MXGP dropped into the demanding sand track of Riola Sardo for round two of nineteen and the circuit was the setting for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings to earn his first victory of the season with his KTM 450 SX-F, his first since the final round of the title-winning 2021 campaign and the 100th of a glittering career.
Riola Sardo was tough but familiar ground for MXGP: the venue is a regular pre-season testing site and has hosted rounds of the series for the last two years. The climate was stable, providing pleasant spring temperatures. Herlings grabbed championship points for classifying 3rd in the Saturday RAM Qualification race.
On Sunday the Dutchman did not make the best of starts but rallied in his preferred terrain to take 2nd place behind Jorge Prado in the first moto. The second outing saw the #84 needing to recover from an early race setback that put him down to 9th. A typically barreling performance dragged him by Maxime Renaux and into the runner-up slot with two laps to go: the pass meant overall victory.
Jeffrey is now just one career win away from equaling the all-time record. His first came in 2010 while 15-years-old at the Grand Prix of the Netherlands at Valkenswaard. All 100 have been earned while in Red Bull KTM colors and with either KTM 250 SX-F or 450 SX-F machinery.
In MX2 Andrea Adamo rued some so-so starts to take two top six results and 6th overall on the day. The classification keeps the Italian 4th in the championship. Teammate Liam Everts had a crash in the first MX2 moto that lowered him to 9th. He started brightly but dropped to 8th in the second dash for 9th overall.
MXGP makes a welcome return to Frauenfeld for the first Grand Prix of Switzerland since 2018 as round three of the calendar will take place on Easter Monday.
Jeffrey Herlings, 2nd and 2nd for 1st overall in MXGP: “A 100th GP! Amazing. It was tough because the track was fast and it wasn’t easy to pass, the nearer you got to the front the harder it was! When the other riders were getting a bit tired I was still in good shape and could keep pushing. I need to work on my starts. I have been focusing on my motos but I know it’s a weak point and it needs to be improved. Once we can get that dialled in then life will be easier. I’m excited to see how the track will be in Switzerland.”
Andrea Adamo, 5th and 6th for 6th overall in MX2: “A bit of an up-and-down day but in the end quite a solid result. We are here to make the podium at every GP but this is one of the toughest tracks on the calendar. I didn’t make any mistakes and my riding wasn’t bad although we need better starts. I’m sure we’ll do better in Switzerland.”
Liam Everts, 9th and 8th for 9th overall in MX2: “A very difficult weekend for me. My feeling was a bit better on Sunday to be honest and that showed when I ran in 4th and then 5th. I was comfortable until I had a pretty big one a few laps before the end. I was lucky to rescue P9. My start was better in the second moto but I’m not sure why I went back to 8th. I wasn’t tired on the bike and didn’t feel any fatigue but I could not get any flow on the track. We’ll need to anaylyze why. The moto just ended with P8. A difficult day. I want to regroup and come back better in Switzerland.”
Results MXGP Sardegna 2023
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 2-2
2. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED), Yamaha, 5-1
3. Jorge Prado (ESP), GASGAS, 1-6
4. Maxime Renaux (FRA), Yamaha, 4-3
5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED), Yamaha, 3-5
Standings MXGP 2023 after 2 of 19 rounds
1. Jorge Prado (ESP), GASGAS, 100 points
2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 93
3. Maxime Renaux (FRA), Yamaha, 78
4. Romain Febvre (FRA), Kawasaki, 78
5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED), Yamaha, 75
Results MX2 Sardegna 2023
1. Jago Geerts (BEL), Yamaha, 2-1
2. Kay de Wolf (NED), Husqvarna, 1-2
3. Thibault Benistant (FRA), Yamaha, 4-3
4. Simon Laengenfelder (GER) GASGAS 3-7
5. Lucas Coenen (BEL), Husqvarna 6-4
6. Andrea Adamo (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 5-6
9. Liam Everts (BEL) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 9-8
Standings MX2 2023 after 2 of 19 rounds
1. Jago Geerts (BEL), Yamaha, 117 points
2. Kay de Wolf (NED), Husqvarna, 87
3. Thibault Benistant (FRA), Yamaha, 86
4. Andrea Adamo (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 83
5. Simon Laegenfelder (GER), GASGAS, 79
8. Liam Everts (BEL) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 61