The MXGP of Kegums saw the third and final Grand Prix races of the Latvian triple-header in 2020, which once again treated us to some amazing action from start to finish.
The Latvian trio of races welcomed back the FIM Motocross World Championship after a long five month wait, and with the races concluded here in Kegums, that also concludes MXGP’s time in the Baltic country for the 2020 season.
Today’s racing was once again hard to predict with a really strong line-up of contenders all pushing for their shot on the podium. Though in the end it was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings who finally took an overall win in Latvia, while Jago Geerts of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing sealed a back-to-back victory, leaving Kegums with two big trophies to take home back to Belgium.
As the gate dropped for the opening MXGP race of the day, it was Standing Construct GasGas MXGP’s Ivo Monticelli who claimed his second FOX Holeshot of the season. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing pilot Arminas Jasikonis, as well as Team HRC’s Tim Gajser were also right there in the top three, as Gajser quickly moved into the lead.
Bad luck once again for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings who got squeezed on the start straight and had to pick off some riders in order to get back into contention for the race win.
Additionally, the start also saw some more drama, with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Arnaud Tonus and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Antonio Cairoli both going down in the first corner.
Things were not looking much better for Jeremy Seewer of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing who went down hard in turn three. Despite looking in pain, he managed to get back on his factory Yamaha and put in a few more laps, before eventually retiring from the race.
Gajser was the race leader, with Monticelli holding second and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Pradoin third ahead of Jasikonis. Meanwhile Herlings was up in 7th after making a decent recovery in the first lap.
Jasikonis then started to close on Prado as he chased second place, while Herlings was also looking to move up in the race as he passed Clement Desalle of Monster Energy Kawasaki MXGP, though Desalle fired straight back making it hard for the bullet to get ahead and catch the leaders.
Herlings then found himself in a battle with Monticelli for fourth place, with Monticelli doing a great job of protecting his position, as Herlings struggled for six whole laps before he passed the GasGas rider.
By the time Herlings passed Monticelli, Jasikonis had also managed to pass Prado for second. Though as Herlings moved into fourth place, Prado was too far ahead of him.
With two minutes and two laps to go, Gajser continued to lead, with Jasikonis second and Prado third. Herlings meanwhile was 32 seconds down on the leader so a race win was looking unlikely.
In the end Gajser took the opening race win, Jasikonis finished in second, Prado was third, Herlings fourth and Romain Febvre of Monster Energy Kawasaki MXGP in the top five.
In race two, this time it was Tim Gajser with the FOX Holeshot as he led the group around the first corner by pitlane. Herlings was having a much better start to the race and was on Gajser’s tail from the get-go as Prado and Cairoli also followed the two leaders.
Herlings wasted no time in the second race as he quickly made a move on Gajser and was the new race leader.
While Cairoli was adding pressure onto his KTM team-mate, he was also coming under fire from Febvre and Jasikonis. Though he managed to catch up to Prado, those two were then locked in a pretty intense battle, that saw Prado block pass Cairoli and Cairoli block pass him back. After several attempts, Cairoli eventually passed the MXGP rookie, Prado, and moved into third.
Gajser then started to catch back up to the #84 of Herlings, though something happened to the Honda rider and he went down, allowing Cairoli through to second.
Meanwhile Jasikonis made some quick passes on Prado and Febvre and was up in fourth, with his energy concentrated on catching Gajser ahead. He then passed Gajser to move into third, though Gajser wasn’t going to let the Lithuanian run away.
As he started to catch the tall Lithuanian, his bike suddenly stopped, forcing the defending world champion out of race two due to an electrical issue.
In the end it was Herlings with the race win, followed by Cairoli who had a strong finish in second, with Jasikonis crossing the line in third place.
Overall it was Jeffrey Herlings who finally claimed a Grand Prix victory in Latvia, with Jasikonis reaching a career milestone with second overall, and Prado also making his first MXGP podium of his rookie season!
As it stands, Herlings continues to lead the MXGP World Championship, with Gajser a further 46 points back, as Jasikonis joins in third just four points behind the factory Honda rider.
Jeffrey Herlings: “The first race was tough. I didn’t have a good jump, I was like fifteenth and then was struggling with arm pump, the riding just wasn’t good. The track was really sketchy overall the last three races with a lot of square bumps. I know it’s going to be a long series, I’ve had a lot of injuries in the past and I try to be at every race, maybe not be dominant but just try to be there and be consistent, until now it’s actually been working out. I haven’t won that much, because when I got here I was 4-4, 3-3 and 4-1 but I’ve been the most consistent over the races and it’s been paying off in the championship. Going into the next race I’ll definitely have to put in some work, try to work a bit more on the starts, work on myself and try to get some more speed and confidence. But I’m happy to finish off this Latvian trip in this way”.
Arminas Jasikonis: “We improved every race day, with a complete week of racing; first race last Sunday was good, I mean could be better but then on Wednesday it got better and now finally we got the podium second, I think one point off the overall win but overall we improved a lot and know where we need to work more to get even better. We know we are on the right tracks and thanks to the whole team for believing in me so much. We had bad luck a lot of times but we never gave up and here we are, we need to be calm and work hard and be better for the next races”.
Jorge Prado: “Sometimes you win, and it doesn’t mean as much as maybe this third place means to me. I had a very tough round to get here with injuries. But all the hard work pays off. I’ve been working really hard and putting my maximum effort every single training… and you know a podium in the MXGP class, I mean it’s the top class of the sport and it’s not easy, not so many riders can say that they’ve been on the podium, so we need to really appreciate every single result so I’m very happy”.
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 35:20.589; 2. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, Husqvarna), +0:08.779; 3. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:21.090; 4. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:29.165; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:32.391; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:33.535; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GASGAS), +0:34.644; 8. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:38.291; 9. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:44.978; 10. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Honda), +0:50.164.
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:26.803; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:07.898; 3. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, Husqvarna), +0:12.060; 4. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:23.368; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:27.988; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GASGAS), +0:31.572; 7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:39.249; 8. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +0:49.115; 9. Mitchell Evans (AUS, Honda), +0:57.135; 10. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Honda), +1:03.116.
MXGP – Overall Top 10 Classification: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 43 points; 2. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, HUS), 42 p.; 3. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 38 p.; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 34 p.; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 32 p.; 6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GAS), 29 p.; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 28 p.; 8. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 25 p.; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, HON), 22 p.; 10. Mitchell Evans (AUS, HON), 21 p.
MXGP – Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 213 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 167 p.; 3. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, HUS), 163 p.; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 163 p.; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GAS), 146 p.; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 134 p.; 7. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 131 p.; 8. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 129 p.; 9. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 120 p.; 10. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 104 p.
MXGP – Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 220 points; 2. Honda, 202 p.; 3. Yamaha, 173 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 169 p.; 5. Husqvarna, 166 p.; 6. GASGAS, 160 p.;