Jeffrey Herlings was impressive on the 250 at the GP of Thailand. Photography By: Ray Archer
Antonio Cairoli (MX1) and Jeffrey Herlings (MX2) went 1-1 in their respective classes to claim the overall victories at the first ever Grand Prix of Thailand, March 10. After mixed results at the season opener in Qatar last weekend, the Red Bull KTM team returned to dominance in the World Motocross arena. Herlings in particular was brilliant in the combined MX1 and MX2 Superfinal, which was won by Cairoli.
The opening moto of the Sunday program for the Grand Prix of Thailand proved to be everything the fans expected, as the Red Bull KTM Factory rider Jeffrey Herlings did what he does best – win. He had the lead almost straight off the start and just took off, leading all 20 laps.
Behind him KTM enjoyed more good results, with Jake Nicholls, Romain Febvre and Glenn Coldenhoff battling with Yamaha rider Christophe Charlier, Honda rider Jose Butron, Suzukis Max Anstie and another Yamaha rider of Dean Ferris.
Nicholls was looking strong holding down third place for some time behind Herlings and Febvre, but Nicholls crashed hard on a large triple jump, dropping back to eighth place, before his throttle cable broke on the last lap, dropping him back to 19th place.
The fall by Nicholls brought a bunch of riders up a position and, at half race distance, it was Herlings, Febvre, Anstie, Butron, Ferris, Tixier, Coldenhoff and Charlier. While there were many close battled, not a lot changed until the end of the race. Herlings, however, would win by 40 seconds, with Febvre a further six seconds ahead of Anstie.
In the MX1 (first) moto, Red Bull KTM Factory rider Cairoli was back to his usual self. After following a very fast Evgeny Bobryshev (Honda) early and then being passed by his teammate Ken De Dycker (who took the lead in the race on lap six after Bobryshev slipped off), the Italian moved into the lead on lap nine and held it until the end.
Eventually winning by 10 seconds over De Dycker and a further seven seconds over last week’s overall MX1 winner Clement Desalle, the defending World MX1 Champion also moved into the lead in the series points.
Gautier Paulin and Tommy Searle, once again, proved consistent with fourth- and fifth-place finishes, respectively, while former World MX1 Champion David Philippaerts did well to come from ninth place to finish in sixth position.
Rui Goncalves had held down fifth place on the opening lap, and the good start enabled him to finish eighth.
Bobryshev had another crash, putting him back in 18th at the finish, and Shaun Simpson failed to finish the first lap after crashing on the first corner.
As was the case in Qatar, the Superfinal (MX1 and MX2 combined) opened with riders battling in an intense war. Cairoli led early from Desalle, then Paulin.
After passing Ferris for fourth, Herlings opened it up on the fast track and caught Paulin (MX1) in third place, while they both crept forward toward Desalle.
Cairoli, meanwhile, continued to pull away from Desalle, while Paulin started making ground on the Belgian.
Herlings continued to keep pace with Paulin, while a bunch of MX2 riders were fighting their way through the pack.
Cairoli’s leads was now 14 seconds, as Paulin passed Desalle, and Herlings moved up to the back wheel of the Suzuki factory rider. Herlings looked desperate to get that third-place overall finish and passed the MX1 rider, Desalle. At one point, Herlings did get around him, but Desalle pushed his way back by him.
Cairoli eventually won by 17 seconds over Paulin, Desalle, Herlings and Searle.
Grand Prix of Thailand – Race Results
MX2 Moto: 1. Herlings, 2. Febvre, 3. Anstie, 4. Butron, 5. Ferris, 6. Tixier, 7. Coldenhoff, 8. Lupino, 9. Charlier, 10. Petrov, 11. Olsen, 12. Lieber, 13. Rauchenecker, 14. Ferrandis, 15. Pocock, 16. Teillet, 17. Desprev, 18. Fors, 19. Nicholls, 20. Monticelli
MX1 Moto: 1. Cairoli, 2. De Dycker, 3. Desalle, 4. Paulin, 5. Searle, 6. Philippaerts, 7. Strijbos, 8. Goncalves, 9. Frossard, 10. Roelants, 11. Guarneri, 12. Leok, 13. Boog, 14. Barragan, 15. Van Horebeek, 16. Justs, 17. Law, 18. Bobryshev, 19. Getteman, 20. Dougan
Last Chance Race: 1. Getteman, 2. Kullas, 3. Van Dueren, 4. Fors, 5. Monticelli, 6. Yamamoto, 7. Golovkin, 8. Tomita, 9. Ito, 10. Del Segato
Superfinal: 1. Cairoli, 2. Paulin, 3. Desalle, 4. Herlings, 5. Searle, 6. Goncalves, 7. Boog, 8. Roelants, 9. Frossard, 10. De Dycker, 11. Febvre, 12. Strijbos, 13. Bobryshev, 14. Charlier, 15. Leok, 16. Guarneri, 17. Lupino, 18. Butron, 19. Ferris, 20. Philippaerts, 21. Lieber, 22. Coldenhoff, 23. Simpson, 24. Tixier, 25. Ferrandis
MX1 O/A: 1. Cairoli 50pts, 2. Paulin 40pts, 3. Desalle 40pts, 4. Searle 34pts, 5. De Dycker 34pts, 6. Goncalves 29pts, 7. Roelants 25pts, 8. Frossard 25pts, 9. Strijbos 25pts, 10. Boog 23pts
MX1 Championship points: 1. Cairoli 95pts, 2. Desalle 87pts, 3. Paulin 78pts, 4. De Dycker 70pts, 5. Searle 64pts, 6. Strijbos 55pts, 7. Goncalves 52pts, 8. Bobryshev 47pts, 9. Frossard 47pts, 10. Boog 41pts
MX2 O/A: 1. Herlings 50pts, 2. Febvre 44pts, 3. Butron 34pts, 4. Charlier 32pts, 5. Lupino 31pts, 6. Ferris 31pts, 7. Coldenhoff 27pts, 8. Tixier 27pts, 9. Anstie 25pts, 10. Lieber 23pts
MX2 Championship points: 1. Herlings 100pts, 2. Febvre 82pts, 3. Ferris 69pts, 4. Charlier 65pts, 5. Coldenhoff 63pts, 6. Butron 60pts, 7. Tixier 57pts, 8. Lupino 56pts, 9. Lieber 47pts, 10. Anstie 37pts
Full Championship results at www.motocrossmx1.com