For the last three years Tony Cairoli has had to deal with multiple Grands Prix in his home country. The Red Bull KTM rider will face the first of three high-profile events this weekend with the Trentino round (the seventh stop on the 2016 MXGP trail) before also considering the Grand Prix of Lombardia in June and the 2016 Motocross of Nations at Maggiora in September.

Although the 30-year-old is one of the most experienced riders in the gate (only Rui Goncalves has ridden Grands Prix longer) the level of expectation on his shoulders never seems to diminish or become easier to deal with.


Speaking ahead of the visit to Arco di Trento which will be the first time since 2006 that he attempts a home Grand Prix neither leading the standings nor defending a championship the Sicilian admitted: “For sure it is difficult for me. I have a lot of media events during the week and the Italian fans are not the easiest! If you are not first or second they already think you are finished! This is difficult but I will try for a good result – as always – and try not to feel the pressure. It is important for me to try and finish on the podium every weekend. We are coming closer to the top.”

Cairoli emerged from his longest dry spell since bursting onto the Grand Prix scene in 2004 in what was then just his second term at the highest level. #222 also talked about the pre-season shoulder injury and nerve damage that has meant a slow build into the 2016 term and in which he became the third MXGP winner so far at Teutschenthal. “I never lost my confidence but this problem was the worst I’ve ever had,” he explained. “When you have a broken bone then you feel the problem. Now I don’t feel any problem but when I am on the bike I feel that this muscle does not grow any more. It is difficult for me to hold on. I train a lot and we spoke with the doctor this week and it [the muscle] is not really growing. We will try to do something else to make this muscle ‘alive’ again on the shoulder and to hold on better, especially on a fast track. I know the guys are going very fast at the moment and the level is very high.”

Cairoli is third in the MXGP standings and 36 points behind Honda’s Tim Gajser, who holds the red plate for the second time in his rookie year. Gajser claimed his maiden Grand Prix triumph in the MX2 class at Arco in 2015.