German Max Nagl, riding for Kimi Raikkonen’s Husqvarna Ice One team, scored another win in Trentino in Italy to climb up the points table in the MXGP class this weekend. The German and Antonio Cairoli dominated the top two podium steps in Cairoli’s homeland.
In front of a huge home crowd Cairoli was always likely to be on top form here, and took the early lead in race one on his 350cc Red Bull KTM. The Italian is always a force on home ground, but right there behind him was for some the surprise of this season Max Nagl. But let’s stop there. The guy has proved himself more than once already this year and here was simply doing what he did in Qatar and Argentina, running up front.
Just behind these two was American superstar Ryan Villopoto on the Monster Energy Kawasaki, no doubt enjoying the first of the “regular” non flyaway rounds and in touch with the leaders.
The race for the lead, as in Argentina was very close. Nagl was not letting Cairoli go at all, and was putting the veteran under threat, proving two things, the Husqvarna’s ouright pace and Nagl’s fitness. Sadly though a brief interlude with a backmarker meant Nagl was unable to put in a last lap challenge and he was just too far away to try in the end.
What of Villopoto? Well he finished fourth, passed by series leader and red plate holder Clement Desalle in the race as Desalle made a strong effort to get up to the leaders who were not far in front. Good points for Villopoto in fourth, but he will be unhappy with that. Desalle though podiums every week and again here to continue his impressive form.
But the win for Cairoli, this is where the Italian steamroller might start, it was up to the rest to stem the tide.
Nagl started race two in determined fashion to stem it! He took the holeshot as he has a few times this year and started to pull a gap on Cairoli who had Villopoto for company in third.
Then for some reason a crash cloud rolled into Trentino. Villopoto was battling Desalle’s Rockstar Suzuki for third when he simply wheelied past the pits and fell off the back of the bike, unhurt thankfully, and a little later Desalle made his first mistake of 2015, just losing the front wheel in a sandy section of track as behind them 2014 series runner up Jeremy van Horebeek lost his Yamaha and continues to show up and down form in 2015.
His team-mate Romain Febvre though is blossoming into the real deal and the Yamaha Factory Racing rider scored a superb third in Trentino behind Cairoli with Nagl dominating up front and winning by nine seconds. Desalle recovered strongly for fourth and scored his fourth consecutive overall MXGP podium.
The Belgian continues to lead the series, but is now only one point in front of Nagl, with the next round in Holland and familar ground for a lot of the Benelux riders in the series.
In the MX2 class, the win was taken by the oft overlooked Tim Gajser riding for Honda Gariboldi, the Slovenian taking his first ever overall win after a second and first finish, his win in the latter race meaning he takes the overall GP win.
Jeffrey Herlings was the runaway winner (as he so often is in MX2) in race one, passing early leader and reigning champion Jordi Tixier, as leading Briton Max Anstie also managed to get a top slot on his DRT Kawasaki.
Making time after a bad start though was Gajser, and he overhauled the lot of them to take a superb second place and show Herlings that with a better start the Dutchman might have what he craved, a challenge!
The roles were indeed reversed in race two as Gajser made a superb start to be in the top three early on, with Tixier once again leading away on the factory Monster Energy Kawasaki. But after a couple of attempts Gajser was through and away into the lead.
Herlings this time made a poor start, but was soon into second and chasing down Gajser. The red plate holder did manage to close but just as he was about to start a challenge he fell from his Red Bull KTM and had to be content with second after picking up his bike, so far were these two in front of Tixier.
Gajser then took his first ever overall win in MXGP and Honda scored their first win in MX2 since 2009. Herlings though retains the red plate.