Fourth Flyaway provides plenty of drama

Tim Gajser and Antonio Cairoli battle it out for points in Mexico MXGP
The title race seems to be between Antonio Cairoli and TIm Gajser now, with the Italian looking like the only rider capable of coming close to the #243. He just needs to get out of the gate better than his counter-part to stand a chance though.Photo by Bavo Swijgers

The last of these early-season flyaway races took place at the high altitude venue of Leon in Mexico. At 1,800 meters in elevation (Thunder Valley in Denver is around 1,600 meters) this causes the bikes to lose almost 20 percent of their power compared to races at sea-level, but one rider and machine that didn’t seem to have any problems adjusting was HRC Honda’s Tim Gajser. The Slovenian put on another dominant display in both races, winning comfortably and extending his points lead in the MXGP class to 20 points over Antonio Cairoli. The Italian rider was easily the next best man in the field but couldn’t get past a determined Gautier Paulin in the first race and had to settle for fourth. In race two he made sure that didn’t happen again with a very forceful maneuver on the first lap. Frenchman Paulin rounded out the podium in what is a good run of results for the rejuvenated Husqvarna rider.

In the MX2 class, it was Thomas Covington who repeated his 2016 success here, by once again taking victory at the MXGP of Mexico. The result was in the balance for much of the second race as with Covington out front, it all came down to where moto one winner, Jeremy Seewer, could make his way back up to. In the end, a mistake when in third saw him drop down to fourth and that was enough for the American to win the tie-breaker as they tied on 43 points. Third step on the podium was privateer KTM rider Julien Lieber who continues to exceed expectations, and now sits tied in third place in the championship with Benoit Paturel. Pauls Jonass is second after his fourth overall, which was all the more impressive after he sustained a pretty nasty elbow wound in practice. Seewer keeps the red plate for another round, actually extending his lead to eight points over the Latvian, before the season resumes on April 15 and 16 in the stunningly beautiful MXGP of Trentino.

Thomas Covington at Mexico MXGP 2017
After scoring just 13-13-14 points in the previous three rounds, Thomas Covington more than doubled his points tally of the year when he won the Mexican MXGP with 43 points.Photo by Bavo Swijgers
Thomas Covington at Mexico MXGP 2017
It was a really impressive showing from a rider who must like the conditions here, after also winning this round in 2016.Photo by Bavo Swijgers
Romain Febvre at Mexico MXGP 2017
2015 MXGP champ Romain Febvre is really struggling to show that sort of form this year and now is getting consistently beaten by his teammate Jeremy van Horebeek.Photo by Bavo Swijgers
Tim Gajser at Mexico MXGP 2017
Tim Gajser seems to have found his groove now, and the HRC Honda 450 didn't seem to have any problems coping with the altitude either.Photo by Bavo Swijgers
Jeffrey Herlings at Mexico MXGP 2017
It was another disappointing outing for the 2016 MX2 champ Jeffrey Herlings, who has just been unable to get back up to speed after his pre-season hand injury.Photo by Bavo Swijgers
Pauls Jonass at Mexico MXGP 2017
After sustaining a nasty elbow injury in practice, Pauls Jonass was in damage-limitation mode, gritting out 5-2 results, dropping only 5 points to championship rival Jeremy Seewer.Photo by Bavo Swijgers
Julien Lieber at Mexico MXGP 2017
Julien Lieber showed he is still very much in the hunt for the MX2 crown. After a disappointing Argentina round, the privateer Belgian got third overall with his 3-3 scores.Photo by Bavo Swijgers
Benoit Paturel at Mexico MXGP 2017
The way Benoit Paturel came through the field in the first race to second place suggested he might get his first overall win of the season. However a mistake on lap one of race two killed off any chances of that for the Frenchman.Photo by Bavo Swijgers
Gautier Pauling at Mexico MXGP 2017
For many people it is a bit of a shock that Gautier Paulin is the top Husqvarna rider at this stage of the season, however the Frenchman is rolling back the years and starting to show his pre-Honda speed once again.Photo by Bavo Swijgers
Jeremy Seewer at Mexico MXGP 2017
Swiss rider Jeremy Seewer easily won the first moto and could have wrapped up the overall if he'd just stayed in third place. Instead a small mistake cost him that crown but he still holds onto the red plate and that's the main thing.Photo by Bavo Swijgers
Tim Gajser at Start of MXGP Mexico 2017
Tim Gajser isn't always getting the holeshot, but he quickly storms to the front and is almost impossible to catch once he has the lead.Photo by Bavo Swijgers

MXGP Overall:
1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 50 points
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 40 p.
3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 40 p.
4. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, YAM), 33 p.
5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 32 p.
6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 29 p.
7. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 28 p.
8. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 27 p.
9. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 24 p.
10. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 22 p.

MXGP Points Standings:
1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 156 points
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 136 p.
3. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 119 p.
4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 116 p.
5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 112 p.

MX2 Overall:
1. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 43 points
2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 43 p.
3. Julien Lieber (BEL, KTM), 40 p.
4. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 38 p.
5. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 35 p.
6. Brent Van doninck (BEL, YAM), 29 p.
7. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 28 p.
8. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, KTM), 24 p.
9. Adam Sterry (GBR, KAW), 23 p.
10. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, KAW), 22 p.

MX2 Points Standings:
1. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 153 points
2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 145 p.
3. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 139 p.
4. Julien Lieber (BEL, KTM), 139 p.
5. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 127 p.