Holy smokes, we are about to hit the half-way mark in the 2016 MXGP (FIM Motocross World Championship) series with round nine of eighteen taking place this weekend on the old-school circuit of Talavera de la Reina, Spain.
So far we have no clues as to who will win the premier class. The rookie, Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser leads by 4 points over the defending champion Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre, while both will have to keep an eye on the eight-time FIM Motocross World Champ Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli as he quietly chips away at their points in third.
Since we are living in the day and age of the ‘scrub’, Talavera de la Reina is really something to look forward to. The track itself is pretty much as close to natural terrain as it gets. It has plenty of decent hills, the type that riders can scrub really hard over, while the rest of the jumps are pretty much table tops which are cool to get sideways on. As for the surface, it’s clay which packs down really hard and generally allows the riders to get creative with their lines which in combination with the impressiveness of the jumps, always makes for awesome racing.
Talavera de la Reina first hosted a round of the FIM Motocross World Championship back in 1994 where American Donny Scmidt was the winner on a Yamaha YZ 250cc, while its most recent round was last year where Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli won in MXGP and Kemea Yamaha Racing’s Valentin Guillod won his first ever grand prix in the MX2 class.
This year is the tenth time that Talavera de la Reina will host the MXGP of Spain and in addition it will also host the fifth round of the European Championship EMX250 series as well as the third rounds of the European Championships EMX300 Presented by FMF Racing and EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli is the most recent winner of the MXGP of Spain. Although Tony has many accolades and multiple GP wins, last years win here in Talavera wasn’t just any old win. After an average start to the season last year, at least by his standards, TC222 decided to switch up everything. His usual KTM 350SX-F got parked in the shed and he whipped out the big bad 450. He also benched his trademark fluro colors and wore red AXO racewear with white Sidi boots. Anyway, it’s not about the bike as Lance Armstrong once said, nor is it about his kit. Tony managed to win on his 450cc debut and still rides the 450 to this day.
Summer is on its way and so too is the real Antonio Cairoli who has built some solid momentum and confidence after winning the last two grand prix’.
If Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser impressed you with his sick scrubs in Germany, you better hold your jaw in place because it’s bound to drop at the circuit renowned for its scrub enticing hills. Putting his insane whips aside, Tiga will also be running the red plate for the third time this year as he leads the championship, 4 points clear of Romain Febvre.
The MXGP of Spain in Talavera de la Reina was the first sign of big things to come for Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre who hit a career milestone here when he landed on the podium for the first time in the premier class. While that was astonishing for the kid who was still under the radar at the time, what is more mind blowing is the fact that that podium finish led to a streak of 16 consecutive podium appearances. The defending champion broke that podium run at the fourth round this season in Patagonia Argentina.
The Frenchman’s most recent grand prix win was back in March in the sand of Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, which could fool you into thinking he’s a better sand rider, yet most people that know him as a rider would say he is definitely one of the strongest riders in the world on hard and slick surfaces which will make him a huge threat for the win this weekend.
Team Suzuki World MXGP’s duo of Kevin Strijbos and Ben Townley are two seasoned riders who should enjoy the old school flow to the circuit of Talavera. So too will Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl who landed on the second step last year.
The current vice world champion, Gautier Paulin, and world number 3, Evgeny Bobryshev, will both be looking to light some candles on their Team HRC’s Honda’s as well.
As for the local hero Marchetti Racing KTM’s Jose Butron, he has been knocking on the door of the top ten all season long. It will cool to see him crack it this weekend for his fans.
2015 MXGP of Spain MXGP Top 3
1. Antonio Cairoli
2. Max Nagl
3. Romain Febvre
MXGP Championship Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 335 points; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 331 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 310 p.; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 273 p.; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 264 p.; 6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 247 p.; 7. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 204 p.; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 189 p.; 9. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 153 p.; 10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 146 p.
There is a solid fan base of people hoping that Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Dylan Ferrandis will pin a challenge on Jeffrey Herlings once again this weekend. Since his return Ferrandis has by far exceeded expectations in terms of how quickly he has returned to speed, let alone the same speed of Jeffrey Herlings. Last year the Frenchman pulled out of the MXGP of Spain after tweaking his knee, but in saying that, the track also got the better of Herlings, who scarily high-sided into the face of a jump. Herlings came away unscathed, but the crash was ugly.
The Bullet, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings has won here once, back in 2014, but he only finished second last year after having a biggie which you can watch on our Youtube channel by clicking HERE.
While Herlings is labeled the king of sand and Talavera couldn’t be further from a sand circuit, it just makes smoking everyone on the hard-pack a sweeter feeling, which is what he’ll be aiming to do.
Team Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer broke his podium streak last weekend after having a few spills. Nevertheless he is still sits second in the championship, 37 points up on Pauls Jonass.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass is also not a huge fan of clay, but the Latvian wonder child knows that it is his weakness and after being the surprise of the season last year when he finished as the vice world champion, it’s apparent he is a pretty fast learner.
One rider that is fond of a hard surface TM Racing Factory Team’s Samuele Bernardini who was on fire a couple of weeks ago in Italy. If the Italian star on the rise can keep his focus sharp, he could be in for his first ever podium finish this season.
Last but not least, there will be a bunch of Spanish fans out supporting their young talent Honda Gariboldi’s Jorge Zaragoza who will also be a special guest on the LIVE Studio Show which can be viewed for FREE on www.mxgp-tv.com
2015 MXGP of Spain MX2 Top 3
1. Valentin Guillod
2. Jeffrey Herlings
3. Jordi Tixier
MX2 Championship Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 397 points; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 297 p.; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 260 p.; 4. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 211 p.; 5. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, YAM), 210 p.; 6. Petar Petrov (BUL, KAW), 202 p.; 7. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 183 p.; 8. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, KAW), 182 p.; 9. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), 179 p.; 10. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 162 p.
Saturday: EMX300 Free/Timed Practice 07:45; EMX250 Free/Timed Practice 08:20; EMX125 Group 1 Free/Timed Practice 08:55; EMX125 Group2 Free/Timed Practice 09:30; MX2 Free Practice 10:15; MXGP Free Practice 10:45; EMX300 Race 1 11:50; EMX125 Last chance Qualifying Race 12:35; EMX250 Race 1 13:20; MX2 Time Practice 14:00; MXGP Time Practice 14:35; MX2 Qualifying Race 16:10; MXGP Qualifying Race 17:00; EMX125 Race 1 17:40.
Sunday: EMX300 Race 2 08:55; EMX125 Race 2 09:50; MX2 Warm up 10:30; MXGP Warm up 10:50; EMX250 Race 2 11:30; MX2 Race 1 13:15; MXGP Race 1 14:15; MX2 Race 2 16:10; MXGP Race 2 17:10.