Jeffrey Herlings interview - Leader

Posted on October 29, 2021

Four-time World motocross champion Jeffrey Herlings has, like some of his rivals had a very strange season. Seven GP wins, multiple heat wins and pole positions and clearly, going into the second Trentino GP, he was the man. The red plate was in his hand, and he had a 24-point lead over Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Romain Febvre.

Within a heartbeat, Herlings was down in turn one, struggling with a bent and buckled bike and finally DNFing the opening moto of the MXGP class. Despite losing his 24-point lead and handing the red plate to Romain Febvre after that first race, Herlings put his head down and fought through arm-pump and little in the way of rhythm and regained the red plate, all be it by just one point.


As always, “The Bullet” was available for comment and we did this nice little interview with the MXGP head man.

MXlarge: I mean, Jesus, what can you say about your day?

Herlings: Complete disaster wasn’t it. I mean, I still have the red plate, but that big points lead is gone. I just went into the turn, washed the front end out and then I saw somebody run over my bike, which was the whole story.

MXlarge: Amazing to think that somebody who has no chance in the championship and one of the last in the race with a good shot at finishing last in the race, can have such an impact on the championship.

Herlings: Yes, when I saw it on the video, it was the last placed guy yes, but of course, he didn’t do it in purpose. It was some Yamaha dude and the last guy in the race. He probably didn’t see it and it was just bad luck and many points gone. It was pretty devastating. The front wheel washed out and I got up quickly to pick up my bike and I saw somebody ride over my bike. A lot was broken, my handlebars, my throttle cable, it was a done deal. It hurts a lot, because I had good points lead and suddenly it was gone. That being said, I hadn’t ridden for six hours going into the second moto, and I had a lot of arm pump, and I couldn’t get into my rhythm. I really missed that first moto. A bad, what else can I say. I went from plus 24 to plus 1. It will be interesting the last few races and Sunday they are forecasting rain.


MXlarge: When you win titles, you usually dominate, but this year is so different, so close.

Herlings: I missed four motos, one because somebody ran over my back and now somebody ran over my bike. It is a shame, because I was feeling good, and it is tough. We keep working hard and I am healthy, and I am still leading and super motivated. I mean, it will be mad with the three of us. I had one moto to play with and so much stress, but you can’t plan anything. Who would have thought this morning that I would go from plus 24 to plus one. God will decide who wins this championship and I will just see where I go.

MXlarge: I get that you are disappointed after a day like that, but what I find amazing with all three of you guys in championships contention, it is like only a win can bring a smile to your faces. The press conference (apart from Tony) was just everyone looking like they were at a funeral.

Herlings: The only thing is, Romain hasn’t missed a moto and Tim rode with an injury, but I don’t think he has missed a moto and I have four zero scores from missing races. I couldn’t do anything about what happened in Oss, and I got three zero scores for that. The bike issue today was really bad luck, and again I got zero. I think outside of those four races I have been the most consistent and the fastest guy. Also, now with November the weather will play a roll, so hopefully we get three dry GPs. It is like round one again, all starting with zero points more or less. Game on, like a football match, 0-0.

MXLarge: You have shown you are good here at Trentino, but we have Mantova coming up and that is a track that will suit you, and you rode there for Nations, and went 1-1, so you have some form there. Could you think about going to Mantova and dominating?


Herlings: I don’t look to dominate anymore. I look at the big picture now. 2019 and 2020 I had problems a big injury in 2020 and now my goal was to be one moto in front at the end of the year, just keep those 25 points lead, but the goal has changed now, and everything has changed. I just want to keep the lead and get through the races. In 14 days, it is a done deal, but as you can see you can’t plan anything. All three of us want it and the best man will win.

MXlarge: You could be really down today after what happened, but you seem pretty upbeat and excited for the next three rounds. Have you worked on that more in recent times?

Herlings: I am still leading, and I could cry about it, but you need to move on and step up my game. The start was off today, first moto not too bad, fifth or sixth, but the second moto I was mid-pack when I crashed. My weak point has always been my starts, maybe because of my height and weight. It is pretty nice the pressure on, now it is go time and we can’t crack under the pressure, because every single point counts and brings you a championship. Romain hasn’t won in a long time, me either and Tim is in defend mode, because he won the last two. So much can happen.

Ray Archer images