Tony Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings made it a memorable day for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team at the MX1 and MX2 GPs of Russia at Semigorje both notching perfect 1-1 moto results to take a firm hold on both GPs and their respective championship leads.
Both Cairoli and Herlings leave with the red plates firmly in their grasp while at the same time, KTM was able to celebrate overall third places in both the MX1 and MX2 thanks to fine rides by Ken de Dycker and Jeremy van Horebeek respectively.
After a stunning first moto victory and impressive opening laps in the second MX1 moto, Cairoli stopped hearts when he crashed and sacrificed around six seconds in lap three of the second race. With the overall win now up for grabs the Italian focused all his efforts on hunting down the two riders that had sipped past him, his two biggest rivals for the title, Christophe Pourcel and Clement Desalle. Two laps of hard work by KTM’s Italian rider followed while Cairoli got his KTM 350 SX-F in position to slip by Pourcel leaving only Desalle who had gained several seconds advantage while Cairoli and Pourcel had been battling it out. With just two minutes and two laps to go, the wily Italian went for the gap and took the lead. Cairoli then put down the hammer and quickly extended his lead to take the second race by eight seconds to secure his 49th career GP victory.
It was also a good weekend for KTM’s Ken de Dycker who finished second to Cairoli in the opening moto and started well in both races. After finishing 1-2 with Cairoli in the first race de Dycker worked hard in race two to move up to fourth, sat behind Pourcell and slipped into third place to have another potential podium in his lien of vision. De Dycker held his nerve and position and his 2-3 result for the weekend put him on the podium in third to complete a very strong day for the Red Bull KTM factory team.
Tony Cairoli: “ I like the track when it’s rough like it was here, it suits my riding style. Yesterday it was raining and I thought we would have another wet GP but today was great, the track was dry and there were many lines. I got two good starts in both races and it was fun to be fighting with my teammate (de Dycker) and to be 1-2 in the first race. I hope we can do it again and both finish on the podium again. It would be great.”
Ken de Dycker: “It looks like things are getting better for me each week and I am even getting good starts now and that makes it easier. But I was sick during the week and today I felt a bit weak so I will try to work on my fitness next week and be better prepared for the next races.”
Top performance by KTM’s Jeffrey Herlings
Meanwhile it was a red-letter day for Jeffrey Herlings who got the jump in both motos on his KTM 250 SX-F and completely ran away with both races. It was the Dutch teenager’s fourth double moto victory this season and as his teammate Jeremy van Horebeek remarked in the finish area, “Jeffrey was on another planet today”. Van Horebeek also had another great result finishing on the podium in third from his 2-3 result, just being displaced for second by UK rider Tommy Searle who slipped past him in the final laps to steal it with a 3-2 result. The third factory team member Jordi Tixier who this weekend scored his first ever pole position came away with a 6-6 result and overall sixth.
Jeffrey Herlings: “I’m very happy, my riding was good and I took two holeshots. That’s what I wanted to do. I managed both times so that made it easier for me. I made eight more valuable points and I now have a 50 points lead over Tommy (Searle). I know anything can still happen but with five GPs to go things are looking good.”
Jeremy van Horebeek: “Yesterday I had a big crash in the rain but I got back to thirteenth, which was an okay position for today’s start. I had two good starts and was in the top three in both motos. The first moto I was second the whole race and in the second moto I was pushing with Jeffrey but I felt a bit sick last night and by the end of the race I was a bit weak and had to slow down in the last couple of laps.”
Jordi Tixier: “Yesterday was great for me when I won my first qualifying race but today the track was quite different and very dusty. I had two good starts and my speed was not so bad because I was twice sixth. I was quite satisfied with my riding but I have to find a bit more speed. I will work with Stefan (Everts) on this an we will see what happens in the next GP.”
This was the first time the MXGP circus had visited Russia since 2002 and organizers gave official attendance figures at 47,000 packed into the Semigorje Russia, about 400 km north of the capital Russia. The crowd rose to the occasion, the weather played a positive role creating an atmosphere similar to that in Brazil.
GP of Russia at Semigorje – Round 11 of the World Championship
1, Tony Cairoli, Italy, KTM
2, Clement Desalle, Belgium, Suzuki
3, Ken de Dycker, Belgium, KTM
4, Christophe Pourcel, France, Kawasaki
5, Evgeny Bobryshev, Russia, Honda
8, Kevin Strijbos, Belgium, KTM
13, Davide Guarneri, Italy, KTM
MX1 Championship Standings
1, Cairoli, 442
2, Desalle, 422
3, C. Pourcel, 393
4, Paulin, 376
5, de Dycker, 341
6, Strijbos, 304
15, Guarneri, 136
16, Karro, 112
MX1 Manufacturers Standings
1, KTM, 492
2, Kawasaki, 463
3, Suzuki, 433
1, Jeffrey Herlings, Netherlands, KTM
2, Tommy Searle, GBR, Kawasaki
3, Jeremy van Horebeek, Belgium, KTM
4, Joel Roelants, Belgium, Kawasaki
5, Jake Nicholls, GBR, KTM
6, Jordi Tixier, France, KTM
9, Glenn Coldenhoff, Netherlands, KTM
10, Jose Butron, Spain, KTM
16, Romain Febvre, France, KTM
MX2 Championship Standings
1, Herlings, 478
2, Searle, 429
3, van Horebeek, 417
4, Roelants, 344
5, Tixier, 309
6, Nicholls, 289
8, Butron, 218
11, Coldenhoff, 175
MX2 Manufacturers Standings
1, KTM, 521
2, Kawasaki, 499
3, Yamaha, 310
photos by Ray Archer.