The FIM World Motocross Championship’s 12th Round is in the books and it was a challenging one. For the second week in a row racers had to deal with high temperatures but this time it was on a tricky and slick surface. Lap after lap of bar to bar racing led to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli and Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer claiming victories via second race tiebreakers.
2017 MXGP Of Portugal | MX2
MX2 was the first overall decided by the second race tiebreaker and Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer edged out Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass. In a season that has become a battle of not only race wins but strategy and mental fortitude Jonass leads the way but Seewer is looking to shift the momentum and has done so the last two races.
Seewer had a less than perfect start in race 1 but he did a remarkable job coming from 6th to finish second. The deciding moment of the overall surprisingly came on the final lap of race 1 when Seewer made the pass for second. The second place allowed him to take the overall from Jonass in race 2. Seewer in the press conference said: “It wasn’t the easiest weekend because it’s a special track, we had to change the bike a lot from yesterday to today. The team did really a good work and I’m happy about that. In the second race it came down to between me and Pauls and he left the door open so I took the spot and the win.”
Jonass was impressive in both races starting with his pass for the race 1 lead on Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Covington. Jonass took the lead on 10 of 17 and held it until the finish. Covington on the other hand was the rider who was passed by Seewer on the final lap. Jonass in the race press conference said: “We didn’t gain anything, we didn’t lose anything in the championship this weekend. I’m pretty happy with how the weekend ended, I didn’t have the best feeling but still scored 47 points which is good for the championship.”
Race 2 it was again the same three up front early with a Fox Holeshot for Covington and an improved 3rd place start for Seewer. Jonass wasted no time getting by Covington and by the second half of the opening lap was in the lead. Seewer first set his sights on Covington who he passed on lap 5. It wasn’t until 7 laps later that Seewer found the back wheel of Jonass and when he did Seewer made a smart pass to make sure Jonass couldn’t retaliate. Seewer took race 2 and the overall followed by Jonass and Covington. Covington in the press conference said. “It’s good to be on the podium again, I’ve been inconsistent in the past with one good race then one bad so it’s good to see that coming along. I never found the rhythm but it’s good to be on the podium and put the American flag up there on the 4th of July weekend.”
Behind the top three overall finishers was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsenand Kemea Yamaha’s Official MX Team’s Benoit Paturel. Olsen had a solid race 1 where he battled in the top 5 and came out fourth but 34 seconds off the leaders. Olsen’s race 2 kicked off with a 8th place start but ended with fifth after progressing the #19 forward.
Paturel made the weekend hard on himself after crashing in qualifying gave him horrible gate picks for today. The Frenchman is known for bad starts and lining up from the far outside didn’t help as he was 13th on lap 1 of race 1 and 14 on the first lap of race 2. Luckily for Benoit he is well versed in battling through the field as he did so again today finishing 6th and 4th for 5th overall.
LRT KTM’s Julien Lieber took 5th in race one after fighting for position with Olsen and others but would not finish race 2 result in 14th overall and only 16 championship points.
2017 MXGP Of Portugal | MXGP
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli is proved he is one of the fittest riders out on the track for the second time in two weeks. Cairoli took the Fox Holeshot in race 1 but was eventually passed for the lead by his Red Bull KTM Teammate Jeffrey Herlings. Herlings was keen to make a statement after coming up short in Ottobiano and did so in the opening race. However race 2 was all Cairoli, the 8 time champion took the lead early and gapped Herlings, giving himself the opportunity to focus on the task at hand.
Cairoli won race 2 taking the overall, grabbing the 5th GP win in Portugal of his career but the first on a KTM. In the press conference Cairoli said, “I feel good, this is the first time I have won on a KTM in Agueda. I have won many GPs here but lately I struggled. It’s a nice track with a new layout and also the surface is different so I am happy about the win. I’m happy about the championship at the moment and I’m looking forward to every race.”
Herlings made a charge though, even putting in the fastest the lap of the race on his way to his third 2nd place finish in the last 3 races. Herlings in the press conference stated: “It’s frustrating but Tony was really good and I think at the beginning there were just too many guys in between us. At one point I started to catch him but I made some small mistakes. Second race I just couldn’t close the gap. I’m still happy scoring 47 points in the Championship.”
Suzuki World MXGP’s Arminas Jasikonis put in the best weekend of his career so far, first winning Saturday’s Qualifying then following it up with his first ever overall podium. The young Lithuanian is also the first rider for his country to podium in the history of the Motocross World Championship. Jasikonis in the press conference said: “A year ago I was only dreaming about a podium and now I have one, the hard work really pays off. The race was really good you know, I’m better in the sand but now I’ve proved I can do well on the hard pack as well.”
2015 MXGP World Champion, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre, is turning his season into the right direction with a 4th overall in Portugal. Febvre has struggled this year but had a good start in race one scored him 5th. It was a different story in race 2 as he was 11th on lap one he put his head down and by the final laps found himself just behind Team HRC’s Tim Gajser in 5th.
Febvre not only passed Gajser but he made a pass on Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Naglone lap later. The pass on Nagl tied the two in points after Nagl’s 5th in race 1, but the better race 2 took the better overall result of 4th for Febvre.
Meanwhile Gajser continued to improve his result after returning from injury, aside from 8th and 6th for 6th overall the Slovenian also took the race 2 Fox Holeshot.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle had a hard fought battle in race one against Romain Febvre where in the end Febvre prevailed. Race 2 started with a crash for Desalle but he managed to come from near last to finish 10th for 8th overall.