The season-closing Monster Energy MXGP of USA was a mixed bag of emotions for former champion Tony Cairoli.
The Red Bull KTM man returned to racing after recovering from his left forearm fractures and had the speed – but not the condition – to circulate with the leaders around the Glen Helen hills. Ultimately a heavy landing would drop him away from the front-runners in the first moto and he withdrew from the second outing.
Cairoli insists he had an ulterior motive for getting back on the track aside from wanting to feel a gate drop for the last time in 2015. “I felt good to come here and test some parts,” the Sicilian reveals. “That was the goal I knew it would be very tough to finish two-times 30 minutes and two laps in this heat. The speed is there and we did the tests on chassis changes but also some electronics and we were happy about what we found out. We will do some more in the winter and hopefully be fully prepared for next year.”
Cairoli, who turned 30 years of age yesterday (Wednesday), knew the final GP of the year would be a tough ask after missing the previous four rounds trying to heal and without requiring surgery. “I need to continue with the physio and build up strength in my arm because I still cannot bend it completely or straighten it fully,” he commented. “I landed on a bump and overstretched it in the first moto. It was pretty painful and I had to slow down and lost the leading group. If it didn’t happen then maybe I could have finished on the podium in that race.”
It was unusual not to witness a Cairoli-KTM celebration party in the paddock on Sunday evening and even stranger will be the fact that #222 will now not race again until the coming weeks of 2016 when the Italian Championship is bound to open his schedule. Cairoli dropped out of contention for the Italian team at this weekend’s Motocross of Nations as he could not provide guarantees on his condition. Italy will instead count on the relatively green trio of Samuele Bernardini, Ivo Monticelli and Michele Cervellin.
“It will be tough having no races just when you are feeling good and injury-free but I did not know what to expect and I could not make the Federation wait too long,” he reveals. “If I wanted to be at the Nations then I needed to be 110 per cent and ready to win in order to try and help Italy to get on the podium. It is good the kids will go and I hope they build up some experience and confidence for next year.”