Orlyonok - What The Riders Think

Posted on June 10, 2021

While we all can’t wait for the MXGP season to start in Russia this weekend, it is a circuit that can cause problems. Hard pack, or as Jeffrey Herlings called it concrete, and Tim Gajser mentioned last year how tough it is with concentration on the Orlyonok circuit.

No doubt many will want to just get through the weekend with as many points as possible, because the Russian circuit has taken prisoners in the past, including two-time winner there Clement Desalle, who crashed out and broke his tibia and fibula in 2019, the last time we visited Russia.

Of course, Tony Cairoli also crashed out in qualification in 2019 when he lost the front coming down a hard-packed hill and hit the ground hard. He did come back to race on Sunday but struggled with 8th overall. Yes, even the great Italian finds the Russian circuit difficult. We decided to ask a handful of riders what they think of this very difficult and draining circuit.

Tim Gajser

The track wasn’t so bumpy in 2019, but it was still tough because it was so hard, and it was easy to make a mistake and the Orlyonok track isn’t easy to pass on, so I need to make sure my starts are good, and I keep my concentration levels high for both motos.

Jeffrey Herlings

Russia isn’t one of my favourite circuits, it is really fast, difficult to pass, like concrete, but it is the same for everyone and Russia is one I like less, but it is just one race out of what 18 or 20 rounds, and you can’t win it there, but you can lose it there. It is important, but you can only lose it and once the season is on its way, the races from Matterley Basin onwards are really good. We don’t do anything stupid and get out of there and I will do my best.

Glenn Coldenhoff

For me it is okay. I am just looking forward to racing again, and for me it took too long. We see F1 and MotoGP had already started, or the other sports, I felt like we were a bit behind, and I am really happy we start again. Travelling, yes, like you said, it isn’t easy, but I am just happy we start again.

Pauls Jonass

Yes, obviously Russia isn’t the best track to start the season in my eyes and especially with the way the pre-season has been. It is the same for everybody and some guys will come out on fire and some guys will take it easy and that is just normal really. Also, the seasons before some guys are strong and some guys need time to build for the season. I think there will be a big different between the guys, because many of us had to change our program three or four times and that isn’t easy.

Thomas Olsen

I feel good about it. I have been feeling fine with the track there. It can be a sketchy track, and maybe I would prefer where you don’t have to pack crates and stuff, but I am looking forward to getting going and it is a nice place where we go, good hotels and stuff. We have been waiting and waiting for the season to start and now we are here. You are so into training, and you forget how fast it goes.

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