For the second Grand Prix in a row last weekend world champion Tony Cairoli was able to use a decent launch out of the gate and score a brace of top five finishes on the Red Bull KTM 450SX-F despite pain and discomfort from the fracture around his left elbow.

The Sicilian did not know what to expect from the Kegums terrain in Latvia last weekend and messages from #222 camp through the weekend said that Cairoli was dismayed that the shallow sand and hard base was even tougher on his injury than expected. He even crashed in the qualification heat on Saturday, fortunately without consequences.

The 29-year-old (30 in September) has not been able to train or ride the 450 since the accident in qualification at Maggiora last month and has doggedly been entering Grands Prix to try and keep pace in the standings with 2015 standout athlete Romain Febvre.


Cairoli is clearly struggling for full race fitness and the strength to be able to push the entire moto under the influence of painkilling injections. He lost only two points to Febvre at the weekend after finishing fifth overall to the Frenchman’s third place.

“I think this will feel like one of my best if we can get in a position to chase this title,” Cairoli said exclusively, although a little nervously, about a potential ninth crown. “My wrist is not bothering me so much but I cannot straighten my arm or stand up much. When I do I have a lot of pain. I’m sitting down a lot on the bike. Everybody thinks I am just complaining but they don’t know the pain I am dealing with to try and stay at the top [in GPs].”

“I was told without any riding it would be fixed in four weeks but we had to go to Germany right after Maggiora and I had a small crash which moved the fracture,” he revealed. “It is not that good according to the doctors. In another way it is starting to heal and I think if there are no more crashes or impacts then it will be better in five or six weeks. I am always riding with an injection and in Maggiora and Germany almost with one hand because with every big bump I have to loosen my grip. All I can do is my best every time on the bike and we’ll see.”

Cairoli trails Febvre by 41 points with 300 still to win this season in the six Grands Prix that will visit Czech Republic (one of his least favourite tracks), Belgian, Italy, Holland, Mexico and the USA.