Red Bull KTM Factory Racing left the confines of the tight, twisty and slick hard-pack circuit of Loket with full honors at the Grand Prix of Czech Republic and round five of 2021 MXGP. Jorge Prado won the MXGP class for the first time this season (ensuring all three factory riders in the category have climbed the top step of the podium in just five events) and Mattia Guadagnini seized MX2.
Warm temperatures but brief summer showers greeted the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic and the slippery, stony hillside setting of Loket that has hosted world championship fixtures for over a quarter of a century. Red Bull KTM entered the latest episode of MXGP with Jeffrey Herlings still out of play due to his shoulder injury but MX2 World Champion Tom Vialle returned to action after a late training fitness test on Friday confirmed his broken right hand had recovered sufficiently to race.
After achieving Pole Position in Timed Practice for the first time this season, Jorge Prado rode an exemplary first moto. The Spaniard took the holeshot and remained error-free ahead of Tim Gajser for his maiden ’25’ points of 2021. In the second race Prado used his KTM 450 SX-F to edge ahead of teammate Tony Cairoli into the first corner but the Italian then dropped the hammer in the opening laps as the Red Bull KTMs flew 1-2.
Prado played a cautious game on an increasingly rougher terrain where traction was hard to judge. He loitered in 3rd position and stamped his 35th overall career success. Cairoli, who was 6th in the first moto, matched Prado’s performance. Red Bull KTM took both race wins and the first two spots on the MXGP rostrum. Cairoli’s fourth trophy from five events means he is 2nd in the championship and just 11 points away from Gajser. Prado is now up to 3rd and only 6 points behind Cairoli.
Jorge Prado: “It’s great to be back on the box. It was also great to take the holeshot in the first moto but I really had to focus on my lines to get that first moto win of the year. The track was really rough by the second moto and so physical but I gave as much as I could. I tried to ride as smooth as I can. I’m so happy to get my first ‘overall’ of the season, let’s try to keep it going. I’m getting better and better each weekend.”
Tony Cairoli: “I’m happy with the weekend. It was a very difficult track. If you had a good start then it’s easy to finish on the podium but if not then it’s hard to come through the pack. I was disappointed with the first moto, we messed up the start but the second moto pace was good and so was my condition because there were so many bumps. It’s positive for the championship. I’m feeling really good this year and I’m enjoying my racing. I’m consistent and looking forward to the next races.”
MX2 rookie Mattia Guadagnini is the first rider in the class to post two Grands Prix victories in 2021 after succeeding in Italy and now the Czech Republic. The Italian won the opening race in Loket after a lightning start on his KTM 250 SX-F ahead of teammate and world champion Tom Vialle. He then took 5th place in the second sprint to go 1-5 and record enough points to walk the top step of the podium. Guadagnini is 2nd in the world championship standings and just 2 points from ownership of the red plate for the second time this season.
Vialle was hoping to collect a fairytale trophy after missing the last three Grands Prix due to a fractured right hand. The Frenchman was impeccable to gain 2nd position behind Guadagnini but his day was ruined by a crash on the first turn of the second moto and then another mistake while trying to come through the pack. He went 2-35 for 11th overall.
Rene Hofer was 7th in the final ranking. The Austrian picked up more consistent points and was denied 3rd position in the second moto during the final four laps by a charging Jago Geerts. Hofer posted a 10-4 scorecard to sit 8th in the championship and just 9 points from the top five.
Mattia Guadagnini: “The first win is always special but I’m really happy to be back on the top of the box. Today was really good. I had the holeshot in the first race and it wasn’t easy but when you started first you can ride alone and it’s less complicated. I had a good start in the second race but I had a small crash: it didn’t cost me much time but I was down to 4th. My final position was enough for the overall and I’m pleased enough. We go to Lommel now and it’s not my favorite track but I have some good memories. I’ll hope to be on the podium again.”
Rene Hofer: “It feels good to end the day on a high…but it was the same story of one moto being pretty good and the other one not so much. I’ve had a bit of a problem when I’m deep in the pack with the other riders. I cannot really find my flow. However, we made some changes for the second moto today and it worked. We got some good points and I think I can be satisfied. We’ll go into the ‘sandbox’ in Lommel next week hopeful for more! It was good to have Tom back. We have a good relationship and hopefully Jeffrey is also back with us soon.”
Tom Vialle: “The day started really well: I had a great start and slotted into 2nd. I didn’t have much pain in my hand but physically it was hard because I haven’t raced for a while and I had to had my hand immobilized for 17 days before coming here! In the second moto I made a little mistake at the start. I already have the green light from the doctor to be able to train this week so we’ll aim for two strong motos and better in Lommel.”
The Grand Prix of Belgium at the now-traditional venue of Lommel will plunge MXGP back into the sand next weekend and for one of the most technical and tiring challenges on the calendar.
Results MXGP Czech Republic 2021
1. Jorge Prado (ESP), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (1-3)
2. Tony Cairoli (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (6-1)
3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI), Yamaha (5-2)
4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED), Yamaha (4-4)
5. Romain Febvre (FRA), Kawasaki (3-10)
Standings MXGP 2021 after 05 of 18 rounds
1. Tim Gajser 194 points
2. Tony Cairoli 183
3. Jorge Prado 177
4. Romain Febvre 174
5. Jeremy Seewer 151
6. Jeffrey Herlings 143
Results MX2 Czech Republic 2021
1. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (1-5)
2. Maxime Renaux (FRA), Yamaha (5-2)
3. Thibault Benistant (FRA), Yamaha (9-1)
4. Jed Beaton (AUS), Husqvarna (3-8)
5. Ruben Fernandez (ESP), Honda (4-7)
7. Rene Hofer (AUT), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (10-4)
11. Tom Vialle (FRA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (2-35)
Standings MX2 2021 after 05 of 18 rounds
1. Maxime Renaux 179 points
2. Mattia Guadagnini 177
3. Ruben Fernandez 165
4. Mathys Boisrame 149
5. Jago Geerts 146
8. Rene Hofer 137
13. Tom Vialle 72