MXGP Insider No.21 presented by Kawasaki – KTM dominate in Valkenswaard
Welcome to our web-exclusive weekly column: Transmoto’s MXGP Insider, presented by Kawasaki. It’s penned by Holland-based Aussie ex-pat and World Motocross fanatic, Geoff Meyer, who has seen more MXGP pit paddocks than most; a man so passionate about the sport that, in his early days, he used to hitch a ride from event to event. “MX Geoff” as he’s now known also runs MX Large website and MX Illustrated digital magazine.
The Red Bull KTM Factory riders, Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings, continue to prove just how amazingly talented they are in the sand. Last weekend in Valkenswaard, Holland, the Italian and Dutchman scored 1-1 victories for their third consecutive win at the eurocircuit.
Cairoli who has gone 1-1-2-2-1-3-1-1-1-2-1-1 in the was six years has always looked at home at Valkenswaard and this year he looked more comfortable than ever. The five-time World Motocross Champion just did what he had to and must have huge confidence going into Sevlievo, Bulgaria, in two weeks time.
“I like the track here and everything went perfect,” Cairoli smiled. “Already after the qualification the bike was better, we changed some things. We had two good starts and good races. Steven (Frossard) was fast and pushing, I tried to follow, then he made two mistakes and I got him back. I tried to do the second race with a good start, but I made a mistake on the second corner. Christophe (Pourcel) broke hard and I nearly crashed, but I got to fourth quickly and got into third and followed them (Frossard and Desalle). I knew I had some speed and I saw them battling hard and I waited for the moment and then I used some speed to pass them. I have been practicing more on hard-pack and Bulgaria is an easy track and everyone will have good speed there. I want to be on the podium there. Also in the first race I had problems with the lapped riders, because a lot of blue flags, but the riders didn’t see it or didn’t want to move. We need to have a meeting and let them know what the blue flag is for.”
As for Herlings, he couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season. His lap times were at times three seconds a lap quicker than his rivals and his winning margin proved nobody was in his class.
“I could hear the fans,” Herlings smiled. “The last few laps of each moto, I heard the fans screaming my name, which was nice. I love to come here and I won the last three years with double moto wins, I would love to race every GP here. I didn’t know but my friends made some funny hats and I wore that on the podium. It was just for fun and has something special. I had a bad drop out of the gate in the second moto, but then I checked out and won by 30 seconds or something. I need to work on my starts and get the holeshot for Bulgaria. The 250 is running more like a 350 now; we did a lot of testing and it’s really strong. I just need to get the starts. It’s not my fault, we need to work on the bike for that. It’s a new engine and you can’t expect too much. I want to keep growing in everything and also the riding. If I am going to lose the title I was going to lose it on the hard pack, but I am working on that to improve my skills there.”
Now it’s onto the hard pack of Sevlievo, Bulgaria, where the two championship favorites will try and continue their run to the 2012 FIM World Motocross Championships.