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For the second weekend in a row MXGP was fortunate to bask in summery conditions with blue skies and warm temperatures in eastern Germany and close to the city of Halle where the undulating hard-pack terrain of Teutschenthal hosted the eighth round of twenty in 2018.
Jeffrey Herlings won his sixth Qualification Heat in a row thanks to a comprehensive performance on Saturday with his works KTM 450 SX-F and blasted into the lead early on the first lap of the opening moto and was never headed. In the second race he repeated the show of dominance. The margins of victory were 16 and 28 seconds and with the fastest laps in both outings. Germany represented Herlings’ fifth 1-1 from the six triumphs to-date. He has owned the last four motos in succession and has aced 12 from 16; his lowest finish this season being a 3rd position.
World Champion Tony Cairoli was 6th overall and missed the podium for the first time in 2018. The Sicilian suffered with his starts and then trying to overtake Clement Desalle on the narrow and restrictive track and registered a 6-5. Glenn Coldenhoff was just behind in 7th after crossing under the Finish Line arch with a 9-6 for the day. Both Herlings and Cairoli are now separated by 48 points at the top of the standings while Coldenhoff is sitting in 7th position.
Herlings: “Good starts again and my riding was really good both motos. I cannot ask for more than leading every single lap this weekend. I’m really pleased and it’s a bit of a dream weekend. This track is not one of my favourites – even if I don't really mind most of the circuits – but they prepped it better than yesterday and there were some more lines and it was a bit rougher. Onto the next one!”
Cairoli: “Today was a very strange race; normally it develops a bit during the moto but it seemed like if you crossed the finish line at the end of the first lap in the top five then you stayed there. Jeffrey had two good starts and he was free to make a good speed and rhythm. When you are in the pack it is like a war: on this track everyone was cutting lines and ruts and trying to pass and there were crashes. When it settled I was both times behind Desalle and he is one of the toughest to pass and the roost was very painful. I came close a few times but in the end just limited the damage. I don't know what really happened with the starts. We need to check.”
Coldenhoff: “It was an average one I think today. I knew coming to this GP that the starts were so important and yesterday we saw everyone was so close to each other in terms of speed. I messed up my start completely in the first moto because someone was moving next to me and it took a long time for the gate to drop. I did a good first lap and came home in ninth. The first laps of the second moto were crazy; I think I got passed three times but then also overtook some other guys. It was very intense. I felt good in the moto but also had a few ‘moments’, so when I saw I had a gap over seventh I just brought it home safe.”
Jorge Prado triumphed in MX2 for the third time this year as Red Bull KTM got back to winning ways in the category. The Spaniard shared results with World Champion Pauls Jonass – both claiming a moto and finishing second in the other – but the teenager’s efforts to snare the second sprint meant he was able to give Team Manager Claudio De Carli his 100th Grand Prix victory.
Prado, steering his KTM 250 SX-F, flew undisturbed to his fourth ‘Pole Position’ on Saturday, and shadowed Jonass in the first moto. Although he could not get into a position to pass his teammate he was just 1.4 seconds away at the chequered flag. Later in the afternoon he won the ‘essential’ first lap against Jonass and sprinted clear. The Latvian tried to shrink the distance to #61 but the scarred hard-pack was not easy for finding tricks and differences in the lap-times.
Jonass and Prado have led the MX2 standings since the second round in Valkenswaard, Holland and Pauls continues to hold a slender 22 point margin over Jorge.
Prado: “The first moto I got the holeshot but decided to go to the inside ruts on the second corner and they were deep and muddy. Pauls went outside and passed me and from that moment I was behind him the whole moto and trying to make the pass. I just couldn't find one spot and was thinking every lap ‘where can I do this?’ and look for new lines but it became too late. It was tough, and I knew the next start would be so important. I touched something with my front wheel in the second moto and came across into Pauls a little bit out of the gate. We kinda fought down to the first corner and I had the inside. I could lead every lap. So I’m happy. The points gap is not so big and we are still improving."
Jonass: “I’m feeling good; didn't lose anything, didn't gain anything. I wanted the top step of the podium but I always tend to struggle a little bit on this track. That first moto was tough because Jorge was always pushing and then in the second moto he pulled a little gap and I just couldn't close it. He was riding really well this weekend. We’ll go back home and work on a few things and I know what we need to do.”
After back-to-back dates in Latvia and Germany MXGP breaks for one week before the trip to the UK and the British Grand Prix at last year’s host of the Motocross of Nations – Matterley Basin in southern England – for round nine of the FIM World Championship.
Next race: British Grand Prix, Matterley Basin, June 3rdResults MXGP Teutschenthal 20181. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), KTM (1-1)2. Tim Gajser (SLO), Honda (2-2)3. Gautier Paulin (FRA), Husqvarna (3-2)4. Clement Desalle (BEL), Kawasaki (5-4) 5. Romain Febvre (FRA), Yamaha (4-7)Other KTM6. Tony Cairoli (ITA), KTM (6-5)7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED), KTM (9-6)
Standings MXGP 2018 after 8 of 20 rounds1. Jeffrey Herlings, 386 points2. Tony Cairoli, 338 3. Clement Desalle, 2784. Romain Febvre, 2585. Gautier Paulin, 255Other KTM7. Coldenhoff, 207Results MX2 Teutschenthal 20181. Jorge Prado (SPA), KTM (2-1)2. Pauls Jonass (LAT), KTM (1-2)3. Calvin Vlaanderen ((RSA), Honda (3-34. Ben Watson (GBR), Yamaha (4-4)5. Jed Beaton (AUS), Kawasaki (7-6)Standings MX2 2018 after 8 of 20 rounds1. Pauls Jonass, 351 points2. Jorge Prado, 3293. Thomas Kjer Olsen, 2884. Ben Watson, 2465. Jed Beaton, 203www.mxgp.comwww.ktm.com | media.ktm.comFacebook | YouTube | Twitter | Instagram