The moment: MXGP from Italy

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The key moment that occurred during the third round of the 2021 FIM Motocross World Championship, the Italian Grand Prix on the historic Maggiora circuit, was in the minutes between the second motorcycles. The second MX2 stint ended under overcast skies – there was nothing to note. A thunderclap then resulted in a heavy downpour and greatly changed the landscape of the Grand Prix.

All bets were off by this point – the guys had to scramble to make sure they had everything they needed to deal with the rapidly deteriorating conditions. There were those who chose to complete the reconnaissance lap and immediately regretted it. It was how dangerous the conditions were! Anything can happen then and the result has been tremendous momentum at a crucial point in the season. It is now the advantage of Jeffrey Herlings who begins a four-week stint.

Herlings had struggled in the first two rounds in Russia and Great Britain, even though he had mounted the box in both events. “Struggle” is a relative term. It just seemed like Antonio Cairoli, Romain Febvre and Tim Gajser had a speed advantage from the start. Everyone was just waiting to see when he caught fire and asserted his dominance. It happened a little earlier than expected, as he darted with the motorcycle victory into the mud of Maggiora and removed the monkey from his back. The common consensus was that he needed just one victory to break through, like so many before him.

It was a remarkable moment back then, but the most intriguing thing to consider is what it means for the future. Herlings will approach his home event with less pressure and a ton of confidence, knowing he is the fastest runner on the sand. The series will then move to the Czech Republic, a nation with which he has had a difficult relationship, before hitting two tracks on which he is almost unstoppable at Lommel and Kegums. Momentum could be his friend next month and it all started in this second race of the Italian Grand Prix.

“Of course I was a little behind the first two laps,” Herlings admitted after the third lap. “Today was a good day though. I really reloaded, but hey. You go up against the best guys in the business, you know these guys are also working there and trying to win. I’m not the only one. going into Oss this is a track which is not my favorite. It is a sand track, it is already much better. Then my tracks will really come – Latvia and Lommel are tracks on which I really like running. We’ll work from there. I feel like I can still improve a little bit and, yes that’s what we’re going to try to do.

Heck, this victory in the second round of the Italian Grand Prix was the key moment of this event. We can think about this moment as the pivot point of the entire 2021 FIM Motocross World Championship at the end of November. Herlings is dangerous with the momentum, but the Premier League is as deep as ever. It’s really unclear what’s on the horizon – a dominant Herlings run isn’t much of a stretch, however.

Words: Lewis Phillips | Main picture: Ray Archer

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