Red Bull KTM Factory rider Jeffrey Herlings is without question riding as well as he ever has and taken a commanding point lead into the next round of the MXGP championship in Italy next weekend.
He will arrive at the circuit that ended his championship hopes in 2017, and where he also struggled in the Grand Prix last year, but now fully fit, you can be sure he will do something special for the Italian fans.
He picked up his 75th Grand Prix win and is now holds a 62-point lead over Antonio Cairoli in the series points.
Jeffrey, how did the Saturday go for you?
The most important was the start. Everyone knows the track is hard and slick, and you don’t want to put yourself in a bad position, so the main thing was the start and I got it dialed in on Saturday. I wanted to do my best on Sunday. The track is alright, hopefully it would be the same on Sunday, and I heard rain overnight. We are getting into the mid-way point of the season, and this wasn’t one of my favourite tracks.
Racing in front of the French fans, its nice for the French, but how did you find it?
Herlings: It is always amazing to have a home GP and you always have that little extra. The only thing is the guys outside Holland usually ride hard pack, everyone is decent in the sand. Its nice for the French, but I want to ruin their fun I could say.
You made a brilliant start in the first moto, tell us about that?
I saw outside it wasn’t ripped that deep and the start straight was dead from the rain and I had to make way more meters, but I could fly to the holeshot. Second moto the dirt on the inside was way harder from the racing, so one time I gambled and one time I lost it.
Can you explain your Sunday races?
Herlings: We had pole position yesterday. It was a really cool weekend, a beautiful one actually. That track was special, and I hadn’t really seen a place like that until I was fifteen! So, it’s nice to have so much experience now. The fastest pre-qualifying time meant I could control the Heat race on Saturday and then have an advantage for the first moto gate pick, which helped towards that holeshot. I could control the race and not use much energy and I managed to get the 25 points.
And the second moto?
I was a bit late with the gate in the second moto and I really had to work for it! Messed up the start a bit I was like in 10th place and back to the lead and Tim and Tony had a big gap and I had to close the gap and it wasn’t easy to make passes. It was a difficult one because Tony had a big gap when I had already got to third: it wasn’t easy on this track. I’m looking forward to the next one now because Ottobiano is one of my favourite tracks, but I haven’t always done well there, first a broken hand and the second one I got cooked, it will be nice to go for a podium and hopefully fight for the win. The plan is to go for the podium at least and hopefully fight for another win.