The Grand Prix of France and round twelve of eighteen in the 2021 FIM Motocross World Championship saw Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings taking the overall win with a 2-1 in the motos.
LaCapelle-Marival, scene of the popular and traditional pre-season International race, welcomed Grand Prix action for the first time this century. The MXGP and the MX2 classes had to acclimatize to a narrow, twist and bumpy hard-packed course that placed extra emphasis on race starts for podium contention. A vibrant atmosphere was created by a 25,000 crowd (weekend figure), most of whom could get near the action and the close trackside fences.
Jeffrey Herlings’ eighth Pole Position of the season was also his fourth in a row and after clocking the fastest time in Turkey, Sardinia and Germany previously. The Dutchman roared clear to lead seven laps of 19 in the first moto before Romain Febvre’s superior pace dropped him to 2nd. By the end of the race Herlings was on the charge again and reduced a seven second deficit to just seven tenths of a second by the finish line.
Cairoli blazed to the holeshot in the second moto but the Sicilian is still struggling with his left rib injury and had no answer to the speed of Herlings, Febvre and Gajser. Herlings led, diced with Febvre and then produced a tense but thrilling move with only minutes remaining to claim the win both on the track and with the overall points for the day. Prado was able to improve his pace to finish 12th for 14th in the final ranking.
The 2021 MXGP title dispute is still tremendously close. Herlings has the red plate for the second time but by only 6 points over Febvre, with Gajser 10 away in 3rd. Prado is 4th and 62 adrift while Cairoli is still in the game in 5th and 73 from the top.
Jeffrey Herlings: “A pretty good day. I already knew this morning that Romain would be good here and I had to step-up my game. The set-up I had for the first moto was pretty hard and there were a lot of off-cambers I was struggling with some arm-pump. Romain made a pass and I had to let him go. At the end of the moto I tried to close him back but I was just a bit too late. He won fair-and-square. I had another good start in the second moto and tried to pull away but it was tough. I entered a turn too hard and just washed out a front wheel; luckily I didn’t lose too much time and again managed to close it back down to Romain. We had a bit of bar-banging with the pass but I knew on this track you had to make a statement. I won the moto and the overall and now I’m looking forward to next weekend.”
Results MXGP France 2021
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (2-1)
2. Romain Febvre (FRA), Kawasaki (1-2)
3. Tim Gajser (SLO), Honda (6-3)
4. Jeremy Seewer (SUI), Yamaha (3-6)
5. Tony Cairoli (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (5-4)
World Championship Standings MXGP 2021 after 12 of the 18 rounds:
1. Jeffrey Herlings 460 points
2. Romain Febvre 454
3. Tim Gajser 450
4. Jorge Prado 398
5. Tony Cairoli 387