Highlights video, race report and photos by Ray Archer from the MXGP at Loket.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jordi Tixier captured a career first MX2 GP win at Rd. 14 of the 2014 World Championship in Loket in the Czech Republic. Teammate Antonio Cairoli had to settle for third overall in the MXGP class after former teammate Jeremy van Horebeek slipped by him at the beginning of the final lap of the second moto.
Tixier of France was in good form but under pressure knowing it was time for him to step up and take the place of his injured team partner and championship leader Jeffrey Herlings. Herlings, the dominant rider throughout the season, suffered a fractured femur in a charity race last week and is currently rehabilitating.
Tixier got away well in the first moto and had hit the front by the second lap. From then on he rode smoothly on the hard and slick hard pack Czech track and wrapped up the race with a dominant 8-second lead.
If anything the pressure was even greater on Tixier to perform in the second moto. This time he did not get away as cleanly and was sitting at about sixth after the opening lap. He worked his way up to fourth place in the first 10 minutes but then a fierce four-way battle ensued for third. With Christoph Charlier and Dylan Ferrandis comfortably out in front, Tixier had to fend off attacks as Spain’s KTM rider Jose Butron, Romain Febvre of France, Swiss Standing Construct KTM rider Valentin Guillod and Alexandr Tonkov were all prepared to fight it out. In the final shakeout it was Guillod who claimed third place in the second moto, with Tixier, Butron and Febvre coming in behind him.
Tixier’s 1-4 result was enough to give him his first career GP win on his KTM 250 SX-F but he did admit he had put a lot of pressure on himself in the second race. Herlings still has a dominant lead in the championship points with 594 but Sunday’s victory moves Tixier up to 492. He is second in the standings.
Jordi Tixier: “I’ve been waiting for this Gp win since I was a kid. Now I did it and it was my goal. I tried not to think about it but it crept into my head and that’s why I didn’t ride so good in the second moto. Now we go to Lommel and there is no pressure on me.”
Valentin Guillod (Switzerland 2nd overall): “I had two good races today. I made the holeshot in the first and I was fighting a bit with Jordi but I didn’t give everything. Then I made a very bad start in the second race. I really wanted to be on the podium this weekend so I gave it everything I could to come back and I made a great race.”
Cairoli takes third overall after hard fought final laps
It is well known that the slick, stony hard pack circuit at Loket is not one of seven-times world champion Tony Cairoli’s favorites. So it came as no surprise, especially when skies threatened rain that the Italian settled for a cautious third in his opening moto while Kevin Strijbos and Van Horebeek duked it out at the front.
But Tony went on the attack right front the gate drop in his second moto. He led from the early stages and stayed out front but was unable to put a fair distance between him and van Horebeek, who was sitting less than 2 seconds behind by the half way mark. Strijbos also started closing in during the second half of the race but it was clear that it was van Horebeek who was looking for an opportunity to pass. His opportunity came in the final minutes of the race and in one hard challenge he managed to slip into the lead and went on to take the race win. With van Horebeek, Cairoli and Strijbos crossing the line in that order, it left Cairoli with third overall by virtue of the fact that Strijbos had taken the opening race.
Tony Cairoli: “I’m a bit disappointed to lose the GP but happy because my riding was pretty good, especially for Loket, which for sure is not one of my favorite tracks. Now I look forward to Lommel and it’s a track that suits me. Jeremy (van Horebeek) put some pressure on me in the second heat but I also made a mistake. I was pushing as much as I could but he was riding for the win and I was riding not to crash and not to get injured.”
Cairoli’s preferred racing bike is the light and nimble KTM 350 SX-F but his opponents in the class ride the bigger 450 cc bikes.
It was not a happy outing for Cairoli’s factory teammate Ken de Dycker, whose injuries are still handicapping the Belgian rider. De Dycker finished the day with 15-23 for the two motos.
Teams next travel to Lommel for the MXGP of Belgium, a track that suits Cairoli. The season then concludes with two rounds in Brazil and Mexico in September.
MXGP of Czech Republic at Loket – Round 14
1, Jeremy van Horebeek, BEL, Yamaha, (2 – 1)
2, Kevin Strijbos, BEL, Suzuki, (1 – 3)
3, Tony Cairoli, ITA, KTM, (3 – 2)
4, Gautier Paulin, FRA, Kawasaki, (6 – 6)
5, Shaun Simpson, GBR, KTM, (5 – 8)
7, Dennis Ullrich, GER, KTM (16 – 4)
10, Matiss Karro, LAT, KTM, (12 – 10)
20, Ken de Dycker, BEL, KTM, (15 – 23)
MXGP Standings after Rd. 14
1, Cairoli, 619
2, Van Horebeek, 562
3, Clement Desalle, FRA, Suzuki, 484
4, Strijbos, 469
5, Frossard, 333
6, Simpson, 325
13, Karro, 187
19, Jake Nicholls, GBR, KTM, 125
20, Ullrich, 123
23, de Dycker, 91
MXGP Manufacturers Standings after Rd. 14
1, KTM, 619
2, Suzuki, 587
3, Yamaha, 566
1, Jordi Tixier, FRA, KTM, (1 – 4)
2, Valentin Guillod, SUI, KTM, (3 – 3)
3, Christophe Charlier, FRA, Yamaha, (7 – 1)
4, Romain Febvre, FRA, Husqvarna, (2 – 6)
5, Jose Butron, ESP, KTM, (5 – 5)
14, Mel Pocock, GBR, KTM, (15 – 13)
15, Pauls Jonass, LAT, KTM, (10 – 18)
16, Ivo Monticelli, ITA, KTM, (16 – 16)
DNS, Jeffrey Herlings, NED, KTM
MX2 Standings after Rd. 14
1, Herlings, 594
2, Tixier, 492
3, Febvre, 453
4, Dylan Ferrandis, FRA, Kawasaki, 425
5, Tim Gajser, SLO, Honda, 420
7, Guillod, 354
9, Butron, 321
16, Pocock, 130
17, Harri Kullas, FIN, KTM, 108
20, Damon Graulus, BEL, KTM, 94
MX2 Manufacturers Standings after Rd. 14
1, KTM, 669
2, Kawasaki, 530
3, Husqvarna, 469