Viewpoint: Antonio Cairoli

Antonio Cairoli on a tricky day in Germany

· 6 min read

If Antonio Cairoli loses the MXGP title at the end of the season, then the Grand Prix of Germany will be labelled as the one where it got away. Poor starts caused him to miss the podium by a significant amount of points, which was far from ideal, and he now faces a deficit of forty-eight points. Cairoli was still happy to discuss the outing and what went wrong in this exclusive MX Vice interview. 

MX Vice: 6-6 on the day and obviously you gave up a lot of points. If you want to put a positive spin on it, then I guess if this is going to be your worst day then you will take it. Maybe you do not want to put a positive spin on it though, because it was not great?

Antonio Cairoli: Yeah. It was six and five because second moto is fifth, so a little bit better. But still, for sure, not a good day at all. Yesterday was good. Actually I felt good. The speed was good. After I get this problem with my bike with the launch control [in qualifying] and then I had to stop, try to fix it and then seven with the gate pick which is not the best here. All the inside gates seem to be with both starts very good – that is what we had to do. Stay in the top three was my goal for yesterday, then through the problem I had to give up this third place.

The first gate was too important here. The ground is more hard on the inside. We know it already from last year and already after the fifth gate was not the best. So both starts no good. On this track it was unbelievable the roost, the pain and the stones. It was very difficult to pass. Both motos I get [Clement] Desalle in front, which is one of the toughest guys in the series to pass. I could not really make the pass. When I was trying to change lines I always lost meters. It was not the best race for sure.

Antonio Cairoli now trails Jeffrey Herlings by forty-eight points (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

I think you were alongside, or near, [Alessandro] Lupino in that first race and he obviously hit the gate. Did that impact your start at all? It looked like you got a worse jump than you typically would.

Yeah, for sure. That also was not helping. He hit the gate then Glenn [Coldenhoff] next to me and [Julien] Lieber also moved a lot. We almost all start bad. For sure did not help, but this is not an excuse. We had to be more consistent with the start and trying to stay as much as possible in the top three with the start. We did not do it, so it was my mistake for sure. We're going to pay very expensive for this problem, but we will see on the next ones.

When you started outside the top five in that first moto, did you think that you stood a chance to get on the podium or did you already know that on this track it was going to be very, very, very difficult?

Yeah. I think I was having a chance, but then with the crash I lost again the contact with Clement [Desalle]. I tried to make a gap again to close the gap back to him. Since I was in the back again, he was pushing really hard again. It was difficult to pass. My plan also to that second moto to do a little bit better and try to make it to the podium because that is my goal always, to finish always on the podium. But again not the best start, even worse than the first moto. I was like twelfth or thirteenth on the first lap. It was difficult to come through the pack.

What did you think of the track prep this weekend? There were a lot of comments about it being too dry and not enough lines yesterday. It looked like they put a lot of water down overnight, but it did not look like it made too big of a difference.

I do not know. Normally I like a lot of ruts, but I think it was a little bit too deep this time and too slow the track. The good ruts were only one and in the corner most of the time the inside line was the fastest – the rest was muddy and slippery. So I think the track preparation, if they make it a little bit less ripped and keep it a little bit more hard-pack style, it would be a little bit easier to make a pass. For everybody it was the same, so it is not really an excuse. A little bit strange preparation, but they always try to do their best for the track.

Cairoli recognises that Jeffrey Herlings has been phenomenal (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

In the first moto it seemed like it took you longer than the other guys to start doubling after you come across the start straight. Was there any reason for that?

Yeah, normally it is always the same every year, but from yesterday to today they make the double a little bit more really a double. Yesterday it was not even the landing and this morning there was, so it was kind of difficult to make the speed there and to make it the first time. But then I saw some guys in front were making it. This is not really a place where you make a lot of difference on this track.

If you are free in front of you, you can make a very good speed. That is what we see with Jeffrey [Herlings] and he had good starts and the lap times were very good. When you have free track and a good start, on this kind of track if you ride smooth and right gears everywhere, you can make a good speed and good rhythm. But when you are in the pack and try to change lines all the time and are jumping from one rut to the other, you also get a little bit tired because it is very nervous and [you are] trying to make the best of it and not crash.

You are around forty-five points down now. Does that change anything for you? Are you sat here just mad, pissed off and not wanting to talk about it? I guess, if anything, you know what you need to do now?

No, for sure I am not pissed off at all. Jeffery [Herlings] is deserving it. At the moment he is very fast and very consistent. It is myself making a lot of mistakes and making it a little bit easier for him. But, for me, it is important to try to figure it out again; the starts. trying to stay in front from the next races, try to stay in front with him and battle for the win. That is the only thing that for me matters. This kind of starts should not happen and we will try to fix it.

Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: KTM Images/Ray Archer 

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