Bull KTM Factory team as they once again dominated the FIM Motocross World Championships. Leaders in both MXGP and MX2 points and overall victories in both classes. Respect for the most powerful team in world motocross. The Grand Prix of Czech Republic had many stories. Here is what the riders thought of their weekends.


Antonio Cairoli: (1st in MXGP) “I’m really happy to ‘skip’ this GP with a victory. My goal was make the podium because I’ve never had much of a good feeling with this track and I struggled a lot in the past. This year was better because we have been working well lately with the bike and I feel it’s working almost perfectly for me: I enjoy riding. It was also the first time I rode here with the 450 and that was easier than the 350 because I had to be more aggressive and missed the extra torque of the 450 in some parts of the track. I made too many mistakes in the first moto and had some arm-pump and by the time I found a good rhythm then it was a bit too late. Third was OK because the points are important for the championship and that’s what we are looking at now. I’d like to dedicate this victory to Igor Cuharciuc. It was a difficult night for everybody and riding the bike on the spot of the accident was not easy. I want to say we are thinking of the family.”


Clement Desalle: (2nd in MXGP) “Of course it is not a win but twice second is a strong day and a good result. I’m happy I could make today a ‘positive’ because yesterday I had a really bad start in the qualification heat. Together with my team last night we said that the start would be the big key to this GP and I was able to do that in the first and also the second races. I focussed on myself and enjoyed what I could do.”

Tim Gasjer won a moto and stood on the box for the first time since way back at MXGP of Italy.

Tim Gajser: (3rd in MXGP) “I am really happy as the weekend has been really positive for me after many weekends struggling. Too now be back on the podium is great, I had a good first heat leading all the race. The second race I took the holeshot and for the first couple of minutes I was feeling great and then made some small mistakes, lost my rhythm and it was not easy to come back from that. I was struggling in the last couple of minutes. All in all, I am happy. It is the first weekend in a long time that I have enjoyed riding the bike, I am going to take all the positives from this weekend, focus on that and bring them to Lommel.”


Pauls Jonass: (1st in MX2) “I was feeling good all weekend. I didn’t get the best start in the first moto: the track was a bit muddy and it was difficult to make passes. I was struggling in the first laps and it was difficult to pass my teammate. I ran out of tear-offs so it became even more difficult but I still managed to finish second. The second moto start was much better and I made the pass on Jorge quite quickly and could make a gap and control the race. The track was sketchy; slippy in some parts and with traction in others. I ended my season at this track last year and it was really disappointing. I think since that crash I have changed a lot mentally and with my riding style. I am a different rider now and it is a nice feeling to come back and win the overall.”


Jeremy Seewer: (2nd in MX2) “In the first moto I got an ok start and was going around the first corner in fifth position but on the outside. That meant that I got squeezed out, as the leaders slid out in the wet conditions, so a decent start turned into a bad start. In the beginning I could make a lot of passes as there was still rain on the track and there were some lines available, but then it started to dry and it turned into one fast dry line which made it so difficult to pass. With all the roost I ended up running out of tear-offs so I had to take the goggles off and that meant I could only finish fifth as passing any riders was so difficult. In the second race, I changed my start strategy a little bit and lined-up on the inside and it worked really well. I almost made the holeshot and then made some quick passes to get into third, but then I got stuck behind Jorge Prado Garcia almost the entire moto. I ended up crashing because of him as he braked in a corner and I ran into the back of him and Benoit Paturel ran into the back of me. I still came back strong though and passed him eventually to get second position but unfortunately Pauls Jonass was gone by then. The championship isn’t over yet though. Today wasn’t a good day, however there are still plenty of races left and we won’t give up.”


Thomas Covington: (3rd in MX2) “I had some ups and downs so it’s quite good I got a spot on the podium. Getting third in the qualifying moto I was confident I could do even better in the final motos. I got a good start in race one and found myself following Garcia in second. I wanted to make a quick pass and I managed to pull it off. Then I kept my head down and tried to avoid mistakes. I pushed hard for the next couple of laps and got myself a clear gap for the win. With all that rain on Sunday morning the track was quite tricky. I had some bad luck in moto two as I got tangled up with some other riders right after the start. I re-joined the race from the back of the pack and slowly brought myself up to 10th. I’m happy with the podium and I’m already looking forward to Lommel.”

Pauls Jonass is possibly producing 1/2 of a KTM championship sweep in ’17.

Thomas Kjer-Olsen: (8th in MX2) “We’ve been working hard with the team during the last couple of rounds and it’s paying off in my lap times. I felt really good coming into Loket. I had a good pace from the qualifying but unfortunately it rained on Sunday morning and conditions changed a lot. In moto one I started inside the top ten and made some good passes for fourth at the line. I knew I could do better in moto two but a bad start and a crash in the opening lap made everything difficult for me. I tried to come back and finished the second moto in 13th place. Going into Lommel now I have a great feeling for this GP. Our workshop is right next to the track so it’s a place we know really, really well.”


Conrad Mewse: (10th in MX2) “It’s been a good GP for me. In moto one everything went quite well and I managed to get a spot in the top 10. Then in moto two I got a great start and found myself in second. I tried to remain focused but the pressure was maybe too much and I ended up making mistakes. Getting 12th in moto two for 10th overall is not bad. It shows the speed is there and I can now focus on getting even better results. The feeling is good at the moment and I’m looking forward to the following GP in Lommel.”


Kevin Strijbos: (12th in MXGP) “It was a tough day, coming back to race action. I was almost last coming out of the first turn in the first moto but came back pretty well, passing a lot of people and ending up ninth. I was very happy about this, especially as my arm infection was hurting a little bit at the end of the race. I still felt good for the second moto though and wanted to put in another top-10 performance. However, after the five-second board went up, the gate seemed to wobble so people moved a bit, but then nothing, and when I thought that maybe it wasn’t going to work, the gate finally dropped but of course I was last by then. I wasn’t able to make as many passes in the first few laps as I did in the first moto but I still felt I had good speed and was pushing myself and was moving forward. It was good to be back as it’s been such a long time since I did two motos. I just want to put all my injury problems behind me and start getting back to 100% in time for the next few races.”


Arminas Jasikonis: (13th in MXGP) “It was an ok day today. In the first moto we had some rain before the start which changed the track up a bit from yesterday. I tried to go from the outside gate but hit Kevin’s rear wheel in the first corner and crashed and had to remount in last position. I was coming through the pack though and was around 20th when I had a collision with another rider when I was making a pass up the inside. We both crashed and that ruined the moto really, I got back and worked back up to 20th but I consider the result a bit of a disaster. However I proved in the second moto that even with not the best start, I still came through to eighth place and was riding really well and finding good flow. It was good experience and its good see how far I’ve come from last year when I would have been happy to get 20th place in a moto.”

Covington is becoming a regular on the MX2 podiums.

Gautier Paulin: (5th in MXGP) “We’ve spent the whole week prior to the race working on our bikes and made some big improvements. I started the weekend by posting the best lap time in Time Practice and that was a good moral booster. Unfortunately, conditions were totally different with the mud on Sunday. I knew it would be crucial to get good starts in this track so I focused all my efforts into making it happen. My starts were quite good in both motos and I did my best to remain close to the top three. Getting fourth in the first race and then fifth in the second was the best I could do but it’s still a good overall result. The hard work continues and I’m hoping to get back on the box in Lommel.”


Max Nagl: (11th in MXGP) “I like the Loket track a lot so I was hoping I could push for some good results here. We made some changes on the bike this last week and the feeling was even better. I had a good qualifying race finishing third. The rain came on Sunday and things were different. I didn’t get a good start in moto one but made a few good passes for 10th at the line. In moto two I really wanted to do better but I hit the gate right before the start and had to start from dead last. My riding was good but losing precious time when I hit the gate, the best I could do was finish in 13th place. Going into Lommel now expectations are high. It’s a sandy track that suits my style and I know I can do well there.”


Max Anstie: (16th in MXGP) “We had a great week of testing before the GP in Loket and made some big steps forward. In the qualifying race my start was good but I got stuck in the first turn and lost time. Then on Sunday I was feeling quite good despite the muddy conditions. Unfortunately, I crashed on the first lap and hurt my foot. The pain was unbearable so I had to stop and get it checked. I had the medical team check it and luckily it was nothing serious, just some bruises on my foot. I did my best in moto two but the pain was still there.”


Hunter Lawrence: (7th in MX2) “I got out of the gate quite well in the first moto but lost ground in the first corner and had to work my way up from outside the top 20. I got back to eighth and I was happy with that, I was feeling good, especially considering it was my first race back and my first 30 minutes plus two in the last five weeks. In the second moto I had a similar start which made my life a bit harder but I got to work and passed as many guys as I could and finished eighth again. After that I was completely finished as it’s so hard to come back to racing GPs with such little seat-time under my belt. I almost didn’t ride this weekend as I thought I’d embarrass myself so I’m delighted to have got two top-10 results and it gives me a great platform for the upcoming rounds where I’ll hopefully be much stronger.”


Romain Febvre: (6th in MXGP) “The second moto was better than the first. I had arm-pump really bad in the first race and then in the second race I had a pretty good start but got passed by a couple of riders. I started finding my speed again and then a lapped rider hit me and I lost too much time to come back and make some passes, so it’s hard to say I am happy. I look forward to the next race.”

After two straight MXGP podiums, Herlings just missed a podium in Loket.

Jeremy Van Horebeek: (7th in MXGP) “I am a little bit short in energy. I am already looking forward to the next race and being in the sand at Lommel. I found the start of the race really hard, it’s the time off has affected my intensity in those first few laps, but I stayed close to the guys at the front so that wasn’t so bad. I’m not super happy, but looking at the positives, it’s not bad for the first race back.”


Arnaud Tonus: (8th in MXGP) “It was a positive weekend. We came here with a completely new bike, so we came here expecting to develop it and improve every session and that is exactly what we did. We had to do some modifications to the suspension and I actually changed the gearing as well. When it’s a new bike you need to be ready to adapt and make changes, and that’s what we did. I feel like it was a really good weekend, we learned a lot and I am feeling extremely positive for the future with the 2018 YZ450F.”


Bas Vaessen: (20th in MX2) “I didn’t have a great start in the first race and had to pass a bunch of riders in the first few laps. I was happy with how it was going and was riding at a good pace. Unfortunately, on a track that is so difficult to pass, I ended up crashing when attempting some more passes and dropped back to finish 17th. I started off really well in the second moto, around ninth or 10th but someone then ran right into my leg and that hurt me so much that it was a real struggle to continue to ride. I was just trying to save the moto really and finish the race. Now I need to make sure my leg is ok and then prepare myself for Lommel which I am really looking forward to.”


Evgeny Bobryshev: (10th in MXGP) “For me today was tough. In the warm up I could make a fast lap time and this gave me quite alot of confidence but then it got to the race and made a bad start in both races. In the first race I was just struggling I was eighth and I dropped to 14th. I made so many mistakes and couldn’t find the rhythm. I couldn’t get locked in the bike and I just spent all race getting angry with myself. The second race I was riding better but I am really disappointed about the day overall. I need to change my structure of training and get fitter and more confident so I can get back to the pace I was at, at the beginning of the year. It is frustrating to be riding like this and getting these results.”


Jeffrey Herlings: (4th in MXGP) “The starts cost me the win because both times I was outside the top ten. After the rain it was so tough to pass. [starts] They have cost me a couple of times this year and I’m not sure what to do any more because we have one of the best bikes and it is something I need to be doing better. Hopefully at Lommel we’ll make it work but the start is a little less important there. I have been very consistent again today and I’m third in the championship now and close to second but it has been a while since I’ve been winning.”


Benoit Paturel: (4th in MX2) “It was a bad weekend for me. I had good speed but I didn’t get the result I wanted in the end. Every time I am not on the podium, I am not happy. Today I just need to accept that this is the result, and I need to go home and continue training in a good way for the rest of the season.”

With Jonass’ consistency, Seewer (#91) has not been able to make up ground in the MX2 championship.

Brent Van doninck: (19th in MX2) “I didn’t feel good on this track. It was really wet in the first race and I got water under my tear-off’s so I had to stop to change my goggles and gloves and then I was too far back. In the second race I crashed with another rider and was way behind. I got back to sixteenth but I didn’t feel good on the track today and my wrist was really sore. I rode too stiff. I can’t wait to get back in the sand in Lommel at the next GP.”


Glenn Coldenhoff: (9th in MXGP) “It wasn’t a bad weekend and I was actually pretty good. In the first moto I don’t know what happened but I stalled my bike right after the gate and on a track like this it is quite difficult to come back to the front. In the end I finished eleventh which was pretty OK. The gate fell late in the second moto and I was one of the first to get moving and everyone to my right was also twitching. On the first lap Tonus made a mistake and I was right behind his rear wheel; I lost six places or something and the moto was already done. I pushed as hard as I could and managed to get Anstie. 11-11 for ninth overall and a result in the top ten but these are not the results we are working for. We are definitely looking for more.”


Jorge Prado: (5th in MX2) “Quite a good weekend and I felt fast on the bike. In the second moto I tried to pass [Brian] Bogers but crashed and, well, it was a shame not to make the podium. Anyway, it was good to be back at the front again and be battling the leaders. It was the first time I’ve ridden here so I didn’t know what to expect. After the rain the track was really slippery but it dried quickly and when Jonass passed me I was able to find a rhythm. It was bumpy but there were quite a few options.”


Michele Cervellin: (13th in MX2) “Today was a difficult race as I didn’t qualifying yesterday due to being ill but today the actual racing was a little bit better than yesterday. The racing wasn’t actually that good but I got some points for the championship. Weirdly I was actually really sick in the Loket round last year too and ended up in hospital. We have one week free now so I will get back and do some more training in the sand ready for Lommel.”


Jed Beaton: (12th in MX2) “Today was a good day for me. Like I said I wanted to improve every time I rode and that is exactly what I did this weekend. I know I just need to improve my starts as I didn’t have a good gate today and as a result I had to put in a lot of extra work to get the results. In the first race, I had to lose my goggles 15 minutes into the race but the race was not so bad. The second race the track had dried out and it was so much better and it was a better result. I just tried to ride consistently ride and maintain my speed and positions.”

Photos by: Ray Archer