Cairoli world MXGP champ

Red Bull KTM Factory rider Antonio Cairoli has won the 2017 MXGP world championship, his ninth world title in his illustrious career. The Italian finished second in the opening MXGP moto to Jeffrey Herlings, but he actually battled the Dutchman until the very last corner, just losing by a second. Herlings who had started around 10th, won the moto from Cairoli and Anstie, who passed Romain Febvre in the last lap.

“We ride very good today, I didn’t want to ride for the points, I wanted to ride for the win. It was a good battle with my team-mate and I can’t wait for the second moto.”

Cairoli a massive holeshot as Gajser, Febvre, Bobryshev, Van Horebeek, Strijbos, Anstie, Herlings, Desalle and Paulin chase him.

Herlings quickly up to sixth place after half a lap, and then into fifth by lap one. Cairoli trying to make a point as he took a four second lead after one lap. Herlings flying as he blasted past Bobryshev and Van Horebeek. Now into fourth and going after Febvre and Gajser.

Two laps and Cairoli extended his lead to four and a half seconds, but Herlings all over Febvre and Gajser. He will be second in no time as he dominates this sand circuit.

Herlings into third, and all over Gajser. Gajser also closes in on Cairoli. Desalle down hard as he crashed off the track and hit the MotoGP metal fence. Out of the race for the tough Belgian as he walks back to the paddock.

Gajser and Herlings closing fast on Cairoli, and after four laps it was Cairoli, Gajser, Herlings, Febvre, Van Horebeek, Anstie, Strijbos, Paulin, Coldenhoff, and Bobryshev in 10th.

The top four guys have 14 world titles between them, Cairoli eight, Gajser two, Herlings three and Febvre one. Just shows the amazing depth of the MXGP class.

Herlings brushes Gajser out of the way, and sets out after Cairoli. While he was four seconds behind after seven laps, you could feel Herlings slowly closing in on the leader. Gajser ran off the track and slowed, but his third place was still safe.

Herlings now two seconds behind Cairoli and sure to take the lead within a lap or two. Herlings went to pass Cairoli, but the Italian runs the Dutchman wide, looks over and blocks him again. Half a lap later Herlings went into the lead, but not before Cairoli blocked him a couple of times. Once in the lead he was gone.

Van Horebeek into the pit area, and after 11 laps it was Herlings, Cairoli, Gajser, Febvre, Anstie, Strijbos, Coldenhoff, Paulin, Bobryshev, and Leok.

Gajser a massive crash as he landed front wheel first and the bike landed on him. He got up, but was not looking well.

After 13 laps the lead was nearly three seconds, but Cairoli wants a moto win for his world championship. Gajser out of the race as he rode back to the paddock. Not a great way to see his world championship change hands to Cairoli. Amazing the fourth and fifth guys in the championship points out of the moto (Gajser and Desalle).

Cairoli closed down on Herlings a little, can the Italian win the moto and the world title at the same time? Are we about to see another piece of Cairoli magic?

Cairoli backed it down, and Herlings turned it up a notch, and extended his lead to more than four seconds.  Again Cairoli gets the distance to three seconds. With a few laps to go, is the legend working on catching his KTM team-mate?

Febvre stalled his bike but got going again in third place, and Cairoli closed up to two seconds behind Herlings.

The lead was a second with two laps to go. Cairoli working through the lapped riders and not having it all his own way, but still he closed in on Herlings. Two GP legends going at it.

Last lap and they go past Nagl in 10th place. Herlings wins it, from Cairoli as the Italian drops his bike and the celebration begins. Hundreds of fans joining the champagne spraying.

MXGP – Race 1 – Classification

1 84 Herlings, Jeffrey NED KNMV KTM 34:21.318
2 222 Cairoli, Antonio ITA FMI KTM 34:22.328
3 99 Anstie, Max GBR ACU Husqvarna 35:32.330
4 461 Febvre, Romain FRA FFM Yamaha 35:32.397
5 22 Strijbos, Kevin BEL FMB Suzuki 35:40.962
6 259 Coldenhoff, Glenn NED KNMV KTM 35:45.128
7 777 Bobryshev, Evgeny RUS MFR Honda 36:03.848
8 21 Paulin, Gautier FRA MCM Husqvarna 36:10.591
9 7 Leok, Tanel EST EMF Husqvarna 34:28.272
10 12 Nagl, Maximilian GER DMSB Husqvarna 34:29.240
11 24 Simpson, Shaun GBR ACU Yamaha 34:29.645
12 664 Bengtsson, Filip SWE SVEMO KTM 34:36.690
13 151 Kullas, Harri EST EMF Husqvarna 34:37.647
14 100 Searle, Tommy GBR ACU Kawasaki 34:54.957
15 999 Goncalves, Rui POR FMP Husqvarna 35:02.983
16 77 Lupino, Alessandro ITA FMI Honda 35:08.543
17 71 Graulus, Damon BEL FMB Honda 35:10.329
18 494 Van der Mierden, Sven NED KNMV Husqvarna 35:29.953
19 926 Delince, Jeremy BEL FMB Honda 35:33.445
20 49 Irt, Jernej SLO AMZS Husqvarna 34:47.017
21 119 Houghton, Ryan GBR ACU Yamaha 34:48.145
22 831 Wysocki, Tomasz POL PZM KTM 35:07.474
23 47 Boulard, Bryan BEL FFM Yamaha 34:22.685
24 9 de Dycker, Ken BEL FMB Honda 26:01.745
25 243 Gajser, Tim SLO AMZS Honda 21:47.953
26 141 Desprey, Maxime FRA FFM Kawasaki 20:46.665
27 89 Van Horebeek, Jeremy BEL FMB Yamaha 18:01.253
28 32 Potisek, Milko FRA FFM Yamaha 17:40.883
29 25 Desalle, Clement BEL FMB Kawasaki 5:52.419
30 17 Butron, Jose ESP RFME KTM 6:18.242
31 824 Kouwenberg, Nick NED KNMV Honda 0:41.669

Cairoli images by FIM/Nuno Laranjeira images Herlings by Ray Archer