It turns out the rumours were just that, rumours. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings has extended his contract to ride with the factory team through 2020.
The contract was agreed and signed with KTM Motorsports Director Pit Beirer yesterday after Herlings spent the day at the company’s new Motorsports Building at Munderfing, Austria.
Jeffrey Herlings, who will be 22 in September, already had a fixed contract with KTM until the end of 2017, but this has now been updated to be a long-term agreement with the Dutch rider. The two-time MX2 world champion will move up to the MXGP class as of 2017.
“I’m really happy to be with the KTM family,” Herlings said. “I’ve already been there since 2009 and I’m very happy to extend my contract. Hopefully we will have a lot of championship titles and a lot of wins together. I will try to win as much as possible and I am thankful to have this chance. It’s an opportunity and we’ll try to make the best of it. This will be my last year in MX2 and I’ll try to win the title.”
Beirer commented: “We are very pleased to sign Jeffrey through to 2020. He came to us at a very young age and we have seen him develop into a highly skilled rider on all terrains. He is an outstanding competitor, and to have 59 GP wins at such a young age is exceptional. Jeffrey is an integral part of our KTM family and we view our relationship with him as one for a lifetime.”
Recognised as a very talented rider at a young age, Herlings first came to ride for KTM as a Factory Junior in 2009 after winning the World and European 85cc titles the previous year. He finished overall second in his first full season of MX2 in 2011 and went on to win the class world championship title the following two years.
In 2014 he finished a close second to his factory team-mate Jordi Tixier after missing a big slice of the season through injury. He also had injury problems in 2015 but bounced back strong in 2016 to win the first twelve rounds of the current MX2 World Championship. He conceded only one moto in the first 12 rounds, when he finished second. Although he has sat out the last two rounds to heal a fractured collarbone, Herlings still has an 87-point lead in the title hunt.