Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings turned on the heat on the Sevlievo circuit in Bulgaria on Sunday to take two very dominant wins in the MX2 GP. It was the Duch rider’s first career GP win at this traditional and very popular circuit and leaves him unbeaten in 2013 with five GP wins from 10 race victories.
Teammate Jordi Tixier put up a good battle, especially in the first race where he took the holeshot and held off Herlings’ hard attacks until lap seven of the race. Italy’s Alexander Lupino was third and Spain’s Jose Butron, also riding a KTM was fourth overall.
In reality it was an event that was dominated by the two KTM riders, one Dutch and one French and while it was undoubtedly Herlings day, it is clear that Tixier is gaining in confidence in the face of fierce competition from his teammate. Sunday’s performance, which saw Herlings win his races by margins of 25 and 40 seconds respectively, also underlined that the Dutch teenager, known to be the world’s best sand rider, is equally terrifying on a hard pack circuit. Herlings perfect scorecard sees him with 250 points and an impressive 65-point lead over teammate Tixier in second place. Herlings and Tixier both ride the KTM 250 SX-F.
Cairoli recovers well for race win in second moto; overall second in MX1 GP
Meanwhile in MX1, Bulgaria is a circuit that has not been on Tony Cairoli’s top five list. The MX1 championship leader and current world champion last won here in 2007 in MX2. He again had a tough start to his day finishing in fourth place in the opening moto, which was a clear victory for French rider Gautier Paulin. This left him a lot to do in the second moto and Cairoli did not disappoint. After having switched to his favorite luminous ‘Valentino Rossi’ yellow boots and helmet, the Italian rider grabbed the holeshot but then slipped back into second after being passed by Paulin on lap one. Then eight minutes into the race he took control, grabbed back the lead and stayed firmly in front until the checkered flag. At the end of the day, Cairoli picked up enough points to take the second podium spot and further advance his lead in the championship standings.
Factory teammate Ken de Dycker also had his share of difficulties on the track this weekend. He finished only ninth in the first moto but got back in the action in the second moto and after some hard charging, managed to finish fifth to claim overall seventh in the GP. He now slips to fourth in the competition standings, trailing third placed Clement Desalle by six points and the leader Cairoli by 52 points. Cairoli has a 40-point margin over second places Paulin. Cairoli contests the 450 class MX1 on the light and nimble KTM 350 SX-F while De Dycker rides the bigger KTM 450 SX-F bike.
What the riders said:
Jeffrey “The Bullet” Herlings: “So far so good! Its never easy, I’ve been making some mistakes but luckily they didn’t happen on a Sunday so far. I haven’t lost a moto yet and I keep on charging. For the moment the only one who can stop the bullet is the bullet himself.”
Jordi Tixier: “Sure I enjoyed that, I got a good start and I tried to push to stay in front of Jeffrey. It’s my goal to be at the maximum and in the front. Jeffrey is a pretty good rider – the world champion in 2012. Now I just want to give my best all the time and if I can stay in front of him for 10 laps the next time, i will. I just want to learn from him because it is good for me and we’ll see what happens.”
Tony Cairoli: “I have 2 GPS where I didn’t win. My goal was always to be on the top spot but hopefully I will be able to do my best in the next GP and things will go better for me.”
Ken de Dycker: I mostly don’t like the track because its really fast an, easy, so you need a good start and even then it’s still hard .. So it was a struggle the whole weekend.
It was the 10th anniversary of GPs held at this Bulgarian circuit set in rolling hills that provide great viewing for spectators, who came out in force to watch the races.
The next round is on May 5, 2013 in Agueda Portugal, a typical hard pack track.
MX1 Overall Results
1, Gautier Paulin, France, Kawasaki
2, Tony Cairoli, Italy, KTM
3, Clement Desalle, Belgium, Suzuki
4, Kevin Strijbos, Belgium, Suzuki
5, Jeremy van Horebeek, Belgium, Kawasaki
7, Ken de Dycker, Belgium, KTM
10, Davide Guarneri, Italy, KTM
11, Rui Goncalves, Portugal, KTM
14, Jonathan Barragan, Spain, KTM
16, Matiss Karro, Latvia, KTM
MX1 Standings after Round 5
1, Cairoli, 235
2, Paulin, 195
3, Desalle, 189
4, de Dycker, 183
5, Strijbos, 160
7, Goncalves, 109
9, Boog, 90
15, Guarneri, 74
MX1 Manufacturers Standings after Round 5
1, KTM, 240
2, Suzuki, 199
3, Kawasaki, 195
MX2 Overall Results
1, Jeffrey Herlings, Netherlands, KTM
2, Jordi Tixier, France, KTM
3, Alessandro Lupino, Italy, Kawasaki
4, Jose Butron, Spain, KTM
5, Max Anstie, Great Britain, Suzuki
7, Glenn Coldenhoff, Netherlands, KTM
9, Jake Nicholls, Great Britain, KTM
12, Pascal Rauchenecker, Austria, KTM
MX2 Standings after Round 5
1, Herlings, 250
2, Tixier, 185
3, Coldenhoff, 157
4, Butron, 143
5, Charlier, 137
9, Nicholls, 104
10, Febvre, 98
15, Rauchenecker, 64
MX2 Manufacturers Standings after Round 5
1, KTM, 250
2, Yamaha, 173
3, Suzuki, 150