The Starter: MXGP of Latvia

Prepare for the MXGP of Latvia

· 3 minutes read

Kegums, the site of the Grand Prix of Latvia, is a hive of activity at the moment. Not only are the Grand Prix contingent buzzing about the prospect of a new layout, but mechanics are franticly extracting parts from the crates that were sent to Russia and building bikes. The MXGP Academy riders are here too to learn more about the craft of becoming a professional.

There is a lot going on at Kegums, especially for a Friday, but the circuit is still the main focus. Although it follows the same traditional layout that has been in place for years now, the riders will run in the opposite direction and that effectively means that it bears no resemblance to the track that was tackled previously. There are a handful of jumps that are exactly the same, admittedly, but they are just being hit from the other side. Even that means that the angle and speed that will be carried into the face is different to what has been experienced previously though. It is going to shake things up and prompt intriguing opinions.

A lot of riders are excited to see significant track changes here at Kegums (Sean Ogden)

Although the starting gates are in the same position as they were last year, the inside gate is no longer a significant advantage. To paint a picture, if you have not seen our lap of the track on SnapChat, the riders are effectively exiting turn one and running alongside pit lane, which means that the corner is not as tight as it has been in the past and is more of a sweeping turn. It is similar to the first corner at RedSand, but not quite as wide or fast. It is still a drastic improvement over what was previously in place and should prompt riders to head around ten gates from the inside when hunting for the best gate.

There are now waves through the section where Shaun Simpson crashed last year, which will certainly be a great spot for the riders to either gain time or positions. Those have effectively replaced the waves that Tim Gajser crashed in, as there are now two big singles on that part of the track. Having waves downhill and heading into the face of a tabletop obviously would not have been the safest move, hence the switch. There is a big step up into the turn before that as well, which is an exciting addition. It seems that is the general feeling within the paddock here anyway.

"It is looking really good actually," Ben Watson told us exclusively. "It is nice to come and see a track with so many changes. It has been like this for a few years now. We have come back here every year, there was the Motocross of Nations here and it is cool to see a track completely different. It is going to be the same for everyone though – nobody has ridden it. I am sure it is going to get really rough and technical here, like it has in previous years, and I like that. Those are my kind of conditions."

This jump will undoubtedly be a favourite with the Latvian fans (Sean Ogden)

A final update to consider is that the timetable for Saturday has been altered slightly. Seventy-nine EMX250 riders were on the pre-entry list earlier this week, but a lot less than that have actually shown up. So, with that in mind, only one qualifying group is needed. The updated schedule for day one in Latvia can be viewed below.


EMX125 Group One Qualifying


EMX125 Group Two Qualifying


EMX250 Qualifying


MX2 Free Practice


MXGP Free Practice


EMX125 Last Chance


MX2 Time Practice


MXGP Time Practice


EMX125 Moto One


MX2 Qualifying Race


MXGP Qualifying Race


EMX250 Moto One

Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Sean Ogden

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