The drops and climbs of Orlyonok drew MXGP to Russia for the third year in succession and the first of another three-in-a-row sequence of dates in the 2019 campaign. Sunshine and temperatures of 30 degrees beat down at the impressive venue on the banks of the Black Sea. The track was hard, slick and quick, complicated for overtaking and demanded at element of caution from the athletes.
Tony Cairoli conceded control of the red plate as series leader as the Red Bull KTM. A crash in Saturday’s Qualification Heat left of the Italian. He was pushed out of the first race and had his battle for 12th spot. In the second race he gated much better and was able to rescue substantial positions for 4th.
Cairoli now trails Tim Gajser by 13 points in the MXGP standings.
World Champion Jeffrey Herlings re-joined the MXGP pack after recovering from a broken right foot. The Dutchman So what a faller on Saturday but his aced his pre-event goal of a position between 5-10 by running to 4th in the first moto and 7th in the second. Kegums (Latvia) and Teutschenthal (Germany) in the next two weeks.
Jeffrey Herlings :“I have a serious injury and it has been tough to get back here, mentally and physically, and with a lot of pain for a long time. I did not expect this on this track. So to be close to the podium again feels pretty beautiful. I like the track in Latvia but I do not have any expectations and I do not forget where I have come from. Having said that, “We’ll always try to fight for a podium spot when we can!”
Tony Cairoli :I was totally on the outside for the gate pick. I was riding very stiff and by missing the start it is almost impossible to make a good result on this track; everybody is riding at a similar speed. We’re the bad plate but I’m not badly injured, and we’ve got some big crashes today. We’re getting a bit banged-up but we want to re-group and look to Latvia, which is a nice track, and to regain some points. ”
Fifteen in the first race in Russia. Jorge Prado had to work for his twelfth victory. The spaniard starts from pole position (after his fourth qualification heat triumph on saturday) but the first corner deepens in the top ten. Prado chased his peers and overtaking the title rival Thomas Kjer Olsen in the closing stages to seize the checkered flag. In the second race the eighteen year old notched his seventh and sixth for the sixth and sixth overall win in a row.
Tom Vialle finished 4th at Orlyonok. The rookie made a top three in the first moto and collected 4th by the end of the 30 minute and 2 lap distance. Later in the day the Frenchman was again circulating near the top of the leaderboard and made sure of 5th. Vialle is now 5th in the championship.
Prado holds the red plate by 20 points from Olsen.
Jorge Prado :It was a very hard weekend because in the first moto I had a good jump out of the gate but collided with a few other riders in the first corner and lost a lot of positions. I had to work my way up to the front and it took all the moto! With two laps to go I made the pass for first place: I was really happy afterwards, even if it did mean I had a lot of energy. I knew that the holeshot would be so important for the second moto. I’m happy to win again. Latvia is a track I like. I’m looking forward to making my gap in the championship a little bigger. ”
Tom Vialle :“A good weekend for me and I’m happy with these results here. It felt like both days went well although my starts were not perfect. I’m Fifth in the Championship at the moment and that feels great but I know there is a long way to go. As many points each weekend. We go to Latvia next and it’s my first visit there so I’ll be hoping to be good again. “
The MXGP paddock will congregate again to tackle the sandy top soil of Kegums in Latvia next weekend.
Results MXGP Russia 2019
1. Tim Gajser (SLO), Honda (1-1)
2. Arnaud Tonus (SUI), Yamaha (2-2)
3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI), Yamaha (5-3)
4. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), Red Bull KTM (4-7)
5. Romain Febvre (FRA), Yamaha (4-9)
8. Tony Cairoli (ITA), Red Bull KTM (12-4)
Standings MXGP 2019 after 08 of 18 rounds
1. Tim Gajser 351 points
2. Tony Cairoli 338
3. Gautier Paulin 231
4. Jeremy Seewer 220
5. Arminas Jasikonis 212
24. Jeffrey Herlings 32
Results MX2 Russia 2019
1. Jorge Prado (ESP), Red Bull KTM (1-1)
2. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN), Husqvarna (2-2)
3. Jago Geerts (BEL), Yamaha (3-3)
4. Tom Vialle (FRA), Red Bull KTM (4-5)
5. Michele Cervellin (ITA), Yamaha (9-4)
Standings MX2 2019 after 08 of 18 rounds
1. Jorge Prado 347
2 Thomas Kjer Olsen 327
3. Jago Geerts 257
4. Henry Jacobi 236
5. Tom Vialle 216