Revision: MXGP of Latvia

Points to ponder from Latvia

· 3 min read

Kegums, Latvia, will host a round of the FIM Motocross World Championship for the eighth time this weekend. The sandy circuit is not the oldest on the calendar nor is it the most spectacular, but it has become an extremely popular stop. It is rare that a bad word is said about the facility. Perhaps that is because it is hard to recall a mundane event on the golden soil?

The seventh round of the FIM Motocross World Championship, the Grand Prix of Latvia, promises to be a barnstormer too. Antonio Cairoli was the first premier-class winner at Kegums and then won three more times after that triumph, which means that he is tied with another rider as the winningest guy at this venue. Who else has four wins to their name on Latvian soil? Jeffrey Herlings! There is no doubt that the tie will be broken this weekend and the latter is undoubtedly the favourite. After all, he was so dominant here last year and the reigning champion has not actually stood atop the podium at Kegums since 2013. It is a significant drought.

Antonio Cairoli has four overall wins to his name at the MXGP of Latvia (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

It is most intriguing that Antonio Cairoli is the only rider who has managed to win the Grand Prix of Latvia on more than one manufacturer. The first victory that he claimed was with Yamaha, of course, and then the rest were with KTM. Once you scroll through the list of winners below though, it soon becomes apparent why that is the case. Jeffrey Herlings is the only rider, besides the reigning champion, who has stood atop the podium more than once at Kegums! Rui Goncalves, Clement Desalle, Ken Roczen, Joel Roelants, Glenn Coldenhoff, Max Anstie, Tim Gajser and Thomas Kjer Olsen were all one and done. A handful of those guys have a chance to change that on Sunday though.

The Grand Prix of Latvia does tend to prompt some surprises. Joel Roelants, Glenn Coldenhoff and Thomas Kjer Olsen all claimed their first victories in their respective classes at the venue, for instance. Is it likely that a rider will breakthrough on Sunday? It would take a lot for there to be a first-time winner in the premier class, but a rider like Ben Watson could potentially shock the world. Would it even be a surprise at this point? Anyway, returning to the leading riders in MXGP, Jeffrey Herlings has dropped out of the top three in just one moto here (eighteenth with a mechanical issue in 2012) and Antonio Cairoli has done that in four motos.

Jeffrey Herlings also has four victories in Latvia. The tie should be broke this weekend (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

The fact that Jeffrey Herlings has been so remarkable at this circuit contributes to an impressive run that KTM have had. Sixteen MX2 motos have run at Kegums and KTM have won twelve of them. In fact, the first moto last year was the first time that they have not had a rider inside of the top two in a moto at this facility. Rui Goncalves, Marvin Musquin, Ken Roczen, Jeremy Van Horebeek, Jeffrey Herlings and Pauls Jonass have all contributed to that streak through the years. In comparison, how have they fared in MXGP? They have won nine of the sixteen motos, so still more than half, and not had any riders in the top five just once.

An intriguing point to watch this weekend is that Clement Desalle, of Monster Energy KRT, could put a green bike atop the podium for the first time in the premier division. It is unlikely though, seeing as sand is the surface that he would label as his weak point. However, then again, he claimed a victory at this Grand Prix in its second year. Yamaha and Honda could also make history on Sunday, as they have never won in the MX2 division. Ben Watson and Calvin Vlaanderen have the potential to make that happen though! The latter actually acquired his first and only podium at this venue just last year.

Glenn Coldenhoff took his first and only MXGP win at this track (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

MXGP Winners

2009

Antonio Cairoli

2010

Clement Desalle

2011

Antonio Cairoli

2012

Antonio Cairoli

2013

Antonio Cairoli

2015

Glenn Coldenhoff

2016

Tim Gajser

2017

Jeffrey Herlings

MX2 Winners

2009

Marvin Musquin

2010

Jeffrey Herlings

2011

Ken Roczen

2012

Joel Roelants

2013

Jeffrey Herlings

2015

Max Anstie

2016

Jeffrey Herlings

2017

Thomas Kjer Olsen

Thomas Kjer Olsen took his first overall victory here last year (Husqvarna/J.P Acevedo)

Manufacturer MXGP Wins

2009

Yamaha

2010

Suzuki

2011

KTM

2012

KTM

2013

KTM

2015

Suzuki

2016

Honda

2017

KTM

Manufacturer MX2 Wins

2009

KTM

2010

KTM

2011

KTM

2012

Kawasaki

2013

KTM

2015

Kawasaki

2016

KTM

2017

Husqvarna

Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: KTM Images/Ray Archer

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