Round seven of 2023 MXGP dropped onto the steep hillside of Villars sous Ecot for the FIM Motocross World Championship’s first visit to the circuit since 2017. In bright and sunny conditions Red Bull KTM Factory Racing gathered their second MX2 podium ‘double’ of the season as Andrea Adamo finished runner-up and Liam Everts was 3rd with their works KTM 250 SX-Fs. Jeffrey Herlings was luckless to finish 9th overall with a second moto DNF in MXGP.
Considerable work had been done to the circuit layout at Villars sous Ecot, and also in the wake of heavy rainfall in the build-up to the Grand Prix. Deep ruts, bumps and a slowish, technical terrain lay in store for the MXGP and MX2 riders and for what was a typically well attended event in eastern France.
Red Bull KTM figured prominently during the RAM Qualification Heat races on Saturday: Jeffrey Herlings taking a steady 3rd place to grab championship points and the same ranking in the start gate for Sunday’s motos. Liam Everts posted the same result in MX2 – a season best for the Belgian – and was just ahead of teammate Andrea Adamo.
On Sunday Herlings produced an unstoppable late charge to pass three principal rivals and reach 2nd position behind Jeremy Seewer in the first moto. The track was at its driest and the circuit was heavily packed with race fans but Herlings was snubbed in his bid for a third win and a fourth podium finish in a row by two technical issues in the second race. The damaged footpeg forced a retirement and meant 9th place overall.
Red Bull KTM maintained their presence in a Grand Prix rostrum ceremony with fine efforts by Adamo and Everts in MX2. Adamo rode through the pack twice to post a 3-3 scorecard and classify on the second step: his fifth top three appearance of an impressive first term with the factory squad. Adamo’s results also helped pull the Italian to within one point of the MX2 series leader. Everts claimed 2nd place in the opening moto, which represented a career ‘best’. The Belgian then made sure of 4th later in the afternoon for his second spray of champagne in 2023. Sacha Coenen did not start the races after the rookie suffered a crash in Timed Practice and was not fit enough for the Sunday program. A worthy mention must go to VRT KTM Factory Juniors riders Marc-Antoine Rossi and Ferruccio Zanchi: the duo made a wildcard start at the team’s home Grand Prix and away from their usual EMX250 European Championship duty. They finished 7th and 9th overall respectively.
The sandy surface of Kegums will again play host to the Grand Prix of Latvia and round eight on June 3rd-4th.
Jeffrey Herlings, 2nd and DNF for 9th overall in MXGP: “The weekend started pretty well and I was in a good spot for today. I felt good in the first moto and by finishing 2nd we were close to the red plate but second moto we had a couple of issues and unfortunately I couldn’t finish the race. Not the best way to end the Grand Prix but these things can happen. We’re 24 points down now but we’ll work to get them back and I’m looking forward to racing in Holland this weekend and onto Latvia the week after.”
Andrea Adamo, 3rd and 3rd for 2nd overall in MX2: “I managed two good motos today but not with good starts! I came back through well and had a nice battle with Liam. I made a lot of passes and took some risks in the second moto. I was too far back and had to fix the situation. Lap after lap I was coming back to Liam and that gave me the energy to keep going and reach P3 again. 2nd position overall represents a good weekend. Unfortunately, Jago [Geerts] was not riding with us but that is also part of the sport and means we are just one point from the lead. Let’s see what we can do in Latvia.”
Liam Everts, 2nd and 4th for 3rd overall in MX2: “I had a lot of fun with the track on Saturday. Today it was a bit too fast and I’m pleased to walk away today in one piece and with a good result as well. I never gave up and kept pushing 100%. My second podium; I’m super-happy.”
Results MXGP France 2023
1. Jeremy Seewer (SUI), Yamaha, 1-2
2. Romain Febvre (FRA), Kawasaki, 3-1
3. Jorge Prado (ESP), GASGAS, 4-3
4. Ruben Fernandez (ESP), Honda, 5-4
5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED), Yamaha, 8-5
9. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 1-DNF
Standings MXGP 2023 after 7 of 19 rounds
1. Jorge Prado (ESP), GASGAS, 342 points
2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 318
4. Romain Febvre (FRA), Kawasaki, 263
3. Ruben Fernandez (ESP), Honda, 263
5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI), Yamaha, 243
Results MX2 France 2023
1. Thibault Benistant (FRA) Yamaha 1-2
2. Andrea Adamo (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 3-3
3. Liam Everts (BEL) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 2-4
4. Lucas Coenen (BEL), Husqvarna, 7-1
5. Kay de Wolf (NED), Husqvarna, 4-5
Standings MX2 2023 after 7 of 19 rounds
1. Jago Geerts (BEL), Yamaha, 319 points
2. Andrea Adamo (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 318
3. Kay de Wolf (NED), Husqvarna, 307
4. Thibault Benistant (FRA), Yamaha, 303
5. Simon Laegenfelder (GER), GASGAS, 259
7. Liam Everts (BEL) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 235
21. Sacha Coenen (BEL) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 33