The Latvian Grand Prix did not fail to deliver on some exciting action as Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts dominated the field, going 1-1 in the races to claim overall victories in Kegums.
There was plenty more to celebrate, as Standing Construct Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass ensured the fans did not leave disappointed, with the Latvian running at the front of the field in both races, to finish second on the box ahead of Honda 114 Motorsports’ Ruben Fernandez who secured his very first podium in MXGP!
Then in MX2, F&H Kawasaki Racing continued their good luck in Latvia, as their rider Kevin Horgmo stormed to second overall after leading much of the second race. Meanwhile, Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle suffered big when it came to championship points, as Prado’s 12-13 result saw him lose grip on Gajser for the title, whilst Vialle lost the red plate to Geerts, though remains tied on points as we head to round seven in a couple of weeks’ time.
In MXGP race one, it was Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado who secured his 106th career Fox Holeshot, leading Team HRC’s Tim Gajser, Standing Construct Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass, Honda 114 Motorsports Ruben Fernandez and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer.
A couple of riders went down, which included JK Yamaha Racing’s Alvin Ostlund and Team HRC’s Mitch Evans. Evans managed to come back to 19th, while Ostlund was 21st.
On the opening lap, Jonass took second from Gajser, which was celebrated by the local crowd. Meanwhile further down the order Ivo Monticelli of JM Honda Racing and JT911 Racing’s Jordi Tixier both crashed together out of 14th and 15th place. They were able to fight back to 16th and 17th by the chequered flag.
SM Action GASGAS Racing Team YUASA Battery rider Alberto Forato was having a strong race in sixth as he looked to keep Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Maxime Renaux at bay. While the pair battled on, the third Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing rider, Glenn Coldenhoff was able to make the most of it and slip past his team-mate for 7th.
Prado then set the fastest lap of the race as he looked to break free of Jonass and Gajser, though they didn’t let him have it as they remained close for much of the race.
The attention then went back to the fight for sixth, as Standing Construct Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Brian Bogers caught onto Renaux and was looking to dive down the inside. He did try the move, but Renaux was able to read it well and respond immediately.
Seewer then set a fast lap of his own as he looked to close in on Fernandez ahead in fourth, as Gajser had a moment trying to go after Jonass for second.
Forato then passed Seewer fir sixth, as the Swiss came under further pressure from his team-mates Coldenhoff and Renaux, to eventually drop back to seventh behind both riders.
Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing’s Calvin Vlaanderen came in for a fresh set of goggles via the goggle lane, but then crashed and dropped a few more spots before coming back to 14th.
Towards the latter stages of the race, Jonass was able to reel in Prado, though Gajser was not hanging back either and on lap 10 was able to get by the Latvian. It took the Slovenian just a lap after that to steal first from Prado.
While Gajser would have wanted to make a run for it, Prado tried his best to keep with him and in the last lap it was game on for the win. Prado was charging as he tried to make a pass just meters from the finish, but jumped too far, crashed after hitting the rear wheel of Gajser and almost took the Honda rider down with him.
Gajser managed to keep it up right to win the race ahead of Jonass, Fernandez, Forato and Coldenhoff, as Prado eventually crossed the line in 12th.
In MXGP race two, Jonass took his first Fox Holeshot since Turkey 2019. Fernandez was just behind, with Gajser looking to get a pass on the Spaniard in early as Coldenhoff and Prado followed.
Gajser was able to do just that, as he got himself into second and focused his effort on Jonass. The Slovenian set the fastest lap of the race as he closed the gap down, though Jonass was not going to back down and put up a fight for a solid six laps.
Meanwhile Prado crashed on the second lap and got up again in 17th. He pushed hard to make some passes and could only get back to 13th by the end of the race.
Bogers then passed Fernandez for third, as Fernandez fought to respond immediately, though could not make it happen. Things worked out well for him in the end as Bogers went down and fell to sixth, so Fernandez could get back into the position.
As Bogers got going, he had Vlaanderen on his case. The sudden pressure urged on the Dutchman who then caught up to Renaux and battled with him for fifth.
Coldenhoff then caught up with Fernandez and in the closing stages of the race, we saw the two battle. Just a few meters from the end, Fernandez thought he had third in the bag, but Coldenhoff had other ideas, as he got better speed going wider towards the finish and beat Fernandez on the line.
Gajser went on to win the race, with Jonass celebrating second ahead of Coldenhoff, Fernandez and Renaux who were able to fend off the pressure from Bogers.
Gajser had the perfect scorecard, going 1-1 to claim another GP victory in Latvia, while Jonass made for a memorable home GP to stand on the second step of the podium in front of a huge crowd of Latvian fans. He was not the only one to have a big celebration, as Fernandez occupied the third step, securing his very first podium in MXGP!
Tim Gajser: “It was a good weekend. You know, I wasn’t enjoying a lot. Today the track was a bit sketchier than yesterday because of the rain during the night and also during the day. Also, a lot of squarish bumps, so you really have to be focused like from the star to the chequered flag. But anyway, yes, I was riding smart and I’m happy where I am at the moment. So, we continue to work hard and I can’t wait for the next one.”
Pauls Jonass: “Yeah, this is, you know, almost like a dream come true. I always dreamed about winning the home GP. Okay, I came close, but Tim was better this weekend, and he is riding really good this year. And I just tried to stay calm, because it was not easy with the fans and all the emotions. But I managed to keep the first position for a while which was pretty cool and I got quite excited for that. We put in a lot of work during the last week with the team and everyone. So, the mechanics and the whole team had some long, long nights to get the bike ready, so I want to say big thanks to them because they really put the effort in to get to where I am today. Everyone sees me on the podium, but actually they deserve it as much as I do. Overall, super happy and really good emotions.”
Ruben Fernandez: “Well, this is good to get it out of the way and to be honest, I’m super happy. I always thought I could make it happen and I felt I had the speed for it, I just found it difficult to put it all together in one weekend. After many bad weekends in a row, I needed to know where I was going wrong and how to work on it and finally put it all together and stay calm and that’s what made it possible to be on the podium. It’s a little bit of a pity that I couldn’t make it 3-3.”
In MX2 race one, the Fox Holeshot went to Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Simon Längenfelder as he was followed by Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle, F&H Kawasaki Racing’s Kevin Horgmo and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Thibault Benistant.
Team KTM VRT Veritise rider Tom Guyon started well in sixth, as Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Kay de Wolf got by Isak Gifting of Hitachi KTM Fuelled by Milwaukee on the opening lap.
On the second lap, Camden McLellan of TBS Conversions Racing Team fell hard on the landing of a jump, which also took down Big Van World MTX Kawasaki’s Mikkel Haarup who was looking to go for a fourth podium finish in a row. Haarup did no re-join the race.
Vialle then crashed out of third, as Jorge-Matthias Talviku of Sahkar Racing also went down. Guyon also crashed out of seventh place. Eventually, he finished in 18th.
Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Mattia Guadagnini then passed both Jeremy Sydow of Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing and SM Action GasGas Racing YUASA Battery’s Andrea Adamo for seventh.
Back at the front though, Geerts began to close in on Längenfelder, as Horgmo looked like he lost a bit of ground on the two leaders. The Norwegian was able to get the intensity back pretty quickly as Geerts got alongside the GasGas rider in the lead, to take away first position, as Horgmo got by Längenfelder and carried on following Geerts.
Guadagnini then crashed on lap seven, as Sydow went down too, a couple of laps after that.
Meanwhile Horgmo rode a smart and steady race, staying behind Geerts and not pushing too hard in order to bring home the second-place position as Geerts won the race. Benistant eventually got by Längenfelder with two laps to go, to move into third, as the German finished fourth ahead of Vialle.
In race two, for the second time this year, the Fox Holeshot went to Horgmo who was the leader. Guadagnini was next, ahead of Geerts, de Wolf and Gifting.
Geerts was looking to cut down the inside of Guadagnini for second, but the Italian read it well and was able to stay ahead. Though only for about a lap, as Geerts went through on lap 2.
At that point Horgmo was 2.984 seconds ahead and looking comfortable, as Guadagnini started to fade after being passed by Geerts, de Wolf and Vialle, eventually being pushed down to 5th where he finished the race.
Horgmo continued to pull away, though Geerts was able to up the pace and catch on to the rear wheel of the Kawasaki rider. Of course, this took him a good 10 laps but eventually, Geerts was able to find his way past. Horgmo then went down on the corner before the riders come back up the start straight and got going behind Vialle who was third.
In the end, Geerts won the race, with de Wolf fighting crossing the line in second ahead of Vialle, Horgmo and Guadagnini. In terms of the podium, Geerts claimed the top spot ahead of Horgmo who celebrated his first podium in MX2 as Vialle was forced to settle for third.
Vialle lost some valuable points this weekend and is now tied on points with Geerts who takes back the red plate. The pair now have 244 points each heading into round seven, with Längenfelder moving into third, as Haarup drops to fifth.
Jago Geerts: “I’m really happy about the weekend everything was working well and also yesterday was nice to win the qualifying race. Today I took two good starts and felt good on the track all day and managed to stay out of trouble so I’m really happy about my riding and my speed and it’s nice to have the red plate again, but we are tied on points, it doesn’t do much but it’s always nice.”
Kevin Horgmo: “Yeah it feels amazing for sure. I’ve had the speed for the couple of GPs now but finally it’s coming together and yeah two solid starts, rode my races. In the second race, Jago was a little bit faster and then I tried to follow but he passed me and then I had a small mistake there in the end so finished fourth but felt like it should have been 2-2, so yes, a little bit disappointed about that actually, need to limit the mistake but still a podium is really nice.”
Tom Vialle: “Yes was not an easy one for me, I struggled a lot with the track to find good lines in the first race so I was fifth which of course wasn’t good, but we made a few changes on the bike for race two which was actually better, and I could fight for third. Of course, the weekend wasn’t the best and we need to improve a lot, it’s still a new bike and we are learning things every weekend. I lost the red plate but that’s not so important at the moment still a lot of races to go and we are tied on points with Jago, so let’s say we start from zero again with a lot of races coming up, so I can’t wait for this.”