The famous road-racing circuit of Assen provided the venue for what turned out to be a great day of racing at this penultimate MXGP of the season. The circuit itself divides opinion between the old-school and new-school motocross fans but no one can deny that it produces some great racing on the extremely difficult sand surface.
For Antonio Cairoli, it will go down in the history books as the place he claimed his 9th world championship title, after a well-deserved season where the Italian has consistently been better than all his rivals. He only needed a few points in the first race to seal the deal, but with typical flair he battled with Jeffrey Herlings right up until the end, just finishing behind the Dutchman before sparking wild scenes of celebration. Herlings will be left wondering “what if?” after an injury-hit beginning to the season, but no one can deny he has been the fastest rider recently, notching up another 1-1 overall performance as he claimed his fourth victory in five GPs. Joining him on the podium were Romain Febvre and Max Anstie who coped best with the tough conditions to just pip a celebratory Cairoli by one point.
In the MX2 class, Pauls Jonass could have made it a double-KTM title party but he just fell short as the championship now heads to final round in France next weekend. Going into the event he just needed to beat Jeremy Seewer by 10 points and when he won the first moto, with Seewer only coming fifth, all that the Latvian required was to beat his championship rival in the second race. That didn’t happen though and instead the points swing ended up being just one point in Jonass’ favor as the pair scored 39 and 38 points. Winning the GP was Jonass’ teammate Jorge Prado, showing once again his prodigious sand skills to go 2-1.
Villars-sous-Ecot hosts the final round and all eyes will be on Jonass as should wrap it up in the first moto, as he heads there 41 points ahead of Seewer. There is also a very intriguing championship battle in the Women’s Motocross Championship as four riders head into the final round separated by just five points.
MXGP Overall: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 38 p. 3. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 38 p. 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 37 p. 5. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 33 p. 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 30 p. 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 26 p. 8. Tanel Leok (EST, HUS), 24 p. 9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 21 p.
10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 21 p.