The paddock reconvened after the long drive to the west of Europe and the distinctive Agueda circuit with the red dust and loose top soil providing a slippery, bumpy and tricky surface and a different challenge to the rough sand of Ottobiano in Italy seven days previously. Wide in many places and with some spectacular jumps, Agueda was also limited away from the main racing line for passing opportunities among the front-runners.
On this stage and watched by 20,000 people (weekend figure) MXGP Championship leader Cairoli and ‘rookie’ Herlings resumed their duel from Ottobiano with the Sicilian fronting the field in the first moto until lap twelve of eighteen when Herlings found a superior rhythm and sliced past his rival. Cairoli kept pressure on the Dutchman and the gap at the flag was just over a second as Herlings toasted his fifth moto success (the second highest tally of the season). In the second race Cairoli again found first position on the opening circulation while Herlings dispensed with Tim Gajser to move up to second and work on the margin to the #222 but the eight times world champion used his considerable experience to register his eighth moto win, the fifth of the term and the 82nd GP accolade of his career.
Herlings’ fifth second place from a total of six podiums finishes (from the last seven rounds no less) now makes #84 the second most successful rider behind Cairoli and bumps him to within just 2 points of the top three in the MXGP standings.
Herlings: “It is a bit frustrating being second again and we were closer than we were last weekend but it is something to build and work on. We did some good things for the championship because only a few rounds ago I was almost 50 points back and now it is 5-or-something to second place: that’s quite impressive. So I’m happy for that and I didn’t lose points to Cairoli today. [Getting to] second in the championship will not be so bad and everyone has worked so hard in the team. To go 1-2 would be amazing for KTM. My starts were good again today by the way and we are getting better and better.”
MXGP now enters a small summer break with two free weekends preceding the Grand Prix of Czech Republic at Loket on July 22-23 for the thirteenth round of nineteen in the 2017 campaign.
Next Round: July 23 2017 – Loket (CZE)
Results MXGP Agueda 2017
1. Tony Cairoli (ITA), KTM (2-1)
2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), KTM (1-2)
3. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU), (3-3)
4. Romain Febvre (FRA), Yamaha (5-4)
5. Max Nagl (GER), Husqvarna (4-5)
Standings MXGP 2017 after 12 of 19 rounds
1. Cairoli, 478 points
2. Desalle, 387
3. Paulin, 383
4. Herlings, 382
5. Gajser, 310