The FIM Motocross World Championship is in an odd spot. Although things are still well and truly up in the air, there are really no question marks. Everyone knows that Jeffrey Herlings is the best rider in the premier class currently and will probably win the Grand Prix of Belgium, which will be run this weekend, and the same could be said for Jorge Prado. Questioning who is going to win this weekend almost seems like a pointless exercise at this point.
It is not like those two will definitely win their respective classes, as nothing is guaranteed in this series, but most would opt for the same answers. The ball is in the court of those who are hunting now. Antonio Cairoli and Pauls Jonass must upset the apple cart and chuck their names back into the mix though, before it is too late. There are not going to be too many more opportunities to do that this season. Cairoli is obviously restricted with what he can do currently, because of those two fractures in his thumb, but things should begin to straighten out over the next two months. It remains to be seen whether he will still have a fighting chance at that point.
There is nothing that is holding Pauls Jonass back currently, on the other hand, so it is full steam ahead at this point. The fact that Jorge Prado gained eleven points on his rival over a single weekend sums up the way that the momentum is swinging at this time and, seeing as he has won a lot in the sand throughout his career, most expect that trend to continue. There is a fact that most are continuously overlooking though. Prado was the victor at the Grand Prix of Belgium twelve months ago, as most know, but Jonass was quite competitive and won the opening moto on the day. A fifth in the second moto does not make his record look too appealing though.
Pauls Jonass acquired that fifth after crashing in turn one and putting on one heck of a charge through the field. It was an awe-inspiring ride and reflecting on that must give him some confidence entering the weekend, so perhaps this could be a turning point? It is also worth noting that he won the Czech Grand Prix last year though and that obviously did not make much of a difference to the way that he performed at the previous round. There is no doubt that the guy who swept the first six motos of the season is in there somewhere, but he needs to resurface sooner rather than later. The good news is that a deficit of eleven points is miniscule at this point.
There is another battle that was featured in this column prior to the Czech round, which has changed quite a lot. Thomas Kjer Olsen has more of a cushion in the fight for third in the series now. Another player has entered that brawl, however, as Calvin Vlaanderen is a very real threat at this point. Vlaanderen trails Olsen by forty points, but he has gained that exact amount in the last three rounds alone. It is clearly realistic for him to get the job done by the end of the season, but he will have to overhaul Ben Watson in the standings as well. Watson is thirteen ahead in fourth. All of those guys excel in sand and would have had the Grand Prix of Belgium circled on their calendars.
Another hot topic, one that was referenced on the MX Vice Twitter account at the previous Grand Prix, is what will Hunter Lawrence do at these final few rounds? It is almost tough to believe that he could depart for the United States with just a single moto win to his name. Lawrence is capable of achieving so much more than that and one would presume that he is eager to stand atop the box just once, so that can be ticked off his bucket list. It would help him head to the American scene with a little more clout too. Instead, however, it seems that his focus is shifting to the Motocross of Nations.
In a lot of interviews that have been conducted recently, Hunter Lawrence has mentioned that he hopes to build himself back up through the remaining rounds of the FIM Motocross World Championship so that he can come out swinging at RedBud in October. It is understandable that he would feel that way, seeing as it will be his first opportunity to impress on American soil and the head guys at GEICO Honda would be in attendance. Is it not odd that his mind immediately wanders to that though? A Grand Prix win would be a nice way to get closure on this part of his career at least. Anyway, it is certainly a possibility that he will pull one off!
Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Honda Racing Corporation