Who will ace Assen?
After a two week break, the FIM Motocross World Championship will return to action this weekend, for the sixteenth round of the eighteen round series, here at the incredible Dutch TT Circuit in Assen, The Netherlands, where Holland’s own motocross master Jeffrey Herlings will make his return to MX2, and Tim Gajser could lock up the MXGP crown.
In a world that is constantly changing, those who are not innovative, who don’t have a wild imagination and are afraid of change, will age and decline. MXGP is incredibly innovative and it’s their mission to grow this great sport of motocross to a level that will exceed all expectation, like hosting unique event, such as the one we’re about to witness this weekend at Assen.
The effort that goes into an event like this is mind blowing. Trucks have been coming in and going out all day and all night to deliver more than 25,000 tons of white sand which is then shifted around by the track crew, who are also working relentlessly to build a gold standard sand track in less than 1 week.
The track is surrounded by grandstands that offer an unparalleled viewing experience for the fans, who, in addition to the premier classes, will be able to watch the best female motocross riders in the world go bar-to-bar for the sixth and final round of the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship, as well as the final round of the Honda European EMX150 Championship and the FIM Veteran’s Motocross World Cup.
As you may know, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli started the season on a KTM450SX-F, then changed to the 350SX-F for a couple of rounds before opting to go back to the 450SX-F at the most recent round, in Switzerland. Tony’s switch between bikes is enthralling. He has mentioned a couple of times it is because they are trying to develop the 350 and make it the championship-winning bike it once was. Apparently it’s not quite up to scratch, so he whipped out the 450 a few of weeks ago at the MXGP of Switzerland presented by iXS and finally got the result he desired. The intensity in MXGP is not showing any signs of letting up, so for TC222 to rattle off a win, shows he has still got the goods. Unfortunately in motocross, there is no reset button on the championship points standings, and this far in, unless something happens, it looks like the eight-time world champ is going to have to be the bridesmaid at this wedding.
Speaking of the wedding, them wedding bells could be sounding off this weekend with the championship well within reach for Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser. For the rookie to lock it up this weekend he needs 1 point more than Tony Cairoli. If the two, Tony and Tim, finish on the same points, or Tim has less points than Tony, the championship will be pushed out to the Monster Energy MXGP of Americas, which will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, America, next weekend.
If Tim wraps it up, it will mean that the defending champ, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre, will be dethroned at the very same place he was crowned last year. Although that is probably the last thing on Febvre’s mind right now when all he really wants to do is win races.
Another rider with a shot at winning is the guy who won here last year, Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Shaun Simpson. It would be cool if Simpson could bust out a victory this weekend since he’s had, in his own words, ‘a disaster of a season’. While it would also be nice to see Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Dutchman Glenn Coldenhoff come out of his shell for the home fans too. Coldenhoff won the qualifier here one year ago, and put the fans in frenzy. It was awesome to witness, and to hear, with the roar of the crowd shaking the entire Drenthe district.
As for the rest, the two-week break may have been just what the doctor ordered after what has been a brutal yet beautiful season of MXGP thus far. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl will be hungry for a piece of podium pie, as will the Belgian’s Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek and Team Suzuki World MXGP’s Kevin Strijbos. With so many big names in MXGP, each and every weekend is like a game of MXGP Roulette. You also cannot count out the Team HRC boys, Gautier Paulin and Evgeny Bobryshev, either. Both finished inside the top five here last year.
2015 MXGP of The Netherlands, Assen MXGP Top 3
MXGP Championship Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 644 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 545 p.; 3. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 509 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 499 p.; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 472 p.; 6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 446 p.; 7. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 308 p.; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 307 p.; 9. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 298 p.; 10. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 279 p.
If MX2 has taught us anything, it is that anything can happen, at any time and it’s probably time to start expecting the unexpected. What will be expected this weekend is that Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings will return from his three round absence, which was due to a broken collar-bone, with yet another exceptional performance for his home fans. You can’t really bet against The Bullet in the sand, he is a once in a blue moon kind of talent, and is likely to be on fire this weekend.
If anyone is going to challenge The Bullet though, it will probably be Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Anstie, as the next best sand rider in the class, and the only other guy on the line this weekend who knows the thrill of victory.
After missing three rounds, the fan favourite, Herlings, leads the championship by 43 points over Team Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer, who will be looking to put in yet another solid performance in the soft stuff.
Meanwhile, Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Dylan Ferrandis is out for the season with a broken arm while Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass has also called it quits after his concussion at the MXGP of Czech Republic, which has opened up a couple of spots in the top five for other potentials. HSF Logisitics Motorsports duo of Brian Bogers and Calvin Vlaanderen will be more than capable of running up front, while the other sandflies such as Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Petar Petrov and Red Bull KTM’s other Dutchman, Davy Pootjes, could also pull something out of the bag.
Kemea Yamaha MX Official Team’s Brent Van Doninck shook things up last year when he landed on the podium for the first, and only, time in his career. Van Doninck and Tim Gajser will be on the LIVE Studio Show this weekend, which you can watch LIVE at 11:30 CET on our Facebook page (@MXGP).
2015 MXGP of The Netherlands, Assen MX2 Top 3
Brent Van doninck
MX2 Championship Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 597 points; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 554 p.; 3. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 433 p.; 4. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 416 p.; 5. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 403 p.; 6. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 378 p.; 7. Petar Petrov (BUL, KAW), 340 p.; 8. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), 327 p.; 9. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, YAM), 320 p.; 10. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 309 p.
Saturday: EMX150 Free/Timed Practice 08:35; VMX Free Practice 09:15; WMX Free Practice 09:45; MX2 Free Practice 10:15; MXGP Free Practice 10:45; WMX Time Practice 11:40; VMW Time Practice 12:20; EMX150 Race 1 13:20; MX2 Time Practice 14:00; MXGP Time Practice 14:35; WMX Race 1 15:20; MX2 Qualifying Race 16:10; MXGP Qualifying Race 17:00; VMX Race 1 17:45.
Sunday: VMX Warm-up 08:45; WMX Warm-up 09:00; EMX150 Race 2 09:35; MX2 Warm up 10:10; MXGP Warm up 10:30; VMX Race 2 11:00; WMX Race 2 11:50; MX2 Race 1 13:15; MXGP Race 1 14:15; MX2 Race 2 16:10; MXGP Race 2 17:10.