Momentum swings at the MXGP of Latvia

Cairoli at MXGP of Latvia 2017
Antonio Cairoli now leads the MXGP championship once again after his 5-2 results were enough to see him overtake Gajser at the top.Photo by David Bulmer

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.

Gajser at MXGP of Latvia 2017
A disastrous day for Tim Gajser who only scored 7 points in the first race after a run-in with Jose Butron. In the second race he then suffered a nasty crash that saw him DNF and lose his MXGP championship lead.Photo by David Bulmer
Covington at MXGP of Latvia 2017
11th overall definitely doesn't tell the whole story for Thomas Covington, after coming from 20th to 6th in race one. In race two he actually made passes for the lead, before eventually falling away to 17th.Photo by David Bulmer
Seewer at MXGP of Latvia 2017
A last lap pass for second place by Jeremy Seewer over rival Pauls Jonass seemed to be a momentum changer, but early crashes in race eventually forced the Suzuki rider to DNF.Photo by David Bulmer
Vlaanderen at MXGP of Latvia 2017
Calvin Vlaanderen has been getting better and better, and now scored his first ever podium overall in Latvia with 5-4 scores.Photo by David Bulmer
Sanayei at MXGP of Latvia 2017
Solid day for young American Darian Sanayei, who scored a pair of 7th place finishes on this tough track in Latvia.Photo by David Bulmer
Olsen at MXGP of Latvia 2017
Great day for Danish rider Thomas Kjer Olsen who won his first moto and then his first overall since stepping up to the MX2 class.Photo by David Bulmer
Jonass at MXGP of Latvia 2017
He was disappointed not to get the overall in front of his home fans but Pauls Jonass is delighted to have extended his points lead to 42 points at the top of the MX2 championship.Photo by David Bulmer
Jasikonis at MXGP of Latvia 2017
A DNF robbed him of a top 10 moto one result, but Arminas Jasikonis ripped a great holeshot in race two, leading the field for a few laps before eventually finishing third.Photo by David Bulmer
Herlings at MXGP of Latvia 2017
Jeffrey Herlings now sits 84 points off the MXGP lead, after his first moto win and overall victory in the class. Does the comeback start here?Photo by David Bulmer
Bobryshev at MXGP of Latvia 2017
Evgeny Bobryshev had his joint-best points haul of the season, with 38 points giving him enough for third step off the podium.Photo by David Bulmer
Desalle at MXGP of Latvia 2017
Clement Desalle also scored 38 points but lost out on a podium spot due to the second moto tie-breaker.Photo by David Bulmer

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.

MXGP Points Standings:
1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 258 points
2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 241 p.
3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 220 p.
4. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 214 p.
5. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 210 p.

MX2 Overall:
1. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 47 points
2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 45 p.
3. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, KTM), 34 p.
4. Jorge Prado Garcia (ESP, KTM), 34 p.
5. Conrad Mewse (GBR, HUS), 32 p.
6. Darian Sanayei (USA, KAW), 28 p.
7. Julien Lieber (BEL, KTM), 26 p.
8. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 25 p.
9. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 22 p.
10. Alvin Östlund (SWE, YAM), 19 p.

MX2 Points Standings:
1. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 287 points
2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 245 p.
3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 235 p.
4. Julien Lieber (BEL, KTM), 223 p.
5. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 198 p.