Cairoli, Herlings Clinch World Motocross Titles

Cycle News Staff | September 9, 2012
Antonio Cairoli clinches his sixth World title.

Antonio Cairoli clinches his sixth World title.

With still one round left on the 2012 FIM World Motocross Championship calendar, Red Bull KTM’s Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings clinched the MX1 and MX2 titles, respectively, in Italy today at the Grand Prix of Europe at Faenza. Both Cairoli and Herlings won their classes by sweeping both motos.

For Cairoli, the 2012 has been a record-breaking season, as he is now third on the all-time Grand Prix victories winners list, behind Joel Smets and Stefan Everts, and his sixth World title equals him with Joel Robert. Only Stefan Everts has more with 10 World titles.

As opposed to last year, Cairoli started the 2012 season with the red plate on his KTM already after the first Grand Prix and he did not lose it until the MXGP of Sweden, where he suffered two DNFs. The Italian said today that the MXGP of Sweden was like a turning point in his season:

“After Sweden something changed,” he said. “I am usually careful with my riding and my riding style involves running a good pace without too many risks. After Uddevalla and those results, I said ‘I’m going for the win every moto and we’ll see what happens.’ It turned out good! Maybe in 2007 I had similar results but this is better.”

Cairoli won 11 of the last 12 motos, and today he won his 53rd MXGP with a double victory for the eighth time from his 10 wins this season.

The Italian has become one the most successful riders in the MX1 class since the inception of the series in 2004. He dedicated his sixth World title to his mother, who passed away on this day last year, and he said that he was wishing to have a perfect day to dedicate it to her. In fact, the day finished even better for Cairoli when he was surprised by his own father, who gave him the trophy on the podium for being the winner of the MXGP of Europe.

With this new World title, the 26 year old from Patti has handed KTM its third FIM MX1 World title in a row on the 350cc machine. In addition, KTM has claimed again both MX1 and MX2 World titles for the third time in a row, the first one in 2010 with Marvin Musquin and Cairoli. Last year it was with Ken Roczen.

Herlings, meanwhile, obtained his maiden FIM MX2 World title in Faenza after winning the Grand Prix of Europe. The young rider from Geldrop is the first Dutch rider to win a World title since 1993 with Pedro Tragter.

Jeffrey Herlings wins his first MX2 World title at Faenza.

Jeffrey Herlings wins his first MX2 World title at Faenza.

Herlings has had a very consistent season, with only a few problems in the muddy races like the one in Brazil and the DNF he had in Latvia. A part from that, the 17-year-old had an outstanding season. So far he has obtained eight pole positions from the 15 possible, he has won 18 motos out of 30, and he has been on the top of the podium in nine occasions.

“I had many ups and downs during the whole season, but I managed to find the way to get through everything and win the title,” he said. “I am really happy to have had my team behind me because they have been really supportive all the time.

“It has been more than 20 years since a Dutch rider won a World title,” he added, “so it is amazing feeling, like I am really writing history now. In the last few years I have managed to put the motocross back in the front covers and on TV in the Netherlands, so I hope to do good for my country and put the sport in the place it deserves.”

With this MX2 World title, Herlings has contributed to keep KTM’s winning streak in the MX2 class, and KTM has now up to five FIM MX2 World titles in a row since Tyla Rattray won in 2008.