MXGP France: Cairoli can’t find answer to Herlings’ pace

Picture: Red Bull KTM/Ray Archer

Red Bull KTM team-mates Jeffrey Herlings and Tony Cairoli avoided the conflict of seven days earlier at a much better-natured MXGP of France at St Jean d’Angely on Sunday.

The Dutchman, who clashed with Cairoli at the MXGB of GB, can afford to be courteous after extending his moto win-streak to ninth and was clearly enjoying himself on the challenging hard-pack circuit.

“It was a really cool weekend, a beautiful one actually,” he said. “That track was special and I hadn’t really seen a place like that until I was 15 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.

“I was a bit late with the gate in the second moto and I really had to work for it! It was a difficult one because Tony had a big gap when I had already got to third.

“I’m looking forward to the next one now because Ottobiano is one of my favourite tracks. The plan is to go for the podium at least and hopefully fight for another win.”

The nine-time champion simply doesn’t have an answer to his team-mate’s pace at the moment and his three-two finishes in France means the gap has gone out to 62 points.

“I feel good but this weekend was not one of the best,” he said. “Last week I hurt my knee and could not train this week. When you are at this level if you already miss a couple of days of riding then you really feel it. Jeffrey is very fast at the moment so you cannot really rest and you always have to be on the pace.

“The track was a bit more muddy and harder in the first moto compared to the second. I had a bad start in the first moto and tried to come through the top 10 as quick as possible. It was okay but we shouldn’t be making these mistakes at the start.

“In the second moto I tried my best to stay at the front but got very tired in the last 10 minutes and Jeffrey was making very fast laps. I made a few mistakes and he came very close. Second is okay but we want to work to be more competitive and hopefully we can make it next week.”

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