THE BIG THREE - MXGP

We all remember that sensational 2021 MXGP championship battle when Jeffrey Herlings beat Romain Febvre and Tim Gajser, for a fight that didn’t end until the final moto of the season. Now, three years later in 2024, we have a similar story, but this time there are four men in the fight for the MXGP World title.

With Romain Febvre failing to finish the German Grand Prix last weekend, it more than likely takes him out of the fight for the 2024 MXGP championship. His injured thumb causing too much discomfort last weekend, but don’t count the Frenchman out just yet.

The man of the moment is without question, defending champion Jorge Prado, who has won five GPs this year and holds the red plate, but it hasn’t been as easy as it might seem. Confidence though isn’t something Prado lacks.

“I know what I am capable of,” Prado said. “I know my speed and my fitness, and I know I can win, every time I go out on the track. This makes me relaxed. I don’t have to think about anything else, just ride the way I know how to ride, but I am confident, and I hope we keep the red plate until the end of the season. Many races left, but we keep charging. Jeffrey isn’t that far away and with Tim, we are basically on the same points, and we have many rounds left. I know if I ride how I know, they shouldn’t beat me. I was just focused on myself.”

As for five-time Motocross World  Champion Tim Gajser, he has often been the forgotten man, despite his huge success in the sport, but he is at the moment the biggest rival to Prado and the Spaniards challenge for a fourth MX World title. Gajser though knows the best is still to come and he is working on not giving up until that final round, just like in 2021.

“What gives me the confidence is,” Gajser said. “We know where we have to work to be better, you know. The only part that is missing is starts, speed is there, because I always start behind and I always come close to him, but then it is not easy to pass, because he is really fast, and the pace is similar. It is similar between me, Jorge, Jeffrey and even Romain. You know, from track-to-track other guys can join us and we know where we have to work and starts are even more important this year. I mean, like, 2021 was intense, and we were also in the COVID times, so we had three races in the week. It was a different era, but even this year, with Jorge, we are really, really close and it is difficult to make a points gap, but we know it is early in the season and when we reach half way, the goal is to continue riding well, being consistent, not too many mistakes and be there until the end.”

And then there is Jeffrey Herlings, also a five-time Motocross World Champion, and the man with the record of most Grand Prix wins in the history of the sport. It’s been a while since the Dutchman has won a Grand Prix, and you just know that GP wins are coming. Can win number 104 come in Latvia in a few days’ time?

“The speed is getting better and better,” Herlings said. “I think I am like 65 points behind now. You can see how quickly change happens. It isn’t over until it’s over and even though we are 60 plus points down, it can change really quickly. We have only done 40% of the championship and we had all the most challenging tracks for me, and the better tracks are coming, like Kegums, Lommel, Arnhem, I like those tracks more. The bikes on track performance and suspension I am really happy, but we will practice starts in Germany this week. We have some new stuff; some updates and I hope it will make it better. It would be nice if we can get better start more often.”

So now, it is onto Kegums in Latvia, a circuit all three big men have won on, and while Herlings is a favourite around the sand circuits of Europe, both Prado and Gajser have won on the toughest sand circuit in the World at Lommel, so who will win in Latvia is the big question.

Photo Credit : Ray Archer

Author: 
Geoff Meyer

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