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Jeffrey Herlings - Points Gained

Jeffrey Herlings - Points Gained

Jul 2

  • Interview

Red Bull KTM Factory rider Jeffrey Herlings is looking faster and faster and winning motos again. He didn’t get the GP win in Lombok, but he did show amazing speed. The five time World champion showed that he can again be the fastest man on the planet and while he isn’t quite there yet, you get the feeling when we arrive in Lommel in Belgium and Arnhem in Holland, he might be at his best and can get some major points on his rivals.

In Lombok, he gained 13 points on the series leader Tim Gajser of the HRC factory team, and while he didn’t gain much on Jorge Prado (just a single point), the gap from the red plate is now 58 points. It will take a mammoth effort from Herlings to close that gap, but a few more results like Lombok for Herlings and Gajser and the gap could be reduced significantly. We all saw it with Jorge Prado and his DNF in Maggiora and Herlings himself in Portugal, when his bike expired, so anything is possible with still nine rounds, 27 motos remaining and a bunch of points still to come.

We spoke to “The Bullet” after the weekend and while disappointed with not winning the GP, he was just glad to gain those points and come out safe and happy.

MXlarge: You didn’t win the Grand Prix; you went 1-1-2 and you gained like 13 points on Tim at the top of the points. You have to be happy with that?

Herlings: Yes, I did, but it’s just a shame about my crash, because it was normally going to be a 1-1-1 right, we all know that. But it was, could have, should have, would have, but at the end of the day, Jorge won the GP, and it is what it is. He did good as well, but in seven days we get revenge, and we see what happens. I mean, I felt good all weekend and again, we were leading, and I just can’t believe for an organization like MXGP, how they can just over-water the track like that. Finally, we had a dry race, and they make it a mudder again. So, unreal.

MXLarge: From what you told us in the press conference, you hit a patch of mud and went down. I mean, that sucks for you and your team, and I assume if he hadn’t hit the mud patch, you wouldn’t have made a mistake like that?

Herlings: No never. I mean, just because I went out of the line, and it was just like ice and a big puddle of mud. If you went out of the racing line, you just went into the mud. I also broke my handguard, and my handlebar was bent. My lever was all the way down and luckily, I could still be in third place and the first laps I was trying to clean my gloves and kicking the handlebar and level to try and get them straight. It was so tough, the lines got deeper and longer, and my handlebar was so bent I was almost couldn’t get through the corners well. I almost got to Jorge, but the track was so rough, and I didn’t want to take the risk. It was going to be difficult anyway.

MXlarge: You have an ice pack on your knee, and you know everything about injuries, is that something minor, or a concern for next week?

Herlings: Nah, it isn’t anything too bad, just when I crashed, my handlebars hit a muscle of something in my knee, but next weekend I should be fine. Just got some ice on there for the swelling, but there is nothing to worry about.

MXlarge: Somebody told me you wanted to fly home between races, but you were not allowed. Is that true?

Herlings: To go home, the track is too far. It took one and a half days to get here, so three days return trip, nah, I never considered going home. I just take it as a holiday and in the meantime, I will be in the gym and that is all I can do. Unfortunately, I won’t be riding, but with the knee that won’t be possible anyway. I think I will need two, three or four days for this muscle to be good again. I don’t think anyone is riding and I need one or two days to recover from this heat. Us Europeans it is something we are not familiar with.

MXLarge: You haven’t been to Asia in six years, due to Covid and injuries. How does it feel to be back in Indonesia?

Herlings: It is pretty nice to be here, but also its not. I mean, if I look back, there were 16 guys on the line on a 40 rider start gate. Then you have a few locals, so it looks pretty bad. Also, an expensive trip and only the factory teams can get here, and maybe some satellite riders. At least the track was nice until the second moto, when they over-watered it. Until then the track was really nice.

MXLarge: As I said to you before the interview, it looked like the old Jeffrey in that first moto and the start of the second. You also won the Saturday qualifier, are you feeling like you are nearly back to where you want to be?

Herlings: I am coming back, especially when I get the starts. I am nearly there. I mean all weekend the inside gate pick had a massive advantage, where I enter the first corner in the top three and that really helped. Pure speed, I think I showed I can run with Gajser, and I can run with Prado. This is not a sand track, and we have some of those coming up. This is a normal GP track, like Maggiora and I showed the last seven GPs, if I have the start, I also have to speed to run with them. At least I am kind of coming back.

MXlarge: Somebody told me you were the first guy to be at the start practice on Saturday and the last guy to leave. What can you tell me about that?

Herlings: Just for the heat, we had some different variations for the mapping, and we had to test, then putting it on the computer and change the things we were looking at and what would be the best. Because we don’t be doing any riding or starts during the week, we needed the extra time to see what we can do.

MXLarge: You must be pretty confident now with your starts, they have looked good this weekend?

Herlings: Well, the starts for myself, if it had been a normal type of start, like in Arco or Loket, I wouldn’t have been top three (the start gate in Loket was a big advantage if you had pole). I still have a lot of work to do on them. I do start in first gear, because with that, I can start my bike on track very nicely, so maybe I lose a bit on that one. As long as I can be top five, at every race, that is what I am looking for. I know I will never be a Prado, but if I can do it like this weekend, which is me. I think they should have the starts like this at all the Grand Prix’s, where the pole guy has an advantage. I believe MXGP should make those starts in the future, also for safety, a bit like they have in MotoGP.

Ray Archer images

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