The last flurry of MXGP in 2019 began with the second Grand Prix of Turkey to take place at the new, wide and impressive circuit of Afyon in Afyonkarahisar. Warm and sunny conditions greeted the seventeenth round of eighteen this year and just a week before the campaign closes with a trip to Asia. The hard-pack track was inviting and quick but also rutty in corners and permitted decent line choice.
Jeffrey Herlings came to Turkey with further mileage under his belt after a domestic race appearance in Germany the previous weekend. The 2018 world champion is rapidly gaining shape and form at the highest level and showed his progress with 2nd position in the MXGP Qualification Heat on Saturday (after a close dice with Standing Construct KTM’s Glenn Coldenhoff).
The Dutchman dealt with former teammate Pauls Jonass early in the first moto to escape and celebrate his second chequered flag of the season (in just his fourth appearance). In the second race he had to pursue friend and countryman Coldenhoff again and needed all of his skill and conditioning to make a pass on the final lap. Herlings’ 1-1 meant a confidence-boosting victory in his second full outing in 2019 and just two weeks after his comeback from a fractured ankle at the Grand Prix of Sweden.
Coldenhoff’s 3-2 allowed the Dutchman to be part of the MXGP podium ceremony for the fourth GP in a row as he classified as runner-up.
Jeffrey Herlings: “Back winning! I’ve won a GP every year since 2010 and that’s ten seasons now for KTM and 85 together. It has been a bumpy ride this year but I want to thank all the Red Bull KTM crew and all my sponsors. It has been a rollercoaster with a lot of downs but at least we are trying to finish the year on a high note. I wanted to win here with a 1-1 and found the perfect place to pass Glenn and make it happen. Our goal is to be on the podium again for the last round.”
Jorge Prado captured a thirteenth Qualification Heat win on Saturday and headed a Red Bull KTM 1-2 as Tom Vialle took second place. The double world champion continued his form on Sunday as a twenty-first holeshot of the year (from 31 starts) led into a comprehensive twenty-eighth moto success. The eighteen year old provided an exact replay in the second race and eased to his fifteenth GP triumph (from sixteen) and thirteenth 1-1 double from that haul.
Tom Vialle classified 5th overall. The Frenchman dropped from an early top three position in the first moto to take 8th but rallied to obtain a comfortable runner-up slot behind his teammate in the second. The rookie holds 4th in the championship standings, 10 points away from Jago Geerts and his total means he has confirmed at least a top five rank in his first term as a factory rider and in the MX2 class.
Jorge Prado: “Two enjoyable races today and they were made way-easier thanks to the good starts. I didn’t have to deal with any roost and could ride my own speed. I did well today; I was not using much energy. It felt like a perfect weekend. I was really motivated to go 1-1 after missing out on the overall in Sweden.”
Tom Vialle: “Not so bad finally. I didn’t have a good feeling in the first moto and wasn’t very confident on the track but improved for the second race. I’m happy for that and how we finished. 5th overall and 35 points was satisfactory and I’m just 10 behind Jago now. The goal is to push for 3rd in the championship and we’ll have to make two good starts and go for it in China.”
MXGP will break new ground for the final appointment on the 2019 schedule and will head to a freshly built circuit on the outskirts of Shanghai for the first ever Grand Prix of China next weekend.
Results MXGP Turkey 2019
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED) Red Bull KTM (1-1)
2. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED), KTM (3-2)
3. Pauls Jonass (LAT), Husqvarna (2-5)
4. Tim Gajser (SLO), Honda (6-3)
5. Ivo Monticelli (ITA), KTM (7-5)
Standings MXGP 2019 after 17 of 18 rounds
1. Tim Gajser 744 points
2. Jeremy Seewer 542
3. Gautier Paulin 499
4. Glenn Coldenhoff 488
5. Arnaud Tonus 462
10. Tony Cairoli 358
22. Jeffrey Herlings 125
Results MX2 Turkey 2019
1. Jorge Prado (ESP), Red Bull KTM (1-1)
2. Jago Geerts (BEL), Yamaha (2-5)
3. Roan Van de Moosdijk (NED), Kawasaki (5-3)
4. Maxime Renaux (FRA), Yamaha (4-4)
5. Tom Vialle (FRA), Red Bull KTM (8-2)
Standings MX2 2019 after 17 of 18 rounds
1. Jorge Prado 787 (champion)
2. Thomas Kjer Olsen 592
3. Jago Geerts 505
4. Tom Vialle 495
5. Henry Jacobi 442