Up until today, we thought there was a good chance we would see the injured defending MXGP World Champ, Jeffrey Herlings, on the gate for the opening round of the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Hangtown. Because Jeffrey was missing the first four rounds of his MXGP title defense and basically out of the title hunt, this would have been the perfect opportunity for the #84 to take a summer work vacation in the US.
We were told that Jeffrey was wanting to do it and that KTM USA was on board with the idea, but the heavy brass at KTM in Austria put the brakes on the idea and sent out a PR today that should end all the speculation. I am as bummed as anyone about this not happening, but I guarantee some of the AMA 450 riders are happy KTM killed the idea.
Check out KTM’s PR titled “HERLINGS LOOKING AT RETURN TO MXGP DUTY IN MAY” below.
MXGP World Champion Jeffrey Herlings will step-up his physical training regime in the coming weeks in anticipation of a return to the saddle of his Red Bull KTM 450 SX-F in late April and FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship action shortly after.
The Dutchman made a visit to Munderfing and KTM Race HQ this week in Austria to plan a tentative schedule in the wake of a complex operation on his broken right foot. In consultation with the factory Red Bull KTM team, race management and medical experts Herlings could be riding his #84 machine by late April. Much depends on the healing process but the 24 year old is already able to train harder and with more flexibility after having his initial protective cast replaced three weeks ago.
The four-times World Champion is certain to miss Grands Prix in Britain, Holland and Italy (four rounds in total) but will then hopefully be counting the days until he can again be behind a FIM World Championship gate, and join his Red Bull KTM teammates with Tony Cairoli and Jorge Prado currently holding the red plates of both MXGP and MX2 classes.
Jeffrey Herlings: “Rehab has been going very well and I cannot wait to be back and to throw a leg over the bike again. I want to be back at the GPs as quick as possible but we cannot say which race yet until I get some riding time. I’m also able to step-up my cycling and swimming now. For sure we’ll miss the next three rounds and we also don’t want to rush things and risk a setback.”
Robert Jonas, KTM VP of Offroad: “It is good to see that Jeffrey is making progress and we can perhaps see the end of this unfortunate injury that was so disruptive to our 2019 plans. It will be a big boost for us and the team to have Jeffrey back, fit and happy in MXGP. He is a very important rider for an important team for us in MXGP.”