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Herlings dominant double in Bulgaria

Jeffrey Herlings took his 27th MXGP race win of the season with yet another double win on the hard-pack of Sevlievo in Bulgaria. He pulled a further 15 points away from the nearest man in the championship, nine-times world champ Tony Cairoli who is fighting through the pain of a knee injury. Herlings, who took his 14th overall win of the year, was only briefly headed on the first lap of each moto but was in the lead by the time he crossed the line to end lap one both times. Tim Gajser holeshot the opener but Herings passed him on the next straight. Cairoli holeshot moto two but Herlings sneaked by less than a third of a lap later when Cairoli almost slid out in a corner.

“It was awesome,” said the Dutch factory KTM rider. “I had good starts all weekend and managed to lead every lap all weekend. I went from 58 to 73 points lead in the championship with three rounds remaining.”

Of the 16 MXGP rounds he has raced – he missed one in Italy with a shoulder injury – Herling has won 14 overall. Of the 32 motos he has raced, he has won 27 and had four second places and one third.

“Now it’s time to start thinking about the championship as there are 150 points up for grabs. But Tony is still very strong – he’s bad ass and a very tough competitor.”

Cairoli chased hard in the second moto but couldn’t get on terms with his KTM rival. In the first moto, Cairoli only finished eighth. He crashed into Max Anstie who hd gone over the bars. He pulled his bike out of the back of Anstie’s downed Husky and pulled through to eighth.

Second overall was former world champ Tim Gajser who took second in the first race but a distant third second time out. It meant he overtook Romain Febvre for fourth in the world championship. “The track was not easy, very hard and slick. I’m very happy as I had two good starts and I was riding well,” said Gajser.

And third overall was Belgian Clement Desalle, who fought off consistent  attacks from Romain Febvre who fell then had to spend the rest of the moto catching up.

Kawasaki man Desalle, who had third and fourth place finishes, said: “I was really consistent but I want to be better!”

As the British riders fought not only for GP points but for a potential place on the Nations team, Tommy Searle was best Briton in tenth overall, as fellow Brits Max Anstie and Shaun Simpson both had crashes which caused them to pit for repairs. Anstie went over the bars in moto one and pitted, meaning he didn’t score any points. He was sixth in the second moto. Simpson battled with Searle in the opener and took a solid 11th but then crashed in the opening corner of race two and had to stop for repairs. He didn’t score.

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