Jeffrey Herlingss demolished the opposition in the MXGP qualifying race in Latvia, winning by more than 50 seconds and setting a lap time four seconds faster than his title rival, Tony Cairoli, who was the next fastest rider.
Herlings said: “It was awesome. A walk in the park! I’ve been liking the track all day! I hope they leave the track rough for tomorrow.”
Herling led from the star as Evgeny Bobryhsev and Gautier Paulin went down in the first turn. Desalle was soon second from Romain Febvre and the pair battled all the race as the Dutchman just pulled away.
Cairioli didn’t have a great start but made his way though the pack, picking off his rivals. On the very last lap, Cairoli picked off Jeremy Van Horebeek then Febvre to take third overall.
HRC new boy Todd Waters had a big crash out of seventh, while his team-mate Tim Gajser fell but remounted for seventh place.
In the MX2 race, KTM’s Jorge Prado did a similar demolition job to Herlings as he won, leading from start to finish.
But it was great for Britain as Ben Watson took second place from Hunter Lawrence with Conrad Mewse fourth.
Prado led from the start, chased by Mewse, Thomas Covington, Henry Jacobi, Lawrence, and Watson while Thomas Kjer Olsen was 24th, right in front of world champ and home hero Pauls Jonass.
Prado soon pulled away as Lawrence and Watson moved into third, with the Brit working his way past. He then took second as Covington fell and Watson got by KM man Mewse. Lawrence passed Mewse for third as Jonass, who had been making a charge through the pack, fell and dropped to 13th.