2020 MXGP of Riga-Latvia | Race Report & Highlights
TEXT & VIDEO | MXGP
PHOTOS | MXGP & HUSQVARNA
Another day of Grand Prix races has concluded here in Kegums, for round four of the 2020 FIM Motocross World Championship.
This time around, we were all treated to an amazing mid-week showdown courtesy of the MXGP and MX2 riders. Both of the races from each class saw plenty of extreme battles that kept us all on our toes, as we continued the trip in Latvia with the second of three back-to-back GPs for the MXGP of Riga.
Antonio Cairoli of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Jago Geerts from Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing were the winners of the MXGP of Riga, though their wins didn’t come easy.
2020 MXGP OF RIGA-LATVIA | MX2 RACE REPORT
In MX2, the races were just as thrilling as in the premier class. In the opening race it was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing who carried on his FOX Holeshot streak as he got another flying start here in Kegums. He was closely followed by Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 rider Jago Geerts, as well as the two F&K Kawasaki Racing Team riders Roan Van de Moosdijk and Mathys Boisrame.
Then in the early stages of the race bad luck struck the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory machine of Ben Watson who was forced out of the race with a technical issue. Drama also struck Ruben Fernandez of Team SDM Corse Yamaha who went down and re-joined the race in last place.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory MX2 rider Thomas Kjer Olsen was having a much better start to the races and was running in 5th, trying to catch Boisrame who was just ahead of him.
By lap 7, Geerts extended his lead to 3 seconds over Vialle, who had Moosdijk and Boisrame breathing down his neck as they aimed for higher positions. The three riders were then in a battle of their own. By the following lap Van de Moosdijk had managed to pass Vialle and then another lap later it was Boisrame’s turn who also passed the KTM rider and moved into P3.
As Olsen closed down on Vialle, fellow Dane Mikkel Haarup from F&H Kawasaki Racing was also closing in on Maxime Renaux of SM Action MC Migliori – J1 Racing. He was later able to pass the Yamaha rider and moved up into 6th which meant that the F&H squad had all three of their riders well in the top 10.
With just a few laps to go, Olsen put a charge on Vialle, and tried to pass the Frenchman at the end of pitlane but just missed out, which meant he had to settle for 5th in the race.
In the end it was Jago Geerts who won the opening MX2 race, followed by Van de Moosdijk, Boisrame and Vialle.
In the second race, it was the race one winner, Jago Geerts who claimed his first FOX Holeshot of the season as he crossed the white chalk line on turn one first. Van de Moosdijk was right there in second with Vialle in third. Meanwhile it was another strong start for Boisrame, as well as Nathan Crawford of Honda 114 Motorsport who was in 5th.
Boisrame wasted no time and was all over the back of Vialle, while Olsen got caught up in more drama and was riding back to the pits following a crash.
Boisrame made a swift move on Vialle, and then set his sights on his team-mate Van de Moosdijk just ahead of him. The two F&H Kawasaki riders battled with one another for most of the races, as Boisrame was held up by his team-mate at one point in the race, as he was clearly keen to push for more.
While Watson was making his way back up the board in P14, Boisrame continued to look for a way to pass his team-mate which allowed Vialle to step it up a gear and catch up to the two Kawasaki.
With 8 minutes + 2 laps to go, it was Geerts who continued to lead. Van de Moosdijk was in P2 with Boisrame not letting off right behind him. Then there was Vialle, who was being followed by Renaux and the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory machine of Jed Beaton who was having a much better race that time around.
Fernandez was also there in 7th, with Haarup, Rene Hofer of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee rider Conrad Mewse was there in 9th.
As Watson continued to climb positions, his team-mate Geerts had made a mistake that lost him a load of time allowing Van de Moosdijk to get close to the leader.
In the end Van de Moosdijk ran out of time and was forced to settle for 2nd, as Geerts took a double race win, and Boisrame finished third.
Overall it was Jago Geerts with a great comeback to claim 2 race wins, 1 FOX Holeshot and the top step of the podium, meanwhile we all experienced a ‘Deja Vu’ moment with Van de Moosdijk finishing 2nd, with his team-mate Boisrame as the third rider on the podium.
Jago Geerts: “It was a really good day for me, had two really good starts and got my first FOX Holeshot of the year so I’m really happy with that. My riding was good all day and now I’m looking forward to Sunday to get a little closer to the championship. But we will see, I just take it race by race and we will go again on Sunday”.
Roan Van de Moosdijk: “It’s been a great day, even better than Sunday. I had two good starts because I had pole position and then in the first race I could control the whole race. Then in the second race I had some nice battles with my team-mate, those were nice and then I was able to catch the leader a little bit at the end so that was a great feeling, unfortunately just a few seconds too short on the win but we will try it again on Sunday. My rhythm now, I’m really happy with it”.
Mathys Boisrame: “I started not so good in the second race, but I pulled. I tried to pass my team-mate but it was difficult, I tried but then I made a big mistake and after I started to feel a little bit tired but I’m satisfied with my third position on the podium”.
2020 MXGP OF RIGA-LATVIA | MXGP RACE REPORT
Race one of the MXGP class saw drama straight from the get go as a group of riders got caught out in a first turn crash including Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Arminas Jasikonis as well as Calvin Vlaanderen and Alessandro Lupino of Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing, plus Jeffrey Herlings of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, among others.
Though at the front it was the other Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Jorge Prado who claimed the FOX Holeshot in the opening race, followed by team-mate Antonio Cairoli and Jeremy Van Horebeek of Honda SR Motoblouz who had a fantastic start.
Team HRC’s Tim Gajser was also down the order in the opening laps and was showing down in 22nd position, not where the defending world champion would have hoped to be.
At the front though, Cairoli wasted no time to move into the lead as he passed Prado, who then had issue of his own as he had to pull into the pits to change his damaged front wheel and later re-joined the race a lap down from the leaders, and finished the race 29th.
With a problem in the start, Herlings was wasting no time in the opening race, finding his way around a group of riders. Jasikonis was also left with a lot of work ahead of him having to pick off riders in order to salvage some points in the first race.
By lap 7, the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team riders Romain Febvre and Clement Desalle were in a battle of their own, with Febvre eventually finding a way past his team-mate and Standing Construct GasGas Factory rider Ivo Monticelli to move into 6th.
Meanwhile for Gajser the race was a tough one, he managed to get up to the top 15, though not long after that had a dramatic crash which saw him out of the opening MXGP race.
Herlings and Jasikonis were making a great come-back through the field, with Herlings catching up to Van Horebeek who was holding on to a fantastic second place behind Cairoli who was in control of the race. On lap 14 though, Van Horebeek came under immense pressure from Febvre and Herlings, losing two positions on a single lap.
With one lap to go it was Cairoli, Febvre, Herlings and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer which is how they finished the race, with Van Horebeek eventually crossing the line in P5, with Desalle in 6th, Standing Construct GasGas Factory rider Glenn Coldenhoff in 7th and Jasikonis making a good comeback to 8th.
In race two, it was Ivo Monticelli flying out of the gate and went on to claim the second FOX Holeshot of the MXGP of Riga. Cairoli had another fantastic start and was up in 2nd, closely followed by Mitch Evans of Team HRC, with Herlings and Jasikonis right there as well.
As the riders made their way around the Kegums circuit, Febvre and Gajser made contact in one of the corners, which saw Febvre go down while Gajser just about managed to stay up. The crash really put a dent in Febvre’s podium hopes for this mid-week race.
Eager to make up for the first race, Herlings wasted no time as he moved up into P2 and chased after the 9-time world champion. Jasikonis also joined in on the party and was right there ready to challenge for the win.
It didn’t take long for Herlings to catch and pass Cairoli, who then came under fire from the #27 of Jasikonis who then went after the race leader.
Meanwhile Desalle was also moving up the order as he passed Monticelli for 6th place, while his team-mate Romain Febvre, was up in 17th.
Towards the later stages Cairoli caught onto the back of Jasikonis, who managed to keep the #222 behind him, before the race took a dramatic toll, which saw Herlings go down with just 2 laps to go.
As Cairoli came around the corner, he could not avoid the fallen race leader, and as a result went down himself, allowing Jasikonis to become the new race leader with a little bit of breathing room.
Though he couldn’t rest for long as with a lap and a bit to go, Seewer was on his back, with Herlings right there as well. In the end it was Jasikonis who claimed his career first race win, followed by Seewer and Herlings who finished 3rd. Cairoli finished 4th while Tim Gajser made his way back up to 5th.
Overall it was Antonio Cairoli who claimed his 90th career Grand Prix win with 43 points, while Seewer place 2nd overall with 40 points, with Herlings matching him for points and occupying the third step of the podium.
Antonio Cairoli: “I’m really happy to be back on the podium and win of course as last Sunday wasn’t my day for sure, I was thinking after the second race that I injured my knee again, I went to the doctor yesterday to get some fluid out and to put some anti inflammation because it was very swollen. In the first race today, I stayed out of trouble and I could find a good rhythm and ride smooth so that’s what we did and I’m very happy. In the second race I once again had a good start, then Jeffrey and Jasikonis were riding very fast so they passed me, I tried to follow and maybe hold my position in the race, I knew if I don’t make a mistake I can push a little bit. Then at one point, on the last laps I just saw the yellow flags, there was Jeffrey on the ground, and I got caught in that too. I had a gap on the next guy, so I though okay let’s just stay there and see what happens. But I was already happy about today with improvements on last weekend, so I’m already looking forward to the next race.
Jeremy Seewer: “We had some great racing also on Sunday and I feel super happy because I finished strong, I had some good battles with some tough guys, and I recovered after bad starts. I feel great but on the other hand in both second races I was quite close to the win and today I have the chance to win the GP but overall I’m happy with the results, I made no big mistakes, the track is rough so it’s easy to make mistakes, I feel good, my bike is working well, I’m happy for things that are getting better so really I’m ready for the next race on Sunday”.
Jeffrey Herlings: “In the first race there was a bike in front of me and I rode into him then had to re-group and had to come from last like I did in the second race last weekend, I managed to work my way up to third and I just didn’t manage to pass Febvre. Then in the second race I had a really good start, I think third, that was actually what I was waiting for after the terrible starts. I was much better and managed to pass Tony in the second or third lap and leading until two laps to go, then my front wheel washed away, it’s a mistake, it’s weird because I never normally make those mistakes, but we still managed to finished third. I already apologised to Tony but I apologise again because he might have crashed because of me but I got on the podium and we still lead the championship so hopefully this Sunday we can be on top of the box”.