The Bitci Grand Prix of Turkey and the eighth round of the 2021 FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship reactivated the series after a three week break and Jeffrey Herlings of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing was able to take the victory in the MXGP class.

After missing the Grand Prix calendar in 2020, Afyonkarahisar arrived back on the MXGP trail and with two consecutive events: Sunday and Wednesday 8th September. The paddock encountered sunshine and warm temperatures for the first meeting and became reacquainted with the wide and quick layout that frequently mixed hard-pack with bumpy and rutted sections.

It was Jeffrey Herlings though who seized overall honors in Turkey. He worked his way through to 1st place in the opening moto and then pushed up to 2nd spot in the next race. The Dutchman gathered five more points than his teammate, Prado, who went 2-3.

Jeffrey Herlings: “Today was a good day. I picked up the pieces and got the second place in the second moto for the overall. Our starts need to be better, so we know where we need to improve when we go again here. I had to pass a lot of guys and really work for this win. It was a bit sketchy watching Tony and Jorge racing! The competition is super-strong. I’m doing all I can and the championship is so tight. I’m already looking forward to Wednesday.”

Results MXGP Turkey 2021

1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (1-2)
2. Jorge Prado (ESP), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (2-3)
3. Tim Gajser (SLO), Honda (6-1)
4. Romain Febvre (FRA), Kawasaki (4-4)
5. Tony Cairoli (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (5-5)

Standings MXGP 2021 after 08 of 17 rounds

1. Tim Gajser 310 points
2. Jorge Prado 297
3. Romain Febvre 293
4. Tony Cairoli 284
5. Jeffrey Herlings 274

Kegums provided a cool, overcast and changeable climate with the sandy terrain – and hard base – proving to be rough, slick and difficult to manage as the motos wore on across the one-day format. Jeffrey Herlings sealed his fourth Pole Position of the season during Timed Practice as the Dutchman again set the pace on his factory KTM 450 SX-F.

Herlings dominated the opening moto by opening a strong lead ahead of Tim Gajser. The Dutchman clinched his second checkered flag from the last three by more than seven seconds. He pursued Prado closely in the second moto but the 26-year-old – still recovering from his left shoulder blade fracture – tipped over with a few corners remaining. He crossed the line in 4th and sacrificed the overall win for a fifth podium appearance of the season in 3rd place.

Jeffrey Herlings: “All weekend was perfect apart from the last lap. What can I say? I felt like I could make a pass but I didn’t want to take a risk. Jorge was riding well and not making any mistakes. I went down all by myself. I’m sorry for the team and sorry for myself. I’m already looking towards Turkey now where hopefully I won’t have any pain and will be fitter. We’ll try to hunt those boys down. We are 43 points behind but there are still a lot of races ahead. We need to work and get fit. We know what we need to do. The rest of the guys here are fast but we’ve been on the box every time we’ve been racing, so I’ve been consistent. We need to start clicking off some wins and step it up a bit.”

MXGP can now breathe thanks to a three-week break lasting the rest of August. A double-header at Afyon for the Grand Prix of Turkey will bring the series back to the track in the first weekend of September.

Results MXGP Latvia 2021

1. Tim Gajser (SLO), Honda (2-2)
2. Jorge Prado (ESP), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (4-1)
3. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (1-4)
4. Romain Febvre (FRA), Kawasaki (5-3)
5. Tony Cairoli (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (3-6)

Standings MXGP 2021 after 07 of 17 rounds

1. Tim Gajser 270 points
2. Romain Febvre 257
3. Jorge Prado 255
4. Tony Cairoli 252
5. Jeffrey Herlings 227

The demanding sandy terrain of Lommel was no obstacle for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing as Jeffrey Herlings produced a heroic performance to finish 2nd overall at the Grand Prix of Belgium and the sixth round of the 2021 MXGP world championship.

Lommel remains the reference for Grand Prix sand tracks. The loose Belgian surface close to the Dutch border is notoriously deep, rough and technical and places an extreme test on both man and machinery. The sixth round of MXGP was also the third consecutive weekend of racing for the teams and riders of the two GP classes and the climate was cool, overcast and rainy.

Less than two weeks after fracturing his left shoulder blade in a racing incident at the Dutch Grand Prix and after sitting out the Czech round seven days ago, Jeffrey Herlings elected to attempt Lommel late on Saturday afternoon. The 2018 MXGP World Champion is a renowned sand rider and wanted to keep his hand in the 2021 title dispute. The 26-year-old was a tenth of a second from securing Pole Position in Timed Practice and then slotted into 2nd place on the first lap of the opening moto. He chased Romain Febvre for 10 of the 15 laps and maintained his pace to eventually take the lead and win his third consecutive race by a comfortable 28 seconds. Torrential rain fell during the moto and continued sporadically into the second motos. Herlings was unlucky to tangle with Glenn Coldenhoff three corners into the second start. The incident meant he had to cut through from the lower reaches of the top twenty and reached as high as 5th before he ran out of energy and momentum. The 1-5 was still sufficient for the second step of the podium and means he sits 5th in the standings, 42 points from 1st.

Jeffrey Herlings: “We didn’t ride much in practice but we had a good gate pick and then in the first moto Romain had really good pace, so I just sat there to save energy. As everybody knows, I broke my shoulder blade and it’s not normal to be riding again in thirteen days. I didn’t know if my speed would fade because the track was so rough and hard on the body. At one point I felt I could run a faster pace. I passed Romain and made a gap. I started well in the second moto – fourth or fifth I think – but came together with Glenn going for an inside line. It was a shame to be last but I fought my way back to 5th…then I faded! I couldn’t hold onto the bike that well and I didn’t want to make a big crash. To go 1-5 is a good day. One week ago we thought the championship was over – and I still need to hunt down the points – but 42 points is not too bad and there are still a lot of races and options ahead. 42 away is not where I want to be but if I had this offer a week ago I would have signed for it.”

The flurry of four Grands Prix in four weeks will come to a close with the trip to the Kegums circuit and Latvia in the coming days. Kegums promises another sandy challenge, but the ground is harder and slicker that the surface encountered at Lommel.

Results MXGP Belgium 2021
1. Romain Febvre (FRA), Kawasaki (2-1)
2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (1-5)
3. Pauls Jonass (LAT), GASGAS (4-3)
4. Jorge Prado (ESP), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (6-3)
5. Tony Cairoli (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (3-7)

Standings MXGP 2021 after 06 of 17 rounds
1. Tim Gajser 226 points
2. Romain Febvre 221
3. Tony Cairoli 217
4. Jorge Prado 212
5. Jeffrey Herlings 184

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Jeffrey Herlings will not take part in this weekend’s Grand Prix of the Czech Republic at Loket for the fifth round of the 2021 MXGP World Championship.

The 26-year-old underwent further scans on his left shoulder blade earlier this week. The initial fracture that had ruled him out of the second moto of his home Grand Prix last Sunday was found to be larger than originally thought. Herlings had been landed on by another rider at the start of the first race at Oss and although he was able to win the sprint he was forced out of the second outing.

The four-times World Champion now has to convalesce to let the crack heal sufficiently.

Jeffrey Herlings: “I don’t have pain in my shoulder for day-to-day life but sports and especially something like motocross is a different story. We’ll sit out Loket with the aim to come back 100%. It’s a shame and something that wasn’t my fault but it is what it is.”

Valkenswaard, Lierop and Assen have all hosted Dutch rounds of MXGP throughout the last two decades, but Oss entered the calendar for its first Grand Prix of the Netherlands since the end of the 1990s. The track featured shallow sandy terrain that roughed-up considerably in the sunny and hot climate.

Local hero Jeffrey Herlings came to Oss with a superlative record on home turf and 14 Grand Prix wins in both classes since his debut at Valkenswaard in 2010. The 26-year-old was the center of attention for the small gathering of fans permitted to enter the circuit and took his third Pole Position of the season so far in morning Timed Practice.

Herlings’ first moto was action-packed as Ivo Monticelli landed on his back exiting the second corner. The Dutchman remained upright, bore the pain and steadily found a pace that pulled him up from 4th, through a frantic battle for the lead and into 1st to seize his second victory in succession. A scan between the motos revealed that Herlings had suffered a small fracture in his left shoulder blade and he had to sit-out the next race.

MXGP moves directly to Loket for the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic next weekend. Compared to the sandy demands of Oss, round five presents a different challenge with the narrow, hard-packed Czech course.

Results MXGP Netherlands 2021
1. Tim Gajser (SLO), Honda (3-2)
2. Tony Cairoli (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (8-1)
3. Romain Febvre (FRA), Kawasaki (4-4)
4. Jorge Prado (ESP), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (6-3)
5. Ben Watson (GBR), Yamaha (9-6)
9. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (1-DNS)

Standings MXGP 2021 after 04 of 18 rounds
1. Tim Gajser 166 points
2. Jeffrey Herlings 143
3. Tony Cairoli 143
4. Romain Febvre 143
5. Jorge Prado 132

Fotocredits – Ray Archer

Jeffrey Herlings of the Red Bull KTM team clocked his first GP victory of the season at Maggiora in Italy. Herlings finished sixth in the first heat after some problems, but won the rain-soaked second heat to claim the GP.

After some good training during the week, Herlings was raring to go. He underlined this by claiming pole position, which boosted his confidence.

A decent start gave Herlings a platform to move forward from. A stone lodged in his rear brake though which forced him to a stop. He fought hard to reclaim sixth, a decent result under the circumstances.

The rain came lashing down before the start of race 2, which changed the track completely. Herlings launched with the leading group. He soon found himself in second place, and just past mid-race, pounced and took over the lead. From then on he rode unchallenged to victory.

“The first race felt like a disaster,” Herlings said. “I did not know why the bike was braking so hard. I had to fix this, and lost about 20 seconds. I was disappointed, and really wanted to go for the win in race two. The rain suddenly started, forcing us to make a quick choice about goggles and tyres. My starts weren’t great, but at least better in the second heat. There was a little gap to Glenn, and I knew that backmarkers could play a role. I attacked at the right time, and this brought me the overall victory. We made up a good number of championship points, and it is good to carry this confidence with me to Oss. I would like to thank the Red Bull KTM team for their hard work. The bike was really perfect.

Jeffrey took the overall GP victory and reduced his deficit to the world championship leader to six points. The next race on the calendar is his home GP at Oss in two weeks’ time.

Overall MXGP Maggiora:
1 Jeffrey Herlings 40 Pnt
2 Glenn Coldenhoff 40 Pnt
3 Antonio Cairoli 40 Pnt
4 Jorge Prado 36 Pnt
5 Romain Febvre 34 Pnt

World Championship Standings MXGP:
1 Tim Gajser 124 Pnt
2 Jeffrey Herlings 118 Pnt
3 Romain Febvre 107 Pnt
4 Antonio Cairoli 105 Pnt
5 Jorge Prado 97 Pnt

Jeffrey Herlings of the Red Bull KTM Factory team finished third during the second round of the MXGP world championships at Matterley Basin in England. Herlings finished third in the first heat, and fourth in the final race, earning him a podium call-up for third overall.

The track of Matterley Basin was a model of perfect preparation. Although rain was predicted, it stayed away for the most part, making for a fast track. Herlings qualified second, and used his good gate pick to charge into the top five at the start of race one. He moved up to fourth, and after a few laps, made the pass on countryman Glenn Coldenhoff to assume third position. By then the leaders had opened up a considerable gap, and Herligns had no option but to settle for third.

Herlings was involved in a battle with the leading group at the start of race two, but had to relinquish third spot after a while. He held steady in fourth place, which earned him enough points to be classified as third overall for the day.

“I still don’t have the top-level speed back yet. I can maintain it for a lap or so, but not full race distance. I’m not far off the pace, though, and we are trying to get better every week. It was a fast track today with close racing. It started spitting during the second race, and that made the track slippery. I had hoped for more lines, but these did not appear. Our objective is to aim for a podium finish every race. If you manage that, you will have a great shot at claiming the world title,” Herlings said.

Overall MXGP Great Britain:
1 Antonio Cairoli 45 Pnt
2 Tim Gajser 43 Pnt
3 Jeffrey Herlings 38 Pnt
4 Romain Febvre 36 Pnt
5 Jorge Prado 36 Pnt

Jeffrey Herlings of the Red Bull KTM Factory team finished on the podium in the opening Grand Prix of the season in Russia.

Jeffrey captured the first Pole Position of 2021 when the Dutchman pushed his KTM 450 SX-F to the fastest lap in Timed Practice. Herlings made a so-so start in the first moto and managed to reach the finish line in 4th. His prime slot in the gate helped for the second moto when he pushed into the lead on the first lap. The Dutchman then made a mistake that cost him four positions. He was able to recover to 3rd and gained another place in the final two laps. Herlings returned to the box for the first time since his last Grand Prix finish in Italy during the summer of 2020.

Jeffrey Herlings: “I’m happy. These are not the best results and not what we dreamt of but I’m pleased to get on the podium at a track I don’t like so much. I worked my way to 4th in the first moto then had a holeshot, tip-over and then back to 2nd. It wasn’t a bad weekend. Hopefully it gets better from here. I’m already looking forward to Matterley Basin; it suits me better with more grip and lines.”

MXGP travels back to central Europe and for a swift sequence of six consecutive rounds in six weeks. Round two takes place at the popular Matterley Basin circuit for the British Grand Prix on June 27th.

Overall MXGP Russia:
1 Tim Gajser 50 Pnt
2 Jeffrey Herlings 40 Pnt
3 Romain Febvre 37 Pnt
4 Alessandro Lupino 34 Pnt
5 Jeremy Seewer 31 Pnt

The 26-year-old elected to travel to the UK to compete in the second date of the national series in the absence of other pre-season events and with the FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship delayed twice. Herlings last rolled into a start gate at the Grand Prix of Citta di Faenza, September 2020.

The Dutchman used his factory KTM 450 SX-F to head Timed Qualification by over a second around the shallow hillside course. In the first moto he ran out of time to chase down the figure of native racer Ben Watson after having to stop briefly to dislodge a stone from the rear end of the bike. He collected a solid runner-up finish. In the second outing he hounded his MXGP peer and made the move to lead the field. Less than a second split Herlings and Watson at the flag and thanks to his victory he reached the highest step of the podium even though they tied on points.

The Grand Prix of Russia opens 2021 MXGP in three weeks.

Jeffrey Herlings: “It was a good day of racing. I had a bit of a problem in the first moto and lost around ten seconds while I sorted out the stone. I came back through the pack but the track wasn’t easy for passing and I finished on the leader’s rear wheel. In the second moto I had to come back from 6-7th at the start, although I could reach 1st place this time. I had a few issues with arm-pump but I guess that’s normal after eight months away from a race! We’ll keep working from here and hope to get a bit better each week until we go to Russia.”

ACU British Motocross Championship MX1 overall result, Round 2, Lyng

1. Jeffrey Herlings, KTM, 47pts
2. Ben Watson, Yamaha, 47pts
3. Tommy Searle, Honda, 36pts
4. Adam Sterry, KTM, 33pts
5. Jake Millward, KTM 33pts

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing star Jeffrey Herlings will miss the remaining seven rounds of 2020 MXGP after choosing to focus on a full recovery from his injuries and face the off-season period closer to 100% fitness.

The 25-year old has healed from the neck and upper back problems suffered as a result of his crash during Free Practice for the Grand Prix Citta di Faenza at the Monte Coralli in Italy circuit last month. The Dutchman is lacking bike time and conditioning to be able to return to competitive MXGP duty, especially with the calendar hurrying to a conclusion by November 8th.

A contributing factor to the accident was the lack of flexibility and comfort in Herlings’ right foot. Therefore, the winner of four rounds this year (still more than any other rider) has decided to undergo a small procedure to remove excess bone growth and fix scar tissue on Thursday 15th of October.

If the operation and post-op period goes accordingly then Herlings will have much better use of his right limb and can immediately concentrate on preparation with his KTM 450 SX-F for the 2021 campaign.

MX2 teammate Rene Hofer is also making decent steps from his broken left shoulder and hopes to be back on the KTM 250 SX-F in the next two months.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing still have Tony Cairoli and Jorge Prado in contention for the 2020 MXGP title and Tom Vialle has held the red plate for 10 of the 11 rounds in MX2 so far.

Jeffrey Herlings: “It won’t be a big operation but the foot is a complicated part of the body and there is some extra bone growing where I broke it. It needs to be partly removed. I also have tissue that is painful and irritating. I should know after a couple of weeks if I will be pain-free or we need to look at another option to be good again. I want to have this done so I won’t be putting 2021 at risk. 2020 was going pretty well and it’s disappointing to miss out again because of injury but we’ve been through this process and at least now I can work on getting myself into even better shape for another go next season. Thanks to Red Bull KTM for all their support and to the fans for the messages.”