MXGP Recap: 2021 Grand Prix of Sardiniaby Jack Gaffney September 19, 2021 0 comments
After a number of flyaway round cancelations, six of the final nine rounds of the 2021 MXGP Season are taking place in Italy. That stretch began earlier today on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. Jeffery Herlings and Tom Vialle of Red Bull KTM enter this penultimate stretch after sweeping both Grand Prix’s in Turkey. While Vialle is well out of the MX2 title hunt, Herlings has put himself back in contention for a second MXGP class title. GP class points leader Tim Gajser has been holding onto a points lead with some recent consistency. Scoring three straight podium results entering today. Maxime Renaux, the MX2 points leader, meanwhile is beginning to pull away from the rest of the field.
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Pre Race Headlines
The defending World Champion’s title defense now gets even tougher. Over the extended break, Gajser in a practice accident broke his left collarbone. Despite undergoing surgery days ago, the Slovenian Honda rider gave it a go this weekend. The good news is that since he officially is not running in next week’s Motocross Des Nations, he gets a full week to rest and recover.
Days after announcing this would be his swan song season, Antonio Cairoli appears to have avoided major disaster. During practice/qualifying earlier in the day, the No. 222 went down and stayed there for a concerning amount of time. Despite being stretchered off track there is good news regarding the seven-time premier class champion. After a check-up, Cairoli has nothing broken and was just banged up. However, he was kept out of action today as a result.
Runs in the Family
A notable new addition to the MX2 paddock this weekend is Liam Everts. His dad, the 10 time World Champion Stefan Everts. Young Liam is tabbed as Team Belgium’s 250 rider for the Motocross Des Nations, so a tune-up that serves as his MX2 debut makes sense. Everts currently is fourth in the EMX250 feeder series riding aboard a KTM.
The red-hot Vialle picked up his sixth holeshot of the year to open things up on Sunday. His teammate Mattia Guadagnini would be in tow as the field made it out of the 180-degree second corner. From there this opening ordeal would be cordial. Renaux began making a charge through the field, first passing Rene Hofer, who crashed a corner or so after being passed by the points leader. Then Renaux got by Guadagnini, but unfortunately for the Frenchman, he could not complete the Red Bull KTM trifecta. Vialle picked up his third Moto win in his last five outings. The debuting Everts meanwhile ended up in 16th here.
Once again Vialle would open things up with a holeshot, on route to a day where he never found himself outside of first. Additionally, Gaudagnini was once again in second place in the early goings, this time, however, that would not last long. The Italian tried to make a pass on his teammate but fell in the process. Later on he pulled out of the race, which may have been the death knell for his title hopes. This due to Renaux continuing his superb consistency running up front once again.
The points leader spent a large majority of the race in second place, but near the end fell back to third via a pass from Jago Geerts. Further back, Roan Van De Moosdijk, who was making his return today, found himself having a solid Moto. After a start outside the top 10, the young Dutchman was as high as seventh in the late goings. A good sign for Dutch fans, as he is still slated to be on the Dutch Des Nations team. Once again, it would be Vialle reaping the spoils with his third consecutive Grand Prix win and his fourth on the year. A monster run for the defending MX2 champion.
Top 10 Overall in MX2 Class
No. 28 Tom Vialle 1-1
No. 959 Maxime Renaux 2-3
No. 74 Kay De Wolf 4-4
No. 93 Jago Geerts 8-2
No. 517 Isak Gifting 6-6
No. 198 Thibault Benistant 5-8
No. 14 Jed Beaton 13-5
No. 39 Roan Van De Moosdijk 12-7
No. 426 Conrad Mewse 10-9
No. 20 Wilson Todd 7-15
Herlings took home the holeshot here, but the real story was Gajser. the Slovenian went down in an opening corner crash. This on top of his collarbone injury, putting him about as far behind the eight ball as possible. His focus swiftly turned to simply just getting points, let alone finishing in the top 10. Herlings would stretch things out and this Moto was all but over from here.
The real surprise of this moto would end up being Calvin Vlaanderen, a member of the 2019 Dutch Des Nation winning team. He has not done much so far in his career on the 450 but was looking good early. The Yamaha rider made a quick jump from sixth and into the top three. The top two spots would go to Herlings and Jorge Prado, while Romain Febvre would sneak into third late. Vlaanderen was the man who had the final podium spot taken away. Gajser all the meanwhile could only manage a 19th, getting lapped by Herlings as he took the checkered flag.
The year of the holeshot would get back on track for the Spaniard Prado. Picking up what is now his 10th of the year, beyond ridiculous stuff for the No. 61. The problem with Prado this year clearly has not been the starts, what has been however is sealing the deal. As was the case multiple times in Turkey, he could only hold of Herlings for so long before surrendering the point, which he did on lap 11.
Some good news for Gajser this Moto was that he did not go down on the start. Riding clearly below 100-percent, the champion started out in around 12th. Even better was he was able to sneak his way into the top 10 to finish eighth. That may not seem like much, but on a day like today where he was off his game, that could pay dividends down the line. At the end of the day, “The Bullet” on the No. 84 Red Bull KTM would not only secure a 1-1 day but also take the points lead by a lone score. Keep in mind Herlings has outright missed three Motos and is now the points leader, unreal stuff.
Top 10 Overall in MXGP Class
No. 84 Jeffery Herlings 1-1
No. 61 Jorge Prado 2-2
No. 3 Romain Febvre 3-3
No. 10 Calvin Vlandereen 4-4
No. 91 Jeremy Seewer 6-5
No. 919 Ben Watson 7-7
No. 189 Brian Bogers 5-9
No. 41 Pauls Jonass 13-6
No. 259 Glenn Coldenhoff 10-10
No. 19 Thomas Kjer Olsen 8-13
Now the 2021 Motocross Des Nations is on deck. While a decent chunk of riders and teams are out, this should still be a quality edition of the event. The full preview of which should be up later this week.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images