The FIM Motocross World Championship heads to the hardpack, blue-grooved Fermo circuit in Italy for its season finale and, with it, comes two crowned 2011 Champions. Last weekend in the MX1 Class, Antonio Cairoli wrapped up his third consecutive MX1 Championship and his second-straight title aboard the newly developed KTM 350 while his Teka/Red Bull/KTM teammate Ken Roczenwrapped up his first-ever World Championship in the MX2 class. While both men accomplished their ultimate goal, they did it in very different ways.
There are a few ways to win Championships in motocross, and between the two KTM riders, we saw two very different Championship recipes on display. In the MX2 class, Roczen chose the “go for broke” style to win his Championship. This style made Kenny incredibly exciting to watch, but with some huge get-offs, it left him laying on the side of the track on occasion. After his crash in Portugal—where he lost the points lead to Jeffrey Herlings due to a second moto crash and DNF—he seemed to get his win or crash style under control. With the exception of a hard crash while trying to hold off sand specialist Herlings at Lommel and a little tip over at Teutschenthal, the young seventeen year old was flawless from Portugal on. In the end, he was able to out-class the field and stay healthy doing it. Anyone that has seen Kenny ride realizes that they are watching a very special athlete with an incredible future no matter which continent he ends up racing on.
While the young Ken Roczen displayed the “win or crash trying” style to win his first Championship, the seasoned veteran used the more subtle and consistent approach to win his fifth World Championship. Antonio Cairoli started the year off in Bulgaria—nursing an old, nagging knee injury—and was only able to score a ninth overall. Most that have followed the Italian’s career know that he doesn’t really get moving until the middle of the season, but even still, there was doubt in the air surrounding the defending Champ’s chances in 2011. Cairoli did come back and win round two in Valkenwaard, but over the next four rounds Rockstar/Suzuki’s Clement Desalle took all of the momentum and control of the 2011 Championship. Then came Desalle’s injury and Cairoli’s patented mid-season charge.
Heading into Spain, Desalle had won three-straight motos and seemed to be on his way to possibly winning his first Championship, but a crash at a Belgian National event separated Desalle’s shoulder. The injury left him scrambling to salvage as many points as possible. Injured and with Cairoli at his best, Desalle’s Championship momentum quickly moved over to the number 222′s side—and never left. While the injury helped Cairoli, it is hard to say if it was the deciding factor. From round four until now, there have been twenty-two motos, and Cairoli has only been off the podium in two of them, his worst finish being fifth. His consistency has been untouchable, and it’s uncertain if Desalle could have matched him with or without the injury. The bottom line is that Antonio Cairoli did what he had to do, when he had to do it and is now a five-time World Champion—and the current “King of Grand Prix motocross”.
So with the two Championships locked down, the 2011 FIM World Championship finale at Fermo is a victory lap for Cairoli and Roczen. As of last week, we were told that if the two KTM riders locked up their Championships in Gaildorf, they would both contest the finale at Fermo aboard the smaller bore KTM two-strokes. Pics have even been surfacing of the factory KTM two-strokes with the numbers 94 and 222 on them. Since then, though, we’ve heard that those plans have been scrapped due to lack of testing on the bikes. I, for one, would love to see Roczen on the one-two-five, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what they ride out onto the circuit on Saturday.
Whether they’re on two strokes or four, their final four motos will be considered well deserved victory laps for two very deserving World Champions.
* It looks like Ken Roczen will be aboard a SX125 KTM two -stroke for the Grand Prix of Italy at Fermo. This was confirmed by the guys over at MX-pure.com. You can read the article here>>>
*Antonio Cairoli was going to be riding the 250SX KTM two-stroke, but we’re saddened to report that he will not be racing the Grand Prix of Italy due to his mothers passing . You can read the official statement from KTM here>>>