One of the rumours alive in the MXGP paddock in Britain last weekend involved the chance of MX2 World Champion Jeffrey Herlings riding for another team and manufacturer next season.
The Dutchman, who was unbeaten in Grand Prix races in 2013 and has still to taste defeat this season after eight rounds, is clearly the standout rider at the highest level and the perceived strongest challenger to Tony Cairoli’s hegemony in MXGP.
Herlings has said on more than one occasion that he is tied to his Red Bull KTM team for the 2015 season under the terms of his current contract; the only area in which he faces some indecision is over his choice of category and therefore the location of his motorcycle in the Austrian factory team (alongside Cairoli in the De Carli set-up or as part of the current structure that houses MX2). At Matterley Basin gossip arose that the HRC Honda World Motocross team were prepared to offer Herlings a seven-figure fee to turn red. It was unknown if that meant breaking his deal with KTM (surely unwise if he wishes to harbour a long career in off-road racing) for 2015 or signing an agreement to ride directly for the Japanese the following year, when he will still be younger than twenty one years old.
Honda is known to be casting for several riders – Arnaud Tonus among them – but Herlings is the big catch.
With clamour like this surrounding #84 it would be prudent for KTM to soon publicly confirm their plans – together with Herlings – for 2015 and look to tie up the champion’s services quickly for the coming years. Particularly if more talk about KTM’s AMA star, Ken Roczen, departing for another team turn out to be true later this summer.