The MXGP of Latvia offered an amazing show throughout the whole weekend in Kegums and was the place of many firsts.
Th 8th round of the 2023 FIM Motocross World Championship was marked by unpredictable change of weather conditions that the rain fall during the second races of the day which pushed riders to show all their riding skills to perform.
At the end of the day it was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings who got his first hat-trick of the season with a perfect 1-1-1 in front of Red plate holder Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Jorge Pradoand Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre who closed the podium.
In MX2, it was another complete domination with Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Kay de Wolf who won his first GP in MX2 in the best possible way with also a hat-trick 1-1-1. Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Roan Van de Moosdijk finished second on the podium for his second podium finish of the season in front of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team’s Thibault Benistant who gets a back-to-back podium finish.
The MXGP of Latvia displayed an incredible show for the Latvian fans present with some unpredictable race scenarios.
In Race 1, Jorge Prado took his 7th FOX Holeshot of the season and powered through to take the lead in front of Ruben Fernandez and Jeffrey Herlings. Herlings quickly passed Fernandez to push forward behind Prado. Prado managed to keep Herlings at bay and even increased his lead up to 6 seconds. After regrouping Herlings paced forward as he set few fastest laps and started to threat Prado on lap 14 of 17. Herlings eventually muscled his way as he took the inside of Prado to take the lead. Herlings never looked back and won the race in front of Prado.
Team HRC’s Ruben Fernandez was the best of the rest as he kept riding at a great tempo to stay 3rd from lap 1 until the end without getting into any trouble. Behind him the battle for the 4th place raged on between Team Gebben Van Venroy Yamaha Racing’s Calvin Vlaanderen and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Glenn Coldenhoff . Coldenhoff looked determined as he took an aggressive line to overtake SM Action Racing Team Yuasa Battery MXGP’s Alberto Forato on lap 2 and sustained his speed to edge closer to Vlaanderen who was riding 4th from the start. Following several tries, lap 13 was the moment for Coldenhoff to get the final word and overtook Vlaanderen for 4th. Vlaanderen settle for a really 5th place.
Romain Febvre managed to get to 6th after an average start that place him 8th on lap 1. The Frenchman showed all his skills as he overtook Standing Construct Honda MXGP’s Brian Bogers for 5th on lap 2 and he had to pick clever lines to pass Forato for 6th on lap 9. Forato made a mistake and had to concede another position on the same lap to Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Jeremy Seewer. Forato finished 8th in the end.
Seewer had to draw a lot of energy after a poor start that saw him getting to 11th on lap 1. The recent GP winner moved up quickly to 8th on lap 8. He then capitalised on Forato’s mistake and got to 7th where he finished. Bogers showed good pace as he rode consistently into the top 10 to finish at a good 9th place in front of another good performer MRT Racing Team Beta’s Alessandro Lupino. The Italian managed to get a good start to be 9th on lap 1 but got passed a couple of times and moved down to 11th but Lupino kept battling and got back up to 10th in the end.
De Baets Yamaha MX-Team’s Benoit Paturel went down at the start of the race and unfortunately had to retire from the Grand Prix while JM Honda Racing’s Brent Van doninck also crash during lap 2 and also had to retire from the GP.
In race 2, Jorge Prado took the other FOX Holeshot and kept the lead in front of Febvre and Herlings. Febvre had an excellent flow and managed to pass Prado on lap 4 to lead most of the race but Herlings was simply too fast today as he passed Prado for 2nd on lap 7 and began to increase his pace to edge closer to Febvre. Eventually on lap 13 of 16, Herlings pounced and overtook Febvre to take the lead and win the race to get his first perfect weekend of the season. With a win in the RAM Qualifying Race and 1-1 on Sunday, Herlings got a maximum of point to reduce the points behind Prado.
Febvre settled for a good 2nd place to go 6-2 and finish 3rd overall. Prado on his side continues to be a model of consistency with a 2-3 to keep his Red Plate going. Behind them Coldenhoff displayed a great weekend as he was 4th from start to finish to go 4-4 and a 4th overall.
Seewer managed to get to 5th after coming from the back showing that he is resourceful to salvage important points. 7th on lap 1, passed Bogers for 6th on lap 4 and benefitted from Fernandez’ misfortune on lap 8 to go 5th and finish 5th overall with a 7-5. Bogers, unfortunately had to retire from the race few laps later while podium hopeful, Fernandez was 5th until lap 5 but had a bike problem and had to retire to 9th overall. He lost vital points as he lost one position to Febvre go 4th in the Championship.
Forato showed all his talent to go from 10th on lap 1 to 6th in the end as he passed sand specialist Vlaanderen on lap 7 for 8th and capitalised on Fernandez and Bogers issues to move up to 6th and kept that position until the checkered flag to go 8-6 for 7th overall, bouncing back from France.
Ship to Cycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Valentin Guillod is another rider that shows consistency into the top 10 over the last Grand Prix as the Swiss managed to finish where he started with a solid 8th position. Lupino seemed to have like these rainy conditions in Kegums as the Italian solidly finished 9th for an encouraging and good 8th overall.
JWR Honda Racing’s Alvin Ostlund made an apparition into the top 10 with a very good performance as the Swedish went from 15th on lap 1 to 10th and getting good points along the way.
In the end Jeffrey Herlings had the perfect weekend with a 1-1-1 to get the maximum points while Jorge Prado keeps the Red Plate and add another podium to his consistent season. Romain Febvre gets a back-to-back podium and moves back up to 3rd in the Championship.
Jeffrey Herlings: “It was not an easy win. In the second race Romain (Febvre) was riding very strong and I had to fight for that one. Overall, I am very happy and pleased to win the Grand Prix. It was a perfect weekend and now I’m looking forward Germany”
Jorge Prado: “I was feeling great on Saturday but today I thought I could have won the first race but Jeffrey (Herlings) made a great charge. I had two great starts with two FOX Holeshots and I’m happy to keep the Red Plate. We are going to keep working to stay consistent and get some wins too and I’m really looking for the next races”
Romain Febvre: “It was a good operation for the weekend. In the second race I got a good start, it was muddy which is conditions that I love and I could pass some riders to get to the front. I had to concede the lead to Jeffrey (Herlings) which was a bit disappointed but I’m happy because my speed is good”
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:11.973; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +0:07.706; 3. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Honda), +0:20.582; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +0:23.630; 5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:25.870; 6. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:28.722; 7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:29.871; 8. Alberto Forato (ITA, KTM), +0:51.219; 9. Brian Bogers (NED, Honda), +1:05.615; 10. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Beta), +1:30.645;
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:18.867; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:04.972; 3. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +0:19.776; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +0:37.993; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:46.222; 6. Alberto Forato (ITA, KTM), +1:08.090; 7. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +1:19.129; 8. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Honda), +1:34.718; 9. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Beta), +1:35.412; 10. Alvin Östlund (SWE, Honda), +1:37.128
MXGP – GP Top 10 Classification: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 42 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 37 p.; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 36 p.; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 30 p.; 6. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 30 p.; 7. Alberto Forato (ITA, KTM), 28 p.; 8. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, BET), 23 p.; 9. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 23 p.; 10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, HON), 19 p
MXGP – World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 393 points; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 378 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 306 p.; 4. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 294 p.; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 273 p.; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 260 p.; 7. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 260 p.; 8. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, GAS), 203 p.; 9. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 202 p.; 10. Alberto Forato (ITA, KTM), 191 p
MXGP – Manufacturers Classification: 1. GASGAS, 399 points; 2. Yamaha, 395 p.; 3. KTM, 393 p.; 4. Honda, 324 p.; 5. Kawasaki, 322 p.; 6. Beta, 147 p.; 7. Husqvarna, 28 p.
Main Photo: Jeffrey Herlings
Bottom Photos: 1. Jorge Prado; 2. Romain Febvre
In Race 1, it was Roan Van De Moosdijk who took the FOX Holeshot but Thibault Benistant quickly took the lead in front of Kay de Wolf. While Benistsant rode strongly it was de Wolf who looked the livelier on the bike and setting several fastest laps. Eventually on lap 7 of 17, de Wolf made an incredible move to pass Benistant and stay very low on the jumps to keep the advantage. Benistant never gave up and made a late charge while getting the fastest lap along the way but de Wolf managed the situation and won the race, Benistant settled for 2nd.
Van De Moosdijk was very solid and kept a decent pace to go 3rd from start to finish. Behind him Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Liam Everts finished 4th and continues on his great form as he managed to overtakeRed Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Sacha Coenen on lap 6 to move up to 4th and maintain that place until the end even though he had to push at the end to make sure to stay in front his teammate Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Andrea Adamo. Adamo had a poor start as he found himself 10th on lap 1, but the Italian did what he does best and rode wonderfully to move past many riders in front of him to find himself 5th on lap 7 where he finished in the end.
Following a very good start, S.Coenen had to concede few positions throughout the race and finish 9. The Belgian got an encouraging top 10 with the 10th position in the end.
F&H Kawasaki Racing Team’s KevinHorgmo is another rider that is performing and like this track he was 7th on lap 7 after a good start and managed to confidently power through VHR Racing Team’s Isak Gifting to move up to 6th on lap 10. Gifting displayed some amazing moves and showed confidence as he got overtaken only once to finish 7th.
WZ RACING TEAM’s Mikkel Haarup and WZ Racing Team’s Oriol Oliver found themselves 8th and 9th respectively on lap 1 and both lost a position due to Adamo’s charge early on the race. However both riders got a great rhythm throughout the race as they followed each other. They both overtook S.Coenen move up one place and finished where they started. Haarup 8th and Oliver 9th.
In Race 2, L.Coenen grabbed the FOX Holeshot and led the way in front of his two teammates, de Wolf and Van De Moosdijk. L.Coenen was looking very comfortable and looked like going all the way. Not helped by the difficult weather conditions, L.Coenen went down on lap 13 to let de Wolf take the lead. De Wolf also had a scare when he went out of the track on lap 9 to pick himself up in 3rd, but quickly passed Van De Moosdijk to take his 2nd place back on lap 11. De Wolf then capitalised on L.Coenen’s mistake and went to win the second race. It was a formidable way for de Wolf to win the first GP win of his career in MX2 with a perfect 1-1-1 and take the Red Plate in the same time.
L.Coenen finished 2nd in the end after missing out on race 1 to finish 10th overall. Van De Moosdijk kept his 3rd place to go 3-3 for 2nd overall and his second podium of the season.
Adamo had a strong race as he was 4th from start to finish and rode cleverly to not do any mistake. Adamo went 5-4 for a 4th overall which keeps him in the contention for the Championship lead although he lost his Red Plate to de Wolf.
Behind him Horgmo continued on his good form as he managed to overtake Mike Gwerder on lap 2 to move up to 5th. Horgmo who had his first podium in Kegums last year, showed that he likes this track and conditions as he went 6-5 for a good 5th overall, keeping his 100% top 10 record so far this season.
Benistant had to dig deep to in race 2 after going down in multi-rider collision on the first turn. Picking himself up in 15th position, Benistant showed an incredible array of skills and determination to pace forward and overtaking riders lap after lap. Benistant heroically finished 6th to get a salvaging spot on the podium in 3rd position with a 2-6.
Similarly to Benistant, Everts also had to draw a lot of strength to make a comeback as he got caught at the start too and went from 16th on lap 1 to 8th in the end. It demonstrated that his talent and fighting-spirit can help him in these tough situations. Everts managed a good 6th overall.
It was a good race for Haarup as the Danish rode consistently within the top 10 and managed to finish 7th to go 8-7 for 7th overall which is his best finish this season. It was similar feat for Oliver as he managed to keep riding strongly going up to 7th on lap 6 to settle for 9th in the end and a good 9th overall.
Gifting made an amazing comeback as he was involved in the collision of the first turn and found himself 18th on lap 1. The Swedish rider showed that he can have speed and control as he moved up the rank methodically to get to 10th on lap 10 and kept this place until the end. With an 8th overall Gifting is another rider that had his best result of the year.
In the end, Kay de Wolf displayed an immense performance to win the GP with a perfect score and take the Red Plate for the first time in his career. Roan Van De Moosdijk got another podium as he showed that he has pace and can be consistent while Thibault Benistant got the 3rd overall despite crashing in race 2 which is a testament to his qualities.
Kay de Wolf: “It’s amazing to have the red plate and finally get my first GP win after three season in MX2, it was a long way but we kept fighting. It is an amazing team and I cannot thank them enough. We are going to celebrate it tonight!”
Roan Van De Moosdijk: “A little mistake in race two but it is amazing for the team to get two riders on the podium although I wanted to win a race but in the end I made it to the podium and I am now looking forward to Germany and keep it up like this”
Thibault Benistant: “I got the podium which is the positive point. I was leading in race one and when kay (de Wolf) passed me I fought back and got my fastest lap. In race two it was unfortunate to crash at the start but the season is long and I look forward to it”
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), 35:05.271; 2. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:01.000; 3. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Husqvarna), +0:29.021; 4. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +0:34.752; 5. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), +0:37.400; 6. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Kawasaki), +0:49.055; 7. Isak Gifting (SWE, GASGAS), +0:57.556; 8. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, KTM), +1:15.373; 9. Oriol Oliver (ESP, KTM), +1:20.869; 10. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), +1:26.582
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification 1. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), 36:29.270; 2. Lucas Coenen (BEL, Husqvarna), +0:06.199; 3. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Husqvarna), +0:14.909; 4. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), +0:29.168; 5. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Kawasaki), +0:32.844; 6. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:45.805; 7. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, KTM), +0:48.062; 8. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +0:49.030; 9. Oriol Oliver (ESP, KTM), +1:22.772; 10. Isak Gifting (SWE, GASGAS), +1:39.709
MX2 – GP Top 10 Classification: 1. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 50 points; 2. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, HUS), 40 p.; 3. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 37 p.; 4. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 34 p.; 5. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KAW), 31 p.; 6. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 31 p.; 7. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, KTM), 27 p.; 8. Isak Gifting (SWE, GAS), 25 p.; 9. Oriol Oliver (ESP, KTM), 24 p.; 10. Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 22 p
MX2 – World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 367 points; 2. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 355 p.; 3. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 348 p.; 4. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 319 p.; 5. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, HUS), 303 p.; 6. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 273 p.; 7. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 259 p.; 8. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KAW), 232 p.; 9. Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 223 p.; 10. Jan Pancar (SLO, KTM), 160 p
MX2 – Manufacturers Classification: 1. Yamaha, 435 points; 2. Husqvarna, 390 p.; 3. KTM, 366 p.; 4. GASGAS, 299 p.; 5. Kawasaki, 237 p.; 6. Honda, 134 p.; 7. Fantic, 18 p.;
Main Photo: Kay de Wolf
Bottom Photos: 1. Roan Van De Moosdijk; 2. Thibault Benistant