Antonio Cairoli interview

Posted on April 16, 2018

Nine times world motocross champion Antonio Cairoli is in a strong position to win his 10th world motocross championship in 2018, and you can be sure, the rider who is currently being beaten by fellow KTM rider, Jeffrey Herlings, has much more in the tank and will fight back before this season is over.

Throughout his career Cairoli has had to battle the likes of Clement Desalle, Gautier Paulin, Tim Gajser and Romain Febvre, and on most occasions, when fit, he has been able to control the season. You don’t win nine world titles without being special, and without question, Cairoli will win more often this year and take Herlings to the limit.


Our man David Bulmer caught up with the Italian legend last weekend and talked about his Grand Prix in Portugal.

MXLarge: Antonio, you were not able to make it happen, but still came home with two seconds, so not too bad a weekend?

Cairoli: Not, its good. I am really sad for the fourth place in Arco, because it is between Jeffrey and I and if you one day don’t ride good and finish fourth, its hard to get points, because I know it always between me and him, one and two. It is frustrating, but on one side, I have a lot of experience and it’s a long season. Today I tried to make it better. In the first moto, I had a few problems in the start, not perfect, and then in the third lap I stalled the bike and lost some positions. Then I got a stone on my eye, but that wasn’t a problem, although my lens came out from the goggle, but I still came back to second. Second moto was good and I started pushing because I felt good. At one moment I felt my eyes was blinking a little bit and it was difficult to keep it open. I was pushing and pushing, but I wasn’t riding 100% relaxed. I saw Jeffrey was pushing and he got some seconds ahead and it was difficult to come back. Overall, I am happy with two times second, it’s a long season and we need stay there and try and win, when it is possible.

MXlarge: We are five rounds in and we have had five different tracks. Do you think that makes this a really good world championship?

Cairoli: Actually, it’s a very good season, the tracks are perfect at the moment. Also, they make good work after all the rain. I am happy with everything.


MXLarge: I think last year, or maybe two years ago, you said the level hadn’t risen (with Febvre and Gajser arriving in MXGP). Now, with Jeffrey here, has he raised that level?

Cairoli: For sure, for sure. 2015 and 2016, I was not riding at all good and with injuries and stuff, but I was still able to finish second and win some GPs. It is always difficult to become world champion of course, because many things can happen. For sure it’s a high speed and I don’t think many riders in the world can keep our speed. It is really good, because at my age, I know I can still improve stuff, and it’s great to have Jeffrey always pushing the limit and it makes my motivation even better.

MXLarge: In terms of the points, are you hoping riders get better to take some more points off Jeffrey in some rounds?

Cairoli: For sure, but at the moment, I don’t see that. I just always need to be there, be good with the start and try and stay in front of him. You know, it is still ok, just 15 points or 16 points behind Jeffrey and a lot of things can happen, so I am happy. I know I can still work on some stuff and bring it better at the next races.

MXlarge: I know I have spoken to you at different times of the season, are you hoping to reach a peak later in the year, or are you there now?

Cairoli: For sure I am planning to be on form on 110%, but its not sure at the moment. I know last year I was strong in the beginning, and then I had a dip, and its difficult all season to have a good level. Maybe at the moment I am not at my highest level, but we have time to improve.


Ray Archer images