Ottobiano in Italy played host to the 11th round of the 2017 MXGP World Championships, a round which we finally got to see a one-on-one duel between the old master Antonio Cairoli, and the young challenger Jeffrey Herlings. In two epic motos, the pair sped away from the rest of the field, battling hard for the majority of both the races, before eventually Cairoli was able to make the final push and leave his young KTM teammate. In the second moto Herlings even passed his rival, and looked like he was pulling away, only for Cairoli to reel him and blitz past him in the space of a couple of laps, much to the delight of the partisan Italian crowd. For Herlings, the effort was all too much, as he collapsed soon after the finish line, missing the podium and media duties as he was treated by medical personnel. The other rider on the podium was Husqvarna rider Max Anstie who scored his first top three finish with 5-3 moto scores. In scorching conditions, it was a really impressive display from the Englishman who seems to be getting better and better in his rookie MXGP season.
In the MX2 class, Jeremy Seewer took the overall with 1-2 finishes, closing the gap at the top of the championship to 38 points, as rival Pauls Jonass went 6-1 for second. Both riders were able to win their respective races with ease, but it was Jonass who struggled to come through the pack after an uncharacteristic bad start in the first race. American Thomas Covington joined the pair on the podium after two impressive motos on a sand track that is usually not American riders’ strong point. His 4-3 scores, combined with his intense battle for second place with Seewer in the second moto, were testament to how much work he has improved after basing himself near Lommel in Belgium.
The riders don’t have too much time to recover now, as the championship continues next weekend in Portugal, at the Agueda track which has apparently been changed up since we last visited there.
MXGP Overall: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 50 points 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 44 p. 3. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 36 p. 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 33 p. 5. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 32 p. 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 31 p. 7. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 27 p. 8. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, YAM), 25 p. 9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 23 p.
10. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 21 p.