GP Bits: MXGP of Latvia | Round 3

All photos by Juan Pablo Acevedo 

The Latvian track got super rough and super rutted. If you haven't yet, check out the highlights video. Definitely worth a watch.

Hate to be the tire guy in the heat, plus the mask. Luckily, he's probably used to wearing gloves.
We are going to see a lot of these.

Now on to the fun stuff. Standing Construct GASGAS rider Glenn Coldenhoff is on a tear, coming off great rides at the Dutch International motocross races and now getting the overall with 2-1 moto finishes.

Genn Coldenhoff: “What can I say? It’s been a great day! After qualifying we made some adjustments to my bike’s suspension and it really paid off in the races. The Standing Construct team have worked hard during lockdown to keep improving our bikes on the starts and it clearly showed today. I started 2nd in race 1, nearly had the holeshot and then I took the lead on the 3rd lap. After a few laps there was a big rock in the rut I was in, which I hit, and it knocked me off balance just before the waves section. I re-joined the race quickly and made another charge towards the end, but it was too late. I finished in 2nd place, which was really good after a not so great qualifying. Race 2, another great start taking the holeshot! It was a tough race though, especially during the final laps, but I’m really happy to have won for myself and the team, especially as it’s only the 3rd MXGP for GASGAS. It’s just awesome. It’s nice to be back in MXGP, I really like the 1-day format and I can’t wait for Wednesday.”

"Red KTMs!!!" -- every time we post a shot of the GASGAS bikes there is a flood of comments that they are just red KTMs, like we don't understand that. Yes, we are very well aware. But we like to point out the differences as they show up, much like we did when Husqvarna's were just white KTMs and slowly started to show their own features. Here, new body work.

Over the years, everything has become so color matched. Now people are saying how much they like the silver hubs and wheels of the GASGAS machines.

The controls on this GASGAS MC 250F look clean. That polished throttle housing (possibly made by Domino) is trick, as is the red Neken bars and bar pad design. Notice that a lot of MXGP bikes have backed off the master cylinder protection on their brakes and clutches. Hmm.

MC 250F = KTM 250 SX... For now.

Honda HRC's Tim Gajser had an impressive ride in the first moto, but crash at the end of the second moto for second overall with 1-5 scores. Tim is repping the kidney belt, retro style. Can you even still buy those?

Tim Gajser: "I got a solid start in both motos, getting the holeshot on my Honda CRF450RW in race one and then right behind Glenn in race two, so I’m happy with how that went. My qualification was good too, giving me first gate pick and it was good to see that we were able to adapt to the new format quickly. Unfortunately, after winning the first race, I had a crash in the waves in race two as I tried to change my lines in order to make the pass for the lead. I did my best to re-join the race as quickly as possible but I dropped down to fifth, which is where I finished. Obviously I would have liked to have made that pass but it didn’t quite work and instead I had to settle for second overall. The championship gap has closed to four points so I’m happy with that and I’m excited for the next two rounds here on Wednesday and Sunday. A big thanks to everyone for getting the series running again and for my team who have continued to work hard during this break."

With the dark hair, black mask, and black gear, Gajser looks more intimidating than normal.

Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Romain Febvre, like Coldenhoff, was looking awesome in the Dutch International races just a few weeks ago. He grabbed a solid 3-3 moto score for third overall.

Romain Febvre: “My first GP for Kawasaki, we are already on the podium and I want more. I am so happy not only for myself, but also for the team; we have come a long way after the disappointment with my injury just before the opening GP in February. It’s almost a year since I raced a GP whilst all the others have kept on riding so I have to be happy with this result. We had a lot of changes during the winter – new bike, new team – but I feel really good with both. I have shown I have the speed in the warm-up races; now I need to be consistent. My first start was very good. I was second but at the second corner I touched with Seewer; I lost a few positions but I found a good rhythm to come back to third, only a few seconds behind the winner. At the second start Jasikonis hit the gate and then Herlings cut my line, but I was on the inside in the first corner so I still had a decent start. I was faster than the leaders close to the end of race two but they really went for it on the last lap so I was satisfied with third. I made a few little mistakes during the first lap each time so I have to work on that. My thanks to the team who work so hard; I love the bike so much. I am not right back at the top yet, but I will soon be there!“

One of the F&H Crone Racing Kawasaki KX250s. They aren't on the 2021 bike yet. Having extra ECUs is a nice perk of have a little bit of budget.

That's a cool carbon collar to keep the holeshot device in place.

All the ducks in a row.

Clement Desalle with the classic butt patch. He didn't have the weekend he wanted going 12-10 for tenth overall.

Clement Desalle: “Of course my weekend was disappointing. At the first start I touched together with Tonus and I didn’t find a good feeling with the track or the heat. My start was better in the second race; the first ten minutes were OK but then I couldn’t maintain the rhythm. We know what we can improve for Wednesday, and the goal will be to do much better than today.”

Yamaha rider Jeremy Seewer charged hard in the second moto to get 5-2 scores and fourth overall. Looks like he's forgone a goggle sponsorship to use that real estate for another company, in this case, a Swiss watch company.

Jeremy Seewer: “Decent start to the week. We need to consider that we have three races this week as well, so it is important we stay healthy. Any crash that could make you feel stiff a few days after will make it tricky. In the first race I started off calm, I dropped back a bit but I was still in safety mode after not racing for such a long time. I didn’t want to make that mistake of going too hard too soon, and I managed to pick up my pace as the race went on and finished fifth. In race two, I felt I knew the track a lot better and that I had to speed to win. I almost got Glenn in the last lap, but just missed out and missed the podium, but I feel good and I look forward to the next two GP’s here.”

We are digging the return of the classic butt patch.

Gautier Paulin was 8th overall. A look at the front of his Yamaha shows he runs a split lower triple clamp, but a solid top. Also, no master cylinder protection. Maybe Latvia is completely devoid of rocks.

Gautier Paulin: “We started on a track that was already rough from yesterday, so we had to be fast immediately. I really struggled with that, I got arm-pump and was riding tight so I only had the 10th time in Qualifying. The place was okay for the gate. I got an okay start in race one, but I didn’t manage a good first corner and I stalled the bike. In race two, Calvin Vlaanderen crashed pretty hard at turn one and his handlebar went into my boot, so I was totally blocked and it was painful too. I started from totally last. It was not easy and I am not happy with the result.”

Red Bull KTM's Jeffrey Herlings wasn't in his usual 'Bullet' form. Starts where his main issue, as illustrated here. He went 4-4 for fifth overall.

Jeffrey Herlings: "Today could have been better. Some bad starts, and in the first moto I was a bit too slow at the beginning. I came back from last to 4th but wasted too much energy pushing through to the front. I’m definitely not satisfied but we’ve started racing again now and I know what to do for when we go again in three days.”

That Akro carbon is so sweet.
Didn't know Herlings was a Looney Toons fan.

Herlings runs carbon engine mounts, unlike some of his KTM teammates. Also, the coating on the cases looks darker than the US teams. Man, that is some serious bluing on that exhaust!

Rene Hofer's butt patch says it.

Thomas Covington moved up to the MXGP class from the MX2s. He is the only American in the MXGP or MX2 class right now. He was 31st overall.


The old guard suffered in Latvia, including Red Bull KTM's Tony Cairoli. With 13th overall and 7-17 moto scores, Tony had issues with starts like Herlings. But, at least he knows which helmet he is with his name on the chin bar.

Cairoli has been orange for a long time.

Tony Cairoli: “Today was very tough. To restart everything after five months meant it would be tricky because we didn’t know the race pace, but I knew I had trained well and could do good. The only problem was my starts and we saw it at this track where it is difficult to come through the pack. I felt really good to come back to 7th in the first moto and was happy. I was determined to do better in the second and was thinking about going for victory to be honest. I had a better start but had trouble again on the first corner and was hit by another rider. I twisted my knee again. I was not feeling 100% at the beginning and was taking it easy but made another mistake and was outside the top thirty. After that I tried to re-group and bring it home. This is not the result we wanted but I saw a lot of people had troubles this first race. We won’t panic too much but we want to be further forward. I want to get behind the gate again and prove that I can get there. It is so important lately to be at the front at the start of motos. We need to work a bit more on this direction.”

Pretty much all the KTM riders are running the "factory edition" split clamps. Plus, Jorge Prado does want some digit protection.

Hip openers?
Or karate kid moves?

Before we get to the MX2 class, a little look at Rockstar Husqvarna EMX250 rider Kay De Wolf. Dude rides like a maniac, which isn't always the fastest, but makes for great photos (he was 5th overall in his class).


A look at the YZ250F skeleton of Gianluca Facchetti's EMX250 machine.

MX2 racer Tom Vialle took top honors in his class with 1-2 moto scores. Out of all the KTM riders, he's one of the few that like the solid Neken clamps. Also, I don't know what Mickey gloves mean on the butt patch.

Tom Vialle: “It was a good weekend and I’m really happy. There was a lot of water on the track in the morning, but I felt good on the bike by the time of the races and made great starts. Jago crashed in the first moto and then I was comfortable in first position. We had a good fight in the second moto and we passed each other on the last lap. It was decent fight and I was happy to overtake him at the end because it was very hot and I was pretty tired. I just made a little mistake and he got me back. It was so close but I’m happy to win the overall.”

Yamaha rider Jago Geerts was absolutely flying and could have been the overall winner if not for his multiple self-inflicted crashes in moto one. He took the win in moto two, leaving him in 6th overall.

Carbon fork guards and black fork lowers ad to an already blacked-out look on Geerts' YZ250F.

Troy Lee Designs hasn't had a huge presence over the year's in MXGP racing but in 2020 they've sponsored Jago Geerts and Ben Watson of the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team. Pretty cool to see.

Not everyone gets 2021 equipment. Benoit Paturel's JM Honda Racing's CRF450R still looks pretty sweet.


We'll be back at this before the roost settles! See you Thursday.

Show More Comment(s) / Leave a Comment