Catch Up: Antonio Cairoli

Antonio Cairoli on the Portuguese MXGP

· 6 minutes read
MX Vice Podcasts: MXGP of Portugal

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Antonio Cairoli continued his streak of top-two finishes at the sixth round of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship, but could have done so much better. Another clean sweep was on the cards, which would have been his fourth of the season, but some untimely mistakes left him scrambling to salvage a pair of seconds. It was still a positive showing and one that is great for the bigger picture, as he keenly expressed in this exclusive MX Vice interview.

MX Vice: A pair of seconds is a a little different from what you are used to this year, but then it was kind of your own mistakes that led to that. I do not know how you feel about it. You could have easily gone 1-1, on one hand, but then the loss was kind of on your shoulders, so just sum it up. 

Antonio Cairoli: Yeah, of course. In one side I am happy, because my goal is to be on the podium, like I always said… Every weekend on the podium for the championship. On the other hand I am a little bit sad, because I made a silly mistake in the first moto. I stalled the bike. I was in too high a gear in this spot and then it just stalled. I lost some time and Tim [Gajser] could pass me, then I tried to get him back but the rhythm was very high in the last laps. It was very difficult to make a pass and he deserved the win.

(ConwayMX)

In the second moto I was third with the start, then on the first lap I was immediately second and tried to pass Clement [Desalle] as soon as possible. It didn't really work out. I was riding a little bit tight and trying to squeeze lines and change lines. I was not really happy with the riding. I finally passed him, but Tim also passed him immediately right away. I was a little bit tight in that moment. I get a little arm pump, so I tried to breathe and stay relaxed. I changed lines in one place where I never passed before and I penalised myself, because I crashed. It was my mistake again. I could not stand up immediately, because everybody was so close.

I went back to fifth and then I passed Jeremy Seewer immediately in the next corner… I think it was Jeremy. I was fourth all the time, trying to pass Clement and [Arnaud] Tonus. It was not easy. Then Tim could get a nice gap, so it was difficult for me to close it. A little bit disappointed, like I said, in one side, but in the other side I am okay for the championship. It is a good result. One race less, so we will see in the next one.

I was surprised to learn that yesterday you were using a scoop tire. What went into that decision? Did you run the same tyre today?

Yeah, I rode both motos with a scoop tyre. It was not the best tyre, but in some places it was okay. It was helping me a lot in some places, but in some places it was a little bit sketchy. I do not know. You need to put everything on both ends and try to see where it is better and where it is not. I decided to ride it. Maybe it was better or maybe not. I do not know. Overall I am okay. I am happy with the choice, of course and with the racing [I am] not really, really happy, but it is an okay weekend for sure.

(ConwayMX)

Coming into pit lane on the second-to-last lap in the first moto you got held up by some backmarkers. At that point I was like, "Okay, he'll let it go. It is only three points." You went for it though and got really close. Was that the frustration coming through from stalling it? I did genuinely think you were just going to let him have the win.

Yeah, I was quite frustrated. I have quite a lot of experience and this mistake should not happen. That is why I tried to regroup and get him back, but I lost some time with some lappers on the last two laps. I was not so close, because I had the plan to pass him in some places. I was not close enough. It is okay. I said, "We try next moto," but the next moto was not the best result.  

Speaking of passes, the track was weird this weekend. Hard, but it did not really become technical and there were not too many lines. Did you have a place to pass people picked out? Was there one spot where you just knew you could make it happen? 

Yeah, I had some places where I could make a pass or at least try to. Like you said, it was a weird track. It looks technical if you ride slow. You say, here you can make some difference and this and that, but when you ride, everybody was fast. Like I said, from Tim to the tenth guy was not such a big difference. It was a strange track. You can carry a lot of speed through the corners and a lot of berms, then in some places there was a lot of grip and some places slick. Everybody was quite fast. It was not really the best track to make differences but, in the end, I am happy with the result. Not injured and one race less, so it is okay.

(ConwayMX)

That reminds me: One place you were killing Tim in every single lap was sector one. Do you know what you were doing there that was so good? You were gaining like eight or nine tenths a lap.  

I think after the pit lane that little jump, then I was getting a good momentum already after the finish line on this jump and going up the hill there it was a good line. Tim was a little bit more safe on that spot and I was going very good, also jumping down the hill. I think there was not really one place where I was faster. I think it was just a mix. He was faster in some sectors and me in other ones, so the speed was quite similar.

Finally, obviously everything is going well. Nothing to worry about. Is there one thing though that you feel like you want to fix, either with yourself or the bike? Is there just one thing that is on your mind? 

No, only the mind I need to fix a little bit with that silly mistake that I made. It should not happen with the experience I have. This one we can work on. I can handle quite good the pressure in these years. When there is time to score, most of the time I am there. I think we can sort this out with the experience I have and try to not make this mistake in the future.

Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX

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