Red Bull KTM riders had another top day out at the MX GP of France with both Tony Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings winning the MX1 and MX2 GPs respectively.
For the Italian Cairoli it was a 2-1 outing on the very technical track at Ernee for his fifty-ninth career GP victory. He had an epic battle with French favorite Gautier Paulin in the opening moto, conceding by just over one second to the Frenchman only in the final meters of the race. Then in the second moto, Cairoli shot out of the starting gates to grab the holeshot and led during the entire race. He was more than 10 seconds ahead when he crossed the line. Cairoli now has a 56-point lead in the championship standards and has laid the foundation for a solid season where he hopes to take his seventh world title.
Tony Cairoli: “In the first moto I had some trouble with a lapped rider near the end but Paulin found a way past him. I tried to come back but Paulin was riding very well and it wasn’t easy to pass on this track. We pushed hard in the second race. After I got the holeshot in the second moto I was able to push to make a 10-second gap but then I just tried to put in some good laps and not make any mistakes.”
Meanwhile in MX2 and in what was possibly one of the toughest races of his career so far, Herlings achieved what the pre-race pundits said was improbable. He won both motos after a mega crash in Saturday’s qualifying that saw him badly bang up his ankle, shoulder and wrist. He was mobile only on crutches but rallied to take his eighth GP win for 2013 with an epic 1-1 result.
Only classified twenty-seventh after qualifying, Herlings shot out of the gates in the opening moto, took an early lead and even though he was up against hungry French riders, hung on all the way to the flag. He crossed the line just under three seconds ahead of second placed Dylan Ferrandis.
Herlings found himself in fourth place at the first corner of the second moto after a great start by his teammate Jordi Tixier. But while Herlings worked his way up to the lead, Tixier crashed and had to fight his way back from way down the order to eventually finish ninth. Herlings meanwhile took control of the lead with just over 16 minutes to go and never looked back. The Dutch teenager has won every moto except one in 2013 and has a commanding lead of 110 points in the MX2 World Championship. Tixier is second.
Jeffrey Herlings: I had a very big crash on Saturday and some pretty bad injuries but we made a lot of treatment on my ankle and wrist and the team helped me a lot. But I had a lot of pain when I put my foot down and when I went over the jumps. We worked hard this weekend and we took two good starts and I did what I had to do to take the wins.”
Cairoli’s MX1 factory teammate Ken de Dycker of Belgium picked up a pair of fifth places. Like Tixier in MX2, he also finished his MX1 in sixth position. De Dycker said he was quite satisfied to be consistent this weekend although he had wanted to be back on the podium. “But training went well, and so did qualifying so after two not so good starts I’m quite happy. My riding is okay and there was not too much difference in the speed compared to the first guys,” he said.
Tixier admitted he had got a bad start in the opening moto but he won the holeshot in the second. “I thought I was going pretty good after the holeshot but then I crashed in the first lap when I got a bad bump in one of the waves. I managed to come back from last place to ninth. It wasn’t so bad but not what I expected,” he said.
Earlier in the day Ernee hosted Rd. 2 of the EMX 250 European Championship, which saw victory for KTM’s Swiss rider Valentin Guillod.“Now I’m leading the championship with two wins but today was not easy because it was very slippers. We had just one line and it wasn’t easy to pass but I took my time, I tried to find a good line and to ride smoothly,” Guillod commented.
GP of France at Ernée – Round 8 of the World Championship
1, Tony Cairoli, Italy, KTM (2-1)
2, Gautier Paulin, France, Kawasaki
3, Clement Desalle, Belgium, Suzuki
4, Tommy Searle, Great Britain, Kawasaki
5, Jeremy van Horebeek, Belgium, Kawasaki
6, Ken de Dycker, Belgium, KTM
8, Davide Guarneri, Italy, KTM
9, Xavier Boog, France, KTM
12, Rui Goncalves, Portugal, KTM
1, Cairoli, 377
2, Paulin, 321
3, Desalle, 309
4, de Dycker, 277
5, Strijbos, 243
9, Goncalves, 168
1, Jeffrey Herlings, Netherlands, KTM (1-1)
2, Dylan Ferrandis, France, Kawasaki
3, Christophe Charlier, France, Yamaha
4, Alexander Tonkov, Russia, Honda
5, Jake Nicholls, Great Britain, KTM
6, Jordi Tixier, France, KTM
7, Jose Butron, Spain, KTM
8, Glenn Coldenhoff, Netherlands, KTM
16, Pascal Rauchenecker, Austria, KTM
1, Herlings, 397
2, Tixier, 287
3, Butron, 247
4, Coldenhoff, 237
5, Charlier, 230
8, Nicholls, 181
EMX 250 Results of Round 2
1, Valentin Guillod, Switzerland, KTM, 30:37.652
2, Jeremy Seewer, Switzerland, Suzuki, 30:40.651
3, Ceriel Klein Kromhof, Netherlands, KTM, 30:46.483
4, Brian Bogers, Netherlands, KTM, 30:53.469
5, Magne Klingsheim, Norway, Yamaha, 31:03.877
EMX 250 Championship Standings after Round 2
1, Guillod, 50
2, Seewer, 42
3, Klein Kromhof, 38
4, Graulus, 32
5, Klingsheim, 27
EMX 250 Manufacturers Standings after Round 2
1, KTM, 50
2, Suzuki, 42
3, Yamaha, 27
Images courtesy KTM Racing