Tony Cairoli makes a surprise return to a 350SX-F for this weekend’s Loket Grand Prix…
Eight times World Champion Tony Cairoli is to make a surprise return to a Red Bull KTM factory 350SX-F for this weekend’s Grand Prix of Czech Republic at Loket for the thirteenth round of eighteen in the 2016 MXGP series.
The 30 year old Sicilian has apparently been testing with the 2017 version of the bike in Belgium this week and is set to use the new incarnation of the machine with which he claimed premier class titles from 2010-2014. He exclusively confirmed today [Thursday] that he will steer his ‘old steed’ at the circuit just outside of Karlovy Vary.
Cairoli won just four Grands Prix in total on the 450SX-F since deciding to swap motorcycles after five races of the 2015 campaign. He clinched the Spanish round on his first appearance with the bigger bike and then the British fixture two weeks later. He was then injured in qualification for his home meeting at Maggiora. This season he won in Germany and Italy but has failed to make the podium in the following four GPs.
Loket is not the happiest of hunting grounds for ‘222’ but his preferred surface of sand will welcome the MXGP series a week later in Lommel for the Grand Prix of Belgium. Cairoli is second in the standings and needs to close down a 92 point gap to Tim Gajser with six events and 300 points left to obtain. It is not yet known if Cairoli – who is reportedly very happy on the updated 350SX-F – will remain on the bike for the rest of the season with two of the remaining 2016 fixtures on ‘unknown’ tracks and the long and fast trajectory of Glen Helen still to come.