Jeffrey Herlings won the MX2 class at the Qatar MXGP.

Jeffrey Herlings won the MX2 class with a 2-1 performance at Qatar.

Frenchman Gautier Paulin and Dutchman Jeffrey Herlings got the 2014 FIM World Motocross Championship started with wins in their respective classes at the Grand Prix of Qatar, March 1. Paulin, on the factory Monster Energy Kawasaki, nabbed his win in the MXGP class (formerly MX1) with a 3-1 and Herlings, on the Red Bull KTM, in the MX2 division with 2-1 results.

Honda’s Max Nagl came away with a somewhat surprising win in the first MXGP moto, the veteran racer holding off defending champ Tony Cairoli at the end.

Cairoli, on the Red Bull KTM, worked his way up from a bad start while nursing a sore ankle that he suffered earlier in qualifying.

Paulin finished third ahead of French CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy rider Steven Frossard and Yamaha’s Jeremy van Horebeek of Belgium.

In the second moto, Paulin charged to victory over Frossard and Cairoli, who was still bothered by his injured ankle. Fourth went to Nagl, which, combined with his first-moto win, gave him second overall for the day, while Cairoli took third with a 2-3. Frossard was fourth overall with a 4-5 and fifth overall was Van Horebeek with a 5-5.

Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna’s Tyla Rattray did not compete, although he tried. The South African was hampered by a finger injury and had to withdraw before the racing got underway.

Herlings struggled with his starts in both motos. In the first outing, the defending MX2 champ was so far back at the start that he had to spend the whole 30-minuted moto battling his way up. He eventually caught up to leader Dylan Ferrandis (Kawasaki) of France, taking second on the last lap, but couldn’t make the pass and had to settle for second.

Herlings again got off to a slow start in the second moto but was able to slip past leader Arnaud Tonus (Kawasaki) of Switzerland for the win and the overall victory (2-1).

Ferrandis dropped to sixth in the second moto but it was still good enough to give him second overall, while Husqvarna’s Romain Febvre of France got on the podium with a 5-4.

American Thomas Covington (Kawasaki) had a standout second moto in the MX2 class. He was in contention for the win, holding down second place for much of the race, before dropping back to third two laps from the end. Covington dropped out of the first moto after the second lap.

MXGP Race 1 top ten: 1. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), 34:57.925; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:01.942; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:07.827; 4. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:15.643; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:26.612; 6. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:31.196; 7. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:33.585; 8. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:34.386; 9. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:34.597; 10. Joel Roelants (BEL, Honda), +0:50.077.

MXGP Race 2 top ten: 1. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 35:04.471; 2. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:02.773; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:09.941; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), +0:13.124; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:20.093; 6. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:23.932; 7. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:25.651; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:38.386; 9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +1:02.213; 10. Joel Roelants (BEL, Honda), +1:05.317.

MXGP Overall top ten: 1. Gautier Paulin (FRA, KAW), 45 points; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HON), 43 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 42 p.; 4. Steven Frossard (FRA, KAW), 40 p.; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 32 p.; 6. Tommy Searle (GBR, KAW), 29 p.; 7. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 27 p.; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 27 p.; 9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 25 p.; 10. Joel Roelants (BEL, HON), 22 p.

MXGP Manufacturer: 1. Kawasaki, 45 points; 2. Honda, 43 p.; 3. KTM, 42 p.; 4. Yamaha, 32 p.; 5. Suzuki, 29 p.; 6. Husqvarna, 17 p.; 7. TM, 16 p.

MX2 Race 1 top ten: 1. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), 33:53.328; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:00.329; 3. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +0:02.209; 4. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:13.569; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:13.882; 6. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +0:21.091; 7. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:26.905; 8. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:30.193; 9. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), +0:32.229; 10. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Kawasaki), +0:36.827.


MX2 Race 2 top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 33:49.169; 2. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Kawasaki), +0:01.204; 3. Thomas Covington (USA, Kawasaki), +0:07.646; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:09.683; 5. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +0:10.437; 6. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:12.271; 7. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:12.453; 8. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:13.740; 9. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), +0:14.739; 10. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:15.526.

MX2 Overall top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 47 points; 2. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 40 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, HUS), 34 p.; 4. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, KAW), 33 p.; 5. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 31 p.; 6. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 31 p.; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, SUZ), 29 p.; 8. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 28 p.; 9. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 24 p.; 10. Christophe Charlier (FRA, YAM), 21 p.

MX2 Manufacturer: 1. KTM, 47 points; 2. Kawasaki, 47 p.; 3. Husqvarna, 34 p.; 4. Suzuki, 29 p.; 5. Honda, 24 p.; 6. Yamaha, 21 p.;

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Kit Palmer | Off-Road Editor

Kit Palmer started his career at Cycle News in 1984 and he’s been testing dirt and streetbikes every since – plus covering any event that uses some form of a knobby tire. He’s also our resident motorcycle mileage man with a commute of 120 miles a day.