Red Bull KTM Factory Racing checked out of the draining Lommel sand with Liam Everts claiming 4th position overall for the thirteenth round of nineteen in 2023 FIM MXGP and for the second event in three consecutive weeks of competition. Everts made the top five and Andrea Adamo collected 7th to maintain his status as MX2 world championship leader at the Grand Prix of Belgium.
The contrast from the hard-packed, slick surface of Loket in the Czech Republic to the deep, punishing sand of Lommel in Limburg, Belgium has come to represent one of the hardest and most challenging weeks in the FIM Motocross World Championship in recent years. MXGP moved north and to the traditional site of the Belgian GP for round thirteen in mild, damp and cloudy conditions. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing grasped an MX2 moto checkered flag at Loket thanks to Andrea Adamo and were keen to see the Italian’s progression in the tricky terrain as well as chart how their young Belgian athletes would fare in front of their home fans.
The team could not count on the presence of a former double MXGP GP winner at Lommel, Jeffrey Herlings, but the 2021 world champion is coming closer and closer to a competitive return with his KTM 450 SX-F. Herlings is still the joint most successful rider in the MXGP class with season with four wins, despite missing the last three races.
On Saturday in Belgium Adamo rode steadily from a top ten start to finish 4th in the RAM Qualification Heat. He was just ahead of Everts in 5th and Coenen in 12th after the rookie had fallen. The riders faced a tight layout that can been reversed and significantly altered for the 2023 Grand Prix. It was certainly different from the normal trajectory that many riders use for mid-week and winter training.
Damp 30 minute and 2 lap motos on Sunday began with Adamo riding cautiously and preserving energy to score a decent 4th. Everts pushed very hard from a poor first lap and a mid-pack position to capture a creditable 5th behind his teammate. Coenen spent the second half of the distance in the top ten and passed the flag in 10th. The track evolved quickly as the wet bumps and ruts grew, and increased the physical and technical demand. Mistakes among the MX2 field were common and maintaining consistent rhythm was the key to results. The second race was more dramatic. Several errors forced Adamo to continually work his way through the field; his push until the end was rewarded with 13th. Everts made a positive start and managed to string along top five speed for 4th in the moto. The youngster missed the bottom step of the podium by just six points. Coenen was forced to withdraw from the running after two hard hits and a painful leg.
Adamo’s advantage at the top of the MX2 points table is now 13 points over Jago Geerts. Everts now occupies 4th in the list and his impressive season means he is just 14 points from the top three. Onto Finland for the final stage of the MXGP ‘triple’. The time-honored Vantaa circuit, adjacent to Helsinki airport, will activate round fourteen and the final third of the 2023 schedule.
Liam Everts, 5th and 4th for 4th overall in MX2: “A hard weekend in general because I struggled a bit with the track and missed some fire and push. In the first race I was stuck at the start because someone crashed in front of me. I came back to 5th which was a decent moto. In the second race I had a fast start and hovered around 4th the whole race by myself. The gap just yo-yo-ed to Simon [Laengenfelder]. I thought the layout was good. It’s always nice to have something new and we practice here a lot during the pre-season. It was cool to ride it differently. Anyway, we moved up to 4th in the championship and did a good job in general. I’m looking forward to Vantaa, it’s a nice track and I think I won there in 85s actually!”
Andrea Adamo, 4th and 13th for 7th overall in MX2: “Until the second moto the weekend was pretty good! I had two P4s and good points but I wanted to use all my energy to follow Jago in the second moto and things don’t always go to plan! During the transfer between bumps the front wheel escaped and I fell. I was really lucky actually because I felt another wheel close to my hand. It was very close. I got up and tried to give everything and I was close to the top ten but fell again. From that point I was just counting the minutes. It was a very tough one for me but there were more positives than negatives this weekend. I have improved quite a lot in sand compared to previous years. I can see and feel I am fast but I know I am not as consistent as on hard-pack. I will fight as hard as I can in the next races and we’ll see what happens.”
Sacha Coenen, 10th and DNF for 16th overall in MX2: “I was having fun on Saturday and made a good start in the Qualification Heat but then I had a tip over and was hit and that hurt my legs. I could still come back to 12th though. It was a wet start to Sunday and a tip-over in the first moto meant it was a bit tough to come back through again. 10th was a good ride considering the pain I had. Another crash in the start of the second moto was a disaster because another rider hit me again! Wow, it was tough. I tried as hard as I could but another big one ended my day because I was sore all over. It was a bit too risky. The track was really technical and very rough. We’ll do better in Finland.”
Results MXGP Belgium 2023
1. Romain Febvre (FRA), Kawasaki, 1-2
2. Jorge Prado (ESP), GASGAS, 3-1
3. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED) Yamaha, 2-3
4. Jeremy Seewer (SUI), Yamaha, 5-4
5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED) Yamaha 4-5
Standings MXGP 2023 after 13 of 19 rounds
1. Jorge Prado (ESP), GASGAS, 665 points
2. Romain Febvre (FRA), Kawasaki, 566
3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI), Yamaha, 506
4. Ruben Fernandez (ESP), Honda, 481
5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED) Yamaha 480
7. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 386
Results MX2 Belgium 2023
1. Jago Geerts (BEL) Yamaha 1-1
2. Lucas Coenen (BEL) Husqvarna 2-2
3. Simon Laengenfelder (GER), GASGAS 3-3
4. Liam Everts (BEL) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 5-4
5. Kevin Horgmo (NOR) Kawasaki 7-6
7. Andrea Adamo (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 4-13
16. Sacha Coenen (BEL) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 10-DNF
Standings MX2 2023 after 13 of 19 rounds
1. Andrea Adamo (ITA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 564 points
2. Jago Geerts (BEL), Yamaha, 551
3. Kay de Wolf (NED), Husqvarna, 501
4. Liam Everts (BEL) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 487
5. Thibault Benistant (FRA), Yamaha, 462
15. Sacha Coenen (BEL) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 153