Take a look what the leading riders thought of their weekend in Latvia. A big day for Jeffrey Herlings and Thomas Kjer Olsen.

Jeffrey Herlings: “The starts weren’t so great but to keep fighting back in both motos and even be able to build a little lead was a nice feeling. It wasn’t about domination because Tony upped his game today and did a really good job. It is great to have KTM 1-2 again. Yesterday was easy-going for me but I had to fight for it today. It was a nice GP and I enjoyed the track. This place was a turning point for me last year but we are in much better shape now with a different momentum. I love this track and it was a pleasure to be here.”


Thomas Kjer-Olsen: “I’m really happy with the way things turned out here in Latvia. Coming back to Kegums after my victory last year, I immediately got a great feeling aboard my Husqvarna. I couldn’t have wished for a better performance in moto one. Getting the holeshot I put my head down and managed to remain in the lead until the flag drop. In moto two I didn’t get such a good start but did my best to put myself in a good position. Running in second behind Prado I launched an attack for the moto win, but a small mistake made things harder. Overall, it’s been a great weekend for me and I can’t thank all the members of our team enough for all their hard work during the season.”


Antonio Cairoli: “I’m really happy because the speed was good and we are in one piece. The track was difficult and the rhythm was very fast. A little bit disappointed by the second moto because I wanted to fight a bit longer for the GP win but I almost crashed with a lapped rider and Jeffrey had the chance to pass me and I didn’t get a chance to respond before he had the gap. The level [of MXGP] is high but I am happy with the results [so far] and we know the championship is long. Jeffrey was definitely the fastest here this weekend and I knew it would be really difficult…but I’m happy. It is important to always finish on the podium and when possible: try to win. This is how the championship grows.”


Gautier Paulin: “It was good weekend for us. I’ve been working a lot with my team to improve all the little details, so to get on the podium was a good reward for all the hard work. I’m happy because in both motos I could ride the way I wanted to and improve myself as each race went on. In the opening moto I made a late attack for third at the final lap but it didn’t go as planned so I had to settle for fourth. My bike was working great and I was happy to get a good start in moto two. I was riding really good and managed to defend my third position until the end of the moto. Overall, my riding was good here in Latvia and the goal now is to keep this momentum and get even better in the races to come.”


Jago Geerts: “It feels really good to stand on the podium. It has been a good weekend, with a dream race to finish off the weekend. I saw Prado make a mistake while he was leading, but I had Olsen still in front of me, so I knew it would be difficult to win even though I felt like I had the speed. Still, I am happy and it’s nice to stand on the podium.”


Pauls Jonass: “I was struggling a lot with the track and it was difficult to get a good start from the 12th gate pick. I had a really bad start in the second moto but my riding was the best it had been all weekend as I moved up from something like twentieth to fifth. I felt I was riding like myself only in the last fifteen minutes. Maybe a little bit of pressure didn’t help. I didn’t feel it… but I think it was in the back of my mind because home GPs are always a little bit more difficult. I’m thankful though. The fans really cheered every single pass and it helped a lot and pushed me forward. It is nice to see there are more and more spectators every year and motocross is growing here. I wanted to give them the win but things don’t always go to plan. Overall I’m happy to leave here with a podium finish.”

MX2 podium – Photo JP Acevedo

Glenn Coldenhoff: “A mixed weekend: not that bad but not that great. I had a small issue in the first moto start and managed to come through pretty well. 8th was solid but we’ve been looking for more in the last few weeks. I almost had the holeshot in the second moto and led for one and a half laps and that was definitely a good feeling. I tried to push but my pace just a little off the top guys and sometimes you need to respect that. 6th was OK. We’re definitely working for more.”


Jorge Prado: “Honestly, I am very happy. OK, I made some mistakes at the beginning of the first moto and had a big crash in the waves where I was lucky not to be hurt…but I kept positive and came back well today. I had nothing really to lose in the second moto although you always need to be careful on a track like this. I had the holeshot and a big lead and I’m not sure how I crashed but it meant I had to come back again and waited to push in the last two laps. I could see Olsen was finished and did what I had to do. That was the best result possible and it was good for my championship that Pauls only just made the top five in the second moto so he only gained two points. The weekend could have been way-better but I’m happy with what we leave with.”


Thomas Covington: “It’s been a positive weekend. I felt good coming back from my knee injury and the speed was there to battle with the top guys. I had a good start in the opening moto and gradually worked my way up to third. Then in the second moto my start wasn’t that good, but I did my best to get as close as possible to the leading pack. My bike was working great so I kept improving my speed. Unfortunately following a crash I had a small issue that did not allow me to finish the race. Overall, I’m happy with the progress made and I’m now looking forward to the next GP in Germany.”


Max Anstie: “It took me some time to be 100% following the concussion I suffered in Spain, but I’m happy I managed to battle for two good results here in Latvia. The new track layout made Kegums completely different. It was a warm weekend and the track was quite bumpy and rough. Overall, I feel that I’m making some progress with my speed and it’s also important that I managed to remain consistent in both motos. It’s nice to be up there racing with the top guys in MXGP. I’m enjoying being back racing and each day we’re building on the small details.”


Clement Desalle: “I’m happy to be going home safe; the track was already rough yesterday and today it was even tougher. It was easy to lose a lot on this track, and once more the start was very important. In the first race I didn’t get such a good start – around eighth position – but I came through to fifth without taking any unnecessary risks. The second start was similar but I made some small mistakes at the beginning before I found a good rhythm and good lines in the second half of the race to come back into the top five. I even passed Gajser for fourth and Paulin was not so far so I knew that the podium was possible but I slid out in a corner and crashed. Twice fifth, fourth overall, it’s a decent weekend and we look forward to Germany.”


Jed Beaton: “This weekend didn’t really go to plan; I didn’t get any good starts and that didn’t help me on this rough track. In the first moto I found it difficult to build a rhythm, then in the second I had good pace and was seventh when Covington hit me; we both went down, it broke my rhythm and I couldn’t really do much after that. The track was really strange this weekend; they watered it so the sand was heavy on some sections and very hard in others, but it was the same for everyone. Overall it wasn’t a great weekend, but I’m looking forward to Germany.”


Julien Lieber: “It was not my best GP so far – but also not the worst – with another top ten result. Yesterday I struggled to find my speed, and in the qualifying race I crashed pretty hard with another rider so I couldn’t qualify better than twenty-third. It’s always difficult to take a good start here from an outside gate, but I came back to eleventh in the first moto and I found an even better rhythm in the second race. I had a good speed and had just passed three riders in one lap when Butron hit me! I lost the positions that I had just earned but I didn’t give up and came back to tenth at the finish.”

Herlings went 1-1 and extended his lead in championship – Photo: Ray Archer

Ben Watson: “I am happy with how the weekend has gone. Two consistent rides and I was up front again. I came into this weekend not knowing what to expect after I crashed last weekend at the Dutch Championship and sprained my wrist. I didn’t ride this week, so my mind wasn’t 100% focused on the racing as such, but to leave with a fifth and fourth place finish, I am happy with that. It is good points for what remains a really long championship.”


Tim Gajser: “Today wasn’t too bad although that’s clearly not where we want to be. This is how things are looking at the moment, but we will keep working hard. I know what I’m capable of and I know I can do better than this, but step by step I think we will get there. Teutschenthal is next, and it’s a track I really like. It’ll be important to avoid mistakes and push hard to get the type of results we deserve. I want to thank the team for their invaluable work: the bike was really good throughout the whole weekend.”


Jeremy Van Horebeek: “I feel good actually, it has been a good weekend, and the best I have felt since my crash in Valkenswaard. The first race not too bad, but in Race 2 I felt better than I have in a long time. I was only seventh, but I came from the back of the field, so it’s not too bad. I made some good passes this weekend and my intensity was good. I feel like I took a big step in the right direction and if I can keep training on the bike during the week, I will be pushing top-5, top-3 every weekend. I am on my way back to the speed I know I can ride at!”


Jeremy Seewer: “Another new track. I struggled a bit to find a set-up for this track yesterday, especially in the practice sessions, but I got it dialed pretty good for the qualifying race. The track today was different again. It was rough and gnarly, but I managed to have a pretty good feeling. Just a small issue in the first race with the bike, but I did my best to get some points, and I am happy with that. I made some good passes and followed some of the fastest guys for some laps. I am happy to leave here with a really positive feeling on the bike.”


Calvin Vlaanderen: “Overall I’m obviously not too satisfied with how the day went. My riding was very good throughout the whole weekend, actually, but in the races I didn’t really feel I had the power in me to keep the pace: for the first ten minutes it was all good, but then I had no strength left. It’s not where we want to be, but it’s a long season so we’ll go back to work and be back strong in Germany.”

Michele Cervellin: “It was a good weekend, with eighth overall. Before the weekend I knew it would be tough as it’s not my kind of track, like Russia was but I tried to do my best. In the first moto I was almost top 10 but lost a position on the last lap however in the second moto I went from 10th to eighth on the last lap so I am happy with how it worked out. I’m looking forward to Germany next weekend as it is a good track, and one I like a lot.”

Thomas Kjer-Olsen scored his first win of ’18. Photo JP Acevedo

Arminas Jasikonis: “I was fast for one lap, throughout the weekend. In free practice and timed practice I was fourth which was really good actually. However the heat really hurt me in the races, I felt weak and light-headed and just not strong enough. The first moto was okay but the second moto was just cruise control to make sure I finished the race. However we must push onto the next round; we know what we need to improve upon as we missed all winter and that’s why results aren’t there but I know I have to do work in order to improve.”


Peta Petrov: “Well, I had a good Saturday, that was positive and I finished 15th. Sunday the first moto I was really frustrated and pretty much pissed off, because I didn’t ride how I should. I finished 19th. I also had a horrible start, but no excuses. I was really slow the first lap. Second moto came out not so bad, but somebody crashed in front and I slowed down and lost some place and I finished 17th. It isn’t what I want, but everything is coming a long and nothing we can do, we just need to work and work.”


Conrad Mewse: “Well, it was an improvement this weekend to be back in the top 10. It was a hard GP; the track was gnarly and the weather was hot. The first moto went pretty well, and I got a great start in the second one. The only problem being the holeshot device jammed on for the first half of the lap, so I had to get that sorted and just lost my rhythm and by then I was pretty drained. I’ve found myself in a bit of a dip in form since the start of the year. I’m fit, focussed and I’ve got the speed – I just need to get back to having fun and take the pressure off. It’s a long year with a lot of races and I want to get back at the sharp end and demonstrate my talent.”