MXGP title fight tightens with two laps remaining
Herlings was asked if his two motorcycle crashes were due to environmental pressure.
“No, it isn’t,” he said. “What I did was purely stupid, and I don’t know how it happened. I don’t make plans. On Wednesday, my championship lead from 24 points fell to -1. Three points now is basically nothing and for sure Mantova will suit me much better.
The fact that Herlings finished fourth in the second race is due to the decency of teammate Cairoli who passed on the last lap for what was also his last MXGP at Arco. KTM had not issued any team orders, so Cairoli’s assessment of the situation is a credit to his experience and professionalism and has been recognized by Herlings. The main KTM title hopeful also praised Jorge Prado (who runs with a bad back), for giving the # 84 plenty of room to move around.
“What he did I don’t know if I could have done it,” the Dutchman said of Cairoli’s gesture. “Only the biggest and the biggest champions would do that. For me, he not only showed his loyalty to KTM but helped me a lot because those are two very important points for me. Only a real team player would do that. Jorge too; I had to pass him three times in this second run. It was a real team effort and I cannot thank them enough.
It was a shame that some of the most foolish of the digital “fan” base decided to send threatening comments to Cairoli on his social media that evening (some wonder why sportsmen and public figures want to distance themselves) with the media).
KTM’s team play highlighted the difficult situation for Gajser and Febvre. The Honda man is racing alone once again with Mitch Evans out since last year due to complications with his wrist injury. Gajser had a similar recent experience with Brian Bogers’ broken foot. Kawasaki also lost Ivo Monticelli to injury, but the Italian hardly disturbed the leaders anyway. At least the duo can now count on the Yamaha to enter the fray as Cairoli and Prado will no doubt help Herlings secure the title’s return to Mattighofen after two years in Japan. “It’s like that. They have a good team with three top-level drivers: we don’t have that,” said Gajser. “Me and Romain are alone. We can only give the best of ourselves. There were rumors that 114 Motorsports MX2 star Ruben Fernandez could be given the factory CRF450R to try and help Gajser in the final two rounds. The great Spaniard finished third in the 250 class on Sunday for his third consecutive podium at Arco.
“Of course when there are KTM boys we have to take care of what they’re doing,” Febvre warned. Red Bull KTM has arguably the best and most decorated team in MXGP that will split up for 2022, but so far the investment is paying off. “I would rather be on a KTM right now because Jorge is the master of the holes and Tony is also so fast,” said Herlings. “The guys from Honda and Kawi are basically alone. In the second set Tony matched my speed and he could have attacked me, but it was like he was my winger. He made sure no one could get around me; for what he’s done… he’s the best ever.