Herlings and Roczen deliver the ‘wow’ factor at the MX2 GP of Brazil
The Red Bull Teka KTM teenage duo Jeffrey Herlings and Ken Roczen were in a class of their own at the MX2 GP of Brazil on Sunday when they split victory in two thrilling motos but it was the Dutch teenager who got the better of his KTM teammate and rival to snatch the second race and the GP title.
Roczen had already thrown down the gauntlet in the first moto when he put in a stunning performance from gate drop to checkered flag. The young German, fresh from his win in the USGP last weekend steamed into the first turn to grab the holeshot and never looked back from then on. Herlings kept him in his sights for the first half of the race but the young German super kid just progressively pulled away from the rest of the field to cross the line an impressive 11.45 seconds in front.
Roczen shot out of the gates in the second race, grabbed the holeshot and looked like he was about to repeat his first moto performance. But Herlings was tenacious and kept him in his sights, applying the pressure until mid race Roczen made several uncharacteristic mistakes was twice briefly of the bike and in doing so left the door open for Herlings. The Dutch teenager needed no encouragement to charge through and once he had grabbed the advantage, the race was as good as over. The two riders have now split the victory in all of the four GPs so far. Roczen won in Bulgaria and the USA, victory went to Herlings in Valkenswaard and now in Indiaituba, Brazil. Roczen still holds the red plate as championship leader and said he was happy to leave Brazil without losing any points in the championship. The game is on between the two talented teenagers and the stage set for more exciting duels as the season progresses. The next episode will be in France in two weeks time.
Jeffrey said he was sorry that Ken had crashed because “I want to beat him fair and square”. “It felt good on the bike, the riding was good today and the crowd was great. This is the second GP win this season and the fourth of my career so now I am really looking forward to the next GP in France,” he said.
Roczen said he had possibly braked a bit too much going down hill. “Both wheels slipped away but I was back on the bike real quick,” he said. “I was closing the gap but then I made another mistake, the bike went into neutral and I went over the handlebars. I hurt my finger a bit and bent the handlebars so I lost my rhythm.”
Factory team boss Stefan Everts was satisfied with his two young riders. “I am happy for Jeffrey. He’s still young and he’s learning fast. It’s good for his future to do this kind of race and this kind of victory. Ken is still in the lead, he’s still confident and he’s still the one to beat. Today he had the best speed!”
The two KTM riders mastered conditions in the deeply rutted and very twisty track and were spurred on by a sell-out crowd at the Indiaituba track about an hour away from Sao Paolo. They also had to tough it out in hot and humid temperatures even though it is officially autumn in southern hemisphere.
MX2 Manufacturers Classification
Cairoli second in MX1 GP of Brazil after two stunning rides
Red Bull Teka KTM factory rider and reigning world champion Toni Cairoli put in two stunning rides at the MX1 GP of Brazil for a 1-2 result and second place on the GP podium in what were races that had the 20,000-plus Brazilian crowd on their feet and cheering wildly.
Cairoli was clearly back to his usual winning ways as he put in two hugely entertaining and hard fought battles on the tight, deeply rutted track at Indiaituba about one hour away from Sao Paolo. He tenaciously fought his way back into contention in the first moto, all the time fending off constant attacks from two Yamahas and a Suzuki with David Philippaerts, Steven Frossard and Clement Desalle at the handlebars. Two laps before the close of the race everything was still in the balance but Tony turned up the heat and prevailed against the others by just over two seconds at the finish.
He then went out and fought equally hard in the second moto second moto but this time he had to settle for second behind fellow Italian David Philippaerts in the closing stages.
“It’s always nice to win but I also have to look out for the championship,” Tony said. “I needed to take some points from Desalle and that was my goal. I knew I could have won today but after 20 minutes into the second race I didn’t feel so good but I am happy for the championship and I’m looking forward to the next race.”
It was not a happy weekend for teammate Max Nagl who was suffering from back pain. “It was very difficult for me this weekend. I already had a lot of pain yesterday and today also my speed was not so good even if I was not too far off the leaders. I messed up the start in the second moto and I got stuck behind Xavier Boog and couldn’t pass him so I wasn’t riding well this weekend,” the German conceded.
Team Boss Stefan Everts: “Tony made two holeshots today. He won the first moto and he tried right up till the end of the second moto to get past Philippaerts but he just didn’t make it. He was a bit disappointed but its good to see Toni back where he should be again – to fight for the title and that’s good for us. Max had a tough weekend he tried his best but his starts were not so good and he struggled a bit.”
Steffi Laier on the podium in Hangtown
Red Bull Teka KTM factory rider Steffi Laier had a successful weekend on Hangtown USA where, as a guest rider, she rode herself onto the podium at third overall in the opening round of the Women’s Motocross Series in a guest appearance.
Laier, who said it was great to be back in the USA and was riding the Hangtown Raceway track for the first time in 10 years, qualified third fastest in both timed practice sessions and had a good start in the first moto to be fifth at the first turn. She then hunted down two more riders and maintained her third place right up to the checkered flag.
She took an early lead in the second moto and then got into a three-way battle for the top spot with Jessica Patterson and Ashley Fiolek. But half way through the second moto, a mistake cost her the lead and eventually had to settle for third overall.
Steffi Laier: “This is the first time I have raced Hangtown in about ten years. The track was very rough today and my arm gave me a little trouble at the end of the moto from a practice crash injury earlier in the week. Overall I was glad to get on the podium here and will now return to Europe and the WMX world championship.” Steffi, the only woman full KTM factory rider, is again a dominant force in the WMX this season.
Crash then victory for Matej Smrz in IDM Superbike championship Neurburgring
Matej Smrz of the Inghart KTM Superbike Team shook off a first race crash on the Neurburgring on Sunday to take victory in the second race in the IDM International Superbike Championship when a thunderstorm made track conditions difficult for all riders.
Victory in the second race was a great comeback for the Smrz after his crash in the first, when fellow KTM RC8 R rider Austrian Martin Bauer of Motorex KTM finished second for more valuable championship points.
Both of the KTM-supported riders started from the front row after a strong qualification on Saturday when Smrz won pole and Bauer was fourth fastest. The first race, while the weather held out and the track was still dry saw an exciting battle between Bauer, Michael Ranseder and Karl Muggeridge. The Austrian took the lead for several laps but was not able to convert it to the final victory. Smrz had already taken a fall in the second lap while in second place as he attempted to hang onto the heels of the eventual race winner.
Then a thunderstorm in race two left the track wet in parts making conditions extremely difficult for all riders. Smrz got away well and led the field into the first corner before tucking in behind Joerg Teuchert. He followed him at a respectable distance before making his move in the chicane in the thirteenth lap, two before the finish of the shortened race. Bauer had lost valuable time in the first corner when another rider went down in front of him. He then made a huge charge from back in the field at 18 to cut the deficit and draw back to tenth at the checkered flag.
Matej Smrz: the crash in the first race was my mistake. I had overtaken
Muggeridge and was second and I tried to close the gap to Ranseder too quickly. I was annoyed about that so I was more patient in the second race and sat behind Joerg Teuchert for a while. I out-braked him two laps before the finish and then I was able to defend the lead to the finish. Was I unsettled? No I was confident that I would be able to overtake him right from the second lap. My bike was going really well so thanks to the team.
Following his third race victory Smrz stays ahead in the championship standings with 98 points which Bauer close behind with 93. KTM is also ahead in the Manufacturers Title with 197 points ahead of BMW and Honda.
Martin Bauer, Motorex KTM: the first race was okay. I had a good start. I was in front for a couple of laps but I just couldn’t break away. I tucked in behind Michi Ranseder so I could see what he was doing and to possibly take advantage of the slipstream. But my tires were finished in the last lap so I wasn’t able to make the final attack. The second race after the thunderstorm was difficult. The track was wet on my start on the right while the guys to my left had dry track. Then someone went down in front of me in the first lap and I wasted a huge amount of time going round him. I was eighteenth after the first lap and it took a while before I could go fast on the slicks on the wet part of the track. I didn’t want to take the risk so I’m happy I got through that phase of the race. The track dried out about half way into the race and I was able to make up a few places. I was tenth at the finish but I got seven points because there was a guest rider in front of me. I would have preferred to be further up the order but considering the difficult circumstances the damage control was not so bad.
Toni Finsterbusch wins 125 class: Kristiansson again on the podium in third
The 125 race on the Neurburgring was a hard fought battle with a hard-core group of eight constantly swapping positions in the first half of the race. This was trimmed to six in the second half but in the end it was KTM rider Toni Finsterbusch (KTM Freudenberg Team) who slipped into the lead ahead of Australian Jack Miller in the last lap. Alex Kristiansson from Team HP Moto secured the third place after a hard fight to be on the podium for the third time in a row this season.
It was a great result for Finsterbusch who has had several crashes in earlier races this season. “Everything went well with my attack in the last lap because my KTM was running so well. I could even overtake in the straight. I have written off the championship for this year but its my goal to take as many good results as possible.”
Alex Kristiansson said it was a hard but fun race where there was an overtaking maneuver practically on every corner.
Superbike Race One
Superbike Race Two
Championship Standings after Neurburgring