2016 MXGP of Latvia Results and Coverage | Epic Battle For Overall Win Goes To Gajser
Although the two dueling young MXGP World Championship contenders crashed—Romain Febvre in Race 1; Tim Gajser in Race 2—they still both finished on the overall podium for the MXGP of Latvia at the Motocenter Zelta Zirgs in Ķegums.
In Race 1, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tony Cairoli quickly jumped into the lead, followed closely by Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl. Behind them, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Christophe Charlier was leading MXGP Championship leader and defending MXGP World Champion Romain Febvre of the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team.Gajser charged past Cairoli for the lead on Lap 3, and on the next lap Febvre washed out the front end mid-corner in an unforced error after passing Charlier for 4th. After taking the lead, Gajser was never challenged by Cairoli, as he built up a commanding mid-race lead. Febvre dropped down to 6th behind 4th place Jeremy van Horebeek (Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team) and Charlier, who had been passed by van Horebeek.Quickly remounting, Febvre repassed Charlier and set his sights on teammate van Horebeek. Despite getting close to van Horebeek at various points in the race, Febvre never showed van Horebeek a wheel and settled for 5th.For much of the race, Cairoli seemed comfortable in 2nd, though he was chased down and passed by a surging Nagl on Lap 15 of 17. Not finished moving up, Nagl took off after Gajser to challenge for the lead. As Nagl closed on the final lap, Gajser noticed Nagl closing and had enough in reserve to cross the finish line 1.5 seconds before Nagl.Race 2 found Cairoli again charging to the front, pursued by Gajser, Nagl, and Febvre. Gajser was looking strong and ready to challenge Cairoli for the lead when he mistimed the roller section and buried his front wheel in the soft dirt between rollers. This caused the back end of Gajser’s CRF450R to swap and Gajser high-sided violently, being thrown clear of the bike.Nagl, close behind Gajser, had no place to go and ran over Gajser’s bike. This sent Nagl’s FC 450 flying, and it hit the downed Gajser before coming to a stop.Fortunately, despite the spectacular crashes, neither rider was injured and quickly remounted. However, Nagl’s Husqvarna has an electric starter, and he was able to rejoin in 12th place. Gajser had to repeatedly jab the kickstarter on his Honda before he got it restarted, and was dropped outside the top 20 before he could get underway.In the wake of the crash behind Cairoli, he opened up a lead as large as six seconds over Febvre. Over the next seven laps, Febvre slowly and methodically closed on Cairoli, passing him uneventfully on Lap 11. Febvre then took off, eventually winning by 12 seconds over Cairoli, who was comfortably in 2nd.Team Suzuki World MXGP’s Kevin Strijbos took 3rd from Van Horebeek on Lap 8, but an early race collision with fellow Team Suzuki World MXGP rider Ben Townley poked a hole in the clutch cover of Strijbos’ RM-Z450, forcing Strijbos out of the race on Lap 12.While Febvre was running away for the win, Nagl and Gajser were making epic charges through the pack. Gajser moved from 23rd after the first lap to 18th at the conclusion of Lap 2. A lap later, Gajser was up to 13th, while Nagl had improved from 13th to 10th.Gajser consistently had a couple of riders separating him from Nagl, until Lap 14, where Gajser went by Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev, who was shaking off the effects of a first corner tangle with Gajser the day before in the Qualifying race. Bobryshev finished a brave 6th in Race 2 and was 6th overall.As the two-lap flag was displayed, the overall winner and podium were still in doubt. Gajser made a final push and passed a struggling Nagl, taking 4th place in Race 2. This was enough to steal the overall win away from Cairoli, who finished with 42 points for the day, one behind Gajser and one ahead of Febvre.With the riders headed for the MXGP of Germany next week at the Talkessel circuit at Teutschenthal, Febvre maintains a slim one-point advantage over Gajser in the MXGP World Championship Standings, who is a comfortable 46 points ahead of 3rd place Cairoli. Gajser and Febvre have accounted for 11 of the 12 race wins in 2016, with Nagl taking a single victory. Nagl is 4th in the standings, 57 points behind Febvre.Photography courtesy of Youthstream
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!