Rider quotes: MXGP pre-season press conference – Prado, Herlings, Gajser, Cairoli and more!
Some of the main MXGP contenders spoke at the pre-race press conference to give their thoughts on their winter preparation and the season ahead.
Herlings: 2019 was a tough pill to swallow, we came in with a lot of expectations. A few weeks before the season started I shattered my foot, I missed a few rounds then I came back in a rush with only a few days on the bike, wasn’t ready again, made a small crash and somebody rode over my foot. It was an accident and these things can happen so I was sidelined again then came back from the last couple of GPs with basically no preparation at all, but we still manged to win the last two GPs and then the MXoN with the team.
We have had a great winter, we did not have any injuries and did everything exactly how we planned to do it. We had two good preparation races, so I feel like I am coming into this race with a good feeling. everything starts from zero again, everybody is here and everybody is feeling fit, healthy and strong I think. It’s going to be a tough weekend with the rain. To start off the championship in England is a gamble, last year they had the most perfect track in years and this year we are more unlucky with the weather.
I have won a lot of championships by being dominant, if you look at the championships I have won I was winning every single race but the years I didn’t win it was because of injury. Even on a weekend like this, I don’t need to start off here with a win. If I get healthy through this weekend and get somewhere in the a top five, I am happy with it. To win a championship you need to be at all 20 rounds and I didn’t succeed at that for many years. My goal is different this year, to be healthy at every race. It’s a dangerous sport, we all know that and we are aware of the risk. I have a different approach this year, when I feel I can do it, I will definitely do it ( go for the win) if not I will be more than happy with a second or a third or even a fifth if I have too.
Gajser: I am really looking forward to going racing again. We had a good winter, a great off seasons and preparation races. I am feeling good and can’t wait to go on the track tomorrow so, yeah, excited. It’s great to have Mitch as a teammate, he is young and fast and also we have a brand new bike this year and did a lot of testing in the winter and both feel really comfortable on the bike.
Cairoli: It’s nice to be here for another season, it should be 18th year behind the gate. Last year was a very good year until the crash the (shoulder) problem. I never had this kind of injury and it really felt easy in the beginning after the surgery but, after four months everything was going very slowly. I am still working a lot on the arm and the shoulder which is still struggling a little bit. It’s why there is not much expectation for this race and the first races at least.
I am seeing some improvements in the last weeks, I had to miss some Italian pre-season races because I was not ready at all but we had to do at least one ace to see something. I am okay, I will try to do my best. I am working very, very hard like I never have before, I am very motivated for this season and fighting for the title, but this year there are a lot of good guys in the class, it’s going to be a nice show. I am ready to be back on the gate again.
Prado: Actually, a few days ago I didn’t even know if I was going to arrive here. Two weeks ago was the first time I started riding. I came back so quick, I had a very good operation, everything went clean and I could start getting my work-outs done pretty quick so that made the rehab go better. I am very happy I can line up here, we will see how it goes it is a new challenge. The 450 class, it’s full of good riders, we will see how it goes. I’m happy I can ride, I don’t know if I am ready to battle with them (Herlings/Cairoli) but I know I can be up there. I will do my best then hopefully in a few races, it would a dream to battle with them, so we will see how it goes, I will do my best to be up there with them.
Febvre: Everything has changed for me this winter. I am really happy about that. This season it was the goal to make everything fresh for myself I feel good on the bike, I have no worries. When I tried the bike, straight away I felt good on it, so I knew with testing over the winter I would feel good on the bike. With my injury from lasy year, it took some time to go on the bike again. Early December I was on the bike, really slowly, I could not go riding so much because I still had pain in my leg. It was a slow approach but finally in January I could “try” let’s say. Hopefully with more weeks I will feel better ( with his leg).
Seewer: It was one of the calmest winter’s in two or three years because I have had many changes with changing team, class then going to the factory team. Even though the team has changed from the outside, for me behind the scenes it stayed pretty much the same, so I could be more relaxed. I had a good set-up already from last year, I could focus more on myself and what I could get better in and improve the bike, so I wasn’t stressed about this plus I didn’t get a lung infection! Last year at the first GP I was maybe 60% and had to come back and it was tough. Now I have had a good winter and I am looking forward to the season to start.