Red Bull KTM Factory Racing emerged from the eighth round of 2023 MXGP with more distinction as Jeffrey Herlings used his KTM SX-F technology to conquer the wet, fast, rough and sandy-ish terrain around the Zelta Zirgs layout for the Grand Prix of Latvia. The Dutchman clinched both motos with authority while Andrea Adamo was 4th overall and remains the main pursuer of the red plate in the MX2 championship standings.
MXGP arrived to one of the most consistent venues on the FIM Motocross World Championship slate as the Grand Prix of Latvia was once more hosted by the expansive Zelta Zirgs circuit in Kegums. The hard ground with a soft and sandy top layer was again tricky for the riders due to the mix between rough but slippery sections and the overcast and rainy conditions.
Herlings was the standout performer from the Red Bull KTM troupe on Saturday as he took Pole Position in the RAM Qualification Heat; his first Saturday #P1 of the season. On Sunday Herlings chased Jorge Prado and dealt with period of arm-pump as well as a small crash before dropping his lap-times and passing the Spaniard to win the first moto. The weather was at its worst just ahead of the second race but Herlings, who has finished on the podium three times in his last three appearances at Kegums, set a steady pace in 3rd and the blitzed to the front with three laps to go and as some belated sunshine appeared. The most successful Grand Prix winner of all-time (up to 103) is still chasing rival Prado in the standings and is now just 15 points behind the Spaniard.
In MX2 the squad watched Andrea Adamo ride to 4th and continue his streak of top five finishes this year. The Italian, still in his first term with the team and with the factory KTM 250 SX-F, recovered from a mediocre start in the first moto, and then rode with caution in the second for a solid 4th. Adamo is only 12 points behind Kay de Wolf.
Liam Everts was 6th overall. The Belgian reached a decent 4th in the first moto but his second race run to 8th was a positive comeback after being knocked to the ground on the first corner. Liam’s points haul at Kegums means he is now 6th in the championship standings.
Sacha Coenen was back to fitness and flew to a 10-13 scorecard for 12th overall. MXGP moves south through Europe but only to the eastern area of Germany and to Talkessel for another familiar world championship track. The Grand Prix of Germany will bring the series to the halfway stage and takes place next weekend.
Jeffrey Herlings, 1st and 1st for 1st overall in MXGP: “A tough race. I was a bit scared the start mesh was going to be slick in the second moto, so I dropped the revs and almost missed the start but I still came out 3rd. I had to work hard to get through and it was not easy at all to catch and pass Jorge and Romain but when I went for it, I could make it happen. Romain was riding really good. I had to fight. 1st place as well yesterday so a good GP and I’m very happy and pleased to have a perfect weekend. Now onto Germany.”
Andrea Adamo, 5th and 4th for 4th overall in MX2: “Yesterday I had the red plate briefly but today I’m again P2! I’m happy with my weekend though. I was not as fast as the top two-three guys but I had good enough results, especially after that second moto where it was very easy to make a mistake and lose a lot of points. We’re fighting for the championship and we don’t need to throw points away. The season still has a long way to go and I’m very proud of the position we are in. We’ll go right up until the last race for sure. Back to hard-pack now in Teutschenthal. I’m looking forward to it.”
Liam Everts, 4th and 8th for 6th overall in MX2: “Latvia done and mixed feelings on this weekend. The quali race was quite good and in the first race the result was positive but I wasn’t happy with my riding. My start was OK in the second but I was pushed out and hit, and that ruined my chances for a possible podium. I got back to 8th and made the most out of it. I didn’t give up and can now think about Teutschenthal.”
Sacha Coenen, 10th and 13th for 12th overall in MX2: “The weekend started well, I felt good on the track and good on the bike. I almost got the holeshot in the first moto and was running quite well for the first half but then had a few issues and finished 10th. Second one I had another good start but another rider hit me and I crashed really hard. I was able to continue and kept going. My speed was better than the first moto and the lap-times were strong. I had to stop twice for goggles and that was the only drawback. Germany next and I’ve ridden very well at that track.”
Tony Cairoli, Team Manager: “Overall a positive weekend. Andrea had the red plate on Saturday and sometimes it can be a hard thing to carry. This track isn’t the best for him but overall he made good points. We’re happy for him and the title chase is long. Liam had bad luck at the start but rode well and Sacha was around the top ten, which is what we want from him in his rookie season. And Jeffrey! What can we say? He is the main contender for the title and when it is time to turn the gas then he doesn’t have many opponents, especially in the final part of the race where his physical condition is making the difference at the moment. He gained nine points and that was great for the team as well.”
Results MXGP Latvia 2023
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 1-1
2. Jorge Prado (ESP), GASGAS, 2-3
3. Romain Febvre (FRA), Kawasaki, 6-2
4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED) Yamaha, 4-4
5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI), Yamaha, 7-5
Standings MXGP 2023 after 8 of 19 rounds
1. Jorge Prado (ESP), GASGAS, 393 points
2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 378
3. Romain Febvre (FRA), Kawasaki, 306
4. Ruben Fernandez (ESP), Honda, 294
5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI), Yamaha, 273
Results MX2 Latvia 2023
1. Kay de Wolf (NED), Husqvarna, 1-1
2. Roan van de Moosdijk (BEL), Husqvarna, 3-3
3. Thibault Benistant (FRA) Yamaha 2-6
4. Andrea Adamo (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 5-4
5. Kevin Horgmo (NOR), Kawasaki 6-5
6. Liam Everts (BEL) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 4-8
12. Sacha Coenen (BEL) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 10-13
Standings MX2 2023 after 8 of 19 rounds
1. Kay de Wolf (NED), Husqvarna, 367
2. Andrea Adamo (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 355
3. Thibault Benistant (FRA), Yamaha, 348
4. Jago Geerts (BEL), Yamaha, 319 points
5. Roan van de Moosdijk (NED), Husqvarna, 303
6. Liam Everts (BEL) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 273
17. Sacha Coenen (BEL) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 52