It was a superb weekend for Jeffrey Herlings as he went 1-1 in Matterley Basin to secure his 74th Grand Prix victory and his 100th podium which is incredible for a 23 year old.
The win didn’t come easy though as Tony Cairoli really upped his game and the pair touched at the end of the first moto which resulted on the Italian picking himself up from the ground.
Herlings gives his thoughts on an impressive victory and the incident involving Tony..
Herlings on an impressive performance and his 100th GP podium…
“I’m very happy to be here in this spot and to win. It’s a pleasure, the amazing thing is all my 74 GP wins have come with the Red Bull KTM and without them I probably wouldn’t be in this position. So, a big thank you to them and a shout out to them because they’re awesome.
It was a great race, both moto’s I manged to get the lead, the first moto it was two laps to the end and in the last one it was on the last lap so it was an amazing ride and a great way to get 100 podiums in GP’s.
Tony is in good shape, he proved that today. He kept going until the final lap. With three laps to go, I caught the gap from three or four seconds I think. I still needed to get near him and then overtake him, I had one shot at it on the last lap and made it happen. It was amazing and I think it was an amazing race to watch”.
On next weekend in France…
“I like Saint Jean d’Angely, it’s a nice track to ride but I mean it’s harder in the races. There’s a lot of rocks, stones and stuff like that so the start is going to be key so we will work on that and try our best. I think the starts today were okay, I came out in both moto’s around third or fourth and got up to second pretty quickly. In Saint Jean d’Angely we’ll need to start a little better I think but we will do our best to try and get the start dialled in. Ottobiano is one of my favourite tracks that’s coming up, it’s going to be really rough and hot so it’s going to be nice”.
On both himself and Tony being right on top of their games in 2018 and what’s it like racing with him with the intensity so high…
“Yeah, I think at the moment there’s not many faster in the world. He’s a nine times world champion for a reason, you know. You can maybe win one championship with a bit of luck but you’re never going to win nine with luck. He’s one of the best riders in the sport and he’s thirty-two years of age now but when we see him race, he’s never been better than what he is right now. He’s been riding good and so am I, thankfully I could pull it off in the end but I was definitely pushing.
I didn’t want to ride the whole moto in the roost, I was trying to find places to pass but there wasn’t many. The track is wide but there was only really one fast line. As the same with Teutschenthal, they should rip the track more the night before to get more lines for the next day. It’s hard to overtake and especially when the speed is similar to each other. The 450 roost hurts (laughs). But to go back to the question, Tony is on top of his game right now”.
On what went on with Tony at the end of the first moto…
“You know I wanted to go for the pass on the inside and we both touched with the elbows. We were both out of balance, I think we touched one more time and apparently, he fell over. It’s a shame but it was definitely not my intent to touch him whatsoever. They wanted that part of the track and it was slippery. We both got together but I think it was only a small touch. I didn’t see it on TV yet but yeah, it was almost nothing”.
Pic: Scott Dunne