With all the hype of Tomac v Herlings at Red Bud, two other big champions will be motivated by not being in that conversation. They aren’t used to being the underdogs.
Tony Cairoli, despite a big crash at Imola, will be on the gate at Red Bud and fired up to end his season on the high. Cairoli is the only man this year that has shown he has Herlings’ speed at times, and he will no doubt want to show how good he is to the American public who rarely get to see him ride to appreciate the enormity of his talent and achievements.
Cairoli has the stuff even at 33 years old, it was only last year he led the second moto ahead of Herlings and Tomac last year in the US GP in Florida until he went down. A win at Red Bud would be a great way to end a tough season and give him plenty of momentum heading into another winter and serve as a reminder to Herlings that he will still be there fighting for the world crown in 2019.
Then there is of course Ken Roczen, Herlings long-time youth rival. Back then Roczen always had a years experience on Herlings and seemed to be mentally stronger in their world title duel in 2011.
But Herlings has grown up, despite fighting some heavy injuries himself through the years, and is the complete rider now while Roczen has shown his own form of fighting after his horrific arm injury last season.
Everyone knows Roczen’s talent, he has always felt he had the upper hand on Herlings as teenagers, and he won’t want Herlings turning the tables at Red Bud.
Their rivalry is real and we might just see the best Ken Roczen of 2018 as he gets ready to reignite a fierce rivalry for one weekend on a track he knows well and Herlings has never been to.
Both Cairoli and Roczen have the stuff to win the MXGP class on Sunday and motivation won’t be problem!