The Grand Prix of Trentino, a staple on the Grand Prix calendar now, has risen to prominence since it returned to the schedule in 2013. Countless memorable moments have been held on the slick surface and, based on what has transpired in the FIM Motocross World Championship in recent weeks, more could be added to that list on Sunday.
The battle between Jeffrey Herlings and Antonio Cairoli will once again be the focus this week, as the duel is expected to tighten up alongside the Dolomites. The red plate has changed hands again, following the results at the Grand Prix of La Comunitat Valenciana, the pair are tied on points and this is a home event for the latter. There are going to be a lot of factors at play at round four of the FIM Motocross World Championship. Without sounding dramatic, this could really shape the championship moving forward and be a poignant event.
Jeffrey Herlings and Antonio Cairoli have both received upgrades to their machinery in recent weeks. The parts that Herlings has received are going to help him out of the gate, as they have been tested on the dyno and are indeed better, but Cairoli has been coy when discussing the areas that he hopes to improve. What if these changes are significantly better and help Herlings to capture holeshots consistently? It is certainly a possibility, as his starts have not been awful, and that could change the way in which this series unfolds. There is no doubt that is his only weakness at the moment.
However, on the other hand, the raw speed that Antonio Cairoli possesses right out of the gate is simply unbelievable, so would that not keep it tight to begin with? The problem is that Jeffrey Herlings always turns it up at the halfway mark and if he is actually alongside his foe at that point in the race, the outcome could be inevitable. There are so many different stories and angles to explore with this exquisite on-track battle. It really is going to be one that is discussed for decades to come and, with that in mind, everyone should just soak it up. Who knows, years of domination could be just around the corner.
Further down the order, another intriguing story will begin. Benoit Paturel is going to make his MXGP debut aboard a Marchetti KTM and, well, who knows what level he will be at. A top ten is simply unrealistic at this stage, especially considering that he has not raced at this elite level since the Grand Prix of Sweden in August. Points will happen though, as it would be a disaster if not, and it would be wise to except him to hover around twelve or thirteenth. There is certainly a point to prove there, as he will believe that he is deserving of a lucrative contract when those negotiations roll around.
Those are undoubtedly the poignant points to consider heading into the Grand Prix of Trentino, which is set to be perfect. Rain hit the region earlier this week, which obviously helps conditions more than it hurts, but sunny skies will prevail over the next two days. It will warm, but certainly not too hot. It really is going to be perfect. The only issue with this circuit is that it can be difficult to pass, although Antonio Cairoli did a great job of proving otherwise a year ago, so a poor start could be more of an issue than it has been at recent rounds. There is no doubt that Jeffrey Herlings has that in the back of his mind, to bring us back around to the original point.
Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: KTM Images/Ray Archer