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STILL THE MAN IN MXGP Story Geoff Meyer images KTM and Ray Archer

Red Bull KTM Factory rider Jeffrey Herlings has taken his 88th Grand Prix victory and moved a step closer to Antonio Cairoli in 89 GP wins and Stefan Everts on 101 GP wins, but the biggest fact is the rider known for his lightning speed, but also for his injury list came into 2020 with a different mindset, one to finish where he finishes and not take risk for a moto win or GP win. We caught up with “The Bullet� and asked him about his weekends in England and Holland, Tim Gajser and much more.


MXIllustrated: The new philosophy of not trying to win everything and just take your points for the championship. We saw in the first race you were not pushing 100% and in the second one Tim got well ahead, but it wasn’t like you were really pushing to get past Antonio too quickly. Is the whole waiting game something that is a work in motion, because normally you are 100% on it? Herlings: It makes life really easy, because when I line up, a podium is a win for the championship. I have won so many races, I mean you should know, you are the statistics man. MXIllustrated: You have 87 wins now, just two less than Tony. Herlings: Yes, and Tony had nine World championships and I have four, so winning doesn’t always bring championships. Compared to that, I have won a lot of races, and I always wanted to win, and second placed wasn’t on my radar, but I lost many titles from pushing too hard and injury. I am okay, the second moto the track was really sketchy, and I was happy to take second, the sun was so low and just dangerous, some places you couldn’t even see the track from the sun. Next weekend we go to the next one and we need be at all 20 rounds. I mean that second race, it was the first time I could appreciate a second place and win the overall. MXIllustrated: It must still be a learning process though, to accept second, because Tim was miles ahead of everyone. Did that feel okay for you? Herlings: I think we were 20 seconds down, and I lost a lot not being able to get past Tony and I didn’t really have the chance to attack, because of the shadows I couldn’t see the track very well. You see in the US with Kenny, he is so consistent, and he is now equal with Tomac for the points lead, or you look at Tim over the years or Antonio all his championship years. Webb and Anderson in America, they won championship being consistent. I need to learn that and accept second sometimes. MXIllustrated: The track looked really rough, how was it compared to past years? Herlings: For Matterley is was rough, but the Nations here it was also tough, because it was raining a lot, this was next step. It turned out not too bad, for the first moto the track was really


good and Infront and the organizers did a great job to get the track in perfect condition. MXIllustrated: Now onto Valkenswaard, you have done alright at that place? Herlings: Eight wins I think right? MXIllustrated: Yes, eight wins in 10 years. Herlings: I missed last year and got beaten one year. I am going for nine, so it isn’t looking so positive (smiling). I hope the weather is dry and we can have racing, like this weekend it turned out okay, but if we had Friday weather on Sunday it would have been bad. The forecast for Valkenswaard looks okay. MXIllustrated: That podium, you, Tim and Tony, 16 World championships between you and 200 GP wins combined. That is an amazing tally for three guys. Herlings: It is pretty amazing, being there with Tim and Tony and Tony is a legend of the sport and he is 34 and not even healthy, so a lot of respect to him. We did a great job for the Red Bull KTM Factory team for sure. We won Hawkstone and Lacapalle and to win the GP here is amazing. MXIllustrated: Going back to that win by Tim, does that make you excited, because you know he is also on it this year and we will see some great battles between you guys. Herlings: I felt like I couldn’t really race against him and I didn’t want to take risks and I don’t know how many risks he was taking, but he did great and he beat us fair and square and he had a great moto. If I was just behind him, maybe I didn’t have anything for him. If I was second maybe I didn’t have the risk to stay with him, because he had a great pace. He isn’t a three-time World champion for nothing, three championships in 2016, 2018 and 2019, so he is a big contender for sure. MXIllustrated: How does it feel winning at home? Herlings: It was a tough day at the office. The track was rough, and I have never seen it like this. I am a Dutch rider and I have never seen anything like this. We had a great battle and we gapped a lot to the rest of the guys. We did a good job and I am really happy with the changes we made overnight. I had a holeshot in the second one and that made life easier. I hope we get better

weather in Argentina and in the future races. We had a rough year missing Valkenswaard last year, and I hope it will be on the calendar in 2021 to get my 10th win. It is a long season and people are already getting injured and so many things will happen, but it is important to stay consistent and that is something I haven’t been able to do in the past. MXIllustrated: You are unbelievable. I am looking at that first race, and I am thinking, Tim really has you handled, then you come out and do that in the second one. Herlings: Second one was for the overall right? That second moto I was very motivated to go for it and I knew I needed a good start and I pulled it off and I could focus on my own riding. If you ask me, I prefer to win at Valkenswaard, or Indonesia, sure Valkenswaard. MXIllustrated: Yes, but still, it was a major turnaround. Herlings: The first one was my own fault. I didn’t’ expect him to come from gate pick 33 to be there straight away and I look back and my eyes nearly fell out of my head. I was like damn it, where did he come from. Then he passed me straight away and then passed Jorge and I couldn’t get past Jorge. I was still in shock and then he was faster than me and he has stepped it up. Especially in the sand, if you see where he came from in the sand to where he is now. Not just looking at me, but look where the other guys were, we were miles ahead of everyone else. MXIllustrated: Ok, but in giving Tim compliments, you have still had two GPs and you have won two GPs. I wouldn’t say this is the best you have ridden, but it seems like it is the smartest you have ever ridden. So, you must be super happy with that? Herlings: I think mentally I am strong and confident and having peace and silence and being okay to win and not dominate anymore. Today was great and I am so happy that I could keep my brain relaxed, keep it together and accept second and then when the possibility is to win, we take it. I go home now and feel confident and happy. In saying that, if Tim is going to be this strong, and also on hard pack, then we got a battle on our hands and I might have to step up my game. He has been impressive at both locations so far, both have been muddy and different conditions, different to normal conditions. He looks


strong, but I also know I am looking strong. I am very happy with my bike, we didn’t change too much from last year, just some small adjustments. MXIllustrated: 88 GP wins, and you need just one to catch Antonio and 13 to catch Stefan at the very top. We all know that is a goal, but is that possible in 2020? Herlings: First up would be Tony, feels bad to say it, but he is one ahead of me and I want to pass him, and get to second behind Stefan, and then I go after the others to get to first in that list. I mean, to win 10 championships, that isn’t going to happen I think, but the 101 that is definitely possible. MXIllustrated: You mentioned that track was rough, but what type of rough was it? Herlings: Rough and difficult are two different things. When you go to Lommel in summertime in August, that is just rough. This was just difficult, deep long lines and square bumps and rain. For Valkenswaard, this was rough and difficult. It was a bit like an amateur track, because the speed was lower, and the bumps get more lines and the track was different. If you see the MXGP class, we lapped up to fifth place. It was half motocross, half enduro, because of the conditions. MXIllustrated: Both yourself and Tim looked really good leading but looked a little out of sorts following. I know Tim said the starts are so important and obviously leading seems a lot easier. What do you think? Herlings: I prefer up front and I prefer to be hunted down. It doesn’t matter, as long as I am first across the finish line. MXIllustrated: Are you expecting there will be GPs where Tim is actually going to go 1-1? Herlings: 100%, places like Russia, or Arco, he will be really good, A lot comes from starts, a lot comes from confidence, and with him, that gate pick, to come out that good, it is all confidence and when you don’t have confidence, it wouldn’t work out, so I know he has a lot of confidence. He is good, I have said it to you before, he is a three-time World champion and he will be good. If you ask me today, he is the biggest challenge for the championship, but maybe the others will also come.


Photo: R. Schedl

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D#GETDUKED BEAST MODE ENGAGED 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R The NAKED rulebook has been re-written. The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R is now leaner, meaner and even more menacing than ever before. Sporting an all-new chassis and suspension setup, the flagship LC8 V-Twin 1301 cc boasting brutal forward thrust, blinding acceleration and an advanced electronics package, the NEW BEAST is locked and loaded for battle.

Please make no attempt to imitate the illustrated riding scenes, always wear protective clothing and observe the applicable provisions of the road traffic regulations! The illustrated vehicles may vary in selected details from the production models and some illustrations feature optional equipment available at additional cost.


BREAKING THROUGH Interview Geoff Meyer Images Bavo Swijgers

Arminas Jasikonis proved a week ago (yes, it was just a week ago) that he will be a contender for podiums in 2020. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider looked solid all weekend, with a qualification race win on Saturday and a third-place finish on Sunday behind Jeffrey Herlings and Tim Gajser. We caught up with the Lithuanian flyer an asked him about his Valkenswaard experience. MXI: It was very rough at Valkenswaard. I would guess your long legs help in those conditions. Jasikonis: It depends, the long legs, when they get back behind the foot pegs, it isn’t easy getting them back up. There is win and lose.


MXl: Saturday you win the race, pass Jeffrey at Valkenswaard. How did that feel? Jasikonis: I felt good and I felt good on Sunday also. It was a mental thing on Sunday. I had it in my head and even when I tried not to think it, I kept thinking I could do a podium. I was riding well, but it was tough to follow them, early I did, but then I couldn’t. I thought the next Grand Prix’s I could fight with them, it gives a lot of work, but I am going to work hard for it you know. MXI: When you are following them, at that pace they are running, are you having to ride over your limit, or you feel comfortable? Jasikonis: I mean, I don’t go over my limit, I know where it is, and I don’t want to go over it. To be a good rider you need to go near you limit, but not over it. I made a mistake on Sunday, and I did crash, but it wasn’t that I was riding at big speed and over my limit. It was more that I was tight with my mind and made a silly mistake. MXI: Do you think this weekend was your best weekend in your career so far as far as getting your head good. I mean racing with Jeffrey and Tim doesn’t seem very easy at the moment and you did? Jasikonis: It might be, it is really motivating that last year I didn’t get a podium even though a lot of guys were injured and in Valkenswaard, everyone was on the gate, all the big names, so to be third, I can’t even imagine it now, I need to go lay on my bed and think about what I did. Of course, seeing them in front, you try and battle with them and you give it everything. MXI: We all know MXGP is tough, I mean like 15 factory riders, 10 guys who have all won a bunch of Grand Prix’s, how difficult is that to push that aside and just concentrate on yourself and see everyone as the same? Jasikonis: It is tough when you are not fit, but when you know you are fit and you have done your best in training, then you don’t give a shit. You just go there, and you know you have done your best and if they pass you, they are better and if you don’t pass them back, then you better work even harder. MXI: You are a really big guy, the biggest guy in the class. Do you ever feel like your bike doesn’t have the power of the smaller guys on the 450? Jasikonis: I am big and have more weight than the others, and my bike is good, and we had good starts. Jeffrey was still better, but we improved in that area and overall, my set-up is changed from last year and I am enjoying the set-up. MXI: I imagine once you get a podium, then the goal is GP win. Or are you not looking at it like that? Jasikonis: I don’t think, I just go. I don’t think about podiums or wins, I just do the best I can and see where that ends up.


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NEW START SAME GOAL Interview Geoff Meyer Images Ray Archer and Bavo Swijgers

GasGas Factory rider Glenn Coldenhoff, like all of us isn’t enjoying the current situation with the coronavirus. For sportsmen, who suddenly don’t have that adrenaline of doing their chosen sport, it is tough. Unlike many of us that just have a regular job, athletes are wired completely different, even like an addiction, missing their sport so badly that it becomes unbearable. Having started the season a little out of sorts, the Dutchman was looking forward to getting in some good races as we flew to Argentina, and then headed to rounds four and five. However, with no racing until June, or maybe even July, Coldenhoff is trying to find ways to keep himself occupied and stay in sharp. We talked to him about the whole situation.


MotocrossIllustrated: Obviously what is happening is shocking for the World as far as standstill and lock outs and of course all the deaths. Our sport is also on its knees. For a motocross rider, how has it been? Coldenhoff: It is actually pretty tough. We started the season, had a very good winter, no injuries. I came into the season feeling good, strong and confident, and now all of a sudden after two races, we wait. You know, I think it isn’t only for me, but everyone. We have never been in this type of situation before, so it is all new for everybody. For us, it looks like we don’t have any races for the next two months, so what is smart to do. It is difficult. I had a crash in Valkenswaard and burnt my leg and I felt sore from all the crashes that weekend, so for me it was nice to recover for one and a half weeks. For now, making a plan isn’t easy, because I am scared more races will be postponed or cancelled. MotocrossIllustrated: I guess you guys start the season maybe 70% or 80% and want to build up to 100% for maybe round four or five. What do you do now as far as training goes when you know you won’t race for at least two months? Coldenhoff: Like I said, I felt good, came in prepared and I wasn’t 100%, but like you said, you want to build on it, and what I did, I took a little bit off, around 10 days and I usually do two trainings a day, but at the moment I just do one a day. I keep moving, keep some training so you don’t need to start from zero again. MotocrossIllustrated: Obviously you live in the Brabant area, and that is the region toughest hit by the coronavirus. I wondered if maybe that has to do with the annual Carnival, which happens in Brabant and Limburg and was held about a month ago, so right when the virus started to grow in Holland? Coldenhoff: I don’t know really. I was actually in Italy the last weeks before it was closed, and both myself and my girlfriend have had the symptoms for it. Maybe I brought it back to Holland. I felt sick, a little bit of pain in my throat and my girlfriend also had it. It gets worse in Holland, but not as bad compared to Spain or Italy. They do complete lockdown and here you are still allowed to move around a little bit so something outside or go to your work, at least some of them. MotocrossIllustrated: It is actually amazing how many people I have spoken to who also had the symptoms for it, I had a


headache, cold sweats and a sore throat. I think millions have probably had it mildly and not been to the doctor and then recovered from it. Coldenhoff: Yes, I think I had it too, because I was there the last day and the last day it was difficult to find tracks because they were all closed and I flew home from the north of Italy and I heard once you got it, you can’t get it again. MotocrossIllustrated: Obviously the calendar is now completely different, with a lot of races in October and November. I think we will have even more, as some of the races in June might not go ahead. It is difficult, because you guys are addicted to your sport and it is like a drug and then get it taken away must be tough. For me, my life doesn’t change too much, but do you think people understand what a sportsman goes through in these moments? Coldenhoff: All tracks need to be closed, that is what the federation told us, all the tracks will close, and it was announced a few days ago. I try and look for some private tracks, where the owner can open his track for just me and try and ride that way. I am really missing it; it is my life and I love it most. On the other side, I am spending more time with family and that type of thing. I will try and find something that I can ride a little. At least ride once or twice a week, to keep the feeling and I love it so much. MotocrossIllustrated: Motocross of Nations will now be in the middle of the season, which will obviously change a lot of people’s attitude to the event, the mind set of racing at 100%. What is your feeling about it, or is it too far in the future to even think about? Coldenhoff: No, not yet. For me it is too far away. Also contract wise, my contract ends on November 1 and first let’s start back racing and make a plan for the future. For me, it isn’t worth starting to think about those things already. MotocrossIllustrated: I can imagine that the teams will just have to let the contracts roll over until the end of the season? Coldenhoff: Yes, I don’t know how they will solve this problem. I spoke to my team and they will wait until answers from the contract, but we will find a good way to solve this.


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Motocross Illustrated  

Take a look at the April issue of our FREE online Motocross magazine. Stories with Jeffrey Herlings, Glenn Coldenhoff and Arminas Jasikonis....

Motocross Illustrated  

Take a look at the April issue of our FREE online Motocross magazine. Stories with Jeffrey Herlings, Glenn Coldenhoff and Arminas Jasikonis....

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