The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team riders were in winning form on Sunday for the 2013 MXGP of Sweden picking up wins in both MX1 and MX2, with all four KTM factory riders on the podium and with Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings picking up two more red plates as championship leaders.
It was a particularly special occasion for Tony Cairoli who raced two near perfect motos to claim his 60th career GP victory but even better, to dispel the memory of 2012 where here in Uddevalla he picked up a very rare double DNF. He was blameless on both counts but left Sweden on that occasion without adding to his points. Not so this year, when the Italian added another 50 to his already impressive lead in the championship.
Rain had churned up the track into a near swamp on Saturday for qualifying but on Sunday the sun came out both on the track and on the KTM factory team. The result could hardly have been better. Cairoli and teammate Ken de Dycker were 1-2 in MX1 and Herlings and teammate Jordi Tixier finished 1-3 in MX2.
Tony Cairoli: “Last year was one of the worst GPs of my career and this year one of the best, with winning my sixtieth GP. Everything was perfect. I didn’t risk too much in qualifying because of my knee injury in the last GP but today I was riding well, I got the holeshots and I could control the race.”
Ken de Dycker: “Things are getting better for me. I have been doing a lot of training with the bike during the week and I am feeling very good and very relaxed. Now we want to focus on these three GPs (Sweden, Latvia and Finland) in a row and we want to win a lot of points.”
But while Cairoli was the master of the deeply rutted track in both MX1 motos, Herlings kept his clean score card of winning every GP so far this season to a large degree thanks to a great effort in the second moto by his teammate Jordi Tixier, a fact fully acknowledged by the Dutch teenager after the race.
Herlings crashed in to opening lap of his first moto when he ran into the bank at the side of the track amid multiple riders jockeying for position. He scrambled back on the bike but was stranded back at twenty-first position with everything to do to make it to the front. Undeterred, Herlings put down the hammer on his KTM 250 SX-F and six laps into the race he was up to eighth place. He then concentrated on salvaging his best possible result and finally finished third behind Christophe Charlier and KTM rider Jake Nichols. Teammate Tixier was fourth.
This put Jeffrey in a tricky position for the second moto. He had to win and he had to count on Tixier holding off Charlier to finish no better than third. The result was perfect teamwork from the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing duo. Jeffrey did the business and comfortably won race two, but it was perhaps Tixier who was the KTM hero of the day after he delivered on holding off Charlier. The podium: Herlings took the top step, Charlier was second and Tixier a very well deserved third.
Jeffrey Herlings: “I managed to fight back after I crashed in the first moto but I needs a little luck in the second moto from my teammate. But I was riding good and I had fast lap times. I’m happy because this is my first win in Sweden.”
Jordi Tixier: “It was a good weekend for me. I got two good starts but in the opening moto I didn’t feel so good for the first 15 minutes and I had a gap to Charlier and Nichols. Then Jeffrey passed me in the last lap. In the second moto I almost got the holeshot but I braked a bit too early. I had a good flight with Burton and it was good to be third today.
To round off a great day for KTM in Uddevalla, Swiss rider Valentin Guillod and Damon Graulus of Belgium also took 1-2 in round three of the EMX250. “It was good to win again but here it was not easy. It was difficult to pass because there was only one line and it was very slippery.” EMX250 races again next week in Kegums Latvia.