With the racing completed this also concluded round six of the FIM Motocross World Championship. The MXGP of Italy was the first of three events taking place at the Monte Coralli circuit in Faenza that saw Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings take his 90th Grand Prix win in MXGP, while Maxime Renaux of Yamaha SM Action M.C Migliori – J1 Racing took a career first overall win in MX2.
The opening MXGP race saw Ivo Monticelli put his Standing Construct GasGas Factory machine out in front as he led Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings and Clement Desalle from Monster Energy Kawasaki MXGP Team.
Though as Monticelli made a mistake on the opening lap, this allowed Prado to take the lead, with Herlings right behind him. At that point Desalle was in third place, though was coming under pressure from the Antonio Cairoli of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing.
It didn’t take long for Jeremy Seewer of the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP squad to get up in the mix, as he started to apply the pressure onto Cairoli early in the race.
By the second lap it was a KTM 1-2-3, as Prado led Herlings and Cairoli. Meanwhile further down the field Gautier Paulin from Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP moved into 5th as he pushed Desalle down a position and was looking to edge towards his team-mate.
Desalle then lost a position to Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and was then coming under fire by the #259 of Glenn Coldenhoff from Standing Construct GasGas MXGP team. The two riders had a close moment as they entered pitlane, though Desalle managed to retain his position.
By lap 8, Herlings was starting to close in on the #61 of Prado, as 2.7 seconds separated the two. Cairoli was still there in 3rd, trying to fend off Seewer and Paulin. During the same lap, Mitch Evans of Team HRC lost 8th to Romain Febvre of Monster Energy Kawasaki MXGP Team who was making his way up the field.
A few laps later saw Gajser crash out of 6th, while the battle at the front heated up! At that point predicting a winner was hard, as Prado, Herlings, Cairoli and Seewer were all bunched up together and pushing hard.
After taking his time, Herlings finally moved into the lead on lap 13, all while Prado was coming under fire from Cairoli and Seewer as well. As Cairoli got alongside the young Spaniard to attempt a pass, he was caught out, thus allowing Seewer through into P3.
Two laps to go and the gap between the top three was just 1.7 seconds, though in the end it was Herlings who took the race win, followed by Seewer and Cairoli, with Prado down in 4th after making a mistake on the final lap.
In the second MXGP race, it was Prado who claimed the second FOX Holeshot of the day and once again leading the rest of the field. Behind him was Herlings, Cairoli and Seewer, though the #222 made a mistake and lost about 5/6 positions on the opening lap.
As Prado led the race, Paulin who was having a great ride in 4th came under attack by the defending world champion, Gajser, with Cairoli also stepping it up and getting involved in the action.
While the two factory Yamahas of Seewer and Paulin were having a top ride in the top 5, the same couldn’t be said for their team-mate Arnaud Tonus who crashed out of the race.
As Gajser and Cairoli continued to push Paulin, the Frenchman caught his leg which sent him flying into the advertising banners and out of a strong 4th place. Meanwhile at the front, just 2 seconds separated the top three riders, as Seewer set his personal fastest lap time of the race, clearly showing his intentions for the rest of the race.
Following the drama of the first race, that saw Jeremy Van Horebeek of the Honda SR Motoblouz squad miss the start due to what looked like a bike issue, he was running 11th in the second MXGP race. He finished 12th in the end.
As the battle for the lead continued, there was a good fight going down for 4th, with Cairoli being chased by Gajser. It also didn’t take long for Febvre to join in on the action as he eventually passed Gajser and set his sights on Cairoli.
Lap 10 and Prado continued to lead Herlings and Seewer, though that’s when you could see Herlings stepping up a gear as he pushed for the win. Though with Herlings focused on Prado, this allowed Seewer to get right on his tail, with the bullet losing a little bit of time during that lap.
Lap 13 and Herlings was the new race leader after finally finding a way past the #61 of Prado. Seewer could not afford to let Herlings run away and was able to pass for second and continue his chase of the number #84.
For the last 3 laps of the race a mere 1.1 seconds separated Herlings and Seewer, with the factory Yamaha using all his energy to try pass Herlings, though in the end he was not able to do so as Herlings made it 1-1 winning the MXGP of Italy.
Second on the podium was Seewer following a 2-2 result, with Cairoli filling the third step of the podium with a consistent 3-3 in the races.
Jeffrey Herlings continues to lead the championship by 60 points over Antonio Cairoli, with Tim Gajser in third on 196 points.
Jeffrey Herlings: “In the first race I almost got the holeshot, I just went a bit wide but [Jorge] Prado was really good in the beginning and the roost hurt so it was hard to overtake him as he was riding the best lines. I felt like I could go faster but I couldn’t really pass. Both races when I could sense that he was tired that’s the point where I tried to overtake him in both races and open a small gap between me and Jeremy. In the second race I overtook him, the rest of the pack like Jeremy were pretty quick so I had to race to the finish line. The speed of the top ten is unbelievably fast, everybody is so close to each other, I felt good all day, I had two good starts, and two race wins so was a good day in the end…Starts are key and I will keep working on them”.
Jeremy Seewer: “In the first race I messed up my start by myself as I went a little bit too early, I was around 10th place. I felt really good and luckily could recover from that and catch up to the front group and finish second behind Jeffrey. I felt good, I used quite a bit of energy as I pushed the whole race and had no time to rest as I had to pass riders throughout the race so I was happy to get a good start in the second one being fourth and straight past Tony [Cairoli] and ride the whole race behind Jeffrey but as he mentioned it’s super hard to pass so I couldn’t really find a spot, he didn’t make any mistakes and I just had to go for second. I’m super happy with my performance, my bike felt great. For me mentally it’s not the easiest time but I’m happy to be second”.
Antonio Cairoli: “The day started bad this morning with time practice, I didn’t feel good at all with my knee… In the first race, my start was not so bad but [Ivo] Monticelli went really wide on the corner and we almost touched together so I had to brake and came out around 8th place. I tried to re-group with Jorge [Prado] and Jeffrey [Herlings]. The pace was fast, but I was able to come closer, so I tried to make a good come back, but Jeremy [Seewer] was riding really fast in both races and passed me. In the second race I had a good start and was riding fourth in the first lap though I made a mistake, so I tried to re-group again and to be safe. I found a good rhythm and tried to attack in the last laps but again I was short on time. But I am happy because this track is tough and not one of my favourites and with two more races here I hope I can improve.
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:19.086; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:04.449; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:05.809; 4. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:18.901; 5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:20.460; 6. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:27.508; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GASGAS), +0:29.307; 8. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:34.581; 9. Mitchell Evans (AUS, Honda), +0:39.860; 10. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, Husqvarna), +0:40.323.
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:18.731; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:01.973; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:07.461; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:09.053; 5. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:09.691; 6. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:23.291; 7. Mitchell Evans (AUS, Honda), +0:45.795; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GASGAS), +0:48.674; 9. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, Husqvarna), +0:51.293; 10. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Yamaha), +0:56.253.
MXGP – GP Top 10 Classification: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 44 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 40 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 33 p.; 5. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 33 p.; 6. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 29 p.; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GAS), 27 p.; 8. Mitchell Evans (AUS, HON), 26 p.; 9. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 26 p.; 10. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, HUS), 23 p.
MXGP – World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 263 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 203 p.; 3. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 196 p.; 4. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, HUS), 186 p.; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 178 p.; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GAS), 173 p.; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 155 p.; 8. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 153 p.; 9. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 146 p.; 10. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 137 p.
MXGP – Manufacturers Classification: 1. KTM, 270 points; 2. Honda, 231 p.; 3. Yamaha, 217 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 202 p.; 5. Husqvarna, 189 p.; 6. GASGAS, 187 p.
Main Photo: Jeffrey Herlings
Bottom Photos: 1. Jeremy Seewer; 2. Antonio Cairoli
In the opening MX2 race, Tom Vialle put his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine out in front as he claimed his 7thFOX Holeshot of the season. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory rider Jago Geerts, Maxime Renaux of Yamaha SM Action M.C Migliori – J1 Racing and Mathys Boisrame of F&H Kawasaki Racing were right behind the leader.
Getting a good start was also the Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee rider Conrad Mewse who was in 5th, ahead of Jan Pancar from KTM RACESTORE MX2 and local rider Morgan Lesiardo of Steelsdrjack.
Further down the field, Italian Mattia Guadagnini of Husqvarna Junior Racing Maddii made a pass on the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory rider Ben Watson, as the two battled outside the top 20.
Vialle then continued to lead the way with Geerts, Renaux and Boisrame right behind him. Then came Mewse who was pushing to stay with the riders ahead, followed by Pancar, Lesiardo and Richard Sikyna from JD GUNNEX KTM Racing Team who was having a strong ride in 8th.
As Mewse was looking to make a move on Boisrame on lap 7, Vialle went on to set the fastest lap of the race as he extended his lead to 4.780 seconds over Geerts.
Honda Racing Assomotor’s Stephen Rubini was also having a great battle with Lesiardo, with the two getting close to one another as they flew past pitlane. Though in the end it was Rubini who came out on top, moving up to 7th place.
All the while, Vialle washed the front end, thus losing the lead, handing Geerts P1. The KTM rider dropped to third as Renaux was also able to find his way past him and then came Boisrame.
As the race progressed, Geerts was flying around the Monte Coralli circuit as he checked off lap after lap and led Renaux by 11.6 seconds. It seemed like Vialle was also keen to make a comeback as he started to apply the pressure onto the #172 of Boisrame. The two had a close call near pit-lane which also allowed Mewse to take advantage and get closer.
With 2 laps remaining, the battle for 3rd was heating up between Boisrame, Vialle and Mewse. Though in the end the order remained the same as Geerts to the first race victory, with Renaux in second and Boisrame third.
The second MX2 race saw Jago Geerts add another FOX Holeshot to his name, though a small mistake allowed Renaux and Vialle through as the Yamaha SM Action M.C Migliori – J1 Racing pilot led the way on the opening lap.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsen also got off to a good start in the race and was running 6th behind F&H Kawasaki Racing’s Roan Van de Moosdijk. It didn’t take long for the second Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider Jed Beaton to catch up to those guys with him later moving up to 6th after passing his team-mate on lap 3.
On lap 7, Renaux was still the guy to beat, with Geerts really knuckling down on Vialle as he tried to make a pass for second place. Boisrame was still there in 4th with his team-mate a position further back.
As the race progressed, the gap between Vialle and Renaux decreased with the leader having to fend off a hard-charging Vialle while also making his way around the backmarkers.
With 5 minutes plus 2 laps to go, Vialle and Geerts continued to chase Renaux, with the Frenchman doing a stellar job at keeping his cool and not letting the pressure affect him too much.
As Geerts slowly backed off, Vialle did not and was pushing the limits in order to pass for the win and with 3 laps to go there was just 1.6 seconds between first and second. The Red Bull KTM Factory rider continued to push until the very end though it was not enough as Renaux took his career first race win in MX2.
It was the perfect day for Maxime Renaux as he also took the top step of the podium, with Geerts finishing second and Vialle in third.
Tom Vialle still leads the championship by a small margin, that is 3 points, while Jago Geerts remains second and Maxime Renaux in third.
Maxime Renaux: “That was incredible, one of the best days of my life for sure. I got a good start in the second race and then managed to lead the whole race. It was really tough, it’s hot here so physically it was quite hard but managed to do it and I’m really happy with that and let’s carry on with that pace”.
Jago Geerts: “It was a good day today, in the first race I won so I was really happy with that and my riding was good. The second race I got the holeshot but then in the first corner I made a little mistake and went to second and then third. After that I just rode a good pace and I was trying to make some passes but it was really difficult, so I just took home the third place and I’m happy with second overall. I’m looking forward to the next two races here”.
Tom Vialle: “At the beginning of the race  I was not that good and Maxime [Renaux] made a little gap but I was able to find my rhythm and catch him and yes in the last three laps I tried to push for the pass but Maxime didn’t make any mistakes and was riding really good so now I finish third overall so it’s not so bad”.
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), 36:03.347; 2. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:07.292; 3. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:09.304; 4. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +0:09.701; 5. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:10.221; 6. Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:25.871; 7. Stephen Rubini (FRA, Honda), +0:27.334; 8. Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), +0:28.862; 9. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:35.243; 10. Morgan Lesiardo (ITA, KTM), +0:52.644.
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), 35:45.835; 2. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +0:03.359; 3. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:08.329; 4. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:27.441; 5. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Kawasaki), +0:28.610; 6. Jed Beaton (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:29.501; 7. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:30.451; 8. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:32.842; 9. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:35.621; 10. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Yamaha), +0:57.942.
MX2 – GP Top 10 Classification: 1. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 47 points; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 45 p.; 3. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 40 p.; 4. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, KAW), 38 p.; 5. Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 30 p.; 6. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 26 p.; 7. Stephen Rubini (FRA, HON), 24 p.; 8. Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), 22 p.; 9. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 20 p.; 10. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, HUS), 19 p.
MX2 – World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 257 points; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 254 p.; 3. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 196 p.; 4. Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 178 p.; 5. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, KAW), 169 p.; 6. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, KAW), 166 p.; 7. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 139 p.; 8. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 115 p.; 9. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 115 p.; 10. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, KAW), 105 p.
MX2 – Manufacturers Classification: 1. Yamaha, 280 points; 2. KTM, 260 p.; 3. Kawasaki, 225 p.; 4. Husqvarna, 191 p.; 5. Honda, 125 p.; 6. GASGAS, 81 p.
Main Photo: Maxime Renaux
Bottom Photos: 1. Jago Geerts; 2. Tom Vialle