Best Lap Times (MXGP and MX2 Moto Two):
Best Lap Time:
Jeffrey Herlings (MX2):
Jordi Tixier (MX2):
Steven Frossard (MXGP):
Antonio Cairoli (MXGP):
Jeremy van Horebeek (MXGP):
Romain Febvre (MX2):
This stat has crept into many bench-racing discussions in recent weeks, unsurprisingly, as every fan seems to love it! However, I personally don’t think that you can take too much from it, for reasons that I will explain here. In his second moto at Uddevalla, Jeffrey Herlings set a lap time that was considerably faster than the ones posted by the MXGP riders in their race. Jeffrey rode great, as usual, and was much faster than the rest of the MX2 field. But, does that mean he will be as dominant in the MXGP class? We cannot use this stat alone to come to that conclusion.
Now, I should probably clarify: I do think that Herlings will be a brilliant MXGP rider and challenge Cairoli when he eventually moves up. But, because of the fact that he is setting faster lap times at the moment most believe he will wipe the floor with the competition in the premier class. Again, it wouldn’t be surprising if he does end up doing that, but you cannot form an opinion based off of this stat alone – there are so many variables that go into it. Obviously, the track deteriorates a lot (Uddevalla specifically seemed to break down quickly) and sometimes a nimble 250F is easier to ride in rough conditions.
Jeffrey Herlings set his fastest lap time on the fourth lap of the second MX2 moto, whereas Steven Frossard (the fastest MXGP rider) registered his time on lap twelve. There was more than an hour in between these times, and very little track prep was done in this time, so just imagine how different the circuit would have been for the two riders. This isn’t discrediting anything that the Dutchman has achieved, but if the two were in exactly the same situation, I am sure the gap would be much closer. How much does one fast lap really mean in the grand scheme of things, also? Steven Frossard may have had the fastest MXGP time, but does anyone think that he would have been able to challenge Cairoli for the win?
It is a foregone conclusion that Jeffrey will challenge Antonio in his first MXGP season, but not just because he had a faster lap time in the second moto at Uddevalla. Herlings has proven to be a formidable competitor and a great all-round rider, which will aid him in his quest for world domination. We will have to wait until 2016 to see that battle though, as everyone now knows, so we will have to put up with watching Jeffrey dominate the MX2 class for another year. Judging by the lap times in that second moto, it doesn’t look like his 250F competitors are getting any closer.
It seems that they [the rest of the field] have actually accepted the fact that they aren’t going to be able to beat the two-time world champion, strangely. In a PR following the Swedish GP, Jordi Tixier stated that “to finish second overall, it cannot be better, because Jeffrey is faster than anyone else.” This comment left me bewildered, as it seems like he has thrown in the towel and decided that he will be racing for second overall from this point. Surely all riders should continue to push forward until they reach the top? Although his chances of catching Jeffrey seem bleak at the moment, who knows what is going to happen in the future. If he is willing to settle, the riders that are striving for the top spot may overtake him, which would be quite disastrous for Jordi. Perhaps that comment alone really highlights the confidence issue that Tixier is fighting most weeks.
Antonio Cairoli vs. Jeremy van Horebeek (MXGP Moto Two):
Antonio Cairoli (1st):
Jeremy van Horebeek (2nd):
Well, there are no real surprises here, as we have grown accustomed to seeing Antonio Cairoli on the top step and Jeremy van Horebeek on one of the two lower steps. However, you have to feel sorry for Jeremy, as he was once again very close to obtaining his first MXGP moto win – I seem to write that every week! His speed was on point again, judging by the above lap times, but he just doesn’t seem to put himself in a position to win often enough. When was the last time he led a race? The Belgian has to start ahead of Cairoli in order to topple him, as Antonio is very good at establishing a gap in the early stages.
Antonio was actually around half a second faster on most laps in the first half of the race, so perhaps he backed it down to van Horebeek’s pace in the second half, realising that his advantage would be safe if he goes that speed? You gain the ability to do that through experience, and with seventy GP wins to his name Cairoli has plenty of that! Two of the next three rounds are sand races, so Tony will be very difficult to beat there. But perhaps Jeremy will be able to steal a win at Loket, a track that Cairoli is known to struggle at? Time is running out for the Belgian.
Words: Lewis Phillips
Image: Yamaha Racing