The conditions at the Grand Prix of Lombardia, the fifth round of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship, were really quite treacherous, yet Antonio Cairoli did not put a foot wrong all day. Another clean sweep, his third this term, also helped him extend his series lead to forty points with thirteen rounds left to run. It was a positive day for many reasons, all of which are discussed in this exclusive MX Vice interview from Mantova.
MX Vice: It was wet, wild and raining all day. It could have been crazy, but you did exactly what you needed to do. It looked like two perfect races.
Antonio Cairoli: Yes, of course. Yesterday we came to Mantova and the track we find was not really a Mantova track. Very hard-pack. Some places you could see the tire on the ground, black, so it is not really the type of Mantova that we like, but we made a good qualification race and we ended up first for today. Today we woke up this morning and the track was really flooded with water. We immediately thought that we had to get a good start, because this was the key of the race.
We worked on, and we found, a good set-up and a good pace, even with a good start. I was pulling away both motos in a good way. I was happy with the speed. I was happy with how I managed to get the holeshot both times. No mistakes in both motos and it was very, very easy to make a mistake. The track was very, very difficult. I think not often in my life have I ridden a track so rutted like today. I think we can be happy about the overall.
Going back to the beginning of today, I think I saw you practice the Goggle Lane in warm up. Did you have a plan in place, in case you got a bad start and needed to do that in the motos?
Yeah, of course. We have this option now that we can use this lane. We just made a quick check to organize everything how it should be. Fortunately, we did not need this change. I had perfect vision both motos. I was in front, so I did not really have a problem with my goggles. You need to always be prepared for everything when the track is like this and the weather is so bad.
Whenever something new is introduced you never know how it is going to go but, based on your trial run in warm up, it looked like the Goggle Lane was good, because you did it pretty quick.
Yeah. We had like a game with Jorge [Prado] and he tried also; he made it in like twenty seconds or something like that. I made it in much less time. It was like a game and then he lost it. He stalled the bike, actually, but you need to be prepared when something like today happens. Going into the pit lane with a lot of people crossing and this and that, it is a little bit tricky and I think this Goggle Lane is quite good. There is nothing wrong about it. I think it is just a nice place where you can go in and out and change your goggles, so it is a good thing.
It has been a long time since Trentino, like five weeks, and you are one of the few guys who does not do a national championship. Did you find it a bit tough to get back into the rhythm this weekend, with intensity and all of that?
Yesterday the rhythm was quite hard, because the track was easy in some places. Very sketchy, but flat. We had to push a lot. Today it was quite easier in one way, physically, because you had to ride smooth and clean with no mistakes. For that, we did not really feel a difference. In some places sometimes it is better to have some races between that you can practice starts and get some race pace. To not be behind the gate is not easy, but we managed. We had luck that the weather was like this today. We had to ride more technical rather than just attacking all the time.
I am not sure if you will agree with this or not, but I thought that the qualifying race yesterday was your best race all year. Before today, anyway. Even though you were leading and had a comfortable margin, you were pushing all the time and constantly setting the best laps and sector times. It looked like nothing was going to stop you.
Yeah. I had a good break these five weeks. We could push with Jorge also in training. We always ride together – he is always flat out all of the time. This is helping me, because it is not really a sleepy training. We always push, because he is pushing so I need to be ready all of the time. It is a good thing. It is like a race all of the time. It looks like we never missed any race pace in these five weeks.
One thing that I do not think anyone has followed up on is that in Trentino, the last time that we saw you, you were kind of limping a bit. You had banged your ankle quite hard in the second moto, so did you have to take time off with that? I guess that is all fine.
Yeah. I was off for ten days with my knee and it still does not feel one hundred percent, but I think it is more like an age problem that for sure makes it a little worse. I need some time to warm up in the morning with this knee. Hopefully I can finish all of the season without any problems or any required medical stuff. I think it will be okay.
Finally, the big break is in the rear-view mirror. The season starts now. Three races in a row, then another three. Are you excited to get the ball rolling again?
Yeah, of course. Three races now. Mantova is a nice track. I really enjoy this race. Portugal [Agueda] is also a track that I like a lot. France [St. Jean d’Angely] is not one of my favourites, but we can try to make it nice. We will see. It is nice to race and race than always staying home and waiting for the next race.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX