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5 Minutes with Antonio Cairoli

3 years ago

Pics: Geoff Meyer

Defending FIM World MX1 Champion, Antonio Cairoli, has started the defence of his world title with a very strong victory over Easter at Valkenswaard, Holland. The Italian legend went 1-1 giving him a four year tally (in the MX1 class) of 1-3-1-1-1-2-1-1 at Valkenswaard, pretty impressive to say the least. It might be added he went 2-2 in the MX2 class in 2008 and 1-1 in 2007 in the MX2 class. Whatever it is with Cairoli and Valkenswaard it doesn’t seem to matter what type of sand it is, as it’s gone from super rough in 2011 to rather hard-pack in 2012 and he just keeps clicking over the victories. Our Euro correspondent, Geoff Meyer, sat down with Cairoli and asked him about his weekend and what to expect when we head to Sevlievo, Bulgaria for Round 2.

Geoff Meyer: Antonio, how did you feel compared to last year?
Cairoli: It was the same as last year. It’s the first race and everyone is excited and I just took it easy. I knew it was a long race and it’s in the sand, so I waited sometimes, but it felt good. I was making too many mistakes last year. I feel the same physically; I just improved a little bit my fitness, because last year I was injured early in the season. I feel great; I just ride easy and don’t make any mistakes. It was a good race.

In that first moto when Steven and Clement were pushing really hard, did you get concerned that they might get away from you? Their pace was really impressive.
I was waiting, I know how they ride, I know what they are thinking on their riding and Steven is pretty clean and I was just watching and I saw Clement pushing Steven out of the track a couple of times, I was just waiting for a mistake from them and then when I closed the gap between them I tried to push a little more.

How do you continue to produce victory after victory in Valkenswaard. Does it get difficult when you feel so confident, can you get over confident?
For sure, it’s not easy to remain in your concentration when you know you can be the fastest guy, when you know you can be faster than the others. You have to just wait and it’s not easy to control that, but if you can do that then you can ride your own pace, take it easy when everyone else is riding over their head and just wait for the moment to come to you.

Bulgaria is hard-pack and it’s going to suit the French guys and also Desalle. Do you go there looking for a podium, or are you still wanting to show you can win there?
For sure, I would be happy with a podium there, but I want to win, I don’t want to talk about just being on the podium. I really go to Bulgaria for the win, of course if I see it isn’t possible, then a podium would be okay. I maybe need to work more on hard-pack.

Last year you were clearly down on power, but now you are telling everyone about your extra speed, the more powerful 350cc machine. Are you excited to go there with that extra speed?
I am excited to go there because the bike is so much better and I know the starts will be better and I know that the power will be better than in 2011. We can do some good starts.

What did you think of that big triple jump, seems like some riders loved it and other didn’t?
It was nice and fun for the fans and it also made it different for the riders. I think it’s good to have that type of jump in the tracks. We need something technical like that for the riders, it makes it more fun and every time you come around you look forward to jumping it, or trying something different on the jump.

What was your biggest problem this weekend?
The lapped riders, that was a big problem. I think like in Formula One you need to give them a penalty, because sometimes it seems like they don’t care. Maybe they are fighting for good points, I understand that, but if you are getting lapped you need to get out of the way, if you don’t maybe you need to get a penalty. It is not just for me, it can also be for riders like Desalle and Frossard or the other guys who are leading.

If you look at the results from last weekend it doesn’t seem like much has changed. It’s you, Clement and Steven again.
For sure, they are going to be the two guys, but I think on hard pack you are going to see a lot of guys coming on the good speed, like Gautier, or Bobryshev, more guys for sure.

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