Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings went 1-1 in their respective classes to win the Grand Prix of Thailand. In what was another amazing weekend of racing the Red Bull KTM team showed why they are so popular in the World of Motocross. Herlings in particular was brilliant in the Superfinal (won by Cairoli).
The opening moto of the Sunday program for the Grand Prix of Thailand proved to be everything we expected as Red Bull KTM Factort rider Jeffrey Herlings did what he does best. He had the lead almost straight off the start and just took off, leading all 20 laps.
Behind him KTM had more of the same with Jake Nicholls, Romain Febvre, and Glenn Coldenhoff battling with Yamaha rider Christophe Charlier, Honda rider Jose Butron, Suzukis Max Anstie and another Yamaha rider in Dean Ferris.
Nicholls was looking strong holding down third place for some time behind Herlings and Febvre, but crashed hard on the large triple jump, dropping back to 8th place, before his throttle cable broke on the last lap, dropping him back to 19th place.
The accident by Nicholls brought a bunch of riders up a position and at half race distance it was Herlings, Febvre, Anstie, Butron, Ferris, Tixier, Coldenhoff and Charlier. While there were many close battled not a lot changed until the end of the race. Herlings would win by 40 seconds, with Febvre a further six seconds ahead of Anstie.
Disappointment for British riders James Dunn and Elliot Banks Browne down in 27th and 28th respectively. Mel Pocock after an accident in the opening lap was able to come back to 15th place after a really strong ride.
In the MX1 moto the other Red Bull KTM Factory rider Antonio Cairoli showed why he is a multiple times World Motocross Champion. After following a very fast Honda Factory rider Evgeny Bobryshev early and then being passed by his team-mate Ken De Dycker (who took the lead in the race on lap six after Bobryshev slipped off) the little Italian moved into the lead on lap nine and held it until the end.
Eventually winning by 10 seconds over De Dycker and a further seven seconds over Clement Desalle the defending World MX1 Champion also moved into the lead in the series points..
Gautier Paulin and Tommy Searle once again proved consistent with fourth and fifth place finishes, while former World MX1 Champion David Philippaerts did well to come from ninth place to finish in sixth position.
Rui Goncalves had held down fifth place on the opening lap and the good start was enough to give him eight place at the end. Bobryshev had another crash, putting him back in 18th at the finish, and Shaun Simpson failed to finish the first lap after crashing on the first corner.
The last chance race was once again a rather tame affair with MX1 rider Jens Getteman winning from MX2 rider Harri Kullas and another MX1 rider Kenny Van Dueren. British riders James Dunn, James Cottrell, and Elliot Banks Browne finished in 12th, 13th and 14th.
As was the case in Qatar the Superfinal opened with riders battling in an intense war against each other. Cairoli led early from Desalle, although all eyes were on Ferris and Herlings who held fourth and fifth positions.
The Aussie was on fire and fighting with Gautier Paulin, before the Frenchman blasted past on the MX1 friendly circuit. Herlings followed soon after and slowly started dropping back as the bigger MX1 machines held an advantage.
Herlings on the other hand was on a charge, passing Ferris, and moved up on Paulin in third place. Intensity was the name of the game as the best MX1 and MX2 riders fought against each other. This beautiful prepared circuit in Si Racha really giving the riders a great chance to show off their skills.
Up front Cairoli had lost Desalle and Paulin started making ground on the Belgian, as for Herlings, he was now a couple of seconds of the pace of Paulin. A bunch of MX2 riders were fighting their way through the pack with Febvre second best MX2 rider and 11th on the track and Charlier a place behind as the third best MX2 rider.
Cairoli’s leads waqs 14 seconds as Paulin passed Desalle and Herlings moved up to the back wheel of the Suzuki factory rider. Herlings looked desperate to get that third place finish and pass the MX1 rider. At a moment Herlings passed Desalle, before Desalle pushed back past, but then suddenly slowed and the Belgian moved away.
De Dycker had done a brilliant job coming back from a terrible start to finish in 10th place and Febvre showed once again what a talent for the future he is.
Obviously spent from his amazing charge the Dutchman started cruising in the last two laps. Cairoli eventually won by 17 seconds over Paulin, Desalle, Herlings and Searle in fifth place.
Grand Prix of Thailand – Race Results
MX2 Moto: 1. Herlings, 2. Febvre, 3. Anstie, 4. Butron, 5. Ferris, 6. Tixier, 7. Coldenhoff, 8. Lupino, 9. Charlier, 10. Petrov, 11. Olsen, 12. Lieber, 13. Rauchenecker, 14. Ferrandis, 15. Pocock, 16. Teillet, 17. Desprev, 18. Fors, 19. Nicholls, 20. Monticelli
MX1 Moto: 1. Cairoli, 2. De Dycker, 3. Desalle, 4. Paulin, 5. Searle, 6. Philippaerts, 7. Strijbos, 8. Goncalves, 9. Frossard, 10. Roelants, 11. Guarneri, 12. Leok, 13. Boog, 14. Barragan, 15. Van Horebeek, 16. Justs, 17. Law, 18. Bobryshev, 19. Getteman, 20. Dougan
Superfinal: 1. Cairoli, 2. Paulin, 3. Desalle, 4. Herlings, 5. Searle, 6. Goncalves, 7. Boog, 8. Roelants, 9. Frossard, 10. De Dycker, 11. Febvre, 12. Strijbos, 13. Bobryshev, 14. Charlier, 15. Leok, 16. Guarneri, 17. Lupino, 18. Butron, 19. Ferris, 20. Philippaerts, 21. Lieber, 22. Coldenhoff, 23. Simpson, 24. Tixier, 25. Ferrandis
MX1 Overall: 1. Cairoli 50 pts, 2. Paulin 40 pts, 3. Desalle 40 pts, 4. Searle 34pts, 5. De Dycker 34pts, 6. Goncalves 29pts, 7. Roelants 25pts, 8. Frossard 25pts, 9. Strijbos 25pts, 10. Boog 23 pts
MX1 Championship points: 1. Cairoli 95 pts, 2. Desalle 87pts, 3. Paulin 78pts, 4. De Dycker 70pts, 5. Searle 64pts, 6. Strijbos 55pts, 7. Goncalves 52pts, 8. Bobryshev 47pts, 9. Frossard 47pts, 10. Boog 41 pts
MX2 Overall: 1. Herlings 50 pts, 2. Febvre 44pts, 3. Butron 34pts, 4. Charlier 32pts, 5. Lupino 31pts, 6. Ferris 31pts, 7. Coldenhoff 27pts, 8. Tixier 27pts, 9. Anstie 25pts, 10. Lieber 23 pts
MX2 Championship points: 1. Herlings 100pts, 2. Febvre 82pts, 3. Ferris 69pts, 4. Charlier 65pts, 5. Coldenhoff 63pts, 6. Butron 60pts, 7. Tixier 57 pts, 8. Lupino 56pts, 9. Lieber 47pts, 10. Anstie 37 pts
Race report courtesy Geoff Meyer
NEXT MXGP – After the two overseas Grand Prix the FIM Motocross World Championship will take a three-weeks break before travelling to Valkenswaard, The Netherlands. The third Grand Prix of the season will be celebrated during the Easter weekend on the 31st March and 1st April.