MXGP Indonesia: Herlings fights the pain to win qualifying race

Picture: Red Bull KTM/Ray Archer

Jeffrey Herlings (Red Bull KTM) shrugged off the pain of a plated collarbone to win today’s qualification race at the MXGP of Indonesia – round 12 of the FIM Motocross World Championship – at Pangkal Pinang.

The 23-year-old, who broke his collarbone in a practice crash two-and-a-half weeks ago, chased his team-mate and main championship rival Tony Cairoli through the opening turn in the 20-minute plus two lap moto before taking the lead a couple of corners later.

From there he checked out and at one point led by over eight seconds before backing it off in the closing stages to conserve energy for tomorrow’s two points-paying races.

“I’m not fit but that’s normal – I broke my collarbone less than 17 days ago and it was pretty shattered,” said Herlings. “So to come back racing it’s already a blessing and then to win is even more so.

“I couldn’t go full gas because I felt like I’ve lost some fitness and also some bike time and I didn’t want to take any risks today. It obviously won’t be that easy tomorrow but today was a good day.”

After Herlings passed Cairoli the defending champion overshot the turn following the waves section and went off the track which allowed Gautier Paulin (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna), Glenn Coldenhoff (Red Bull KTM), Clement Desalle (Monster Energy Kawasaki) and Tim Gajser (Team HRC) through.

Paulin held onto second for five laps and was then gifted some breathing room when Coldenhoff fell but Gajser was on a charge and the 2016 world champion caught and passed the Frenchman just before half-distance. However, the Slovenian appeared to have over-exerted himself in the hot and humid conditions and the following lap he lost places to Paulin, Cairoli and Desalle.

Cairoli and Desalle then moved ahead of Paulin as Britain’s Max Anstie (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) and Romain Febvre (Monster Energy Yamaha) pushed Gajser back to seventh.

With three laps to go Anstie tipped over in a turn and lost valuable places as Cairoli chased down Herlings but the Italian couldn’t close the gap and at the flag it was the Dutchman who won by just over three seconds. Desalle was third form Paulin, Febvre, Gajser and Coldenhoff with Anstie best of the Brits in 12th.

Shaun Simpson (Wilvo Yamaha) won here last year and the Scot was as high as eighth on the opening lap before he faded back to 16th. With the Hitachi ASA KTM UK team opting not to make the long and expensive journey with Graeme Irwin, the only other British rider in action was Tommy Searle (Bike It DRT Kawasaki) but he went out at half-distance.

MXGP Indonesia qualifying race result

1 84 Herlings, Jeffrey NED KNMV KTM 24:01.609 13 0:00.000 0:00.000 1:45.914 1 51.6
2 222 Cairoli, Antonio ITA FMI KTM 24:04.636 13 0:03.027 0:03.027 1:48.008 12 50.6
3 25 Desalle, Clement BEL FMB Kawasaki 24:10.619 13 0:09.010 0:05.983 1:48.425 3 50.4
4 21 Paulin, Gautier FRA MCM Husqvarna 24:19.207 13 0:17.598 0:08.588 1:48.332 2 50.5
5 461 Febvre, Romain FRA FFM Yamaha 24:28.784 13 0:27.175 0:09.577 1:48.298 4 50.5
6 243 Gajser, Tim SLO AMZS Honda 24:30.478 13 0:28.869 0:01.694 1:47.721 3 50.7
7 259 Coldenhoff, Glenn NED KNMV KTM 24:38.881 13 0:37.272 0:08.403 1:48.411 2 50.4
8 91 Seewer, Jeremy SUI FMS Yamaha 24:40.686 13 0:39.077 0:01.805 1:49.938 7 49.7
9 89 Van Horebeek, Jeremy BEL FMB Yamaha 24:42.490 13 0:40.881 0:01.804 1:49.854 3 49.8
10 33 Lieber, Julien BEL FMB Kawasaki 24:44.901 13 0:43.292 0:02.411 1:49.708 4 49.8
11 12 Nagl, Maximilian GER DMSB TM 24:48.151 13 0:46.542 0:03.250 1:51.076 2 49.2
12 99 Anstie, Max GBR ACU Husqvarna 24:54.448 13 0:52.839 0:06.297 1:48.445 3 50.4
13 77 Lupino, Alessandro ITA FMI Kawasaki 24:56.406 13 0:54.797 0:01.958 1:51.278 8 49.1
14 777 Bobryshev, Evgeny RUS MFR Suzuki 24:58.418 13 0:56.809 0:02.012 1:51.082 4 49.2
15 27 Jasikonis, Arminas LTU LMSF Honda 25:08.729 13 1:07.120 0:10.311 1:52.640 5 48.5
16 24 Simpson, Shaun GBR ACU Yamaha 25:11.871 13 1:10.262 0:03.142 1:51.540 3 49
17 22 Strijbos, Kevin BEL FMB KTM 25:15.903 13 1:14.294 0:04.032 1:51.289 3 49.1
18 42 Waters, Todd AUS MA Honda 25:19.573 13 1:17.964 0:03.670 1:52.177 2 48.7
19 92 Guillod, Valentin SUI FMS KTM 25:21.577 13 1:19.968 0:02.004 1:51.064 3 49.2
20 336 Stewart, Lewis AUS IMI Husqvarna 24:49.856 12 1 lap 1 lap 1:59.952 5 45.6
21 705 Hanif Kusparwanto, Rizky INA IMI Husqvarna 25:05.359 11 2 laps 1 lap 2:09.309 2 42.3
22 701 Sondakh, Andre INA IMI KTM 25:12.480 11 2 laps 0:07.121 2:04.890 1 43.8
23 162 Hendro, Farhan INA IMI Husqvarna 26:05.278 11 2 laps 0:52.798 2:13.884 4 40.8
24 100 Searle, Tommy GBR ACU Kawasaki 11:39.173 6 7 laps 5 laps 1:50.618 3 49.4
25 288 Lazaroni, Aldi INA IMI Husqvarna 11:40.519 5 8 laps 1 lap 2:12.260 3 41.3

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