Interview: Antonio Cairoli

We caught up with a very popular Tony Cairoli at Lommel to get his thoughts on his US experience and we find out just how important the MXoN is for TC this year. The Italian was there to help out with the young riders at KTM, Husqvarna and Gas Gas as well as meeting fans who surrounded the affable Italian with selfie requests anytime he roamed in the public areas!

Tony Cairoli, back at a GP, I was actually hoping you would race but just testing at minute?

Yeah, I always follow the guys here and give a little bit of help with my experience. A nice GP, it could be better of course with Simon (Längenfelder) , he did a great effort but went a little bit too far and then he was completely dead in the last moments. We have some work to do. Tom managed to arrive on the podium and de Wolf also on the podium so overall, it was okay day for the brand and whatever I can help with my advice.

Do you enjoy helping the younger riders, do get satisfaction out of it?

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Yeah, I enjoy it a lot with whatever I can do for them, I try to give all my experience.

This new bike, a lot of people seem to have trouble getting comfortable on it from AMA supercross, GP motocross, US Nationals. You have tested on both sides, how have you found the adaption process?

Yeah I like the bike, it of course needs some time but I think it’s a winning bike but for me if I was riding or Jeffrey was riding we would be having a different situation (results) even if it’s a new bike and it needs time to get adapted. We have some trouble with Jorge, he seems to not be completely fit to keep the rhythm of the bike.

Is that more him than the bike or more mental?

I think so, I don’t know exactly, it’s a difficult situation for him but hopefully he can figure it out and be back where he belongs because this not what he normally shows on the track.

And your experience in America, you were getting better and better, I was a bit frustrated you didn’t get your preparation, the last few rounds Red Bud, Southwick and Millville would have really suited you, was it annoying you didn’t get racing those because your fitness was starting to come?

Yeah, I mean my deal was for two rounds and then we decided to do two more then of course it’s difficult to fit in with one championship that is already organised with parts and everything, difficult to to do all the season so I said, ‘okay, I will just go back (home) and maybe do a another race if it’s possible before the end of the season and then get ready for the MXoN because this is main race for me this year and we will try to do as best as possible.

Did you enjoy the experience?

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I enjoyed it a lot. I thought it was nice, but as you say, the nicest tracks came a little bit later. The first rounds, lot of people told me they were not the best tracks they have but for me it was still nice to have opportunity to do a few rounds.

How did you find the pace there in comparison? The first laps looked quick, and you probably didn’t know the lines the first couple of laps with it being a new track, but after five minutes you had the pace.

Yeah, it’s difficult to get used to the track in only ten minutes of practice and especially the intensity of the first laps because it’s very high there from the supercross racing. And for me being retired and not doing the preparation as I should do for a season, I was surprised I could ride top five/top six with this kind of preparation.

The first guys are really pushing a lot, the first two or three guys are going for it a lot, overall it’s a good pace, I was surprised with myself that with such a short period of riding and every race getting better and better.

Was it nice to be teammates with Ryan Dungey, you raced on different continents but now teammates!

Yeah, we hadn’t much time to ride together in our career and now we could ride together and train also, it was nice.

You are both probably two of the nicest guys in the sport, it was quite cool to see you as teammates and similar results at times!

Yeah it was amazing, so many fans came over to the KTM tent to meet us, it was a nice experience.

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And MXoN, you are going to run the number one plate, and you have shown speed this year, any chance of a comeback full time to America or MXGP?

No, no, no. Full time for me is not possible, I enjoy still riding a little bit but doing a full season it takes a lot of effort and it’s not really what I want to do anymore.

Interview: Jonathan McCready

Cover image: InFront Moto Racing/ Niek Kamper