Practice Rundown: MXGP of Britain

Analysis and insight from the UK

· 3 min read

The first blows have been exchanged, quite literally, at the Grand Prix of Great Britain, now that the various practice sessions are complete. It certainly feels as though anything could happen on the circuit that most riders adore, although the initial times indicate that much of the same is in store. It is a completely different game once the gates drop though.

There were a handful of intriguing points that emerged in qualifying. Jeffrey Herlings set the quickest time, which is not really news anymore, but the way in which he did it was most impressive. Herlings was on a heater at around the halfway mark, but crashed with two turns to go and had to abandon the lap. The spill left him with what looked like bent bars as well, because he immediately pulled into pit lane and hopped onto his second bike. There was just two minutes remaining at that point in the session, but he went out and immediately ripped a quick lap on a bike that had been dormant before that.

Jeffrey Herlings has been unstoppable at Matterley Basin thus far (ConwayMX)

How much of a change is it to hop onto that second bike? The settings and components are obviously identical, but it still takes a lot to have that much confidence in a bike that has not been ridden thus far. It was most impressive and, hey, he could have gone even faster. The table below shows his sector times on the lap that he crashed versus his quickest complete lap (the bottom one).

Sector One

Sector Two Sector Three

Sector Four

0:38.401

0:31.483

0:30.747

1:04.853

0:38.934

0:31.761

0:30.678

0:35.218

Tommy Searle was the one who got knocked off the top spot by Jeffrey Herlings, which caught most by surprise. It is worth noting, however, that Searle was second in free practice at the Grand Prix of the USA in 2016. There were six hundred and thirty-one days between those two events. Although that may seem like a long time, Searle has actually only completed six events since then and he was far from one hundred percent at a majority of those. This could be fairly normal, if he avoids injuries and establishes a bit of momentum aboard his Bike It DRT Kawasaki.

The timed session was all about Jeffrey Herlings again, although Antonio Cairoli got in the mix this time around. Cairoli actually held the top spot for the duration, with an advantage of less than a tenth, but Herlings pulled through right at the end to go fastest by more than a second. Although that advantage may scare some, it is promising to see him so close to the front in these practice sessions. Cairoli has claimed many times that setting quick times is not necessarily a strength of his so, bearing that in mind, he is probably quite comfortable at this point in the day.

Tommy Searle has given the British fans a lot to cheer about (ConwayMX)

The times that Romain Febvre and Jeremy Van Horebeek, of the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing team, recorded may be a concern, although mediocre showings were expected. Febvre could not even walk after bashing his ankle at the Grand Prix of Germany and only started riding a couple of days ago. Jeremy Van Horebeek, on the other hand, injured his shoulder at that event and is far from one hundred percent. It is not exactly going to be an amazing weekend for those guys, but a decent amount of points should be salvaged. Those are two of the grittiest riders in the paddock.

Whilst there were many talking points in the premier division, the MX2 class was fairly mundane. Although the Red Bull KTM teammates raced to the top each time, it was the speed that the returning riders showed that really spiced things up. Darian Sanayei was one thousandth of a second slower than Pauls Jonass in the timed session, for instance, so clearly has the speed to get in the mix and potentially steal some points from one of the contenders. Hunter Lawrence has shown flashes at points, as well as Adam Sterry. It is quite clear that the class is deeper than it has been and, with a bit of luck, it may even stay that way.

Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX

Fantasy MX Manager
Play & Win Prizes!