Just over two weeks since he had an operation on a broken collarbone, Jeffrey Herlings took the overall win in the Indonesian MXGP despite crashing out of the lead in moto two with just two laps remaining as his rival Tony Cairoli fell and hurt his thumb.
The Dutchman said he was just going to ride defensively to rescue any points he could. But despite not being 100%, he pulled the win out of the bag to keep his series lead at 12 points.
Herlings had no answer for Tony Cairoli in the opening moto as the Italian ran away with it, with Herlings in a strong second place in front of Clement Desalle and Tim Gajser. Then in the second moto, Herlings led from the first lap after taking his sixth holeshot of the year.
As Cairoli battled with Tim Gajser over second place, the world champ fell hard and got back on. He hurt his hand but pulled his way through to second place, and with two laps to go was within striking distance of Herlings.
Then Herlings fell in a right hander and struggled to pick the bike up with his injured shoulder. He got back on in second, then was gifted the win as Cairoli crashed in the same corner he’d fallen earlier on. With the pain from his hand and bent front brake, he got back on but was in discomfort and nursed the bike home in second place, just managing to hold off Romain Febvre in third.
Herlings said: “I didn’t make too many mistakes but I felt good on the bike so I could push where I felt comfortable. My fitness is OK but I haven’t ridden for 17 days and the pain kept coming more and more. With two laps to go I slipped over then Tony fell and gave it back to me. Next week I’ll try to use my brain a bit more!”
Cairoli said: “In that second moto I was struggling to find rhythm at the start. I was trying to chase Jeffrey as he was pushing and I had a big crash and hurt my thumb. I was in a lot of pain and not focused and went over the bars again. It was a big crash. It was frustrating as I knew it was time to win to points back. I made a silly mistake and I’ll try to regroup.”
Febvre took the podium again and said: “I was fifth then third, the same as in England. I’m pretty happy. I was feeling better, my speed is there but Cairoli and Herlings are faster. I can be third consistently.”