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2021 MXGP of Garda-Italy | Race Report & Highlights

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2021 MXGP OF GARDA-ITALY | COMPLETE COVERAGE

The MXGP of Garda provided some more excitement as Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Maxime Renaux clinched his maiden MX2 FIM Motocross World Championship title with an overall victory, while Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer celebrated a career second Grand Prix win after two strong races in MXGP.

For Renaux it will be a hard day to forget as he bounced back for the final race of the triple-header here in Pietramurata, to finish second in race one, while he went on to win the second race and claim that gold plate in style!

The Yamaha riders’ season has been an impressive one that has seen him claim 12 podiums which includes five Grand Prix victories and eight race wins. The Frenchman has led a total of 103 laps and has held the red plate since the fourth round of the season in Oss at the MXGP of the Netherlands.

Meanwhile Seewer was not going to let another podium slip away after missing out on the opportunity during the last two GPs. The Swiss went 1-2 in the races to confirm his spot on the top of the box.

But again, after today’s races we saw another shake up in the MXGP title chase, as Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings succumbed to the pressure in race two and had two big crashes which lost him vital positions and points. Team HRC’s Tim Gajser went on to win race two, as Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre rode two consistent races to bag himself the red plate. It is the first time since 2014, when Gautier Paulin won the opening round in Qatar, that we see the red plate on a Kawasaki machine.


MX2 RACE REPORT & RESULTS

In the first MX2 race, it was again, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle with the Fox Holeshot but his teammate Rene Hofer was quick to act as he dived into the lead. Vialle dropped to third as Bastian Boegh Damm of WZ Racing Team went into second place.

Renaux started the race in around eighth position, while Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Mattia Guadagnini was 24th.

Then we saw a big moment between Boegh Damm and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts as the pair came together on the downhill and had a huge crash. This allowed Renaux into third and then into second.

Hofer then led Renaux, Vialle, Andrea Adamo of SM Action Racing Team YUASA Battery, as Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jed Beaton got onto the rear wheel of Simon Längenfelder of Diga Procross GasGas Factory Racing for sixth and eventually managed to pass him.

Guadagnini was also making passes as he got himself into 13th, but the Italian would later crash and pull out of the race.

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Thibault Benistant and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Kay de Wolf were next to catch onto the rear wheel of Längenfelder, with the German not able to keep the pair behind him as he dropped two more positions.

Honda 114 Motorsports’ Ruben Fernandez was on a charge as he got by Adamo for fourth and then set his sights on Vialle for third.

Hofer was still the race leader as he set the fastest lap time of the race to extend his lead to 5.977 seconds ahead of Renaux. The Austrian pretty much rode a race of his own as he was unchallenged for the entire heat.

Beaton then caught onto Adamo for fifth. He managed to go around the outside of the Italian, but the GasGas rider was quick to fight back. But Beaton managed to stay ahead.

Further ahead, Fernandez was on a mission as he got onto the back of Vialle and went after third place. He was almost a second faster than the Frenchman on that lap and was able to get himself into third.

Benistant was next to catch-up to Adamo. He squeezed past the Italian who responded in the next corner, but Benistant got him back to assert his position in sixth.

In the end, Hofer was victorious as he crossed the finish line 4.966 seconds ahead of Renaux and Fernandez.

In race two, it was Vialle again who got ahead in the start and claimed his 19th Fox Holeshot of the season. Renaux was second ahead of Benistant and Isak Gifting of Diga Procross GasGas Factory Racing, who got a great start in fourth. Geerts was there also in fifth.

Geerts then came under fire from de Wolf for fifth. The Belgian could not hold on as he made a mistake and went down. He did not re-join the race due to a technical problem and that was his title fight over.

Renaux then set the fastest lap of the race as he got within 1.094 seconds of Vialle. He waited a couple of laps before launching an attack, but by lap five was the new race leader.

Gifting then came under immense pressure from de Wolf and Fernandez. Both the Husqvarna and the Honda rider were able to get around him to move up into fourth and fifth. Not long after Wilson Todd of Bike it MTX Kawasaki did the same. F&H Kawasaki Racing’s Mikkel Haarup, who had the second fastest lap time in time practice, caught and passed Längenfelder for eighth and then had Gifting in his sights too.

Meanwhile, the race one winner, Hofer, didn’t have the best start to the race as he ended up going down. He did however make a decent recovery to get back to eighth by the end of the heat.

Längenfelder then crashed out of eighth, as Benistant lost a few positions too. One of the riders to pass Benistant was Haarup, who also got past de Wolf by the end of the race, as the Husqvarna rider dropped to sixth.

Renaux went on to win the race 3.105 seconds ahead of Vialle who crossed the line in second position, while Fernandez finished third.

A 2-1 result gave Renaux the overall victory as he also claimed the gold plate to become this year’s MX2 World Champion, meanwhile Vialle was second on the podium and added some solid championship points as he moved into second position. Fernandez was the last rider to mount the podium, keeping a 100% podium record here in Pietramurata this season.

Maxime Renaux: “It means a lot to me. We made it; we are the 2021 MX2 World Champions. That’s a great achievement. As you said, we had to work a lot for that. The past years and past rounds were really tough for me. Lots of ups and downs, and bad starts. But we were able to have a good race today. I am also so happy to get my first world title with a race and GP win. It means a lot to me because it’s grabbing the title with a win feels a bit better. It was an amazing day for me, one that I will never forget for sure”.

Tom Vialle: “It actually was not really a bad day for me. After the crash on Wednesday, I hurt my ankle a lot. So, I was not sure if I could ride today. Riding in the morning was not so bad, but I could feel the pain after every jump. First race was pretty tough. I had a decent start, but I couldn’t follow the leader also due to arm pump. I just tried to finish it off. I finished in 4th place. It wasn’t too bad. I was feeling better in the second one. I just tried to ride the best I could. I am happy today with the podium”.

Ruben Fernandez: “It feels good to get three podiums out of three. I feel like I’ve been really solid which is normally not one of my strongest points. I could stay calm during the races and not make mistakes. I had to come from the back and work my way to the front most of the times. I am happy with that, because this is something I want to bring with me into next season. I want to be mistake-free let’s say and try to keep it cool on the track”.

 


MXGP RACE REPORT & RESULTS

In the opening MXGP race of the day, it was Seewer who took the Fox Holeshot as he led his teammate Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Glenn Coldenhoff, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado, MRT Racing Team’s Alessandro Lupino and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli. Meanwhile Gajser, Herlings and Febvre started in sixth, seventh and eighth.

Prado then quickly made a move on Coldenhoff, as Gajser looked to do the same. The Slovenian was not successful in his attempts which allowed Febvre and Herlings to close in.

Gajser and Febvre then went at it for third, with the pair switching positions a few times before Febvre was able to block pass Gajser to move into third. And while the Honda and Kawasaki riders battled each other, Herlings continued to lurk in the background as he searched for an opportunity to get by both.

Seewer stretched out his lead to 3.946 seconds as he was improving upon his lap time almost every lap around. The Swiss was looking in control, up until a slight error put him on the ground. Luckily, he was up quickly and could maintain his position in the lead.

Febvre was eventually able to get past Coldenhoff for third as he set his sights on Prado who was ahead in second position.

Seewer then set another fastest lap time of the race as he stayed ahead of Prado by 4.110 seconds, as Gajser closed in on Coldenhoff again. Herlings kept things close too as both him and Gajser got past the Yamaha rider in the same corner.

Herlings then passed Gajser, as Febvre also took second from Prado. While Febvre safely had hold of his position, Herlings did not as Gajser was looking to fight back immediately. The pair made contact on several occasions, but Herlings was able to assert his position as Cairoli also joined the battle.

Cairoli got ahead of Gajser but not for long as the Slovenian fought back. Cairoli then kept a close distance to Gajser until the end of the race as they both made their way through backmarkers.

Herlings then managed to get by Prado, but the Spaniard didn’t go down without a fight. Gajser was next to catch-up to the KTM rider and after a few tries got past him too as Cairoli did the same to move up to fifth.

With three laps to go, it looked like Febvre was slowly closing in on the leader, but then on the last lap he went down hard which cost him a load of time, but he did however hold on to his position.

In the end Seewer went on to claim his first race win of the season, as Febvre finished second ahead of Herlings in third. Gajser brought it home in fourth ahead of Cairoli who was fifth.

In race two, it was Prado with the second Fox Holeshot, which was his 15th of the season! He led the way ahead of Cairoli and Gajser. Herlings started in sixth while Febvre was down in 13th.

Gajser then got around Cairoli for second and not long after made a move on Prado to get into the lead. Meanwhile Herlings was also making moves as he got himself into second.

He then had his teammate, Prado, to deal with who didn’t make things easy but eventually the Dutchman was able to get around the Spaniard and shift his focus onto getting Gajser. Just behind then, Febvre got around Cairoli for fourth and immediately went after Prado, who again was not backing down.

Gajser then led the way by just 1.214 seconds as Herlings remained close. It was looking like Herlings was setting up to make a pass but then the Bullet made a mistake and went flying over the bars. He got going again just behind Coldenhoff in seventh.

While that was going on, Seewer managed to get Cairoli for fifth and then followed that up by getting Febvre too. The Frenchman was not going to let the Swiss have the position easy and immediately fought back. The pair then caught onto Prado too, with the trio exchanging positions several times before Seewer was able to get ahead.

Febvre then had Cairoli on his case who passed him for fourth. The Kawasaki rider was again quick to respond and managed to maintain his spot. This then urged him onto Prado, as he took third from the KTM rider.

Herlings was also making progress as he got by Coldenhoff and then Prado, as the Spaniard came under more fire from Cairoli and the drop down to sixth. It then looked like Cairoli was going after Herlings and that’s when the Bullet crashed again!

Seewer also went down for a brief moment but was able to get going quickly to stay ahead of Febvre. Febvre did close in at one point, but Seewer was showing great pace and it was no match for Febvre who settled for third.

Herlings got going outside the top 10 and then made some passes on the likes of Mathys Boisrame of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team, Benoit Paturel of Honda SR Motoblouz as well as Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Watson, Glenn Coldenhoff and Prado in the next few laps. He eventually came home in fourth place.

Gajser went on to win the race 5.961 seconds ahead of Seewer with Febvre third.

A 1-2 result gave Seewer the overall, while Gajser was second and Febvre third overall. With Febvre added 42 points compared to Herlings’ 38, to his title chase, which means that he now leads the MXGP standings by one point over Gajser, with Herlings a further two points behind.

Once again, the top three are within three points of each other as we head into the final two rounds in Mantova.

Jeremy Seewer: “This MXGP win, I did it myself and I deserved it. I was up front, and no one beat me. It feels amazing, especially where I came from this year. A couple of weeks ago I was far off, and I was struggling with my health and mentally. I started to feel good a few weeks ago. I am really happy to sit here now with a first overall. I was very unlucky in my last two races; I just missed the podium both times. But it was worth the wait for this win”.

Tim Gajser: “It was a good day. We definitely need to work on the first races. I have been struggling with those the last couple of weeks. Anyway, the second one was good. I was feeling good and the start was way better. I made quick passes in the beginning. Then suddenly there was a 10 second gap for me and I was able to control the race from that point on. But anyway, the championship is intense. It’s unbelievable to think that there are just two GPs left and we are all within three points. I will do my best. I am really happy with today. We still have two GPs to go, so game on!”.

Romain Febvre: “It feels good. We still have two rounds to go to keep the red plate and turn it to gold. I can smell the taste of the championship. I am really happy about my weekend. We worked on the start which worked well in the first race. The second one was not good. In the first one, I made a lot of passes and made my way to second place. I tried to catch Jeremy but he was obviously riding really good. Nothing to say. I tried. I saw that I was catching up to him in the last two laps but unfortunately, I made quite a big mistake and crashed. Luckily, I had a big gap which allowed me to recover and finish second after all. The second race, my start was really bad, but I managed to have a good first lap and pass eight riders. I was still able to finish the race in third place. Jeremy made a mistake, and I closed the gap. I was thinking “should I go for the GP victory, or should I settle for the red plate?”. I felt like I did both. Maybe I was thinking a little bit too much and I could not match Jeremy’s pace. I settled for third and took the red plate. I am really happy.”

 

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Michael Antonovich

Michael Antonovich has a wealth of experience with over 10 years of moto-journalism under his belt. A lifelong racing enthusiast and rider, Anton is the Editor of Swapmoto Live and lives to be at the race track.

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