Cairoli and Nagl finish 1-3 in the deep sand of Lommel
Tony Cairoli of the Red Bull Teka KTM factory team sealed a double moto victory to win the MX1 GP of Limburg in the tricky sands of the Lommel circuit on Sunday and teammate Max Nagl made a great return to the podium finishing third, even if he is riding with a back injury.
Cairoli, like many of the leading riders, lives for at least part of the year near the traditional Belgian circuit and his fans were out in force to see him win both motos in classic Cairoli style. In both outings in the deep sand, the Italian world champion was fast out of the start but did not race without incident. Several small crashes aside and biting back the pain of a newly twisted knee, he then had the fans on their feet with excitement as he set out to hunt down the riders who passed him with the kind of determination that has already rewarded him with multiple titles.
Cairoli came from behind to win the first moto by 9 seconds ahead of Clement Desalle, his closest rival in the championship standings then in the second he crossed the line 3.5 seconds ahead of teammate Nagl. Max was fifth in the opening moto.
While Tony’s season was slow in getting underway while he struggled to overcome some small injury problems, he now has a substantial 52-point lead over Desalle in the season’s standings and is now well placed to defend his MX1 world championship title. His consistency on the podium and his four GP wins so far this year have also contributed to KTM’s 43-point lead in the Manufacturer’s standings.
Tony Cairoli: “It’s nice to race here in Lommel, I have always said many times that I like to race here in the sand. We had the speed to win this weekend but I made it a bit harder because I made some small mistakes. I got the two holeshots but a couple of times I lost concentration.”
It was a particularly rewarding for the German rider Max Nagl who is riding with a back injury and after the next race in Loket in the Czech Republic will consult with specialist concerning a longer-term solution to the problem. Despite this, Max was very happy with his weekend’s ride. “I’ve been really looking forward to this GP because I know I am good in the sand. Since Latvia I haven’t been able to train at all because the doctor would not allow it. So I am really happy to be on the podium today. I got two good starts and I could also see I had the same speed as the top guys, even if Tony was faster.”
1, Tony Cairoli, Italy, KTM
2, Clement Desalle, Belgium, Suzuki
3, Max Nagl, Germany, KTM
4, Evgeny Bobryshev, Russia, Honda
5, Steven Frossard, France, Yamaha
1, Tony Cairoli, Italy, KTM, 466
2, Clement Desalle, Belgium, Suzuki, 414
3, Steven Frossard, France, Yamaha, 403
4, Evgeny Bobryshev, Russia, 369
5, Max Nagl, Germany, KTM, 349
MX1 Manufacturers’ Standings
1, KTM, 491
2, Yamaha, 448
3, Suzuki, 424
Red Bull Teka KTM MX2 factory riders 1-2-3 in Lommel
The Red Bull Teka KTM Factory Racing Team had reason to celebrate on Sunday when all three MX2 factory riders finished on the podium in the GP of Limburg. Jeffrey Herlings underlined his domination on the sand. Ken Roczen was close on his tail pipe and Jeremy van Horebeek, who has been plagued by injury this season made a great return to the track in third place.
The result was a triumph for the factory team and again underlined that Roczen and Herlings are not only streets ahead of the rest of the field this season, but also that teammate van Horebeek, now fit again, is a top performer. The double moto win by the 16-year-old Herlings was proof that he is outstanding on the sand. He won at Valkenswaard, NL, at the beginning of the season and has now sealed the second pure sand surface race on the difficult Lommel circuit. While Jeffrey’s performance was not without mistakes and even small crashes, he was still able to dominate the track and attract admiration for his agility and skill in the deep soft sand.
Both motos were completely dominated by the three KTM riders. Jeffrey was the clear winner in the first moto crossing the line 25.8 seconds ahead of Roczen. But he did win the advantage when his teammate came down hard in the final lap while in the lead and got hit in the stomach with the handlebars. Then, just as the fans wondered if Jeffrey had saved anything for the second moto he wrapped that up 18.1 second ahead of his teammate. Jeremy van Horebeek was third across the line in both motos with a commanding gap of 18.87 seconds to the next rider in the first moto and 14.13 seconds to the fourth placed rider in the second.
Jeffrey Herling’s mastery of the sand was all the more amazing because he was riding with badly bruised ribs and it wasn’t even sure on Friday if he would be able to ride. Clearly elated with the result he said: “This year I finally won; last year I was second. My ribs were really painful but I took very strong pain killers so this was an amazing weekend for me.”
Ken Roczen: I was disappointed after the first race because I crashed when I was in the lead on the last lap but actually I didn’t ride that well and I didn’t get into a good rhythm. When you don’t play with the track and get into a good rhythm it costs you a lot of energy and time. Jeffrey is the fastest on sand and it was good for me to see that I can stay with him a little bit.”
Jeremy van Horebeek said his result was “…the best present I could give to myself and to my team. This year I wasn’t able to prove so much because of my injuries but today I had two perfect starts and the first moto was okay but the second was very difficult in the last 10 minutes because I don’t have any race rhythm yet.” He also thanked team boss Stefan Everts for pushing him during the winter to practice on the sand and for all the tips he gave him. “Now I am really motivated. I like the track at Loket and want to go there an ride well and not make any mistakes,” he said.
After this weekend which saw riders contest the 11th round of the World Championship, the KTM factory team has celebrated 10 victories – six from Roczen and four from Herlings, underlining both the skills of the riders and the reliability and power of the KTM 250 SX –F machines they race. Roczen and Herlings are clear leaders in the standings with Roczen in first place with 490 points and Herlings 21 points behind. KTM also has a stranglehold on the Manufacturer’s Standings and are in the lead by 93 points.
For a complete change of pace, riders now contest the 12th round of the championship next weekend at Loket in the Czech Republic, which will offer them an entirely different surface than the soft sand of Lommel.
1, Jeffrey Herlings, Netherlands, KTM
2, Ken Roczen, Germany, KTM
3, Jeremy van Horebeek, Belgium, KTM
4, Max Anstie, UK, Kawasaki
5, Gautier Paulin, France, Yamaha
8, Jake Nicholls, UK, KTM
12, Jordi Tixier, France, KTM
14, Joel Roelants, Belgium, KTM
15, Jose Butron, Spain, KTM
16, Pascal Rauschenecker, Austria, KTM
1, Ken Roczen, Germany, KTM 490
2, Jeffrey Herlings, Netherlands, KTM 469
3, Tommy Searle, UK, Kawasaki 400
2, Gautier Paulin, France, Yamaha 373
5, Zachary Osborne, USA, Yamaha 295
9, Nicolas Aubin, France, KTM, 207
10, Joel Roelants, Belgium, KTM, 180
12, Jake Nicholls, UK, KTM, 139
13, Jordi Tixier, France, KTM, 131