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Afyon drew the MXGP series to the midway point with another outing around the fast, flat and modern facility located on the outskirts of the Afyonkarahisar. Hot sunshine and a light breeze guaranteed stable racing conditions for the hard-pack that was rutty and bumpy in sections and slick in others.

Jeffrey Herlings clocked his fifth Pole Position of 2021 in Timed Practice. The Dutchman now has more than double the next nearest rider. Herlings was part of a breakaway quartet in the first moto with holeshotting teammate Jorge Prado holding the lead for 4 of 19 laps until the Spaniard crashed at the beginning of Sector 2 and would remount to finish 21st. Herlings circulated behind Romain Febvre and with Tim Gajser in close company as Tony Cairoli made up a lot of time from 10th to join the trio by the last two circulations. As Febvre made a mistake on the final lap Herlings was there to seize the moment and won the moto from an energetic Cairoli by just half a second.

The second moto was more dispersed. Tim Gajser escaped Herlings’ attentions in the later phase of the race and Cairoli won a close duel with Prado for 3rd place. Herlings’ 2nd place allowed the 26-year-old to win for the second time this week in Turkey and move up to 4th in the world championship, just 34 points behind Gasjer and the red plate.

Jeffrey Herlings: “I started the day strong with Pole Position and it was important to be on the inside of the gate here, especially against Jorge! The first race was good, and busy! I could not really attack because I had Tim [Gajser] behind me and I had to defend my line but at the same time I had a bit more speed on Romain [Febvre]. It was so hard to pass on this track. I managed to hold second until the last lap but then Romain made a mistake and I had the win handed to me, so it was a bit of a gift. In the second moto I was looking for lines but again I had to defend and attack at the same time with Jorge and Tim. Tim was faster the second moto. I was struggling a bit with grip. The track got hard and slick and I had a few sketchy moments so at one point I decided to settle for second and minimize the risk. I knew I had the GP win, my 93rd. It’s been a good day and two good races here in Turkey. I want to thank Red Bull KTM for the great bike they gave me.”

The Grand Prix of Sardinia on September 19th will take MXGP to the sandy Riola Sardo circuit for the first of seven consecutive race weekends that also involves the Motocross of Nations at Mantova, Italy.

Results MXGP Afyon 2021

1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (1-2)
2. Tim Gajser (SLO), Honda (3-1)
3. Tony Cairoli (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (2-3)
4. Romain Febvre (FRA), Kawasaki (4-5)
5. Pauls Jonass (LAT) GASGAS (5-6)
10. Jorge Prado (ESP), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (21-4)

Standings MXGP 2021 after 09 of 17 rounds

1. Tim Gajser 355 points
2. Romain Febvre 327
3. Tony Cairoli 326
4. Jeffrey Herlings 321
5. Jorge Prado 315

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.”

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