There were some big moments at this weekend’s MXGP of Latvia that could have massive bearings on where the MXGP and MX2 championship titles end up, when the season finishes in late September. Of course there will be plenty of twists and turns until then but Jeffrey Herlings’ 1-1 performance is one that should put the rest of the class on edge as combined with Tim Gajser’s massive crash in moto two, suddenly makes the 84-point gap that Herlings is behind right now look very small indeed. He does have to gain that margin over teammate and experienced 8-time world champion Antonio Cairoli so it certainly won’t be easy, but if he can start popping off wins, it should make the #222 very nervous for the next few rounds.
Herlings dominated both motos and looked comfortable as those around him struggled with the difficult conditions at the sandy Kegums facility. In fact, the only rider to take any laps off him was Arminas Jasikonis who got his first holeshot in front of a large number of traveling Lithuanian fans, before eventually dropping down to third. Cairoli did actually come second, but he dropped 12 points to Herlings as three-riders tied on 38 points. Clement Desalle was the unlucky recipient of 4th place as he was just edged out by Evgeny Bobryshev on the second moto tie-breaker.
In the MX2 class, Jeremy Seewer looked like he had struck an important blow by overtaking his championship rival Pauls Jonass on the very last lap of the first moto. This gave him second in that race, and crucially for Jonass, it would drop him down to third. Unfortunately for Seewer his second race would be cut short after a series of crashes left his bike unrideable and he had to pull off with a DNF. As Jonass went on to win the second moto that would extend his lead at the top to 42 points over the Swiss Suzuki rider.
When Jonass crossed the line in front of his home crowd, it looked like he thought he had won the overall, but that honor would actually go to Husqvarna rider Thomas Kjer Olsen, who not only won his first moto ever in the first race, but came through the pack to get second in the second moto and edge out Jonass with 47 points to the Latvians’ 45.
The series now takes a weekend off before resuming in Teutschenthal, Germany on May 21.
MXGP Overall: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 38 p. 3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 38 p. 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 38 p. 5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 28 p. 6. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 27 p. 7. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 23 p. 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 23 p. 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 22 p.
10. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, SUZ), 20 p.