Red Bull KTM’s Tony Cairoli cut a content figure in the paddock in Losail last Saturday. The Sicilian had just completed his first major race of the year after having recovered from broken ribs but insisted that he was still dealing with complications of the injury on the way to his 6-4 scorecard for fifth overall.
The 30-year-old has not won the Grand Prix in Qatar after four editions although he did snare a moto victory in 2015. “I didn’t know what to expect because the problem with my back and the nerve into the arm was worse than the ribs,” he said. “I didn’t have much feeling in my thumb and it bothered me when I was riding. I couldn’t react so well to a mistake. I know I wasn’t ready for the 35 minutes because I only trained four times before this race.”
“My goal was to finish top 10 without any risk so I am happy,” he added. “It is almost like last year and considering this is not one of my best tracks and I haven’t many good races here it is positive for sure.”
Cairoli was only three points ahead of Shaun Simpson as top KTM rider (new team-mate Glenn Coldenhoff caught the eye with a battling seventh in the first moto) and claims his set-up with the works 450SX-F is ready. The multi world champion will be looking to secure his first title on 450cc machinery since 2009. “Before the crash I think I was riding my best for the last three years,” he reveals. “I really like the bike and for sure the set-up is better than last year. We’ve had more time and it fits my style better.