Eight rounds of hard-core motocross are in the bag and so far the first half of the season has provided no clues for the second half. We’re not sure if you would have guessed, but Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli is slowly starting to chip away at the point’s lead of the young-guns Gajser and Febvre. The legendary Italian won the MXGP of Germany last weekend and landed on top of the box again this weekend much to the delight of his screaming fans.
The speed of the MXGP class is an ever-rising constant, especially with the likes of Tim Gajser raising the bar, and the likes of Antonio Cairoli returning to form. These elements may be contributing to the mistakes Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre is making at the moment as he tries to defend his MXGP crown. Adding to the sight and spectacle of the MXGP championship, Febvre crashed on turn one in the first race and had to battle from last. He crashed again on his mission to the front and only finished sixth. In race two, the Frenchman bounced back. He didn’t get the greatest of starts but charged hard and capitalized on a mistake of the race leader, Cairoli, to win the final race of the day. Although he wishes the day could have been better, he said, “I’m happy to be on the podium in second place.”
Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser treated the powerful Slovenian fans that came out to support him with his mind-blowing speed and intensity. All you can do when you watch the 19-year-old rookie ride is shake off the Goosebumps and just admire his talent. This weekend Gajser had two massive crashes, one in each race. Amazingly he bounced back from both and still managed to land on the podium with two fourth place finishes. The Slovenian still leads the championship by 4 points over Febvre, and is the only rider in MXGP to have finished on the podium at every round.
Meanwhile, Team Suzuki World MXGP’s Kevin Strijbos and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl rounded out the top five. Strijbos was looking particularly good out here today and was only nudged off the podium on the last lap of the final moto when Gajser passed another rider for one more point. As for Max Nagl, it wasn’t quite the same experience of last year when won the grand prix, although he was very impressive in race one when he chased Cairoli and finished second. In race two, the German got himself into a bit of strife on the opening lap and only got back to eighth.
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 33:50.549; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:01.934; 3. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:03.076; 4. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:05.585; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:07.778; 6. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:42.411; 7. Ben Townley (NZL, Suzuki), +0:48.079; 8. Tanel Leok (EST, KTM), +0:52.426; 9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:57.919; 10. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:59.080.
MXGP Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), 33:54.298; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:00.565; 3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:04.628; 4. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:06.656; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:12.571; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:20.509; 7. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:38.299; 8. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:39.929; 9. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:44.670; 10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:45.198.
MXGP Overall Top Ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 47 points; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 40 p.; 3. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 36 p.; 4. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 35 p.; 5. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 35 p.; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 32 p.; 7. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 32 p.; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 21 p.; 9. Tanel Leok (EST, KTM), 20 p.; 10. Ben Townley (NZL, SUZ), 20 p.
MXGP Championship Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 335 points; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 331 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 310 p.; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 273 p.; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 264 p.; 6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 247 p.; 7. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 204 p.; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 189 p.; 9. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 153 p.; 10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 146 p.
MXGP Manufacturer: 1. Honda, 343 points; 2. Yamaha, 339 p.; 3. KTM, 317 p.; 4. Husqvarna, 284 p.; 5. Suzuki, 227 p.; 6. Kawasaki, 173 p.
Words and Images by MXGP