Article by: Geoff Meyer from our MXGP coverage at MXLarge.com
Red Bull KTM Factory rider Jeffrey Herlings has won the Grand Prix of Qatar in the MX2 class after having just a few weeks back on the bike after a winter of injuries. The defending World MX2 Champion went 2-1 and really struggled after poor starts in both motos and some crashes. Ray Archer image
Second overall was moto one winner Dylan Ferrandis with 1-6 and Romain Febvre was third with 5-4 results.
A big surprise was the showing by young American Thomas Covington who scored a third place finish in the second moto in his pro-debut.
Herlings did lose the opening moto of the season in the MX2 class after a terrible start and struggling to come through the field. French rider Dylan Ferrandis took a very close victory that went down to the very last corner of the opening MX2 moto.
The opening MX2 moto saw Ferrandis take a quick lead, although further back Tonus went down and Herlings nearly went down. Up front Butron took the lead from Ferrandis, with Leiber third, then Anstie, Tixier, Tonkov, Coldenhoff, Pocock, Gajser, Petrov, Seewer, Guillod, Herlings, Desprey and Febvre in 15th place. American Thomas Covington was out of the race on lap two.
Anstie made quick work of Ferrandis and Lieber and moved into second place. Anstie riding for the Bike It Yamaha team was putting a lot of pressure on Butron for the lead. On lap two Anstie took the lead, while Herlings moved up to 12th place.
Petrov dropped back to last and Tonus trying to recover from his opening lap crash was in 22nd place. Anstie quickly got away from Butron and was looking brilliant. Another amazing performance from the Steve Dixon team.
Mel Pocock was riding well and despite being sick held sixth position after three laps, although Tonkov and Febvre were pressing him. After four laps Herlings was ninth, and Tonus was up to 18th place.
Anstie had extended his lead to five seconds over Butron, who was two seconds clear of Ferrandis. Ferrandis though found some speed and on lap seven passed Butron for second, Coldenhoff held fourth, followed by Tonkov, Febvre, Pocock, Herlings, Tixier and Guillod.
Coldenhoff was now putting pressure on Butron and Herlings wasn’t making that much ground on the two Husqvarna riders (Tonkov and Febvre). Pocock dropped to 11th, and Tonus remained in 15th place.
Anstie had held nearly seven seconds over Ferrandis, who was getting hurry up from both Butron and Coldenhoff, but now Ansties lead was suddenly five seconds. Herling who had passed Febvre was up to sixth place and 16 seconds back from Anstie.
After 13 laps Herlings got some extra speed and passed Tonkov and was onto the back wheel of Butron for fourth place. Ansties suddenly went missing as Ferrandis took the lead with Coldenhoff just a second behind and Herlings six seconds back in third place.
Amazingly on lap 15 Coldenhoff and Herlings were both on the back wheel of Ferrandis and the battle for the moto victory was now serious. The top three battled shoulder to shoulder as Herlings looked for a way past the two riders ahead of him.
Ferrandis got the victory with Herlings half a bike length back, third Coldenhoff a close third.
Butron led the second MX2 moto, then came Anstie, Covington, Tonkov, Tixier, Ferrandis, Gajser, Tonus, Pocock and Seewer in 10th. Herling was back in 15th place and Coldenhoff in 16th.
After one lap it was Anstie, Butron, Covington, Tonkov, Ferrandis, Lieber, Herlings, Charlier, Febvre, and Tixier drops to 10th.
After six laps Anstie still led, but young American Covington was riding the race of his short career in second place and closing on the British rider. Herlings was still struggling in sixth place, while just ahead Ferrandis held the overall for the GP.
Ferrandis and Herlings continued their climb through the field, holding down third and fourth behind Anstie and Herlings. On lap 10 Herlings passed Ferrandis for third place and the GP overall lead.
After passing Ferrandis the cool Dutchman quickly caught and passed Covington and set out after Anstie, although the British riders bike stopped again as he led the moto. That gave Herlings the lead although young Covington wasn’t about to let the quickest MX2 rider in the World get away without a fight and tried to stay with the leader.
Further back Tonus moved into third, followed by Febvre, Tonkov, Ferrandis, Butron, Tixier, Charlier and Lieber in 10th. Tonus was on the gas and quickly caught up to Covington, who wasn’t that far behind Herlings.
Tonus passed Covington and was on the back wheel of Herlings. Covington who rode an amazing moto was back in third place. The final order Herlings, Tonus, Covington, Febvre, Tonkov, Ferrandis, Tixier, Butron, Charlier and Gajser in 10th.
Gautier Paulin of the Kawasaki Factory team has scored a stunning victory in the opening Grand Prix if the season. The Frenchman scored 3-1 results, just pipping Max Nagl who went 1-4 and third was Antonio Cairoli with 2-3 results. Another Frenchman Steven Frossard made a good return to the MXGP series with fourth place overall, and 4-2 scores.
“This is great way to start the season,” Paulin said. “This is a result of the hard work that the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing team has put in over the Winter. I was not so happy with the first moto and I had to change my style and some settings of the bike for the second moto. The changes were a step in the right direction and I was able to ride how I like and I controlled the race from the lead. Our goal was to come away with the red plate and we achieved this. Moving on to Thailand next week, I enjoyed the track last year but I will approach the race just like any other GP and focus on the race day and the track conditions then, as it could change from last year.”
The opening MXGP moto of the year and Xavier Boog took the lead early, followed by Strijbos, Bobryshev, Nagl, Cairoli, Frossard, Paulin, Desalle, Guarneri, Roelants in 10th. Well back was Searle in 12th, Simpson 15th, Waters 18th and Nicholls 19th.
Strijbos running on his good form on Friday took the lead after half a lap and Bobryshev also went past Boog. Desalle was in trouble as he crashed back to 13th place. Cairoli was looking more aggressive today and was looking for a way past Bobryshev, who had suddenly slipped back to third as Nagl moved into second.
Paulin passed Cairoli and set out after Bobryshev and Nagl closed in on Strijbos for the lead. The two front guys were racing hard and close to eachother although the smooth style of Strijbos continued to give him reward as Nagl pushed for a way past.
Paulin and Bobryshev were also in a good battle, although Paulin won this won passing for third place. Nagl took the lead on lap three and Paulin, Bobryshev, Cairoli and Frossard fought over third place.
Cairoli burst past Bobryshev as Nagl and Strijbos pulled slightly away from Paulin. Further back Searle was riding well moving into 8th place and Simpson was 9th. Desalle remained in 12th position and was struggling.
On lap five Paulin, Cairoli, and Frossard moved onto the back wheel of Strijbos and started hunting the Belgian down. Nagl held a two second lead. Cairoli was really hanging it out as he sat on Paulins back wheel.
On lap seven it was Nagl, Strijbos, Paulin, Cairoli, Frossard, Bobryshev, Van Horebeek, Searle, Simpson and Guarneri in 10th. Strijbos started fading as his lack of race time caught up with him and Paulin, Cairoli and Frossard went past.
Slowly edging towards Nagl for the lead Paulin, Cairoli and Frossard continued to impress with their speed. The top ten were within sight of eachother as the MXGP class really showed off its talent.
Desalle passed Simpson for ninth place and Cairoli was giving Paulin nightmares as he pushed to pass the Frenchman. In their shadows Frossard sat waiting for a mistake by the Frenchman and Italian.
Due to the close battle between Paulin and Cairoli the leader Nagl was making the gap even bigger, now four seconds on lap 11. Searle moved past Bobryshev and Waters moved up to 13th place for a lap before Philippaerts went past.
On lap 13 Nagl held a five second lead over Paulin and six seconds over Cairoli. Next came Frossard, Van Horebeek, Strijbos, Searle, Bobryshev, Desalle, and Simpson in 10th place. Cairoli finally got past Paulin and started his charge for Nagl.
Nagl got the win ahead of Cairoli, Paulin, Frossard, Van Horebeek, Van Horbeek, Searle, Strijbos, Bobryshev, Desalle and Roelants in 10th.
The final moto of the Grand Prix of Qatar and Paulin took the lead on the first corner, followed by Karro, Frossard, Bobryshev, Nagl, Cairoli, Searle, Desalle, Simpson and Guarneri in 10th. Further back came Strijbos in 14th, Nicholls in 16th and Waters in 19th.
Paulin and Frossard were in a huge battle for the lead with Frossard passing Paulin, but Paulin repassing for the lead. Cairoli was quickly up to third place.
After two laps Paulin held a one second lead over Frossard, with Cairoli a further five seconds back, then came Nagl, Van Horebeek, Bobryshev, Desalle, Searle, Karro and Simpson.
Paulin continued to lead and not a lot was happening behind. Desalle did move from his 12th place to sixth, Simpson pulled out of the race. Waters passed Philippaerts for 10th place, putting the Aussie in 11th in the series points standings, a great effort after his huge crash on Friday.
Paulin looked stunning as he clocked off the quickest laps, Frossard remained in a safe second and Cairoli was always looking over his shoulder as Nagl wouldn’t let the Italian get away. Nagl knowing if he could get Cairoli he would at least finish on equal points to Paulin (although losing the GP due to Paulins better second moto).
Roelants moved into the top 10 by passing Waters. With two laps to go nothing was going to take the GP win away from Paulin as he cruised to a moto win and a GP win.
Grand Prix of Qatar – MXGP and MX2 Moto and overall Results
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1 – Classification
1 122 Ferrandis, Dylan FRA FFM Kawasaki 33:53.328
2 84 Herlings, Jeffrey NED KNMV KTM 33:53.657
3 259 Coldenhoff, Glenn NED KNMV Suzuki 33:55.537
4 17 Butron, Jose ESP RFME KTM 34:06.897
5 461 Febvre, Romain FRA FFM Husqvarna 34:07.210
6 59 Tonkov, Aleksandr RUS MFR Husqvarna 34:14.419
7 911 Tixier, Jordi FRA FFM KTM 34:20.233
8 243 Gajser, Tim SLO AMZS Honda 34:23.521
9 92 Guillod, Valentin SUI FMS KTM 34:25.557
10 200 Tonus, Arnaud SUI FMS Kawasaki 34:30.155
11 8 Lupino, Alessandro ITA FMI Kawasaki 34:33.017
12 23 Charlier, Christophe FRA FFM Yamaha 34:34.268
13 119 Pocock, Mel GBR ACU KTM 34:46.701
14 91 Seewer, Jeremy SUI FMS Suzuki 34:47.130
15 141 Desprey, Maxime FRA FFM Honda 34:56.128
16 152 Petrov, Petar BUL BMF Yamaha 35:10.358
17 195 Justs, Roberts LAT LAMSF Husqvarna 35:16.702
18 33 Lieber, Julien BEL FMB Suzuki 35:17.953
19 67 Klingsheim, Magne NOR NMF Yamaha 35:22.310
20 274 Lundgren, Anton SWE SVEMO Yamaha 35:36.042
21 71 Valente, Christopher SUI FMS TM 35:58.656
22 400 Yamamoto, Kei JPN MFJ Honda 33:56.849
23 300 Golovkin, Viacheslav RUS FMI KTM 35:15.766
24 99 Anstie, Max GBR ACU Yamaha 26:13.802
25 26 Styke, Luke AUS MA Yamaha 19:34.984
26 64 Covington, Thomas USA AMA Kawasaki 5:40.484
Best lap: #84 Jeffrey Herlings Time:1:51.285 in lap 15
MXGP – Race 1 – Classification
1 12 Nagl, Maximilian GER DMSB Honda 34:57.925
2 222 Cairoli, Antonio ITA FMI KTM 34:59.867
3 21 Paulin, Gautier FRA MCM Kawasaki 35:05.752
4 183 Frossard, Steven FRA FFM Kawasaki 35:13.568
5 89 Van Horebeek, Jeremy BEL FMB Yamaha 35:24.537
6 100 Searle, Tommy GBR ACU Kawasaki 35:29.121
7 22 Strijbos, Kevin BEL FMB Suzuki 35:31.510
8 777 Bobryshev, Evgeny RUS MFR Honda 35:32.311
9 25 Desalle, Clement BEL FMB Suzuki 35:32.522
10 34 Roelants, Joel BEL FMB Honda 35:48.002
11 24 Simpson, Shaun GBR ACU KTM 35:49.067
12 39 Guarneri, Davide ITA FMI TM 35:49.788
13 19 Philippaerts, David ITA FMI Yamaha 36:05.473
14 47 Waters, Todd AUS MA Husqvarna 36:07.451
15 3 Leok, Tanel EST EMF TM 36:26.561
16 45 Nicholls, Jake GBR ACU KTM 36:28.722
17 999 Goncalves, Rui POR FMP Yamaha 37:03.507
18 51 Getteman, Jens BEL FMB Honda 35:26.501
19 62 Gercar, Klemen SLO AMZS Honda 35:42.108
20 69 Sabetifar, Amirezza IRI MAFIRI Yamaha 36:00.621
21 121 Boog, Xavier FRA FFM Honda 18:46.145
22 91 Karro, Matiss LAT LAMSF KTM 13:08.968 6
23 95 Justs, Augusts LAT LAMSF Husqvarna 11:25.384
24 411 Runnals, Ross Ian RSA UAEMC Kawasaki 12:35.547
Best lap: #222 Antonio Cairoli Time:1:49.975 in lap 16
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Classification
1 84 Herlings, Jeffrey NED KNMV KTM 33:49.169
2 200 Tonus, Arnaud SUI FMS Kawasaki 33:50.373
3 64 Covington, Thomas USA AMA Kawasaki 33:56.815
4 461 Febvre, Romain FRA FFM Husqvarna 33:58.852
5 59 Tonkov, Aleksandr RUS MFR Husqvarna 33:59.606
6 122 Ferrandis, Dylan FRA FFM Kawasaki 34:01.440
7 911 Tixier, Jordi FRA FFM KTM 34:01.622
8 17 Butron, Jose ESP RFME KTM 34:02.909
9 23 Charlier, Christophe FRA FFM Yamaha 34:03.908
10 243 Gajser, Tim SLO AMZS Honda 34:04.695
11 152 Petrov, Petar BUL BMF Yamaha 34:05.295
12 259 Coldenhoff, Glenn NED KNMV Suzuki 34:07.583
13 33 Lieber, Julien BEL FMB Suzuki 34:19.782
14 92 Guillod, Valentin SUI FMS KTM 34:21.070
15 141 Desprey, Maxime FRA FFM Honda 34:23.903
16 8 Lupino, Alessandro ITA FMI Kawasaki 34:38.283
17 99 Anstie, Max GBR ACU Yamaha 34:41.509
18 91 Seewer, Jeremy SUI FMS Suzuki 34:42.306
19 119 Pocock, Mel GBR ACU KTM 35:05.288
20 400 Yamamoto, Kei JPN MFJ Honda 35:05.836
21 67 Klingsheim, Magne NOR NMF Yamaha 35:14.990
22 195 Justs, Roberts LAT LAMSF Husqvarna 33:31.386
MXGP – Race 2 – Classification
1 21 Paulin, Gautier FRA MCM Kawasaki 35:04.471
2 183 Frossard, Steven FRA FFM Kawasaki 35:07.244
3 222 Cairoli, Antonio ITA FMI KTM 35:14.412
4 12 Nagl, Maximilian GER DMSB Honda 35:17.595
5 89 Van Horebeek, Jeremy BEL FMB Yamaha 35:24.564
6 25 Desalle, Clement BEL FMB Suzuki 35:28.403
7 100 Searle, Tommy GBR ACU Kawasaki 35:30.122
8 22 Strijbos, Kevin BEL FMB Suzuki 35:42.857
9 777 Bobryshev, Evgeny RUS MFR Honda 36:06.684
10 34 Roelants, Joel BEL FMB Honda 36:09.788
11 47 Waters, Todd AUS MA Husqvarna 36:21.738
12 19 Philippaerts, David ITA FMI Yamaha 36:23.010
13 121 Boog, Xavier FRA FFM Honda 36:24.066
14 3 Leok, Tanel EST EMF TM 36:28.713
15 91 Karro, Matiss LAT LAMSF KTM 36:31.204
16 45 Nicholls, Jake GBR ACU KTM 36:44.142
17 999 Goncalves, Rui POR FMP Yamaha 36:48.968
18 51 Getteman, Jens BEL FMB Honda 35:26.856
19 62 Gercar, Klemen SLO AMZS Honda 36:18.649
20 69 Sabetifar, Amirezza IRI MAFIRI Yamaha 35:59.618
21 24 Simpson, Shaun GBR ACU KTM 36:33.255
22 411 Runnals, Ross Ian RSA UAEMC Kawasaki 27:52.162
23 39 Guarneri, Davide ITA FMI TM 14:59.931 7
Best lap: #21 Gautier Paulin Time:1:49.833 in lap 1
MX2 – GP Classification
1 84 Herlings, Jeffrey NED KNMV KTM 22 25 47
2 122 Ferrandis, Dylan FRA FFM KAW 25 15 40
3 461 Febvre, Romain FRA FFM HUS 16 18 34
4 200 Tonus, Arnaud SUI FMS KAW 11 22 33
5 59 Tonkov, Aleksandr RUS MFR HUS 15 16 31
6 17 Butron, Jose ESP RFME KTM 18 13 31
7 259 Coldenhoff, Glenn NED KNMV SUZ 20 9 29
8 911 Tixier, Jordi FRA FFM KTM 14 14 28
9 243 Gajser, Tim SLO AMZS HON 13 11 24
10 23 Charlier, Christophe FRA FFM YAM 9 12 21
11 64 Covington, Thomas USA AMA KAW 0 20 20
12 92 Guillod, Valentin SUI FMS KTM 12 7 19
13 152 Petrov, Petar BUL BMF YAM 5 10 15
14 8 Lupino, Alessandro ITA FMI KAW 10 5 15
15 141 Desprey, Maxime FRA FFM HON 6 6 12
16 33 Lieber, Julien BEL FMB SUZ 3 8 11
17 91 Seewer, Jeremy SUI FMS SUZ 7 3 10
18 119 Pocock, Mel GBR ACU KTM 8 2 10
19 99 Anstie, Max GBR ACU YAM 0 4 4
20 195 Justs, Roberts LAT LAMSF HUS 4 0 4
21 67 Klingsheim, Magne NOR NMF YAM 2 0 2
22 400 Yamamoto, Kei JPN MFJ HON 0 1 1
23 274 Lundgren, Anton SWE SVEMO YAM 1 0 1
24 71 Valente, Christopher SUI FMS TM 0 0 0
25 300 Golovkin, Viacheslav RUS FMI KTM 0 0 0
26 26 Styke, Luke AUS MA YAM 0 0 0
MXGP – Overall Classification
1 21 Paulin, Gautier FRA MCM KAW 20 25 45
2 12 Nagl, Maximilian GER DMSB HON 25 18 43
3 222 Cairoli, Antonio ITA FMI KTM 22 20 42
4 183 Frossard, Steven FRA FFM KAW 18 22 40
5 89 Van Horebeek, Jeremy BEL FMB YAM 16 16 32
6 100 Searle, Tommy GBR ACU KAW 15 14 29
7 25 Desalle, Clement BEL FMB SUZ 12 15 27
8 22 Strijbos, Kevin BEL FMB SUZ 14 13 27
9 777 Bobryshev, Evgeny RUS MFR HON 13 12 25
10 34 Roelants, Joel BEL FMB HON 11 11 22
11 47 Waters, Todd AUS MA HUS 7 10 17
12 19 Philippaerts, David ITA FMI YAM 8 9 17
13 3 Leok, Tanel EST EMF TM 6 7 13
14 45 Nicholls, Jake GBR ACU KTM 5 5 10
15 24 Simpson, Shaun GBR ACU KTM 10 0 10
16 39 Guarneri, Davide ITA FMI TM 9 0 9
17 121 Boog, Xavier FRA FFM HON 0 8 8
18 999 Goncalves, Rui POR FMP YAM 4 4 8
19 91 Karro, Matiss LAT LAMSF KTM 0 6 6
20 51 Getteman, Jens BEL FMB HON 3 3 6
21 62 Gercar, Klemen SLO AMZS HON 2 2 4
22 69 Sabetifar, Amirezza IRI MAFIRI YAM 1 1 2
23 411 Runnals, Ross Ian RSA UAEMC KAW 0 0 0
24 95 Justs, Augusts LAT LAMSF HUS 0 0 0