South America was the scene of the first chapter of MXGP for the third time and a wonderfully atmospheric Argentine Grand Prix produced a fast, rough and demanding course for the first motos (and the new qualification heat format including world championship points for those ranked 1st-10th on Saturday).
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing entered the fray as reigning world champions in the MX2 class but with two new recruits in the forms of Andrea Adamo and Liam Everts on the title-winning KTM 250 SX-F. They also welcomed back stalwart Jeffrey Herlings in the MXGP category; the 28-year-old was making his first appearance with the KTM 450 SX-F since winning the 2021 title in Italy.
Herlings felt his way back to Grand Prix speed in calm and impressive fashion. A steady 4th in the first moto was improved by a better start and a run to 2nd place in the second race. The overall classification put the Dutchman on the second step of the podium behind Ruben Fernandez.
In MX2 Adamo was also fast and consistent. Two top three results allowed the Italian to tally 40 points and he was the second-best rider on the day. Liam Everts rued a second lap crash from 5th place in the second moto but the Belgian rode back to 13th to at least make sure of 9th overall.
Round two of MXGP means a drift back to Europe in two weeks time and into the sand of Riola Sardo for the Grand Prix of Sardegna.
Two weeks before the start of the 2022 season, Jeffrey Herlings fractured his left heel and decided with KTM to give up last season to return in full force for the 2023 Motocross World Championship. And that's exactly what happened!
The Netherlands-born rider returned to MXGP this past weekend at Villa la Angostura in Argentina. In the end, the five-time world champion ended the inaugural round of the year with a second place overall after going 4-2 in Sunday's races; he finished the qualifying race in tenth, which leaves him fourth in the championship.
'I got better throughout the weekend. I haven’t raced these guys for sixteen months and that amount of time means you should not underestimate the class. I have done hundreds and thousands of laps in training, but you cannot replicate the intensity of racing here. Every session was getting a little easier and I don’t think it is bad to 2nd. If I had this option beforehand, then I would have taken it. I just want to keep on building up my race rhythm now,' he said in an official statement.
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