Red Bull KTM Factory Racing continued their streak of premium results and podium presence in the 2021 FIM Motocross World Championship as Jeffrey Herlings celebrated his sixth MXGP victory of the season around the Spanish hard-pack of Intu Xanadú Arroyomolinos for round 13 of 18 in the current series.
The curving and rutty hardpacked soil of Intu Xanadú Arroyomolinos entertained MXGP for the second time after the new circuit opened its gates in 2020. The sun shone for the one-day event and the terrain was technical and demanding.
For the fifth Grand Prix in a row (and for the ninth time this season) Jeffrey Herlings secured Pole Position in MXGP Timed Practice. The Dutchman was just seven-hundredths of a second ahead of Tim Gajser.
Herlings was buried deep in the top ten at the start of the first moto. He had to charge hard to reach 4th and then profited from a mistake by Gajser to take 3rd. Jorge Prado was 2nd. The 20-year-old was pushed all race by the noisy crowd and jostled for the lead briefly before being passed by Romain Febvre. Prado – who could only make 16th and 12th last Sunday in France in the wake of surgery to fix a cut under his left arm – resisted Herlings’ threat on the last lap to bank 22 points.
In the second moto Herlings started brighter to immediately put pressure on the holeshotting Prado. Cairoli was also inside the top five and set the fastest lap in the opening stages. By mid-race distance Herlings was able to find a spot to relegate his teammate and pulled clear. It was his tenth moto win of the year and ensured he has taken the flag once in seven of the last eight Grands Prix.
Herlings has stretched his world championship lead to 12 points over Romain Febvre, 15 ahead of Tim Gajser, 65 in front of Prado and 86 adrift of Tony Cairoli. Five rounds and a maximum of 250 points remain.
Jeffrey Herlings: “We started off strong in Timed Practice and I had a good jump off the gate in the first moto but rode into the first two turns too careful; like an old grandma! I got up to 10th but a good start is crucial now because the guys in 7th-8th are riding so fast and when they have good lines it is hard to pass. It took me some time to get going. The first 15 minutes were awful but the last 15 were really good. I came from far back and closed-up to the leaders. The second moto start was better. Tim [Gajser] made a mistake and I was into 2nd. Jorge was tough to pass but he was riding the right lines. Once I managed it, I was able to check-out and control the race. It was good. I’m looking forward to Arco and the shorter start straight there!”
The final five dates of 2021 MXGP will all take place in Italy and within the next three weeks. A triple header line-up at Arco di Trento in Trentino will form rounds fourteen, fifteen and sixteen before the series moves to 2021 Motocross of Nations venue, Mantova, for the final two Grands Prix.
Results MXGP Spain 2021
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (3-1)
2. Jorge Prado (ESP), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (2-3)
3. Tim Gajser (SLO), Honda (4-2)
4. Romain Febvre (FRA), Kawasaki (1-7)
5. Tony Cairoli (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (7-4)
Standings MXGP 2021 after 13 of 18 rounds
1. Jeffrey Herlings 505 points
2. Romain Febvre 493
3. Tim Gajser 490
4. Jorge Prado 440
5. Tony Cairoli 419