30. April 2012
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing put in a strong weekend of racing in Round 3 of the MX1 and MX2 World Championship in Fermo on Sunday to leave with two red plates and Jeffrey Herlings and Tony Cairoli as championship leaders! Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 blasted back into the winner's circle as Clement Desalle scored third position.
Meanwhile Tony Cairoli rounded off a good day on a track that is not his favorite with a 3-1 result for overall second. The popular Italian then came out in race two determined to treat his home town fans to a display of top riding on the KTM 350 SX-F. The wily Italian didn’t disappoint. He hit the front as soon as the gate dropped, secured the holeshot and to the delight of the dedicated fans, led throughout the entire race.
It was also a good day for his current teammate Ken de Dycker of Belgium who has stepped into the factory team to replace the injured Max Nagl of Germany. De Dycker is looking increasingly comfortable of the KTM 450 SX-F and his strong fourth place finish in the second moto put him at overall fifth in Fermo. The Belgian rider is also currently fifth in the championship standings.
Cairoli comes away from Fermo with a cushion of 27 points lead: “I had a good start in the first heat and I was second but I was not so happy with my riding in the beginning. I made a few mistakes and I dropped back to 5-6 . Then after 10-15 minutes I found my rhythm and closed the gap on the front guys but I was a bit tired so I stuck to my third place. In the second race I also had a good start and I tried to make some good laps at the beginning of the race. I was also happy with how things went in the second race and I did a pretty good job.”
As 17,000 spectators found a vantage point around the steep slopes of the hard-pack, rutted and tricky terrain on the Adriatic coast, Clement Desalle (Suzuki) struggled to get comfortable on the track during Saturday's practice and qualification schedule and filled eighth place in the gate for the GP motos. The Belgian seemed inconsistent with his pace and feeling on the dirt during the first race that was run in pleasant early summer temperatures. An incident when he collided with David Philippaerts required a swift recovery of the Suzuki RM-Z450 but he secured fourth place by the flag.
The deep ruts and technical level of the circuit increased through the afternoon and Desalle was in better form to chase Christophe Pourcel and score third position in the second moto that gave the 22 year old a one point advantage over Gautier Paulin the final standings.
The day started well with Dutch teenager Jeffrey Herlings (KTM) snapping a double moto win in MX2 to top the podium ahead of American Michael Leib and factory teammate Jeremy van Horebeek. Herlings has now surged 30 points clear in the standings with van Horebeek in second place while UK rider Tommy Searle slips to third after failing to pick up any points in the first moto.
Jeffrey Herlings: “I had a little bit of luck in the first moto and I went on to win by 15 seconds from Jeremy so it was a solid result. Then I took the holeshot in the second moto but I got cleaned out by Tommy (Searle). We both went down and came back from pretty much last place. I tried to push as hard as I could, I went into the lead and made it happen. So today I got 28 points on Tommy and that was good.”
While Herlings had it all his own way in the opening race on the KTM 250 SX-F, the second was much harder for him. After crashes and confusion at the start of the race he then had to go on the charge from back in the field. Herlings got down to business and picked off riders in front of him until he hit the front in the closing stages. In the process he was also able to hold off a charge from rival Tommy Searle who was out to regain points after coming away from race one empty-handed.
Van Horebeek also looked strong on the difficult hard pack surface that broke up into deep ruts and bumps as the day progressed and led for the first half of race 2. The rookie member of the three-man factory team, Jordi Tixier of France also picked up valuable points to finish fourth overall and is now sixth in the standings.
Photos: R. Archer (KTM Images) and Suzuki Racing