The MXGP of Russia, the 10th stop of the 2017 FIM Motocross World Championship, was one to remember, especially for the overall winners Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass. The pair of winners battled not only the rest of the field but the demanding conditions on their way to the top.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle was all smiles as he claimed his second overall this season. Desalle’s back to back overall wins are due to his consistently strong results. Placing 3rd in race 1 and winning race 2 the Belgian made it near impossible for anyone to outscore him. Gaining 45 championship points this weekend he now sits 2nd in the title chase. Desalle in the press conference said: “I was really doing good and feeling really good on the bike. I was just focused on me and tried to stay calm and finally I won the race and the GP. It is really nice to have the second GP in a row and I will keep working to have some more. This feeling is why we are all here.“
Gaining his 4th podium of the last 5 GP stops is Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings. Herlings narrowly missed out on the Fox Holeshot in race 1 and would settle into second the first half of the race before charging into the lead on lap 10. His second race start was not nearly as fortunate when he fell in the first corner. After remounting his KTM he fell once more on a downhill section of the track. The Dutchman isn’t known for performing well in the mud but his win combined with 8th in race 2 proved to be enough for 2nd overall. Herlings in the press conference stated: “ I feel like we made some good improvements and also on the start I think we’ve been really analyzing it a lot. We really made the best of our situation.“
Title contender Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin was one of the most consistent and patient riders scoring 5-3 finishes for 3rd overall. Paulin struggled off the start in both races and had to work his way forward from 8th to 5th and 5th to 3rd in difficult conditions. Paulin, later in the press conference, said: “Considering everything it is always positive to be on the podium. I didn’t have good starts at all, in the first race I really slid on the grid and it was really tough to come back. Ending up 3rd overall is very positive.“
Paulin’s Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing teammate Max Anstie had his career best 450 result coming in 4th overall. The Brit ran 3rd for most of the day, 23 of 31 total laps to be exact, before finishing 4th in race 1 and 5th in race 2.
Points leader, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli took 5th overall after a strong 2nd in the first race but a disappointing 9th in race 2. Though not having the weekend expected he goes into his home MXGP of Ottobiano with the red plate and a 47 point championship lead over Desalle: “This weekend was good, I came prepared for this track. I’m really happy about the championship at the moment and look forward to Ottobiano.“
Finishing 6th overall was Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Romain Febvre. While 6th overall is a strong result the real high note for Febvre was race 2 where he grabbed the Fox Holeshot and led the first 12 laps and finished 2nd. While the speed and start were of winning form the mistake of running into a lapped rider proved costly.
Meanwhile Russian fan favorite Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev took a respectable 12th overall at his home GP only 3 weeks after surgery on a fractured collarbone.
Yesterday’s qualifying race winner Wilvo Yamaha MXGP’s Arnaud Tonus faced an entirely different surface today but he still managed a strong result. After a fall in race one would hold him to 9th, a strong start in race 2 propelled him to 4th. The combination of the two results position the Swiss rider 7th overall to end the weekend.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Pauls Jonass showed that consistency is key on his way to the overall win. Jonass went 2-3 and was even lapped on race 2 but he still managed to grow his points lead on the competition. In the post race press conference Jonass said, “I was really surprised after the second moto that I won the overall, my mechanic put on the board GP win with 5 minutes to go. I was thinking, yeah, how was it possible? It was difficult and I was happy to manage 2 good races and I’m really happy to win the overall.”
The man who showed the most dominance in terms of individual races was by far Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer. Seewer struggled off the start of race 1 and after throwing away his goggles only managed a 7th place finish. The second race was a different story all together, Seewer had a good start and moved into the lead from fourth by lap 8 but by the finish lapped every rider except second who finished 2 minutes and 32 seconds later. Seewer in the press conference said: “It was tough out there…I just did my laps. I didn’t know I was leading and at the finish I was told that I had nearly lapped everyone and that was cool to see that and realize it at the finish line.”
HSF Logistics Motorsport’s Brian Bogers reached the podium for the first time this season taking 3rd overall. In race 1 Bogers took 6th after running as high as 4th. Finishing 2nd in race 2 was victory on its own, but another small victory was the fact that Bogers was the only rider not to be lapped in the race. After struggling early in the year the #189 has perhaps reached the turning point of his season in Russia. Bogers after the race said: “I feel amazing today even do it has been a hard a year for me, the beginning of the season didn’t go as expected but today we made it on the podium and I’m really about it.”
Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team’s Benoit Paturel carried his hard earned momentum from France to Orlyonok and scored another impressive result. Benoit had an up and down day with 3-12 finishes but overall came out ahead of many with 4th overall. While previously know for bad starts of the grid, the last 2 races show he has been working hard to improve. The #6 was 2nd after the first lap of race 2 and even led for a lap before falling.
One of the other Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team riders, the young Alvin Ostlund, had his career best result in MX2 finishing 5th overall after going 8-6. Ostlund achieved his top 5 thanks to the way he worked his way forward to 6th in race 2 after starting the first lap in 11th.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsen had a head turning race 1 as he led every lap but the first on the way to the race win. Unfortunately for Olsen that would be the extent of the laps he completed and while he started Race 2 he fell on the opening lap, damaged his bike, and pulled off unable to continue.
Two other MX2 riders who impressed today were Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado Garcia and Suzuki World MX2’s Hunter Lawrence. Prado took both Fox Holeshots and Lawrence run among the top 5 in both races before finishing 4th and 11th for 6th overall.