Red Bull KTM Factory Racing launched into the first of two back-to-back events on the Iberian Peninsula by watching Jeffrey Herlings win his 101st career Grand Prix and his second of the 2023 MXGP series at a sunny Agueda for the Grand Prix of Portugal.
The distinctive red soil of Agueda staged the FIM Motocross World Championship once more but provided the riders and teams of the MXGP and MX2 classes with a reversed course and other modifications to the quick, jumpy and relentless layout. Agueda has been a steadfast and consistent date on the MXGP slate for the competition’s most westerly European appointment.
Red Bull KTM wheeled out the KTM 450 SX-F and KTM 250 SX-F factory equipment in Portugal and with both wins and/or podium finishes for all of their currently active rider roster in the four previous rounds. In fact, the squad was back to full strength and happy to welcome Sacha Coenen to Grand Prix duty after the teenage Belgian had recovered sufficiently from his injured shoulder.
Two rounds after Jeffrey Herlings crested the three-figure barrier in the Grand Prix record books, the five-times world champion was back to his attack on the sport’s statistics. A 3rd place in the first moto (finishing two seconds from the winner) despite arm-pump was forgotten with a rampaging performance and victorious run in the second outing. Jeffrey is now one GP triumph away from the outright #1 status in the world championship record books. In the framework of 2023 Herlings is 2nd in the MXGP championship table, staring at a slender 17 point deficit to Jorge Prado with the red plate.
In the MX2 class Andrea Adamo fronted the first moto until Jago Geerts pulled ahead. The Italian took 2nd and then ranked 5th in the second race for 4th overall. A luckless spate of crashes in moto 1 saw Liam Everts post a ‘0’. The Belgian was able to score an 11th in the second dash. Coenen felt his way into MX2 racing with a 16-15 scorecard and was 14th at the end of the day.
MXGP decamps a short distance and across the border for round six. The Grand Prix of Spain will take place at Intu Xanadu Arroyomolinos next weekend.
Jeffrey Herlings, 3rd and 1st for 1st overall in MXGP: “It’s really great to come and get another win. It’s been a long road and I feel I am getting back to my old self in some ways. A good performance today. The first moto wasn’t that positive and I had some arm-pump again - I really don’t know why - but in the second one I felt like a different rider and could really push. I’m looking forward to Spain. 101 GP wins is pretty special and now just one more for the record.”
Andrea Adamo, 2nd and 5th for 4th overall in MX2: “A pretty solid weekend: 3rd in the Quali race, 2nd in the first moto and 5th in the second. That consistency was good but we always want to aim for the podium. The first moto was incredible and I led 13 of 15 laps; I was a bit disappointed to make a few small mistakes near the end that led Jago through but it was still nice to run that speed. In the second moto I didn’t have the best feeling, flow or lines. So, it was a bit up-and-down this weekend but more ‘up’ than down! We will try to make the podium again in Spain. I like the track there and I am feeling confident.”
Sacha Coenen, 16th and 15th for 14th overall in MX2: “It’s my first GP but I want more, and to ride better. With the low gate pick I had some difficult starts and was too far back in the pack. I really like the track in Madrid and I think we can do well there.”
Liam Everts, 25th and 11th for 15th overall in MX2: “I finished 4th in the Qualification Heat on Saturday which was pretty good but then a slide and a couple of crashes with other riders, the last one putting me out when I’m worked my way back to 9th, meant there was not much I could do. It was disappointing not to score points. 11th in the second moto with a fall in Turn 2. A tough day for me but the speed is there and I showed that on Saturday. We have to regroup for Spain.”
Results MXGP Portugal 2023
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 3-1
2. Romain Febvre (FRA), Kawasaki, 2-3
3. Jorge Prado (ESP), GASGAS, 1-6
4. Ruben Fernandez (ESP), Honda, 7-2
5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI), Yamaha, 5-4
Standings MXGP 2023 after 5 of 19 rounds
1. Jorge Prado (ESP), GASGAS, 246 points
2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 229
3. Romain Febvre (FRA), Kawasaki, 214
4. Maxime Renaux (FRA), Yamaha, 202
5. Ruben Fernandez (ESP), Honda, 182
Results MX2 Portugal 2023
1. Jago Geerts (BEL), Yamaha, 1-1
2. Kay de Wolf (NED), Husqvarna, 3-2
3. Roan van de Moosdijk (NED) Husqvarna 4-3
4. Andrea Adamo (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 2-5
5. Simon Laegenfelder (GER), GASGAS, 5-4
14. Sacha Coenen (BEL) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 16-15
15. Liam Everts (BEL) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 25-11
Standings MX2 2023 after 5 of 19 rounds
1. Jago Geerts (BEL), Yamaha, 265 points
2. Andrea Adamo (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 229
3. Kay de Wolf (NED), Husqvarna, 220
4. Thibault Benistant (FRA), Yamaha, 206
5. Simon Laegenfelder (GER), GASGAS, 201
7. Liam Everts (BEL) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 157
26. Sacha Coenen (BEL) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 11