Jeffrey Herlings took his eighth race win and his third overall MXGP victory of the season in the Swiss MXGP at Fraufeld, clawing back just two championship points on title leader Tony Cairoli who was third overall behind Gautier Paulin. Paulin was level on points with Herlings but the second moto win gave the Dutchman the overall.
Herlings had a bad start in the opening moto and could only get through to sixth place. But second time out he led from the opening lap and was soon pulling away at the front, taking an unchallenged win.
Herlings said: “It was the most fun. I thought I’d get a bad start again but got the holeshot! When I get a good start, I can win.
The first moto I started 15th and it’s hard to get up the front. It’s my second overall win in a row.”
The overall victory actually went down to a last-lap charge in the second race, as holeshot man Cairoli pressured Romain Febvre for third place. If Cairoli had sneaked past, he’d have tied for the overall but he couldn’t make it through and took third overall. Cairoli now has a 97-point lead over Herlings.
Cairoli was disappointed at not taking the win and said: “It was my fault I didn’t win as I didn’t ride well in the first moto. Although I did the fastest lap of the race on last lap.
“In the second moto I hurt my wrist and was making mistakes. I didn’t ride well but I know where I made mistakes so I’m disappointed. For the championship it’s more than good but it’s disappointing not to win.”
Husky man Paulin took second overall, helped by second place in the final moto behind Herlings. Paulin said: “Another strong weekend for me. I’ve not been riding at the level I can do for a long time but now I’m back and lost the GP by one point. I was fighting with Jeffrey and he was a bit faster.”
Race two was a disaster for the two men who made all the running in the opening moto. Swiss ace Arnaud Tonus led from holeshot man Max Anstie out of the second corner. The crowd went mad as their home hero led the charge, with Anstie pushing him all the way home. Cairoli came through to join the party on the penultimate lap and all three men crossed the line within two seconds of each other.
Second time out Tonus and Anstie both had terrible starts. Tonus went down and was clipped by Arminas Jasikonis, taking the Swiss ace out of the race. Anstie was 28th on the opening lap and came through to 12th place.
The event marked the return to racing for former British champion Tommy Searle who was injured before the season started. Admitting he was race rusty, the Kawasaki man took 16th and 15th place finishes.