Jeffrey Herlings (Red Bull KTM) destroyed his opposition in qualification for the MXGP of Latvia – round seven of the FIM Motocross World Championship – at Kegums this afternoon and will go to the gate first for tomorrow’s two points-paying races.

Starting on the inside, the Dutchman took the holeshot in the 20-minute plus two lap race before putting on a sand-riding master class.

With his team-mate and title rival Tony Cairoli all the way back in 24th, Herlings was already five seconds clear of Clement Desalle (Monster Energy Kawasaki) at the end of the opening lap and by the time the chequered flag came out he’d increased his advantage to over 50 seconds.

“It was awesome,” said Herlings, who’s now won four qualification races this season. “I’ve been liking the track all day so it was a walk in the park. I’ve really enjoyed myself today so hopefully tomorrow can be the same. The track was rough so hopefully they leave it like it is.”

Cairoli put together a series of forceful passes as the Italian carved his way through the field. Up to eighth by half-distance, the reigning champion – who’s going for a record-equalling 10th world title this season – started the final lap in fifth before swooping on first Jeremy Van Horebeek (Monster Energy Yamaha) and then the Belgian’s French team-mate Romain Febvre to finish third.

Holland’s Glen Coldenhoff (Red Bull KTM) was sixth ahead of 2016 champion Tim Gajser (Team HRC) who’d crashed out of fourth with three laps to go. Jeremy Seewer (Wilvo Yamaha), last season’s MX2 runner-up, came home eighth chased by Gautier Paulin (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) and Max Nagl (TM Factory Racing).

Max Anstie (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) was best Brit in 11th as he continued his comeback from the serious concussion he sustained in Spain that caused him to miss three GPs. In fact, Anstie was the only British rider following a no-show from Scotland’s Shaun Simpson (Wilvo Yamaha) who opted to sit out the event to recover from the after-effects of his crash in Russia.

Northern Ireland’s Graeme Irwin (Hitachi ASA KTM UK) was also unable to start after sustaining third-degree burns to his back when he crashed at last weekend’s round of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship and was trapped under his bike.

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