Herlings increases points advantage following Latvia MXGP victory
Kjer Olsen breaks through for MX2 victory as Australia's Beaton winds up 13th.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings has strengthened his points lead after claiming a commanding overall victory at the weekend’s seventh stop of the 2018 MXGP World Championship in Kegums, Latvia.
Herlings was forced to come from behind in both outings, fighting his way through the field after lodging starts that would see deep in the pack.
With another perfect 1-1 scorecard to his name, the Dutchman leads the championship by 29 points over teammate and defending champion Antonio Cairoli (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who wound up second on the weekend with a pair of runner-up finishes.
Third overall in Latvia was credited to Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin, marking a return to the podium with 4-3 race results.
Previous round victor Clement Desalle (Monster Energy Kawasaki Factory Racing) charged to fourth overall, completing the day two points ahead of Tim Gajser (Honda HRC). Former champion Romain Febvre was third in moto one and looked set for a promising overall result, however a fall with another rider in race two forced him to retire from the 18-lap affair.
Australia’s Todd Waters was in-line for his MXGP return in a guest role for Honda HRC, however a heavy crash in Saturday’s qualification race meant he was ruled out of the seventh round is currently undergoing further medical examinations.
In the MX2 category, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsen broke through for his second Latvian victory in as many attempts, defeating Kemea Yamaha Official MX2’s Jago Geerts with a 1-2 scorecard.
Behind Geerts on the podium was Pauls Jonass (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who leads the championship by 22 points, while the top five was rounded out by race two winner Jorge Prado (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Ben Watson (Kemea Yamaha Official MX2).
Australia’s Jed Beaton (F&H Racing Kawasaki) concluded the weekend in 13th position after lodging 14-10 race results, while countryman Hunter Lawrence (Honda 114 Motorsport), who was on return from a hand injury, was sidelined in the opening laps of race one following a heavy hit to his head.
Fellow Aussies Jett Lawrence (Suzuki) and Caleb Grothues (Husqvarna) were 11th and 27th overall respectively in the EMX250 division, with the Latvian round marking the fourth stop of the European championship.
The next stop on the MXGP World Championship calendar is scheduled for 20 May at Teutschenthal in Germany.