By John Basher

It’s possible to sell a round of the MXGP series to Mexico if you’re Giuseppe Luongo, but even the Czar of Grand Prix motocross can’t buy good weather. The Leon, Mexico track, was a slushy mess of mud with a hard base underneath. Conditions improved throughout the day, but the damage from Saturday night’s rainstorm had already been done. If you’re looking to compare the Leon dirt to something you might be more familiar with, think Lake Elsinore (only a few thousand feet higher in elevation).

As they say, the show must go on. And on it went, much to the delight of two racers–one already a Champion, and one who hadn’t made a blip on the radar since the beginning of the series. What happened at the MXGP of Mexico?

250 Standings

Tim Gajser padded his points lead in Mexico by way of Pauls Jonass making two grave mistakes.

Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser entered Mexico with a slim 13-point advantage over Red Bull KTM’s Pauls Jonass. Leon had the makings of a classic spaghetti western, with two gunslingers ready to shoot it out for all the loot. Only instead of a head-to-head showdown, both riders slipped up in the sloppy conditions. Gajser crashed out of fourth place on lap two of the first moto and could only manage fifth. Jonass had a great first moto, winning the race (his first moto win ever in the 250 class). Gajser’s points lead dwindled down to four. The action was heating up, but the second moto was a dud. Tim finished in second, while Pauls’ title hopes very well might have gone up in flames. Pauls Jonass had the holeshot, and like teammate Jeffrey Herlings all those rounds ago, he tucked the front end. He worked his way up to seventh on the second lap–that’s relatively easy to do when there are only 18 racers on the gate – but went all Chad Reed-like off a jump and soared through the air sans bike. Fortunately he landed on the downside of the triple, helped more by the fact that the landing was greasy, and tumbled down without injury. Jonass’ KTM was bent into a pretzel from the impact. He came back to 13th in the moto. The nine points he gained in the first moto had evaporated, and he gave up five more. As a result, Tim Gajser has an 18-point lead heading into Glen Helen.

The Best of the Rest

Max Anstie would like to have a few do-over races.

Only three rounds ago the top six riders in the 250 class were separated by 40 points. Unfortunately the clock struck midnight for several of the title hopefuls–namely Valentin Guillod, Jeremy Seewer and Jordi Tixier. In fact, the once great Guillod can’t buy a good moto finish. Certainly Max Anstie, at that time looking from the outside in, should be pleased with himself. After all, Anstie shot up to third in the standings from seventh after Lommel. However, Max and his fellow compadres must know that 2015 was a prime opportunity to capitalize on the absence of Jeffrey Herlings. Maybe next year. Somehow Herlings, who went out with a dislocated hip four rounds ago in the Czech Republic, will likely finish seventh in the point standings. That goes to show how far ahead Herlings was in the standings when he suffered catastrophe.

Shaun Simpson

Shaun Simpson deserves a ton of credit for his accomplishments in what has been his best 450 season to date.

Critics point out that the 450 field is severely depleted; that under normal circumstances riders like Shaun Simpson and Glenn Coldenhoff wouldn’t have won an overall this year; that attrition shouldn’t mean as much as raw speed. Rubbish! Those people must not race motocross. In order to finish well in the overall standings a rider must remain healthy enough to race. Tony Cairoli, Ryan Villopoto, Max Nagl, Clement Desalle, Kevin Strijbos, Ken de Dycker and Tommy Searle couldn’t go the distance. And Shaun Simpson won a GP last year when most of them were healthy. Trying to take away the accomplishments of a racer like Shaun Simpson is pure ignorance. Don’t be dumb. Simpson is on fire this year, and he’s riding for a privateer team. The Brit did it again in Mexico, scoring second overall. His strong efforts have paid dividends — he virtually has a lock on fourth overall in the standings.

Paulin vs. Bobryshev

Gautier Paulin (21) and Evgeny Bobryshev (777) will duke it out at Glen Helen for second overall in points. Paulin should win the battle. 

The only battle left in the 450 class is between HRC Honda teammates Gautier Paulin and Evgeny Bobryshev for second overall in the standings. A distant 27 points separate the two. And that, folks, is about as much excitement as you’re going to get in terms of championship buzz in the 450 class heading into Glen Helen.

A Ghost Town of Gates

You won’t need to use all of your fingers and toes in counting the number of riders in the 450 class in Mexico.

Giuseppe Luongo has been steadfast in his belief that he wants the best racers in the world competing in the 250 and 450 classes, regardless of the total number of bodies on the starting line. While it may well be a good business strategy to have the cream of the crop on the line, it is embarrassing for the sport and its sponsors to only see 18 racers on the starting grid in the 250 class in Mexico. Worse yet, the 450 class had 19 racers, with four slots filled with local Mexican racers, as well as two entries from nearby Ecuador. Omitting those entries (and unquestionably these racers would have been denied entry at a traditional European GP round), there were a total of 13 series regulars that bit the bullet and journeyed to the flyaway race.


450 Class: Romain Febvre (1-1)

Febvre can win on hard pack and has proven himself in muddy conditions. He has beaten the established elite, charged to the front with badly bent handlebars, and hasn’t shown any signs of letting up after clinching his first 450 World title at the last round. Romain did it again in Mexico, going 1-1 on the day and skating around the track with ease. The Leon race marked his seventh GP win of the season (a staggering 41% winning percentage). He has also won 14 of 34 motos. It will be interesting to see him race on American soil this weekend against some of the stars of American motocross. You’re dreaming if you think that he’ll have more than two or three formidable foes.

250 Class: Thomas Covington (4-1)

Well, hello there! It was a career day for the American, Thomas Covington, who really needed a stand-out ride in order to remain relevant in Grand Prix racing. Covington did just that, going 4-1 for the overall victory. It was his first 250 GP overall ever, as well as his first moto win. He did just enough in the first moto to give himself a fighting chance at a podium. When the sun came out and started to dry up the slop, Covington was right in his element. Congratulations to the kid for his relentlessness in pursuing success in Grand Prix racing, and adding his name to a short list of Americans that have won a Grand Prix race. Kudos!







1. Romain Febvre (Yam)…1-1
2. Shaun Simpson (KTM)…2-2
3. Evgeny Bobryshev (Hon)…3-3
4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (Yam)…7-4
5. Glenn Coldenhoff (Suz)…5-5
6. Gautier Paulin (Hon)…4-9
7. Max Nagl (Hus)…8-6
8. Dean Ferris (Hus)…6-10
9. Tyla Rattray (Kaw)…10-7
10. Jose Butron (KTM)…9-8
Other notables: 11. Todd Waters; 12. Adam Sterry


1. Thomas Covington (Kaw)…4-1
2. Tim Gajser (Hon)…5-2
3. Benoit Paturel (Yam)…3-5
4. Pauls Jonass (KTM)…1-13
5. Max Anstie (Kaw)…2-11
6. Valentin Guillod (Yam)…10-4
7. Calvin Vlaanderen (KTM)…7-6
8. Harri Kullas (Hus)…6-8
9. Julien Lieber (Yam)…14-3
10. Jeremy Seewer (Suz)…8-7
Other notables: 12. Brian Bogers; 14. Brent Van Doninck; 17. Brian Hsu; 18. Petar Petrov


(After 17 of 18 races)
1. Romain Febvre…688
2. Gautier Paulin…566
3. Evgeny Bobryshev…539
4. Shaun Simpson…481
5. Max Nagl…442
6. Jeremy Van Horebeek…426
7. Tony Cairoli…416
8. Glenn Coldenhoff…393
9. Todd Waters…344
10. Clement Desalle…331


(After 17 of 18 races)
1. Tim Gajser…556
2. Pauls Jonass…538
3. Max Anstie…506
4. Valentin Guillod…475
5. Jeremy Seewer…467
6. Jeffrey Herlings…423
7. Julien Lieber…418
8. Jordi Tixier…393
9. Benoit Paturel…356
10. Petar Petrov…304

We’re nearing the end, folks. The USGP, at Glen Helen, takes place next weekend. Despite the slew of injuries to the Grand Prix regulars, U.S.-based racers should breathe life into a series with very little excitement left aside from the 250 title. It will be interesting to see how Dean Wilson, Jason Anderson, Christophe Pourcel, Tony Cairoli (maybe?), Davi Millsaps, Marvin Musquin, Josh Grant, Ben Townley, Cooper Webb and Brett Metcalfe–all signed up to race the 450 class–will do. And, as always, thanks to the brake specialists at Moto-Master ( for sponsoring the MXGP race report.

Photos by Massimo Zanzani

giuseppe luongoGrand PrixJOHN BASHERmoto-masterMXGPpauls jonassrace reportromain febvreshaun simpsonthomas covingtontim gajser