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KTM have mixed fortunes in Thailand

KTM have mixed fortunes in Thailand
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Jeffrey Herlings, who is making a bid to add to his two world championships in MX2 was in a class of his own on the hard and slick surface of this new venue. Even the extreme heat and humidity did not see to bother him as he dominated both races to retain his perfect moto scorecard from the opening round in Qatar. He won his opening moto with a commanding 32 seconds lead on the KTM 250 SX-F and the second moto by just under 25 seconds. The Dutch rider, fully fit after injury problems last season has never been beaten in Thailand.

Speaking about a near miss incident in his second race, Herlings said: “I tried to overtake a rider on the tabletop. Obviously I hit the jump pretty hard and luckily I didn’t go over the handlebars. Now I’m really looking forward to Valkenswaard. I always dreamed of becoming world champion in my home country and that’s never happened but getting my 50th win is something special. Only 3-4 riders have managed that so it would be amazing.”

Teammate Pauls Jonass, still slightly bothered by a thumb injury picked up a 9-5 result for overall fifth. He made a good recovery in the first moto after going down hard in the first corner, cartwheeling several times down the track. Jonass got away very well in the second moto to take the holeshot but seemed to fade in the second half of the race to finish fifth.

Jonass: “I haven’t had so much bike time the last two weeks and yesterday my thumb was quite painful but today its okay. I think I could have made two top fives if I hadn’t crashed in the first race in the second turn, so it’s not so bad. The season is very long and now we have a break and I want to have more bike time. I think that will help. I like the sand at Valkenswaard and sand races are my favorites.”


The second round of the MXGP saw Red Bull KTM’s Tony Cairoli secure second place in Saturday’s qualifying on his KTM 450 SX-F for a good gate pick. He took an early lead in his opening moto and led through most of the race, slipping back to second only in the closing stages. Teammate Glenn Coldenhoff was 11th at the start and finished in 15th place. An incident-filled start to the second moto saw Coldenhoff take a spectacular fall right at the gate. Unfortunately Cairoli experienced some technical problems in the opening laps and had to fight his way back from the back of the pack. He worked hard to pick off riders throughout the race to cross the line in 12th for overall fifth. Coldenhoff also made up time and places, moving up as far as 14th place before slipping back to 19th in the final laps because his front wheel was damaged.

Cairoli said he was happy with his speed but acknowledged he is still working on his physical condition after a training accident in then pre-season period. “I had a big holeshot in the second race but then the bike kept stopping for one and a half laps and I had to start from the back to ride 3-4 laps a bit aggressive. After the problem disappeared I tried to push a bit but I get tired if I don’t ride with my rhythm and style. I was no further back than 12th but for sure that was not what I expected. Top five was my goal for both motos.”

Coldenhoff said it was a weekend to quickly forget: “My riding was not that bad but I had a huge crash in the first moto while I was trying to pass Strijbos. Then I went off the track and hit something and went down pretty hard. I was very fired up to do well in the second race but then there was the incident with the gate and again I went over the bars. We looked at the gate but in the end it was a mistake from our side. After the gate incident I pushed hard and my riding went well and I had good lap times. But my front wheel was broken and had some spokes missing, which upset my suspension, So I just took it easy because I wanted to come home safely.” Coldenhoff, like Herlings, is very much looking forward to riding back home in the Netherlands in front of his many fans.

Claudio de Carli, MXGP Team Manager: “This overseas trip was already positive for us. We had some good results and here even yesterday we could see both boys had quite good lines, even thought the track was deep. We also had time to work on the bike and I am very happy. In the first heat Tony rode very well and for sure he could have done even better. He didn’t make any mistakes and I believe he has even more to give. He had some technical problems at the start of the second heat and we still have to verify what the problem was in the first lap and a half. After that Tony tried to close the gap and was quite good. Fifth overall was still a ood result although he probably could have made the podium today. We can be happy because physically he is still not 100%. We can be confident and for sure he will do better in the next race. Glenn was unlucky this weekend. Today he was riding good but made a little mistake in the first race and crashed. He was also very unlucky in the second heat when the gate blocked and with the impact he went forward and the bike almost fell on top of him. I am quite confident for Valkenswaard. In between we have time for more tests and to work on fitness.”

Riders now have a three-week break after the two overseas races before the competition resumes in the sand at Valkenswaard, Netherlands.

Next Race: March 28, 2016 – Valkenswaard (NED)

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