Interview: Jeffrey Herlings!

Jeffrey Herlings made his first MXGP podium of the season in front of his home crowd at Valkenswaard after two come from behind rides following two poor starts.

Herlings though showed he had the speed and if his starts had been better could well have won both motos to save his unbeaten record at the famous sand circuit. There finally seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel for the Dutchman!

We caught up with Jeffrey after his best performance of the season and to get his reaction on his season so far.

Gatedrop: Jeffrey, second overall today at Valkenswaard, you must be relieved to be back on the box?

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Jeffrey Herlings:  Yeah, I mean we had a tough start to the season so it’s been tough but it’s good to be back at least on the podium.  I would obviously prefer to be in first spot but we were second. I would have signed up to that before the race especially after Mexico going home with two sh***y results so today was good. I have to thank the team, they have been working so hard, they make it a pleasure for me. When I struggle then the whole team feels bad.  We have a great bike, the start problem that we seem to have I think is on my side. We are going a good way, we just need to improve a little here or there and take that feeling to the hard pack tracks.  I feel that the different tracks, hard or sand shouldn’t make a difference because we have won sixty-one GP wins for a reason.

Gatedrop:  The confidence a few weeks ago must have been at rock bottom but the last three moto’s have been much better but as you said the starts really need to get better..

Jeffrey Herlings: Yeah, they look terrible.  I don’t know what the problem is, I wouldn’t say I have the best bike out there but at least one of the best bikes. Gautier and Tony are on the same bike and they pull holeshots one after each other so it’s definitely got nothing to do with the bike, the bike is great. It’s just something I need to work on and get better with.

Gatedrop: With better starts maybe the win isn’t too far away now?

Jeffrey Herliings: I think so. If I would have been in the top three at both moto’s I would have won today.  That’s not the case but we keep working on that. Everyone is so determined, they all wanna win so bad and there are so many good guys on the track. The top ten, like I just said in the press conference, when the gate drops until the finish flag, it’s an all-out war, they go for it and I have to just get used to that.

Gatedrop:  You’ve been riding the 250 for years but you have to ride the 450 differently, do you think you’re getting close to your potential on the bigger bike?

Jeffrey Herlings: I think we have a lot more to show. Somethings, I think we under estimated and it will take longer than expected. I know we will get there, it’s just a matter of time. The last two weeks we have made big steps, the biggest step is the starts, I keep going back to that but once we get that solid then it will be good.

Gatedrop:  You have mentioned that you under estimated the testing you would need to do with the 450, how has the testing been the last few weeks and are you closer to having a much better bike?

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Jeffrey Herlings: Now I think the bike is great right now actually. In Italy or even here we didn’t change one click on the suspension, we didn’t change one thing on the motor or frame whatsoever. I think the bike is great but we can definitely improve, each bike can improve and also our bike.  The setup we have right now I am super happy with and man I got to say, KTM puts in so many hours to get to where we are right now. Especially the last few weeks as we have been testing so much, I really got to thank them for the work they deliver.

Gatedrop: I saw a photo of you on social media recently on an MX2 bike, have you been riding the 250 recently?

Jeffrey Herlings:  Yeah, when I came back from Mexico, I was like ‘dude, am I still able to ride a bike or not?!’ So, I went to ride a 250cc and I was super, super fast, I was like ‘man, I wish I stayed in that class all my life’ (laughs). No, just kidding! It was just to ride a bit and get the aggression back. I felt like because I had been riding the 450 so much I got a bit lazy so I have been riding a bit on the 250 but not so much as we have had so much to test on the 450 to get to where we are right now.

Gatedrop:  Looking to the future, are you going to stick to the 450 and not switch to the 350 machine which people think you would suit more?

Jeffrey Herlings:  Everybody has been saying that I should have jumped on the 350.  But with the 450 they have been improving so much and all brands do. I feel that more money is involved in the sport and that’s why all the other brands are stepping it up.  With the 350 I think the development of the bike stayed a bit still. When Tony went to the 450 nobody was really using a 350 anymore, everybody within the factory KTM team have been really focusing on the 450 and that’s why the 350 has stayed a bit still.  We actually tried the 350, it’s a great bike to ride but I think for the moment we come to short with that bike.