Jeffrey Herlings of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team finished second at the third round of the MXGP World championships at RedSand in Spain. The rider from Oploo had to play catch up in both races, and in the second heat he had to recover from 18th position after an early crash.

In race one, Herlings started just outside the top ten, and quickly moved up to seventh. He soon claimed a top five spot and then displaced Clement Desalle, setting in the chase on Romain Febvre. Four laps from the end, he had moved into second, and tried to close the gap with Antonio Cairoli. This was not to be, and he finished second.

A setback in race two in the form of a crash dropped Herlings to 18th. He rode at top pace, and after a number of laps, found himself in the top three. He then got the better of Gautier Paulin, and tried again to catch Cairoli. Time ran out, and he finished second again.

Herlings finished second overall for the day, and is on equal points with Cairoli at the top of the rankings. He has had to relinquish the red plate to Cairoli though.

The World championship series continues in two weeks’ time at Arco di Trento in Italy.

Overall Grand Prix Spain:
1 Antonio Cairoli 50 Pnt
2 Jeffrey Herlings 44 Pnt
3 Clement Desalle 36 Pnt
4 Romain Febvre 36 Pnt
5 Gautier Paulin 34 Pnt

World Championship Standings MXGP:
1 Antonio Cairoli 141 Pnt
2 Jeffrey Herlings 141 Pnt
3 Clement Desalle 103 Pnt
4 Romain Febvre 101 Pnt
5 Gautier Paulin 98 Pnt

After the sunny conditions of Argentina MXGP rediscovered a harsh winter climate at the Eurocircuit for the traditional Grand Prix of Europe and the visit to southern Holland. Rain, snow and plunging temperatures that dropped as low as -2 degrees added an extra physical edge to the bumpy Dutch sand.

Antonio Cairoli aced the first holeshot but Herlings, who started from 19th pick in the gate, was already up to third position by the third lap. Closing in on the Italian Herlings then benefitted from a mistake by Cairoli when he slipped and fell through one of the deep (and few) hillside ruts. In the second moto Cairoli was even stronger and formed a comprehensive lead only for Herlings to again cut through and find a way to pass his teammate. The Dutchman’s 1-1 was his first with the KTM 450 SX-F on a surface where he was raced undefeated for seven years with the KTM 250 SX-F; taking his record to an amazing eight from nine victories.

Herlings heads Cairoli in the MXGP standings by just 6 points with Coldenhoff 6th in the table.

Herlings: “I’m super-happy. We worked hard for this and it seems like we are getting better every week. I want to thank the team and everybody around us who has been pushing so hard. To get results like this is amazing. I’ve been riding at Red Sands a lot and the guys there did a great job with the track. I hope we’ll find some kinder temperatures next weekend!”

The Grand Prix of la Comunitat Valenciana at the new Red Sands circuit will bring MXGP together for round three next weekend.

Next race: MXGP of la Comunitat Valenciana, Red Sands, March 25th

Results MXGP Europe 2018

1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), KTM (1-1)
2. Tony Cairoli (ITA), KTM (2-2)
3. Gautier Paulin (FRA), Husqvarna (7-3)
4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED), KTM (5-4)
5. Romain Febvre (FRA), Yamaha (6-5)

Standings MXGP 2018 after 2 of 19 rounds

1. Herlings, 97 points
2. Cairoli, 91
3. Clement Desalle, 67
4. Febvre, 65
5. Paulin, 64