GP Bits: MXGP of The Netherlands | Round 2 13

An inside look at the Round 2 of the 2020 MXGP FIM Motocross World Championship from Valkenswaard.

GP Bits: MXGP of The Netherlands | Round 2

All photos by Juan Pablo Acevedo

This pretty much sums up the racing at Valkenswaard... Can you say mudfest?

Some bikes just flat out didn't make it.

Now to what we've been waiting for... Some real shots of Tim Gajser's 2021(?) Honda CRF450R

From this angle, this side of the bottom end looks to be laid out the same as the 2020 model. Obviously the ceramic coating is factory and the Hinson clutch cover eliminates a plug. We get a little glimpse of the exhaust routing that is now through the center of the cradle section of the frame instead of out the right side.

At least with this factory Showa equipment, the shock adjustment has moved back to the more traditional right side of the bike. The black plastic above the shock might be the bottom of the airbox.

This most likely will not be the stock tank. But we can see the new plastic mounting bolt that looks to secure the shroud from the top rather than the side. And there is some factory data equipment as well.

Another look at the all-new shroud shape and mounting. HRC has the obligatory back up starter button and factory electronics going on.

A huge change is going from dual exhaust back to single. Again, this could be just on the European race bike because they can do what they want, but we wouldn't be surprised if a single muffler was stock.

The more info the better, when you have a big enough team to analyze it.

Here is a better look at the new front frame orientation in the front. Also, you can see above the footpeg the frame has some different shaping. The ignition cover looks to be the same shape and, without extreme scrutiny, the cylinder and head looks to match the 2020 model as well. The black rectangle could be a FI cover or something more exotic for the race team.

The main frame spars come up higher to the top of the head tube than this year's machine. Also the fork caps look different than the factory Showa stuff we have here. Lastly, that seat cover has a little extra grip in the front.

Gajser's 1 - 2 was good enough to tie Herlings in points but put him in second overall. Tim Gajser: "I’m super happy, especially after what happened yesterday and that giving me the outside gate pick. Thankfully I managed to get two good starts and that helped me out massively. I made a lot of quick passes in that first race and then got out front and controlled the race. In the second moto I was behind Jeffrey and we were both pushing hard, unfortunately I got roosted pretty badly and that hindered my vision a bit but overall I’m really happy with the weekend and I can’t wait to get to the next race."

Jeffrey Herlings swapped motos with Gajser with 2 - 1 for the overall victory.

Jeffrey Herlings: “This was one of the most difficult Valkenswaard wins. Tim did a great job but it was important for us to think about the overall than the 1-1 and to not lose points. This was a good GP for us. Going to Argentina I hope we can find some good weather! It has been two in a row now with rain! We’ll try to make the best of the situation there and go again for a podium spot.”

Arminas Jasikonis of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory team put together 3 - 3 motos for 3rd overall. Arminas Jasikonis: “It feels great to finish on the podium, especially so early in the season and after things didn’t go so well at Matterley last week. To bounce back with a top-three result is a real boost for myself and the whole team. We all knew how important a good qualifying result would be here, because being on the outside of the start isn’t a good place to be at Valkenswaard. I rode a smart qualifying race and things came together perfectly. It was a great feeling being the first rider to roll onto the start for today’s opening moto, but I also realised that I needed to put everything together again and get another good result. I got an ok start in that first race and managed to complete a safe first lap and was sat in third. I felt good but it was so easy to make mistakes, especially later in the race when visibility wasn’t so good and there were a lot of lapped riders to pass. I took things a little steadier towards the end, but it was great to get third. Race two was strange because when I was behind Tim, I knew I was in a good place for an overall podium result. I wanted to push harder but knew I couldn’t afford any mistakes. I did crash, and some laps later changed my goggles, but everything worked out perfectly and I got third again. We didn’t change anything for this GP, we just kept working hard, so we’ll just keep on working as we have been and try and back this result up with another strong result in Argentina.”

You have to watch out for sand sharks in Valkenswaard.

Antonio Cairoli had an OK day going 7 - 5 for 4th overall. Like many of the racers, he ditched his goggles partway through.

Tony Cairoli: “Valkenswaard is a race where we struggle a bit but with some experience we could come away with 4th overall, which is good and in spite of the conditions and my knee. I wasn’t comfortable and it wasn’t the best for a track where you need to attack. In the end we have to be happy even if this is not the result that we normally want. We know in the first races we have to stay in the top five. Let’s hope in Argentina the race will be a bit more flowing with some more places to pass. Today was a very difficult track.”

We are going to take a closer look at Kevin Strijbos' Suzuki RM-Z450. There is a good interview on MX Vice talking about his plan this year. It sounds like he's the European Chad Reed... Putting together his own team yet also claiming it his last year racing.

Kevin runs KYB suspension on his Suzuki instead of Showa. And the ever-popular Xtrig ROCS clamps. There is a carbon fiber tank in there as well. That holeshot device is super high and messing up the fork stickers...

Nothing crazy with the engine that we can see. Being that its a rider-managed privateer team, budgets are probably not the biggest. We do see different engine mounts.

Nice carbon guard on the brake master cylinder.

Haan Hubs on his Excel rims with Dunlop tires.

Again, pretty standard. We have a Hinson ignition cover, and aftermarket shifter and very hollowed-out engine hangers. We notice that he's running the stock clutch cable routing, where both JGR and HEP have beefed up mounting points.

While Suzuki hasn't updated their bikes, they still are some of the best looking machines in the pits. That Akro pipe looks good. Also, as a privateer, he has to make things last... notice the vinyl sticker on the shock body.

Without an estart button or handguards, his bars look pretty bare. He's also running the Xtrig PHDS bar clamps to soften the hit to the hands.

Another look at the future of motocross pits. The front has a ramp on one side, stairs on the other.

Clement Desalle, along with every other rider, had goggle guys busy in Valkenswaard.

Only his second race in the MXGP class, MX2 Champion Jorge Prado is still working out how to race the big bike, but has a good attitude. Jorge Prado: “I’m happy with the way things are going in these first rounds considering I had so little bike time and my leg was not feeling great. It has been getting better and I showed really good speed here. I had the holeshot in the first moto and was riding my own rhythm. To finish fourth was great and not anticipated. In the second moto I lost the front in the first corner. It was a big crash and luckily nobody hit me. I got up and tried to push hard to gain some positions. The track was really physical in the second moto and I was struggling a little bit. I was 9th overall, better than last week, and now we are 8th in the championship. It’s all positive.”

Last week's MX2 overall winner Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2's Jago Geerts went 1 - 7 for 3rd overall. Jago Geerts: “I didn’t have the best start in the first race, but I made some good passes on the first laps and after 15 minutes I was in second place and hunting Tom (Vialle). I managed to pass him and take the win, the track was really tough, but it was a good race for me. In the second heat, I had a really big crash in the first turn, and I hit my ribs and I couldn’t breathe. I started more than 1-minute down, but I got back to seventh, so I could still stand on the podium. I am already looking forward to Argentina where I can take some revenge.”

What do you think of the gradient red plate vs. the typical solid red we normally see for the points leader?

Just like the Star bikes, there is a lot of black on the Euro team as well.

There is an extra tab on the Akrapovic exhaust to safety wire the exhaust sensor plug. Also the coolant hose has a different T than stock.

What stands out on this side of the motor is the hydraulic clutch, which the Yamaha 250 guys over here are not running.

The sequence above is Rockstar Energy Husqvarna's Thomas Kjer Olsen going for a ride. He was 7th overall on the day.

It might be too early to call Tom Vialle the new Jorge Prado, but so far he's been showing some great riding. Going 2 - 1 for the overall, the Frenchman has the red plate for the next round.

Tom Vialle: “A really good weekend for me and I’m really happy with the result. I took two holeshots and led almost the whole moto but then I had a small problem with my goggles and I didn’t want to take too many risks. I was really motivated for the second moto and went full gas in the first laps to make a gap. I was quite far ahead by the end. I’m happy to have the red plate. We still have a long way to go, and now I’m looking forward to Argentina.”

Maxime Renaux was a consistent 3 - 3 for second overall on the weekend for the SM Action M.C. Migliori Team.

The lone American in the MX2 class, Mitchell Harrison got 11th overall in Valkenswaard. Mitchell Harrison: “This weekend was another step in the right direction. The track was actually a lot of fun; it was deep but I enjoyed it. You know, these first two races were hard, but we’re in Europe and that’s normal. I had a good ride in the first race for tenth, but the second moto was hard work; I crashed in the start and again later in the race. Each weekend is getting better and better; I’m out there trying to have fun and we’ll see where it takes us. “

Jed Beaton shows how everyone is covered by the end of the moto.


One last crash sequence.
This time from the new Diga Procross GASGAS Factory Team rider
Simon Langenfelder
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