After the sapping sand of Lommel, MXGP moved to the bumpy and rutty hard-pack of Frauenfeld-Gachnang for the Grand Prix of Switzerland and the second of three rounds of the long MXGP calendar on successive weekends. In front of a 30,000 crowd Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings captured his second win in a row and third of the season with the KTM 450 SX-F.
Heavy rainfall in the days preceding the Grand Prix helped soak and soften the impressive circuit a 40km distance from the city of Zurich. Thankfully the climate improved for the race weekend and the watering was beneficial for the racing surface; helping create a choppy terrain that again made high demands of the riders’ technical skill.
On a bright and sunny raceday the first moto saw Arnaud Tonus, Max Anstie and Gautier Paulin marked the pace from the first corner. The KTM triplet was distributed around the top ten with Cairoli nestled in fifth. The Sicilian found some new lines and more effective flow in the final ten minutes of the moto to move up to third and was close to Anstie and Tonus but unable to dislodge the MXGP rookies. Jeffrey Herlings was riding hard and spent the entire moto with world champion Tim Gajser on his rear wheel. The Belgian GP winner was at the front of the second group and sealed sixth place.
Starts were obviously key and Cairoli launched brightly in the second moto but, by his own admission, was ‘sleeping’ at the start of the thirty-minute and two lap distance and left his rally too late to move higher than fourth. His 3-4 scorecard was sufficient for his eleventh podium of the term. Escaping free at the front was Herlings. The former three-times MX2 World Champion overtook Paulin and rode at his own speed to bank an eighth moto victory in his maiden MXGP season. The 25 points elevated Herlings to the top step for the second time in a week.
Cairoli and Herlings are still first and second in the MXGP standings with 97 points splitting the KTM pair, just 200 remain. Glenn sits tied for tenth spot.
Herlings: “Everything fell into place for me this time. I’ve had GPs when I’ve been 1-2 and still lost out but this time I went 6-1 and had the overall; I’m really happy with that. The track was awesome if you had a good start. If you didn’t then it was a nightmare and so tough to pass with all that roost. I enjoyed the second moto though with the crowd noise! There is still one guy in front of me in the championship so I will continue to look ahead. I know the championship is kinda over unless something happens to Tony and we all hope that doesn’t happen; if I can get second this year then it is still a good thing.”
The third Grand Prix in a row will take place on the stony hard-pack of Uddevalla next weekend and the first visit to Sweden since 2015.
Next Round: August 20 2017 – Uddevalla (SWE)
Results MXGP Frauenfeld 2017
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), KTM (6-1)
2. Gautier Paulin (FRA), Husqvarna (4-2)
3. Tony Cairoli (ITA), KTM (3-4)
4. Romain Febvre (FRA), KTM (5-3)
5. Max Anstie (GBR), Husqvarna (2-12)
Standings MXGP 2017 after 15 of 19 rounds
1. Cairoli, 605 points
2. Herlings, 508
3. Paulin, 486
4. Desalle, 483
5. Gajser, 406