Red Bull KTM’s Tony Cairoli is still experimenting with factory 350SX-F and 450SX-F machinery in the closing phases of the current MXGP campaign with a view towards his choice of motorcycle for next season.
The Sicilian contested Grands Prix in the Czech Republic and Belgium on the 350 but won the Swiss round back on the 450 – the bike with which he started the year.
Together with Claudio de Carli and his team Cairoli is working through the 2017 set-ups and with the provision of special 2018 parts from Austria to assess both bikes for the first of three more MXGP years with the manufacturer after signing a contract extension in the spring.
Cairoli claims that the 450SX-F was difficult and physical to ride after his pre-season crash and injury to his ribs and shoulder, while the 350 requires a special style and speed to maximise its potential. The 30-year-old took Pole Position and won the first moto on the 450 and through the long ruts and technical terrain at Frauenfeld-Gachnang. He finished third overall on the 350 in the deep sand of Lommel. “We moved back to the 450 for this weekend and it is a completely different riding style and physically difficult,” he said. “My goal is to choose as soon as possible the bike for next year. It is not that we skip the 350.”
When asked whether he will return again to the 350 for the remaining 2016 fixtures at Assen, Charlotte and Glen Helen, Cairoli was non-committal. “I don’t decide now but we need one week before [each race],” he said. “Maybe at Assen the 350 because we are waiting for some new parts now. We will see. I go to Italy for a few days rest and then back on the sand to test for the next choice and to see what is better and what is not from both bikes.”