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Assen – Rider Comments

A big day for KTM with a world title and two GP victories. Check out what everyone had to say. Ray Archer image

Antonio Cairoli: “I know what it takes to make a solid and consistent championship; we made it and I’m really happy about this. It was an amazing season, one of my best. It is amazing I can still improve myself after almost fifteen years of the world championship. I’m proud of this. It is the first with the 450 KTM for me, which is very special. We had a good weekend.”

Jeffrey Herlings: “I want to say a big congratulations to my teammate Tony; it is his ninth championship and he was the best guy through the season. Today was really good. I came from sixth-seventh to second and caught Tony to win the first moto. I had some wheelspin in the second moto and was in tenth but worked my way to lead in a couple of laps: it was a good moto and I was able to win with a big gap. I’m really happy with my first Dutch GP win on the big bike. I really appreciated the support here today and not just for me but for all the riders. I also happy to get second in the championship and it’s good [considering] where we came from at the beginning of the season.”

Romain Febvre: “I was really disappointed about being passed for third on the finish line jump and so wanted a solid second moto to make the podium and did that,” he said. “I was really close to finishing second actually but second overall means a good weekend. I think my form is good at the moment,” he added. “Not perfect, but good. Also people can see that I can ride and push at the front. France is always special and I was close to the podium last time at Ernee this summer,”

Max Anstie: “I felt strong all weekend. The track was rough and the final motos felt more like we were at a beach race. With all that rain on Saturday, organisers had to work really hard to prepare the track for Sunday’s motos. I had some good battles in both motos and I’m happy the speed was there and I could make some good passes. In the first moto I came from eighth in the first turn to cross the line in third. Then in the second race I started inside the top 10 again and gradually found my way up to fourth. I feel that we’ve been making some good progress during the last few GPs and it’s nice to be on the box for the second time this season. We’ve all been working really hard so this podium result is good for me and for the whole Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team.”

Glenn Coldenhoff: “The weekend started off well. I always feel good here but I had a bad start in the first moto and on this kind of track it made things difficult. Anyway, I came back from fourteenth to sixth so it wasn’t too bad. I was disappointed I messed up the second race. I came together with another rider at the start and I have a lot of pain in my arm now. I was chasing down Nagl and Van Horebeek in the championship but with a fifteenth place in that second moto I am not chasing down any more! Now I need to stay focussed and hopefully I can ride next week and keep ninth in the series; that would be good. I really appreciated the support. I think it was four laps before I even caught the last rider in the second moto but they were cheering so much.”

Jorge Prado: “It was good to get my second win on a sand track. I’ve learned a lot this year and have to put it all together now to do better next year. The most important thing is to be consistent, as you see with Pauls. He is pretty much the fastest guy this year and it’s possible to learn a lot from him and use him as a reference. We didn’t train so much together this year because I was going to school! Now I’m looking forward to next weekend which should be a totally different kind of track.”

Pauls Jonass: “For sure I wanted to win the title this weekend and after the first race it seemed to be possible but I didn’t get a good start in the second race and struggled on the first few laps. I had some close calls with riders next to me and took it carefully, maybe I was too cautious. I put pressure on myself and that was my problem in the second moto. Saturday was very bad but I turned it around and got on the podium again. Now I have a 41 point lead but I will try not to look at that in the next moto; as you saw with Tony today he took the holeshot and was pushing until the last laps to pass Jeffrey. I want to have the same approach next weekend.”

Kevin Strijbos: “Again, I got a good start, I ran wide a bit too much and lost a couple of spots but I was still around fourth early on. However, I had some issues with my tear-offs and they snapped which meant I had to slow down and fix that problem. I lost quite a few places when I did that which was a bit annoying. After that I was pushed hard trying to pass Gautier Paulin but it was so difficult, and in the end, I did get him and finished seventh. Overall I’m happy though; my second moto could have been a bit better if I didn’t have that small problem but I tried my best and got my best results of the season.”

Max Nagl: “I’m really happy with my performance this weekend. The track was rough and the rain on Saturday made it even tougher. My speed was good in both motos and I felt that I could have earned a spot on the podium. In the opening moto my start was good and I was racing inside the top six but I crashed in the opening lap. I got up and started pushing to finally cross the line in 10th position. Then in moto two we decided with my team to select the far outside gate and that proved to be a very good idea. I got the holeshot and found myself leading for the first couple of laps. When Herlings passed me I tried to stay behind him looking for some better lines. Then I pushed hard until the end and managed to get a strong runner-up in moto two. My bike was running great in these tough conditions. We now have on GP to end this season and I can’t wait for it.”

Jeremy Seewer: “Assen isn’t my favourite track, and probably isn’t the favourite track of any rider in the paddock but I’m really happy to end up on the podium after a tough first moto,” said Seewer. “My start wasn’t that great and I couldn’t make the passes, which wasn’t easy on this track and I struggled on the wave sections. We turned it around in race two and I came so close to winning, which is what I needed to do in order to stop Pauls Jonass winning the title at this race. I’m happy to keep the title alive though and push the championship until the final round. At least we will bring it to the last race where hopefully I can get another GP win and end the season on a high note.”

Hunter Lawrence: We were struggling all weekend. I really didn’t feel good at all, I had no rhythm or balance. It was just a tough GP. It wasn’t helped when I had a crash on the sighting lap of moto one, as I hit my head and bent my bars and obviously I didn’t have long to recover before the gate dropped. I went out and raced, of course, but I was struggling and came home in 10th behind Julien Lieber. I went to the medical unit after that race and got some work done and felt a bit better for race two. I got an ok start and made some passes and moved all the way up to sixth place, which was definitely good on such a difficult weekend. I’ve never ridden here before, it’s crazy here, different even than Lommel. I’ve really never ridden anything like it so to get eighth is pretty good overall.”

Gautier Paulin: “It was a tough GP for me. I felt that my speed was good with the rain on Saturday, but as the track dried out I couldn’t get a good race pace in Sunday’s final motos. I got a good start in the first moto but struggled a lot to feel comfortable. Then as I was trying to take out a tear-off in a corner I lost some time and allowed some riders to get through. We worked a lot with my team during the motos and managed to make some big improvement with our set-up for the second race. My bike was running great in moto two and I managed to get my second eighth place result for the weekend.”

Thomas Kjer-Olsen: “Overall, I’m happy with fifth overall here in The Netherlands. The track was challenging and it was really easy to make a mistake. In the opening moto I didn’t manage to get the best of starts so found myself battling for the top six. I pushed hard and managed to put myself in sixth, but a small mistake dropped me back to eight at the chequered flag. In moto two I started inside the top 10 but started making some good passes quite early in the moto. My speed was good so I managed to cross the line in third. I’m looking forward to the final round in France next week. No matter what happens in France we’ve secured third in the series and that is very positive for the future.”

Thomas Covington: “I felt comfortable on my bike throughout the weekend. My start was good in the opening moto and soon I found myself racing in third. I made an attack for the runner-up spot but Prado was just too far away, so I kept my head down and stayed third until the chequered flag. I couldn’t get a good start in moto two and that made things harder for me. I took my time to find the right lines and started pushing to get closer to the top six. A few laps before the finish I was eighth but a small crash forced me to settle for 13th at the finish line. We are now heading to France for the final round and I will do my best for a good overall result there.”

Conrad Mewse: “The speed was there this weekend and I had some great moments in both motos. In moto one I got off to a good start. Making some passes I found myself racing in third but a fall in the rhythm section dropped me back again. When I got back on my bike I tried to push again and crossed the line in sixth place. Getting the holeshot in moto two felt good. We had a good battle with Jorge Prado but I managed to make a small gap up front. I gave my all and managed to retain the lead for the first ten minutes of the race, but with the track being so demanding I started feeling tired and was unable to keep the same lap times. I had to settle for 12th in moto two. We still have one round to go and I really want to wrap up this season on a high.”

Tommy Searle: “The first race was OK; the result is just average but I knew that it would be difficult as I didn’t ride so much in those conditions this year due to my injuries, but I was enjoying this race. In the second one I got hit in the second corner by a flying bike and unfortunately the bike landed on my ankle and I had a lot of pain; I had a check and hopefully there’s nothing serious.”

Jordi Tixier: “On Saturday I crashed during the first lap of the qualifying race, and in the crash I again hit the ribs that were damaged when I was training before Lommel. I had a lot of pain, and it’s impossible to race in that condition; now I need to recover from all my injuries, and I won’t be able to contest the final GP next weekend.”

Tim Gajser: Today has been a really bad day. This weekend and today started off well for me and then it just all went downhill from there. I had a good time in warm up and I was running really well at the start of the first race. Then, I made a mistake and the bike landed on me. I got checked out by the medical staff and after that, they and the team decided that I should not ride the second race. It is a reflection of how this season has gone for me and I am really disappointed that I was unable to race but that is how it goes.

Evgeny Bobryshev: I wasn’t consistent today, I had a good start in the first race and I fell in the second lap so I went from being in fifth place to out of the top 10. During the rest of the race I managed to fight back to seventh place. I had good speed I was just making too many mistakes. The track was so difficult and then in the second race I ended up going upside down as Glenn Coldenhoff touch my bars which took both of us out and the next thing you knew I was laying in the sand. There was a big gap as the pack had pulled away, I was dead last and ended up coming back to 14th. It has been a disaster here for me today.

Darian Sanayei: “It was difficult coming to a track like this one; after a lot of rain the track was rough on Saturday I was quite a way off the pace, so I just focused on being prepared for race day. In the first moto I was way back at the start but I was slowly moving forward and had reached twenty-third until I had to retire. In the second race I had a better start and was able to finish eighteenth. My speed was not so bad, but I never rode on a track like this before; I need to put time and hours in muddy sand during the winter time to improve my riding in these conditions.”

Morgan Lesiardo: “I had a bad start in the first moto but found a good rhythm to recover to eighteenth. My start was again not so good in the second race but I didn’t give up and rode some consistent laps to come close to the points until I had to retire after the pipe was damaged. Now I’m focused on the final round of the EMX250, and will spend the week training in Italy to prepare for this last race on hard pack.”

Stephen Rubini: “This was definitively my toughest weekend of the season with a couple of very bad starts. In the first race I finished close to the points, but then in the second one I had a big crash and went over the bars; when I landed on the ground I had a lot of pain in my upper leg. Nothing is broken but a muscle is sore and we’ll see later this week how I feel.”

Jed Beaton: Today was not too bad, I was consistent. I took away two 14th place finishes. It was much better than my GP at Lommel. My starts were not as good today so I was a bit disappointed about that and I made mistakes in both races but I was glad I managed to stay on for both of the races- I did all my crashing yesterday! I was pretty happy overall and think this is certainly something to improve on and learn from.