Red Bull Teka KTM Factory rider Jeffrey Herlings put on a riding lesson yesterday at the Grand Prix of Netherlands. The 16 year old rode to 1-1 results around a super rough circuit and in very warm conditions.
He opening moto victory when he crashed in the first lap and then picked himself up, caught Ken Roczen and passed him was special, especially considering the performance of Roczen in Bulgaria just two weeks earlier. We caught up with Herlings and asked him about his victory at his home Grand Prix.
MXlarge: Jeffrey, congratulations, you must be really happy. How did this year’s win compare to last year?
Herlings: Last year was more amazing, I mean this year it was a little normal, I just stopped and threw my shirt into the crowd, it was nice so many people coming out and cheering me. Two years in a row coming here and winning four motos from four starts (2010 and 2011), it is my lucky place I guess.
MXlarge: Can you tell me about the circuit, it looked so rough?
Herlings: Sunday the track was a little dustier I think and it was a short day with just one free practice a qualification practice and then just the 20 minute qualification heat, but Monday was two long motos.
MXlarge: Can you explain your Sunday and Monday?
Herlings: Sunday went really good, I was the fastest guy on the track and Monday was the same. I got good starts on both motos, but I was pretty tired after 25 minutes, but I could just cruise around and win by 15 seconds. The riding went well and I am looking forward to the next Grand Prix’s again.
MXlarge: You did have some problems with your legs though didn’t you?
Herlings: I was feeling so good on the bike, up until that 25 minute mark and then my legs starting feeling really weak, cramping up and I was like okay I have a 25 second lead and just cruise around. My legs took like half an hour before I got the energy back, on the podium I was just hanging onto my trophy and trying not to fall down. For some reasons I was just so tired, but that is normal I guess with such a busy day and all the riding.
MXlarge: You looked really impressive on both days, how would you compare the way you rode last weekend against some of your other sand victories?
Herlings: It’s not the best I have ridden in sand, I ride this stuff every day, but of course it feels good, I know I am riding strong in the sand. I was so comfortable and I like to ride that way. I can’t wait for Glen Helen now.
MXlarge: To turn it around from your results in round one in Bulgaria to this result you must feel a little more confident now?
Herlings: In Bulgaria I just didn’t feel good, I was sick the week before Bulgaria and I wasn’t feeling comfortable on the bike, I was riding terrible and I wasn’t smooth, nothing went well and then I had those problems with the bike and it was just a bad GP for me. That isn’t an excuse, its normal you have problems with your bike and body in a championship like this. We have 15 rounds and 30 motos, so it will happen.
MXlarge: You mentioned in our last interview that you are looking at finishing second in the Championship and that Ken is the big favorite. Do you really mean that or you just saying that to keep the pressure off?
Herlings: Of course, I don’t want anyone to put the pressure on me. Everyone expects him to be World Champion, and I’ve said it in every interview I want to be second or third in the Championship. I don’t want to say I am going for the World title and then finish second; people will look at me with a different face. I still think Ken is going to be the main guy and it’s going to be hard to beat him at every race.
MXlarge: So next up Glen Helen.
Herlings: I lost valuable points in Bulgaria and I want to get to Glen Helen and I want to keep strong and get closer to the series lead. I want to make the most of being in this situation.