There was plenty of Orange on the MX1 GP of Latvia in Kegums on Sunday when Red Bull KTM’s 5-times world champion Tony Cairoli sealed the GP victory ahead of teammate Ken de Dycker with third place going to HM Plant KTM rider Kevin Strijbos.The team’s factory riders in the MX2 class, Jeremy van Horebeek and Jordi Tixier also did well to finish overall 2-3 in the GP while teammate Jeffrey Herlings surged ahead again 42 points in the championship and retains a firm grip on the coveted red plate.In the MX1 class Cairoli recaptured his red plate to put his double DNF from Sweden last weekend firmly behind him. But he also crashed while in the lead of the second moto and immediately after the race complained of pain in his wrist.Despite Cairoli’s untimely crash, one of many by riders on the wet and muddy track, it was a very solid outing for KTM’s Italian lead MX1 rider who has a good record of wins at Kegums. While usually at home on the sandy track, Cairoli had to contend with wet sand, standing water and very complex conditions, especially in the second moto. After a very dominant first moto where he controlled the race right from when the gate dropped, all indications were that the Italian was set to repeat it in race two. He flew out of the start gate and quickly took an early solid lead but eventually had to be content with having made a quick recovery from his crash to pick up the overall win.
Kegums also proved to be rewarding for MX1 teammate Ken de Dycker who managed to overcome his start problems of past races to finish 2-3 in the two motos for overall second to complete a very good day for the Red Bull KTM team.
Tony Cairoli: “I’m really happy about my riding the whole weekend, which as good apart from the last moto. I won the first race with a good gap but I had a scare after the crash in the second race when I was in the lead. I had some pain in both of my wrists when I stood up from the crash but I put my head down and tried to make passes. I was feeling confident but I didn’t know what to expect about my wrist and I hope with this little injury I can train good for next weekend in Russia.
Ken de Dycker: “For sure I am happy especially after Sweden where I crashed and hurt my hand, This week I took it easy and didn’t train and today I had a good start and no crashes. This weekend I have had two good results and also yesterday I rode well.”
Factory team manager Stefan Everts was also satisfied with the team effort saying: “In MX1 it was the big thing to have the red plate back with Tony. He was really strong in the first moto and just made one little mistake in the second. So we got the GP win and Ken also made his first podium this year and with Kevin Strijbos in third it was a whole KTM podium. We’re back in control so its been very positive.”
Strong performance from team’s MX2 riders
It was a great, if tough day for the KTM factory trio in MX2 with Jeremy van Horebeek pulling off a 3-1 result for overall second in the GP despite a crash in the opening race. He rode exceptionally well in the second moto and led right up to the closing laps but was then deprived of the final glory by a hard charging Joel Roelants, who had also won the opening moto. Teammate Jordi Tixier had reason to celebrate taking his first ever GP podium to finish in third place after a second race that had all riders on their guard. A massive downpour between the motos had left masses of standing water on the track and churned up the mud making visibility difficult and at the same time testing all the bike technology.
In fact the entire MX2 GP was pure drama, starting with Jeffery Herlings charging from dead last in both races after suffering a DNF with tire failure in Saturday’s qualifying. The Dutch teenager ripped through the field in an amazingly short time to put himself in contention in both races. He managed to pull off a second in the opening moto and was again second in the closing laps of race two when his bike slowed and he had to retire with mechanical problems.
Even though Herlings was deprived of points in the second moto, his points from the first race became even more valuable after a double DNF by his biggest rival for the MX2 title, Britain’s Tommy Searle. At the end of the day, Herlings had a strong grip on the red plate with 428 points with Searle still in second with 387. Third placed van Horebeek was the big points winner, closing down to within 21 points of Searle. Tixier is currently in fifth behind today’s winner Roelants.
Jeremy van Horebeek: “I am a bit disappointed not to win but I am happy to be second. I didn’t feel so good after the crash in the first moto but I was able to regroup and finish third. I got the holeshot in the second moto and I am very happy to finish first and be on the podium in second overall. It was a good weekend but I feel bad for Jeffrey (Herlings). I had problems last week and now he has problems this week but I suppose that’s racing. Now that I have got close to Tommy (Searle) again, I am super motivated for the rest of the season.”
Jordi Tixier: “It was a big emotion for me. I hadn’t thought about getting a podium this weekend but I was already riding very well on Saturday. There was a lot of rain before the second moto and the track was very wet but I made a good start and I wasn’t too far behind Jeremy (van Horebeek). This is my first ever podium and I hope to get another one really soon. I’ll stay cool and we will see what happens next.”
Jeffrey Herlings: “I had quite a bad start in the first moto but I came back to take second place. I could have won but I didn’t ride that great. Then in the second moto I was almost in the lead behind Jeremy (van Horebeek) when I felt the bike start to lose power. But regarding the battle with Tommy (Searle), its never over till its over. Today I came here with a lead of 16 points and I am leaving with 41.”
Team boss Stefan Everts: “it was a really good weekend in MX2 and we are quite far ahead in the lead with 41 points. It was a pity what happened to Tommy (Searle) but Jeffrey also had a DNF in race two. That is part of our sport. We are still a technical sport and this can happen. That’s racing.
“Jeremy was close to winning his first GP but Joel Roelants rode very well today and I think he deserved to win it. Jerr got his first second place this year and made a lot of points on tommy and is now only 2 behind him. As for our youngster Jordi, it was his first podium and I am very happy and proud of him. We’ve worked hard and we have made quite good progress.”
GP of Latvia at Kegums – Round 10 of the World Championship
1, Tony Cairoli, Italy, KTM
2, Ken de Dycker, Belgium, KTM
3, Kevin Strijbos, Belgium, KTM
4, Rui Goncalves, Portugal, Honda
5, Gautier Paulin, France, Kawasaki Other KTM
17, Davide Guarneri, Italy, KTM