GP Bits: MXGP of Russia | Round Eight 4

An inside look at the eighth round of the 2019 MXGP FIM Motocross World Championship from the Orlyonok Circuit in Russia

GP Bits: MXGP of Russia | Round Eight

Welcome to Russia!

We'll jump right into the bike stuff. We have a few bikes from the EMX250 class. This is the YZ250F of Thibault Benistant of the MJC Yamaha Team, a Yamaha supported team. That carbon tank and subframe can't be cheap.

The MJC Yamaha team has relocated the coolant sensor much like the US-based Yami teams. This T-joint looks more purpose-built, and rather than welding the Y-junction where it meets the cylinder, there is just a bolt to plug it up.

These look to be stock cases but to help with a little extra cooling, they run a finned Twin Air oil filter cap.

Custom oil filler bolt with retention clip and what looks to be a modified brake snake.

As a Yamaha supported satellite team, GYTR parts are peppered throughout the bike. Almost all pro racing Yamaha bikes run the same GYTR ignition cover.

Tucked behind the shroud is either an extra start button or a map switch. It says "mode" but this would be an awkward position for any other than a backup start button.

The Star Racing team here in the US runs Neken clamps but this team opts for the ever popular Xtrig ROCS clamps.

You can tell that Thibault, past EMX125 Champion is picky with his seat - lots of different materials.

Red Bull KTM's Tony Cairoli is beginning to show a little fallibility, which is very contrary to his earlier dominance. He went 12 - 4, only good enough for 8th overall.

Tony Cairoli: “A very difficult weekend and of course the crash from yesterday did not help as it meant I was totally on the outside for the gate pick. I was riding very stiff and by missing the start it is almost impossible to make a good result on this track; everybody is riding at a similar speed. We lost the red plate but the positive is that I’m not badly injured, and we saw some big crashes today. We walk away a bit banged-up but we will re-group and look to Latvia, which is a nice track, and to regain some points.”

Honda HRC's Tim Gajser had a great weekend taking the overall victory with 1 - 1 moto scores and the red plate from Cairoli.

Tim Gajser: "I’m feeling really good about this weekend. It wasn’t easy out there, as both motos were tough because Arnaud (Tonus) was really fast and he was always behind me pushing hard. The first race I held him off all race, and then in the second race it was the same again but with 10 minutes to go he made a mistake and that gave me the gap I needed to control the race and take the victory. The track wasn’t so bumpy but it was still tough because it was so hard and it was easy to make a mistake. Overall I’m happy, and a huge thanks to everyone at Honda, as the CRF450RW is amazing and let’s hope we can continue this run of form. Three races ago I was 40 points behind in the championship and now I have the red plate so I’m really happy about these past few weeks have gone and although it’s still early in the season and there is plenty of races ahead of us, it’s still a great feeling and I can’t wait to see the red plate on my bike in Latvia."

Arnaud Tonus of Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha laid down 2 - 2 moto scores for 2nd overall.
Arnaud Tonus: “It was not easy to fight for the lead. I was happy I had some good starts so at the beginning I was already close to Tim [Gajser]. There were not too many opportunities to pass on this track, so I came close, and I went for it, but I ended up making a small mistake. I am happy I tried and was able to recover and still finish second. I am still super thankful to be up here on the podium three times in a row.”

Monster Energy Yamaha rider Jeremy Seewer was the last spot on the podium with 5 - 3 moto scores.


Coming home in 4th overall, Red Bull KTM's Jeffery Herlings returned to racing in Russia. In a pre-race interview, he mentioned that top 10 was his goal since he isn't back to full health. Be he doesn't have much time to race back into shape if he wants to win another championship.

Jeffrey Herlings: “I had a serious injury and it has been tough to get back here, mentally and physically, and with a lot of pain for a long time. I did not expect this result here today especially on this track. So to be close to the podium again feels pretty beautiful. I like the track in Latvia but I don't have any firm expectations and I will not forget where I have come from to get to this point. Having said that we’ll always try to fight for a podium spot when we can!”

Here is Wilvo Yamaha Gautier Paulin's YZ450F. He had a gnarly crash and couldn't finish moto one, but lined up for the second. Suter is a swiss clutch brand that specializes in slipper clutches. We can't say for sure if that is what is behind the cover but it wouldn't be unheard of.

Fun to find more and more carbon... Subframe and tank.

We've seen the Acerbis X-Brake Vented Disc Guard before, but not in carbon.

This round we'll take a tour of the footpegs of the pros. Here is Cairoli's with his TC222 logo cast on them. The team runs the cotter pin on top rather than the bottom, probably for better protection.

Monster Energy Kawasaki's Clement Desalle had a gnarly crash over the weekend, and might have a Tib-Fib fracture. His bike has Raptor titanium pegs with Acerbis bracket guards.

Romain Febvre's pegs aren't stock but neither are they radically sharp as some riders' pegs.

Tim Gajser looks to have the same pegs that the HRC guys have in the US, but his might be a little taller.

Jeffery Herlings' KTM 450 SX-F pegs have the same shape and teeth pattern as stock, but might be cast titanium like the Akrapovic Power Part pegs.

Rockstar Husqvarna rider Arminas Jasikonis opts for welded Ti pegs on his FC 450. Also, some safety wire on the pin because you can never be too careful.

Jorge Prado of the Red Bull KTM team has some pretty aggressive pegs on his 250 SX-F. Again, the cotter pin is on the top of the peg bracket.

Tonus runs the open style pegs that we've seen on the Star Yamaha team here in the US. Also, a bracket cover to keep the mud and dirt out.

Lastly, Paulin's titanium shark teeth. Something that we've learned from experience - if you do put some crazy sharp pegs on your bike, slice open a tennis ball and use it as a cover when you aren't riding. Not only will this save your shins, if you have kids or even adults that aren't paying attention, this can help avoid accidents.

Moving on to the MX2 class, surprise, surprise, Red Bull KTM's Jorge Prado strung together 1 - 1 scores for the overall victory. Jorge Prado: “It was a very hard weekend because in the first moto I had a good jump out of the gate but collided with a few other riders in the first corner and lost a lot of positions. I had to work my way up to the front and it took all moto! With two laps to go I made the pass for first place: I was really happy afterwards, even if it did mean I had to use a lot of energy. I knew that the holeshot would be important and concentrated so much for the second moto. It made my life much easier. I’m happy to win again. Latvia is a track I like. My first year there I almost made a podium and last year I won the Qualifying race and the second moto. I’m looking forward to it and hope to make my gap in the championship a little bigger.”

He's trying to beat Cairoli at the mega shade game.

Rockstar Husqvarna's Thomas Kjer Olsen showed that he wasn't out of title contention with his 2 - 2 moto scores for second.

Thomas Kjer Olsen: “It’s been another positive GP for me. It’s a little frustrating I didn’t have just a little more for Prado in the first moto, but generally it’s great to be on the podium again. I’ve been working on my starts and today I got out the gate well in both motos, which made a big difference. In the first moto I worked my way into the lead and felt good. The track was a little unpredictable in places, there were a few tricky slick spots, so I just tried to make sure I smooth. I don’t know how many laps I led but I just pushed hard to stay ahead, which I did until two laps to go. I gave everything to get back ahead of Prado, but I couldn’t make it happen. I got into second quickly in the second moto and just tried to me smooth and consistent. It was hot, but I felt good. Another second-place result was good.”

Though he didn't have a great weekend in Russia, here's a closer look at Bike It DRT Kawasaki rider Gustavo Passoa's KX250F. What stands out on this Kawi is the weird "WP" logos on the suspension.

You can also see custom triple clams and how devoid of buttons and gadgetry this KX250 is. No magic button or anything.

We've tried to find out who makes that ignition cover. A lot of teams, even over in Europe, run the Pro Circuit version, but this one looks much different.

The Dixon Racing Team is based in the UK and has good relations with US brands like Pro Circuit, Rekluse, and Boyesen, as you can see by their machines.

Just a pipe shot.

A look at the carbon protection all over the FC 250 of Alberto Forato, who just lost the red plate in the EMX250 class. Also, I think that shifter tip is sealed with silicone.

You don't usually see a perfectly round brake rotor.

Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha MX2's Jago Geerts went 3 - 3 for third overall.
“It was a solid weekend for me, I was able to close in on the leaders near the end of the races, but I didn’t have enough time and I finished third. I worked hard in the second race. I worked up to third and got close to Olsen. I tried really hard, but it just wasn’t enough, so I finished third for my second podium in a row. I am happy with that, and I really look forward to going to Latvia next week, it’s one of my favourite tracks.”

Red Bull KTM rookie Tom Vialle had a good weekend with 4 - 5 getting him fourth overall. Tom Vialle: “A good weekend for me and I’m happy with these results here. It felt like both days went well although my starts were not perfect. I’m fifth in the championship at the moment and that feels great but I know there is still a long way to go. I have to keep trying to score as many points each weekend. We go to Latvia next and it’s my first visit there so I’ll be hoping to be good again.”

Lastly, we'll take a look at Ben Watson's YZ250F of the Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha MX2 Team. I've asked some of the US teams why they don't put the extra vent holes in the same place as the Euro team and they said that they were worried about getting too much roost in the airbox if they had them like this.

More GYTR on Yamaha bikes. But what none of the US YZ250F riders have is that hydraulic clutch.

The gold head plugs are pretty stylish.

Unlike many of the other YZ teams, the Kemea team does not relocate the coolant sensor. You can also see some nice safety wire on the oil filler cap.

Tall seat plus a hump... That's a lotta seat.

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