Red Bull KTM Factory racing rider Antonio Cairoli on Sunday claimed his 58th career GP victory in the GP of Brazil winning both the individual MX1 race and the Super Final after successfully hunting down Kevin Strijbos just as the two-lap board went out.
The races were held at the Beto Carrera theme Park in Brazil, the biggest in Latin America, which is also to host the 2017 edition of the MotoCross of Nations.
Jeffrey Herlings won the MX2 GP with a win in the MX2 race but the Dutch teenager came off the bike in the start melee of the 40-rider Super Final and had to fight his way back from the back of the field. He was unable to catch lead KTM rider Jose Butron who was the fastest MX2 rider in the Super Final but still came away with 47 points and the MX2 victory. Herlings up until now has won every individual moto this season. He was joined on the MX2 podium by Butron in second place and factory teammate Jordi Tixier in third.
Some 25,000 spectators were treated to a top weekend of racing where Herlings started the action with a great fight back to the front of the pack in the individual MX2 race, the first on the program. He missed the start and saw Dutch rider Glen Coldenhoff take the lead followed by UK rider Jake Nichols, both on KTMs. Herlings was on Coldenthoff’s rear wheel with six minutes and two laps to go and went on to take an impressive and crowd-pleasing win.
When the MX1 riders took to the track for their individual race it was clear that Cairoli was on a mission. Decked out in his special yellow helmet and boots, he shot out of the start gate, seized the holeshot and had distanced himself from the other riders by eight seconds just eight minutes into the race. He controlled the moto and never looked threatened, saying after that he liked the track, which was very technical. Cairoli’s factory teammate Ken de Dycker, who finished ninth in the MX1 race bounced back to take fifth in the Super Final. He finished seventh overall in the MX1 GP.
Cairoli, who won the world title here two seasons ago, said he was happy to ride in front of such an enthusiastic crowd. “I was looking forward to racing this GP. I like the track and the people really cheer for you. Its very special to win here and to put on a show for these people.” He dedicated his 58th career win to the memory of Marco Simoncelli, the Italian road racer who lost his life in a racing accident in 2011. “I am going to give this trophy to his father” Cairoli said. Simoncelli raced with the #58.
De Dycker said he was missing some condition this weekend because he has had problems with his back and has not been able to train enough on the bike. “I was struggling with myself this weekend and I didn’t feel like I had any power. Now I will concentrate on training in Belgium and Italy to get ready for the next GP.”
Herlings, a huge crown favorite in Brazil because of his exciting style of riding was clearly disappointed to lose his first race of the season even though he won the GP. “Now I will make it my goal to win every GP. It’s very tough to race the Super final. With 40 riders on the track from both MX1 and MX2 anything can happen, especially at the start,” he said. Tixier was also pleased to be back on the podium and to pick up good points for the championship, even though he said he was not satisfied with his riding this weekend. Both will now return home and concentrate on training in preparation for the next GP in France in two week’s time.
The top 20 riders from both MX2 and MX1 contested the Super Final, a race format that has been adopted this year for the ‘fly away’ races in Qatar, Thailand and Brazil. A fourth race planned for Mexico was cancelled. Races in Europe are presently still run on the 2 x moto format for each class.
Image courtesy KTM Racing