon and something that the Frenchman shared he aims to work on in order to have two good races and maintain a healthy championship lead, which is currently 37-points.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Mattia Guadagnini remains second on the leader board. The Italian was tied on points for the podium with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jed Beaton on Sunday, so will no doubt push to get back on the box this time around and continue to challenge the leaders as he did during the races yesterday.
For Beaton the upcoming Bitci MXGP of Afyon will be another opportunity to go for a podium and add some more consistent results to his tally. Yesterday the Australian finished both races in third, which was the boost that he needed going into the rest of the season. Meanwhile, his younger teammate Kay De Wolf will look to improve upon his results as a couple of msitakes cost him higher positions.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Rene Hofer was looking strong during the races yesterday and even led the opening heat for a few laps. This upcoming Grand Prix will be another opportunity for Hofer to shine and maybe edge closer to a podium finish.
Meanwhile Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts and Thibault Benistant will look to improve on their results as they finished sixth and ninth respectively, not where the pair expect to be. For Geerts points are important, if he wants to stay close to second in the championship and remain in the title fight as Guadagnini has edged out by 15 points.