2023 MXGP Of Turkey | Race Highlights & Results
PHOTOS | HONDA & KTM
VIDEO & TEXT | MXGP
What a day in Afyon for the seventeenth round of the 2023 FIM Motocross World Championship. The racing day was eventful as after the rain of Saturday, the hard pack track challenged the riders throughout the whole day.
In MXGP, Team HRC’s Tim Gajser marked his big return one year after his last podium and victory to win again in the MXGP of Turkiye. Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre got his 7th podium in a row and finished second, reducing by many points the gap in the Championship. Rounding the podium, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Maxime Renaux also signed a great comeback on the box for the first time since coming back from his injury.
In MX2, Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Liam Everts won a back-to-back Grand Prix to keep his title chances alive while F&H Kawasaki Racing Team’s Kevin Horgmo finally made it on the well-deserved podium with second overall, thanks to his first race win of the season. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team’s Jago Geerts rounded the podium for the first time since his return from injury.
The MXGP of Turkiye was a complete success with excellent and eventful races throughout the whole day for the delight of all the Turkish fans present in Afyon. All the officials and politicians present during the opening ceremony were also present which shows the importance of this event for the whole region. The Grand Prix was also the occasion for the large crowd to participate in the lively and great Moto Fest during each evening to listen and watch incredible performances from many artists.
MX2 RACE REPORT & RESULTS
In Race 1, the FOX Holeshot was clinched by Simon Laengenfelder but the lead was beautifully taken over the second turn by the surprising VHR Racing Team’s Isak Gifting. Gifting led Jago Geerts and Laengenfelder from the opening round. While Geerts struggled to put pressure and Gifting, Laengenfelder closed in on the Belgian to overtake him on lap 8.
The German kept charging forward and made an excellent move on Gifting but the Swedish didn’t heel down and both riders got a contact side by side. Incredibly, both riders stayed up and Gifting kept the lead. It was only a matter of time for Laengenfelder as he charged again on lap 10 and this time took the lead off Gifting. Nothing would stop Laengenfelder as he rode through to victory.
Geerts managed to muscle his way past Gifting on lap 11 to go and finish 2nd in the end while Gifting could not hold the charges from Liam Everts and Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Roan Van de Moosdijkand finished 5th. Everts had a solid race and stayed consistent with a strong pace as he pressed on Geerts towards the end for the 2nd place. Everts settled for a good 3rd place in front of Van De Moosdijk who shadowed him the whole race.
Kevin Horgmo showed great determination again and good speed as he didn’t have a great start going 11th on the opening lap. The Norwegian’s quickly moved up in the ranks but fell on lap 4 to move down to 12th. But as he showed many times this season, Horgmo’ speed always helps him to gain places and that is exactly what he has done to finish 6th in the end.
While Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team’s Rick Elzinga, F&H Kawasaki Racing Team’s David Braceras rode solidly to finish 7th and 8th respectively, WZ Racing Team’s Oriol Oliver showed good speed after an average start to ride from 13th on the opening lap to finish in the top 10 in 9th.
Things didn’t go as planned for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Andrea Adamo who got a decent start going 6th on the opening lap and was battling with Van De Moosdijk for 5th over the first couple of laps. However, the race took a turn for the Red Plate as after getting passed by Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Lucas Coenen on lap 3, Adamo crashed and moved down to 14th. The Italian managed to get back up to 10th in the end while L.Coenen also crashed on lap 4 and had to retire from the race after not feeling a 100% after the fall. L.Coenen also chose to not take part in MX2 Race 2 to make sure he recovers and come back stronger in Maggiora for the MXGP of Italy.
In Race 2, Van De Moosdijk came out of the gate the fastest to clinch the FOX Holeshot and the lead with it. Van De Moosdijk looked solid and comfortable but on lap 3, Everts launched a successful attack to take the lead while Horgmo who was pushing behind the Belgian also took the opportunity to cleverly move past Van De Moosdijk to get to the 2nd place. Van De Moosdijk would stay solidly in 3rd place but missed on a podium with 5th overall.
Everts at the lead had to keep the fast Horgmo at bay who set two fastest laps in a row. Everts answered with fastest laps of his own and defended brilliantly until lap 13 of 17 when he made a mistake and fell. This was all what Horgmo needed as he took the lead which put him on the podium. Horgmo showed great composure to bring it home and win his first race of the season as well as his first podium. For Everts, the little mistake costed him a race win as he finished 2nd but didn’t change the final overall result with the Belgian winning his 3rd Grand Prix victory. He is also closing the gap with his teammate Adamo in the Championship.
The other great performance was the one from Geerts raced the whole race in 4th place and showed great speed to keep first Laengenfelder behind and then Adamo for the second part of the race. Staying solidly in 4th place made him to climb on the third step of the podium for the first time since his comeback following his injury sustained in Finland.
Adamo showed better rhythm in race 2 as he passed Laengenfelder for 5th on lap 9 but could not find the way past Geerts despite showing one of the fastest paces of the race. Adamo settled for 5th in the end to get 6th overall. Laengenfelder didn’t find the same switch as in Race 1 and had to settle for 6th which placed him in 4th overall level with Geerts.
Rounding the top 10 in race 2 were Oliver, Elzinga, Team Ship To Cycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Emil Weckman and TEM JP253 KTM Racing Team’s Jan Pancar respectively. Elzinga got a good 7th overall bouncing back from The Netherlands. Oliver, Braceras and Weckman got another encouraging top 10 with the 8th, 9th and 10th place overall respectively. On the other hand, following a great first race, Gifting unfortunately had to retire after the first lap due to not feeling well.
Liam Everts: “I made a little mistake in Race 2 but I take it as a positive because there is still room for improvement and we can still go faster. I just want to keep working. About the title, it’s not really the goal coming in but we will see where we end up when it’s all done. I’m just trying to keep improving during these next two rounds and I want to thank all my team”
Kevin Horgmo: “We worked really hard during the whole season and in the beginning, it looked like it went against us but finally things have turned around even if I feel that it should have come sooner but it’s really nice to do it here. Unfortunately, my family is not here with me but I want to say Hi to them back home. Thanks to all the crew because we worked so hard for it.”
Jago Geerts:” Overall I’m happy with the weekend. My shoulder is still not 100% and physically I am still struggling a little bit after my injury. I gave my all today and I was very tired by the end but I kept going and made it on the podium so I’m very happy with that.”
MXGP RACE REPORT & RESULTS
In Race 1, the start saw Ship to Cycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Valentin Guillod stealing the FOX Holeshot from Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado. The Red Plate took the lead straight after that but uncharacteristically fell in the second corner and struggled to switch back his bike. Prado would pick himself up in 18th position. After digging deep, the Spaniard managed to come back to the 13th place in the end.
In the meantime, it was Tim Gajser who took the command of the race in front of Guillod and Romain Febvre. Febvre quickly overtook Guillod for 2nd on lap 2 of 17. Febvre set the fastest lap on lap 4 and got closer and closer from the Slovenian. Febvre tried to pass Gajser on lap 6 but Gajser shut the door. After regrouping, the Frenchman got the best drive and successfully passed Gajser on lap 7 to take the lead. Gajser stayed in touching distance with the new leader for a couple of laps but Febvre then pulled away to sign a solid race win. Gajser got an excellent 2nd place. Guillod crumbled a bit during the second part of the race as he moved down to 9th in the end although it is still another top 10 for the Swiss.
Maxime Renaux displayed an impressive ride as he found himself 8th on the opening lap and powered forward overtaking along the way his teammate Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Glenn Coldenhoff, SM Action Racing Team Yuasa Battery MXGP’s Alberto Forato and ultimately the excellent Team Gebben Van Venroy Yamaha Racing’s Calvin Vlaanderen to finish 3rd with a good chance of podium.
Vlaanderen rode solidly after a good start, finding himself in 5th place over the first half of the race. Vlanderen managed to pass Guillod for 4th on lap 8 and then found himself behind the returning and really good Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Mattia Guadagnini. Guadagnini rode very well, going up to 3rd for a good part of the race although his lack of fitness and some arm pump made him not resist many attacks from the back, starting by Vlaanderen and Renaux on lap 12. Guadagnini then finished at an encouraging 7th place.
Vlaanderen 3rd on lap 12 had to concede the 3rd place to a charging Renaux. Vlaanderen settled for 4th in the end. Forato showed consistency during the race as the Italian rode around the 6th place the whole race and even managed to pass his countryman Guadagnini for 5th on lap 14 where he finished.
For Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Glenn Coldenhoff and Jeremy Seewer, the race did not go as planned knowing that they had battled for the top spots over last GPs. Coldenhoff stayed consistent during the race without committing any mistakes. However, the Dutch rider showed his determination as he passed Guadagnini on the very last lap to finish 6th. Seewer made an impressive comeback coming back from the 15th place on the opening lap after a bad start. Seewer charged forward incessantly to salvage an 8th place.
De Baets Yamaha MX-Team’s Benoit Paturel made a good start to find himself 7th on the opening lap. The Frenchman kept a good speed although he went down the rank during the race to finish 10th, in front of Team HRC’s Rubén Fernández who could not find his usual speed and settled for 11th.
In Race 2, Prado managed to take the FOX Holeshot this time although it didn’t go his way once more as he stalled in a second corner to move down to 16th. The Red Plate managed to get back up to 9th in the end for 10th overall which is his lowest result of the season and made him lose many points to his closest rivals Febvre.
However, Gajser took that golden opportunity to take the lead and pulled away quickly in front of the two French riders, Renaux and Febvre. Gajser was riding fantastically mimicking his last apparition in Turkiye last season where he won the GP. With the gap increasing to 9 seconds Gajser seemed unreachable for Renaux but all of that changed when the Team HRC rider lost control with few laps to go and fell of his bike. The time Gajser got back on the bike, the 9 seconds cushion melt and Renaux was on his tail. However, Gajser regrouped very quickly and kept his well-known composure to keep the lead until the checkered flag.
Gajser came back to the top and the podium exactly 12 months after his last victory in Afyon. The Slovenian marked his return to the top and will be now willing to keep this momentum going to Maggiora. Renaux also managed to stay 2nd for the whole race to clinch his first podium since his last podium in Trentino. While still not feeling 100% fit, with a 3-2 and 3rd overall Renaux is getting back to his best before the end of the season and the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations in Ernée, France.
Fernandez came back to his best with a solid race and consistent pace that made him finish in 4th place for 6th overall. Vlaanderen confirmed his good first race with another solid ride as he gained one position by overtaking Standing Construct Honda MXGP’s Pauls Jonass on lap 13 of 17 to finish 5th and get the 4th overall and bouncing back from The Netherlands in the best of ways. Jonass who had to retire in race 1 showed that he has the speed to be in the top 10 as he settled for 6th in the end.
Behind him, Forato also rode confidently the whole race in 7th place to get an excellent 5th overall and get his season’s best finish while Coldenhoff who didn’t show the same kind of speed we use to see from him, gained a couple of positions during the race to finish in front of Prado in 8th. Coldenhoff got 7th overall and gained some point for the 3rd place in the Championship on his teammate Seewer who finished 10th for 8th overall.
Tim Gajser: “I’m really really happy, it’s been such a long time since I step on top of the podium. All the weekend I felt great on the track and the riding was smooth and good. I got a bit of arm pump in the first race as I was maybe not riding enough relaxed but anyway in the second race I got a great start and made a little gap. I also made a mistake of my own and Renaux caught me but I kept my focus and regrouped to keep the lead. I’m very happy. I want to thank very much all the team who is working hard.”
Romain Febvre: “I’m happy for the weekend. I rode very well in the first race and felt comfortable but I felt quite sick the whole weekend so I’m very happy with 2nd overall and I took lot of points on Jorge (Prado) so it’s not finish yet and anything can happen. Hopefully in Maggiora I can race well because I love this track and have good memories there so let’s see what we can do!”
Maxime Renaux: “It’s great although I shouldn’t say that as I have mixed feelings knowing that in the second race, I came close to Tim (Gajser) after his crash but let him off the hook. I couldn’t make it happen for the GP win today because he rode strong today and could not match his speed. But I’m very happy with my first podium since my injury and it feels great as I start to feel myself again and we’ll try to build from there and get ready for the MX of Nations.”