Dutchman Jeffrey Herlings continues to lead the FIM World MX2 Championship and while his biggest rival in the series Tommy Searle won last weekend in Belgium Herlings remains confident as the next month’s GP’s will see him riding in his beloved sand.
Herlings has been consistent this year and apart from his poor performance in the mud of Brazil he has looked better than in his 2011 season. Older, wiser and with more experience Herlings seems ready to take over the mantle left by the German sensation Ken Roczen as the man in the World MX2 title race.
We caught up with Herlings just after his Belgian event and asked him about the GP and also about his season so far.
MXlarge: How do you feel about your season so far?
Herlings: I think it’s going really good, I have won five of the eight GPs, had a bad one in Brazil, lost 25 points just in that race. We are almost half way and I just want to put the hammer down. I knew the Belgian circuit wouldn’t suit me that much, I wanted to win, because I had won on tracks that I didn’t like, like in France, those tracks are tough for me.
MXlarge: The next month should be an important one for you, first time to relax a little and then some circuits that should suit you.
Herlings: I agree, we have this weekend off, and then it’s off to Sweden, Latvia and Russia, so three tracks I will really like. Sweden and Latvia have some sand and I hear the Russian track is sand, so when I hear that there is sand I really get excited.
MXlarge: You seem more matured this year, making fewer mistakes than last year and not really having that period where you lost your speed. What has changed for you?
Herlings: I don’t want to take too many risks. Last year I could see Ken was so much faster than me, but then he made mistakes. He was struggling a little in Portugal, and then he crashed and it took him like four or five motos to make up the points he lost in Portugal. I thought about that a lot and I would rather be in second sometimes and win the others races, just like Ken did.
MXlarge: What is the goal for the next month or so?
Herlings: So from now on I want to win more, because it’s difficult to get riders between Tommy and myself, so we are winning or finishing second. I mean in Brazil it was different because it was so muddy, but in the dry we are always first and second.
MXlarge: Your team-mate Jeremy Van Horebeek has really shown good speed this year. Has he surprised you a little?
Herlings: I think he is really riding well, he surprised me in Belgium, he was fastest in qualification, but that was a little dangerous because of the mud and the lines were changing a lot, but because of him I have won two GPs, in France and in Portugal, because he was between Tommy and me in both those races. I am really happy for him, because as a team it’s good to be first and second a lot and he is also a friend.
MXlarge: are you keeping a track of how Ken Roczen is going in America?
Herlings: Yes, unfortunately he didn’t win the last race. I saw him leading until the last lap and I think he made a mistake, if he was the best in those motos he should be winning them, but that’s racing. I am surprised he isn’t winning, I really thought he would be winning, but he still can win the Championship, I mean it’s a long series and he is still in the hunt. He can still win it, but he needs to stay calm and be there every weekend, which is what he is doing now, and if he keeps being on the podium I think he has a great chance of winning the Championship.
MXlarge: What about 2013, you got any plans yet?
Herlings: Yes, I think I say in Europe, also in 2013, I mean it’s not decided yet, we wait until around August or September, and then I will decide. As it is at the moment I will stay in Europe, but I change my mind all the time.