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Antonio Cairoli interview

When Red Bull KTM rider Antonio Cairoli crossed the finish line for his 79th GP victory last weekend in Trentino, Italy, he proved once again what a great legend he is. Going into Arco he was looking forward to racing in front of his home fans, and he knew a good result was possible.

“I looked forward to going to Italy, where I knew I would meet my fans. Even if Arco is not one of my favourite tracks, I have good memories from the past and I would do my best to be again on the podium in front of the Italian crowd, that was my goal.”

Of course, that goal was reached and the eight times world champion wrote another chapter in his brilliant career.

“I feel great, my condition is very good and I felt really comfortable on the bike, despite the fact that this track doesn’t have my favourite type of soil. The second moto today was pretty fun, I was second off the start but then crashed at the second corner and I was hit by loads of riders, I was pretty pissed off with myself because I did the mistake. After quickly remounting I told myself that I desperately needed a podium finish, so gritted my teeth and pinned it. I rode the best I have in a long time, making passes all the way from twentieth up to seventh. Once there I could see the group ahead and was pretty sure that I could close them down fairly quickly.

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“I soon realised that I had a chance to pass Bobryshev for second and the overall, so I just put my head down and went for it! I’m happy because my physical condition was good from the first till the last lap and I was able to push all the way. I just kept pushing and pushing trying to make passes and it worked, I’m really happy! I had some sketchy moments but if you want to win you have to take some risks. It’s a very special race, one of my best GPs ever! I look forward for the next race in Valkenswaard, because the time to push has come and I’m more than ready to do it.”

Two weeks earlier in Mexico, it wasn’t as big a success as Italy, but he still managed to make the podium and continue his battle with defending champion and red plate owner Tim Gajser.

“It’s been a very tough race in Mexico, even if I’ve been prepared for this. For some reason for me it’s very difficult to go fast on this track and I knew that if I could save the damage today and bring back home some solid points, I would be pleased. Tim is very fast on this track and finish second is what we were looking for, so I’m happy about how it went, I’m just a little bit upset with the first moto, because I got the speed to finish second and I could go faster but here is very difficult to pass and if you’re too aggressive, you risk to crash.

“Anyway, the fourth place of the first moto was good for the standings and I’m happy with the way the second one went, because I was able to recover fast, from middle group to the second place during the first lap, trying to put some pressure on Tim. We still need to work on several points, like the starts, because also today they weren’t perfect and on my fitness, especially when the rhythm of the race is so high but overall it was a positive race.”

Like in Italy, Cairoli made a big mistake, which might have cost him any chance of getting the GP win. In many peoples opinions, he was the fastest guy on the track, and still managed to pick up a bunch of GP points.

“Unfortunately, the weekend was quite difficult for us, especially so because of the bad starts. On a track like this, where the speed of the riders is very similar, it is hard to make up any lost  time. With bad starts you have to take some risks to pass other riders, and that’s exactly what happened today. I had two difficult starts leaving me fighting my way from the back of the pack twice, then I made two mistakes and I crashed twice. In the first moto, I crashed on the first lap and from dead last I came back to ninth, doing pretty much anything and everything that I could, because everyone’s speed was pretty similar and overtaking was not easy.

“In race two I crashed during the third lap, when I was eleventh, dropping back to twenty something and from there I’ve managed to finish fifth after getting up some good speed, picking some decent lines and putting in the fastest lap! It’s a real shame because everything could have gone so much better, I felt good on this track and my physical condition is really decent so I should have collected more in the way of points.

“I am really disappointed because this could have been a 1-1, as in Qatar, because my speed was good and I was able to push from the first to the last lap. This is a long championship and we have many races to go, with plenty of time to take over the championship lead. I want to thank all the fans who welcomed me to the gate and cheered for me so loudly, making me feel at home.”

And now onto Valkenswaard. A circuit that Cairoli has won on, and one he likes. Can he match Gajser and Herlings in the sand of the euro circuit, or will he walk away with victory. Make sure you are there to watch, it could be another special Grand Prix.

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