Stat Sheet: MXGP of Portugal

News, notes, stats and facts.

News, notes, stats and facts.

There is so much that goes on at each FIM Motocross World Championship round that it is inevitable that you will overlook certain things. That is where our regular ‘Stat Sheet’ feature comes into play, however, as we focus on the details that you may have overlooked.

MXGP

Holeshot (Moto One)

Antonio Cairoli

Best Times (Moto One)

Jeffrey Herlings

1:50.575

Antonio Cairoli

1:51.153

Arminas Jasikonis

1:52.169

Jordi Tixier

1:52.200

Clement Desalle

1:52.402

Laps Led (Moto One)

Antonio Cairoli

11

Jeffrey Herlings

7

Jeffrey Herlings had no trouble laying down a single fast lap in either moto (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

Holeshot (Moto Two)

Tim Gajser

Best Times (Moto Two)

Jeffrey Herlings

1:50.728

Antonio Cairoli

1:51.078

Tim Gajser

1:53.037

Max Nagl

1:53.092

Arminas Jasikonis

1:53.446

Laps Led (Moto Two)

Antonio Cairoli

18

Great starts made Antonio Cairoli tough to beat for the second week in succession (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

– The battle that Jeffrey Herlings and Antonio Cairoli had in the first Portuguese moto had fans on the edge of their seats. Why? The final eleven laps really tell the story. It was on lap nine that ‘84’ found another gear and logged some consistent laps that helped him jump onto the rear wheel of his rival, but it was not until lap twelve that he made the pass. The laps that followed allowed him to establish an unsurpassable advantage. Cairoli dug himself out a slight slump towards the end though, which was perhaps a sign of things to come in the second encounter.

  Jeffrey Herlings Antonio Cairoli

Difference

Lap 8

1:52.083

1:51.365

+0.718

Lap 9

1:51.761

1:52.031

-0.270

Lap 10

1:52.083

1:52.620

-0.537

Lap 11

1:51.761

1:52.582

-0.821

Lap 12

1:52.749

1:52.635

+0.114

Lap 13

1:50.575

1:53.133

-2.558

Lap 14

1:51.423

1:51.820

-0.397

Lap 15

1:51.361

1:52.007

-0.646

Lap 16

1:51.780

1:51.475

+0.305

Lap 17

1:51.882

1:51.331

+0.551

Lap 18

1:52.932

1:51.153

+1.779

– The most intriguing fact from the table above has nothing to do with the actual battle. The 1:51.153 that Antonio Cairoli set at the very end was actually his fastest lap of the race. That was obviously not the fastest of the race, however, as the time that Herlings logged on lap thirteen was superior. What helped him shave so much time off on that single lap?

– One could argue that the answer to that question is simple: It all came down to sector one. Herlings lost time to Cairoli on that part of the track more often than not, but finally figured it out on the thirteenth lap. The table below, which highlights the sector one times, does a better job of explaining what a difference it made.

Jeffrey Herlings admits that he is pushing the limits whilst battling with Antonio Cairoli (KTM Images/Ray Archer)
  Jeffrey Herlings Antonio Cairoli

Difference

Lap 8

0:29.672

0:29.115

+0.557

Lap 9

0:29.834

0:29.504

+0.330

Lap 10

0:29.868

0:29.346

+0.522

Lap 11

0:29.476

0:29.476

+0.000

Lap 12

0:29.576

0:29.806

-0.230

Lap 13

0:29.198

0:29.533

-0.335

Lap 14

0:29.693

0:29.592

+0.101

Lap 15

0:30.078

0:29.397

+0.681

Lap 16

0:29.553

0:29.315

+0.218

Lap 17

0:29.973

0:29.140

+0.833

Lap 18

0:30.079

0:29.169

+0.910

– How did Jeffrey Herlings discover speed, which he never found again, on just one lap? Even he would probably struggle to answer that. It is quite remarkable that he managed to uncover it, considering that he was slower than Cairoli on that part of the track on fifteen of the eighteen laps. Cairoli still went faster than Herlings’ quickest time in sector one on laps five, eight, seventeen and eighteen.

– Before we move away from these heavyweights, a word about the second moto. Is it acceptable to add another table? Cairoli threw down after claiming the early lead and, quite simply, built an advantage that could not possibly be overhauled. The first seven laps offer a great look at how he managed it.

 

Antonio Cairoli

Jeffrey Herlings Difference
Lap 1 1:54.656 1:55.583

-0.927

Lap 2

1:53.414

1:54.081

-0.667

Lap 3

1:53.218

1:54.028

-0.810

Lap 4

1:51.276

1:52.152

-0.876

Lap 5

1:51.471

1:52.647

-1.176

Lap 6

1:51.078

1:52.621

-1.543

Lap 7

1:51.470

1:52.504

-1.034

Arminas Jasikonis gave Suzuki World MXGP a much-needed boost at round twelve (Suzuki-Racing.com)

– The podium finish that Arminas Jasikonis had at the Portuguese Grand Prix was a massive achievement, but also a huge relief for the Suzuki World MXGP outfit. Three hundred and thirty-seven days had passed since an RM-Z450 last finished on the overall podium in the premier division. That last one was with Kevin Strijbos at the Grand Prix of Belgium last year, where he coincidentally acquired an identical scorecard (3-3) to the one that Jasikonis had this past weekend.

– When was the last time that a rider on an RM-Z450 finished higher than third in a moto in the FIM Motocross World Championship? Ben Townley recorded a second in the final moto at the Grand Prix of Thailand last year, which was four hundred and eighty-eight days ago.

– Romain Febvre is in need of a podium finish, much like the Suzuki World MXGP team were before round twelve. Three hundred and thirty-three days have now been and gone since he last tasted champagne at the highest level. Starts are mostly to blame for his lack of silverware, but just how bad have they been? ‘461’ has been ninth on average at the end of lap one this year.

– Febvre states that his bike set-up favoured the starts prior to the German Grand Prix, which made it unrideable elsewhere on the track, but since then he has made changes that make it worse on the start and better everywhere else. Do the stats support this? His average-starting position in the rounds that were run prior to Teutschenthal was tenth, but since then it has been eighth. The sample sizes are slightly different, of course, but that just makes his situation even more perplexing.

Romain Febvre has stated that his YZ450F is not the strongest out of the gate (Monster Energy Media/Ray Archer)

– Prior to the Grand Prix of Russia, Romain Febvre had not really contributed to Yamaha’s ranking in the manufacturer classification. ‘461’ has returned to being the one that the ‘blue’ guys rely on, however, as he has been responsible for their points in the last five motos.

– Fitness has been a hot topic in recent weeks, because of the extreme temperatures. Max Anstie has proven to be one of the strongest, despite the fact that this is his maiden term on a 450F, as he recorded his quickest time on lap sixteen of eighteen in the first MXGP encounter. Arnaud Tonus (lap fifteen), Rui Goncalves (lap fifteen) and Lukas Neurauter (lap seventeen) achieved similar feats.

– Speaking of Max Anstie, he has been a picture of consistency since his return to racing at Kegums. A seventh has been his average finish across the last twelve motos. The fact that he missed two rounds offers a skewed look at how his season has gone, as his ranking obviously suffered. If you give him the points for seventh, seeing as that is where he has ended up on average, in the four motos that he missed, he would actually be seventh in the championship.

– Kevin Strijbos enjoyed a successful time in the qualification heat on Saturday, but was crippled by back issues on the Sunday. The health problem arose in warm up and was then further aggravated in the races, hence why he pulled in just three laps into moto one and did not start the final encounter. Strijbos is expected to ride again within a week and will then continue his final term with Suzuki World MXGP.

– What about another Belgian, Jeremy Van Horebeek? A rock popped the lens out of his goggles, which consequently left him with a cut on his eye, in moto one. A rock also hit his injured finger, so he withdrew prematurely in an attempt to avoid further injury. The Portuguese Grand Prix was the sixth time in his 450F career that he has scored points in one moto, but not the other.

Jordi Tixier surprised pundits with the fourth-fastest time in the first MXGP moto (Monster Energy Media/Ray Archer)

– Jordi Tixier sustained compressions injuries to his leg and back in a spectacular crash at Agueda, according to official reports, and has undergone scans in his homeland since then. The results have not yet been confirmed, but it seems that he is destined to miss around five weeks. ‘911’ has only completed a Grand Prix with points in both motos three times this year.

MX2

Holeshot (Moto One)

Jorge Prado

Best Times (Moto One)

Jeremy Seewer

1:53.615

Pauls Jonass

1:53.702

Thomas Covington

1:54.267

Benoit Paturel

1:54.884

Ben Watson

1:54.894

Laps Led (Moto One)

Thomas Covington

10

Pauls Jonass

7

Pauls Jonass has led the field at the conclusion of lap one in thirteen motos (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

Holeshot (Moto Two)

Thomas Covington

Best Times (Moto Two)

Jeremy Seewer

1:53.911

Pauls Jonass

1:54.275

Benoit Paturel

1:55.084

Thomas Covington

1:55.508

Thomas Kjer Olsen

1:56.071

Laps Led (Moto Two)

Pauls Jonass

12

Jeremy Seewer faces a deficit of thirty-eight points to his rival, Pauls Jonass (Suzuki-Racing.com)

– Qualification heats have, quite simply, been a kryptonite for Jeremy Seewer this season. ‘91’ has qualified sixth on average and actually finished in the top three in those races at just five of the twelve rounds! Pauls Jonass has a much cleaner record that consists of four pole positions and nine finishes inside of the top three. The Latvian has an average qualifying position, which was brought crashing down by the seventeenth in Russia, of fourth.

– The second MX2 moto at the Portuguese Grand Prix was an extremely important step forward for Jeremy Seewer, as he passed and beat Pauls Jonass in a straight-up manner. That has occurred four times through the first twelve rounds (in race one at Kegums and twice at Teutschenthal) according to the lap charts. Believe it or not, going through the lap charts from the twenty-four motos, Jonass has not actually passed Seewer in any of the motos. The fact that he always starts up front obviously contributed to that statistic. It is also worth noting that the lap charts only start recording from the point that the riders cross the finish line, so anything that goes on from the gate drop to that point is irrelevant.

– That second moto was one of the most poignant of the championship thus far and deserves to be looked at in more detail. Prepare yourself, as it is time for another table.

Jeremy Seewer

Pauls Jonass Difference
Lap 7 1:54.297 1:54.275

+0.022

Lap 8

1:55.005

1:54.575

+0.430

Lap 9

1:53.911

1:54.767

-0.856

Lap 10

1:53.946

1:54.631

-0.685

Lap 11

1:54.678

1:54.896

-0.218

Lap 12

1:54.844

1:55.205

-0.361

Lap 13

1:54.642

1:58.762

-4.120

Lap 14

1:55.803

1:57.209

-1.406

Lap 15

1:56.981

1:57.311

-0.330

Lap 16

1:57.141

1:55.634

+1.507

Lap 17

1:57.629

1:58.615

-0.986

Pauls Jonass has held the red plate since the Grand Prix of Trentino in April (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

– It was on the thirteenth lap that Jeremy Seewer claimed the lead from Pauls Jonass. One would presume that the aggressive pass that Seewer made contributed to the much slower time that was recorded by the series leader, but the sector times tell a different story. The table below shows that Jonass was consistently slower in each sector on that lap, rather than the point on the track that the pass was made (sector two).

Sector One Sector Two Sector Three

Sector Four

Jeremy Seewer

29.549

25.159

33.805

26.129

Pauls Jonass

30.273

27.134

34.612

26.743

– Starts have really been a major factor in the MX2 title chase, as we mentioned above, but it mainly comes down to the fact that Pauls Jonass has been simply faultless out of the gate. ‘41’ has an average-starting position of second thus far and has only ended lap one outside of the top three in three of the motos. Jeremy Seewer, on the other hand, has an average-starting position of eighth and has only been inside of the top three at the conclusion of lap one in six of the motos.

– If starts are being discussed, it is only right that Benoit Paturel is acknowledged. Paturel has struggled to get out of the gate this season and the statistics reflect that – his average-starting position has been twelfth! The Frenchman has made one hundred and seventy-nine passes this year, thanks to those poor starts.

Poor starts have stopped Benoit Paturel from battling for the title in his final term on a 250F (Monster Energy Media/Ray Archer)

– Much like in the premier division, certain riders managed to log their fastest times right at the end and make statements about their fitness. David Herbreteau set a personal-best time right at the end of the first moto and then Lars van Berkel did the same in the final MX2 encounter. Jeremy Seewer came close to it, as he recorded his fastest time of race one with three laps remaining. That also turned out to be the fastest time of the race!

– Brian Bogers has turned things around following a sub-part start to the 2017 FIM Motocross World Championship. The longest string of top-ten finishes that he managed through the first twenty motos was three, but he has not dropped lower than tenth at all in the last six races. That is an improvement, right? Bogers had a streak of eighteen finishes inside of the top ten last year, which stretched from Pietramurata to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, so he has quite a way to go to match that.

– Jorge Prado Garcia was a big topic of discussion on Sunday, as pundits attempted to decipher what caused him to withdraw from the event after just a handful of laps in moto one. It was, quite simply, the fact that he had not fully recovered from the heat at Ottobiano. That fact confirms that the doctors were right to pull him off of the starting line in Italy seven days ago.

Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: KTM Images/Ray Archer

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