The Flying Dutchman Jeffrey Herlings started his assault on the 2012 FIM World MX2 Championship with a 1-1 result at his home Grand Prix in Valkenswaard last Monday and looked super confident as he controlled his rivals.
Herlings has had trouble with nerves in previous years when entering Valkenswaard, however this year he was cool, calm and collected. Picking up his third Valkenswaard victory in a row the Red Bull KTM Factory rider showed once again he might just be the fastest sand rider in the World.
We caught up with Herlings soon after his victory and as always he was open and professional in his answers.
MXLarge: Congratulation mate. How did you feel coming into Valkenswaard, because I remember in the past you found it pretty nerve racking?
Herlings: I was really not nervous and I knew if I rode my best I was going to win. I rode good, I rode a solid race, I had alright starts and the riding went pretty good I think. I didn’t have nerves I felt like I was just having fun.
MXlarge: A year older, did you feel strong this year?
Herlings: I am feeling really good and the new bike is really good. It’s just amazing and I feel really strong and I am looking forward to the hard track and show those guys I can be just as good on the hard tracks.
MXlarge: How did you find the circuit?
Herlings: It wasn’t sandy enough, the other years it was really sandy and deep, but this year it wasn’t really like sand, it wasn’t like hard pack, but it wasn’t rough at all, and then they also flattened it. But if you want it rough then you have to go to Lierop or Lommel.
MXlarge: Tommy mentioned at the press conference that he was happy with a podium place and would have even been happy with a fourth. Did his comment surprise you at all because as you know Tommy always gives it 100% and wants to win?
Herlings: No, I knew, if I was Tommy Searle I would have thought the same, if I had gotten second I would have been okay with that, I would have been pumped to just go home. I know his priority and where he can give his best is on the hard pack. I don’t feel the same way, I know I am really good in the sand, but I also know I can be good on the hard pack and that is what I am training for. I want to show I can win on the hard tracks. I am not saying it’s going to be easy and I expect Tommy to be really fast and I expect to have a lot of battles with him, because he will be the same speed as me I guess, but still I can beat him.
MXlarge: With you starting your assault in Valkenswaard and getting a 1-1 that must take a lot of the pressure off being the title favorite. Does it?
Herlings: Yes, really and also some guys are injured, and I wish those guys the best. I think Tonus and Osborne can fight for a top three spot and those guys falling away it’s a bummer. I mean Tonus could have taken some points away from Tommy today had he been here. I know the pressure is on, but the only thing I need to do is become World Champion, but that is a long way away.
MXlarge: Last year and in 2010 you made mistakes a critical moments, at the time you mentioned maybe you put too much pressure on yourself. Can you improve on that in 2012?
Herlings: Yes, I did do that, I did make mistakes, and those things happened and those things will happen again this year. I am pretty sure I will have a 4th or an 8th one day, but I have to keep it on the podium every week and that is what I want to do. I want to do it like Ken (Roczen) and Marvin (Musquin) did and get the holeshot and check out, if I can get it that way done I will be close at the end of the year.