Red Bull KTM’s Jeffrey Herlings and Jorge Prado were again atop of their game at the MXGP of Asia, July 8. Herlings opened up his championship lead over teammate Antonio Cairoli with another double victory in the MXGP class, and Prado caught his teammate Pauls Jonas in the MX2 Championship with the overall victory.
Herlings Wins Both Motos
Herlings was the fastest to the first turn in the first MXGP moto but lost the holeshot and lead when he bobbled on the exit of the corner. Taking the point position was Cairoli with Gautier Paulin (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) in third and Clement Desalle (Monster Energy Kawasaki) in fourth.
The opening-lap action continued with Tim Gajser (Team HRC) making his way to third, then second. Jeremy Seewer (Wilvo Yamaha) and Julien Lieber (Monster Energy Kawasaki) collided on the uphill triple which sent Seewer tumbling. Neither rider was injured but Seewer did not rejoin the race.
Herlings struggled to keep momentum at the start of the race and was passed by both Gajser and Paulin on lap two, with Romain Febvre (Monster Energy Yamaha) closing in as well. Cairoli’s lead was then taken by Gajser, and Febvre was past Herlings, who was immediately under pressure from Desalle.
Febvre and Paulin kicked off a battle for third, swapping positions in front of Herlings. Herlings took advantage of the battle and was into fourth past Paulin, then he got around Febvre. Before long Herlings was also past Cairoli. From that point Herlings gained time on Gajser and made a pass on lap 13 just before Febvre crashed out of fourth. At the finish Herlings took the win with Gajser second and Cairoli third.
Moto two was started with a second holeshot from Cairoli, with Herlings, Desalle, and Seewer alongside. Febvre was back for race two but fell on the start and had to fight back from dead last. Cairoli’s good start was short-lived when he dropped five positions in the first three turns. Desalle was in the lead next but Herlings took it away before the first lap was complete. But Desalle was still charging to insides of Herlings and showing him a wheel, as Paulin crashed while under pressure from Lieber. Seewer was also riding well and up into fourth. On lap 13, Seewer would also lose his position to Cairoli whose forward progress wouldn’t be enough to catch Gajser in third.
At the finish, Herlings took the win with Desalle second, Gajser third, Cairoli fourth, and Seewer fifth. In the overall result, Herlings took the clear win with a 1-1, Gajser took second with a 2-3, and Desalle returned to the podium for the first time since winning the MXGP of Russia with 4-2 for third.
Jorge Prado Tops MX2
In MX2, moto one began with Prado taking the holeshot ahead points leader Jonass. Jonass had Calvin Vlaanderen (Team HRC) just to his inside and Thomas Kjer Olsen (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) to his outside. Vlaanderen grabbed a handful of front brake on the entry to the next turn resulting in him going down, and just moments later, Olsen was down, too, when he lost traction on the freshly watered, hard-packed track. His teammate Thomas Covington slammed into Olsen’s downed bike and crashed as well.
With some room to breathe early, Jonass pushed to pass Prado but then fell himself after losing the front end on the slick track. Quick to get up, Jonass was still second ahead of Ben Watson and Michele Cervellin.
Back at the front, Jonass had again caught Prado with the help of lapped riders and mistakes from the Spaniard. Jonass passed for the lead on lap nine and then started to pull away.
Also making big passes to finish the race was Vlaanderen, who came back from last to finish fifth ahead of Cervellin and Covington. Winning the race was Jonass with Prado second and Watson third.
Moto two was off to another wild start with Jonass crashing in the first turn, while Prado took the holeshot and lead. Vlaanderen had another strong jump off of the grid and kept the mistakes to a minimum in second. Covington also rebounded from his race-one crash and found himself third followed by Watson and Olsen.
Four laps into the race, Covington took second from Vlaanderen, Jonass was up to 10th and Olsen made a pass on Watson for fourth on lap five.
The top five remained unchanged for the next 10 laps until Vlaanderen made a charge with two laps to go and reclaimed second from Covington.
Jonass, meanwhile, had clawed his way back to sixth in a massive effort. Crossing the finish first was Prado with Vlaanderen, Covington, Olsen, and Watson finishing out the top five.
On the overall podium it was Prado, followed by Jonass and Vlaanderen. Prado’s effort has tied the MX2 Championship standings at 550 points for both himself and Jonass. Jonass will, however, maintain the red plate having more race wins. CN
MXGP of Asia
RESULTS: July 8, 2018
- Jeffrey Herlings (KTM) 1-1
- Tim Gajser (Hon) 2-3
- Clement Desalle (Kaw) 4-2
- Antonio Cairoli (KTM) 3-4
- Tommy Searle (Kaw) 7-7
- Jorge Prado (KTM) 2-1
- Pauls Jonass (KTM) 1-6
- Calvin Vlaanderen (Hon) 5-2
- Ben Watson (Yam) 3-5
- Thomas Covington (Hus) 7-3