News 25 May 2017

Cairoli remaining cautious in 2017 MXGP campaign

Current premier class series leader racing within safe limits.

Source: Supplied.

Words: Adam Wheeler

2017 MXGP FIM World Championship leader Tony Cairoli spoke last weekend at the grand prix of Germany at Teutschenthal of the need for perseverance and caution through the current campaign after watching defending number one Tim Gajser crash heavily in front of him in the early stages of the qualification heat.

Gajser tumbled out of the lead and then painfully rode to 11th position overall in the two motos of round eight of 19 on Sunday. It was the second major spill for the 20-year-old Slovenian in what is proving to be a tough title defence so far. #243 currently sits 44 points behind Cairoli as the series moves straight on to Ernee, France this weekend.

“For sure he [Gajser] is riding very fast and sometimes over the limit I think but it was working for him; everybody rides in their way,” Cairoli observed. “Sometimes I am not the fastest but motocross is such a tough sport that you need to be clear in your mind and a lot of oxygen needs to arrive to your brain because you are going very fast and the tracks are getting very tricky and difficult; you need to think a lot.

“I missed this last year and I was over the limit a lot because of injury,” he added reflecting on the 2016 campaign that he frequently labelled as the ‘worst’ of his career, despite finishing as championship runner-up with nerve damage in his left neck and shoulder. “I made mistakes and crashed, I have tried this year to be more focussed and to bring it home.”

The Red Bull KTM man has accrued five podium finishes to date and celebrated his third win of the season at Teutschenthal, which was also the 80th of his career. Cairoli knows Gajser remains his closest and most dangerous threat to a ninth world crown but also hinted that the Honda rider’s relative inexperience in the premier class could be counting against him.

“He has made a lot of crashes already and the one today [Saturday at Teutschenthal] was very scary because he hit the ground very hard,” he offered. “It is never nice to see someone crash in front of you.”