The Grand Prix of Turkey, round eighteen of the FIM Motocross World Championship, was yet another tough outing for Antonio Cairoli. An additional injury was sustained and retaining the title is almost unrealistic now. Cairoli is still focused on the remaining rounds and coming into the following season on top form though, as he explains in this exclusive interview from Afyon.
MX Vice: It looked like the day was going well, but obviously that second moto ruined things. More points lost today, plus it sounds like you are banged up again. Ending the day on a sour note.
Antonio Cairoli: Bad weekend. Yesterday already started not good. I twisted my knee again. I felt a pain already all of the weekend. I did not have really good speed, but then first moto I felt good. I could come from sixth to second. I had good speed, actually, and matched a little bit the speed with Jeffrey [Herlings] on the lap times, so I was quite happy with the speed and everything. Just before passing guys I went a little bit too wide on the jump and I hit the Monster bridge with my hand. I think something is possibly broke on my metacarpal. I did not really feel it at the moment. I just felt pain, but not really bad, and then kept riding and could make second place. Not too bad.
Then the second moto before the start I felt already not so good. It was not so bad start, top ten still, but then went out in the corner and then my bike slipped away, because I tried to avoid [Max] Anstie who just crashed in front of me. I hit the bank and I crashed again on the top of the jump. Dropped to dead last. I hit my hand again. I was very upset because you need to stay in front, especially with this track. It is very difficult. Everybody is again matching speed. The track is not so difficult anymore. I said, "Let's start and see what we can do," but I did not really have any extra motivation anymore after this crash and after this injury to my hand.
We just finished fifteenth and we will try to forget this race. Anyway, our goal at the moment is still the championship is possible, but to be realistic for sure we try to watch more for second place and try to stay away from injuries. This is our goal at the moment and try to make a good Motocross of Nations with Italy. We have the possibility I think to finish on the podium with our team. At the moment the goal is this. We are happy like this.
It would have been easy for you to pull in during the second moto, with the injury and being dead last. I am guessing the fact that had you done that you would have given the championship to Jeffrey [Herlings] gave you some motivation. The fact that it is still alive, just that little bit, obviously means something.
In the beginning for sure I started and I said, "Okay, maybe I can come to top ten again?" Since I started again I did not really feel super. Actually, I could not really make a gap. With Anstie… We just passed Anstie and then I rode on the back of [Todd] Waters and tried to make it happen, but I was a little bit not riding so well and making some risks. I said, "Okay, we try to stay away from injury again and try to finish this race and forget. We take these points less, but still points and then we try to keep the championship still alive a little bit."
I guess that you need to go and get this hand checked out now. Is that going to be something that will maybe keep you out of Assen or Imola? Do you know if it is maybe that bad?
I do not know actually. I hope not, but lately every Monday I am at x-ray after the last three races. So pretty bad, but I am still smiling and okay. I am really happy about the season so far. We could be much better if we did not have this injury in Indonesia, but you cannot always complain. Jeffrey for sure deserves the title this year. He was more prepared. He was more focused. We made a few mistakes from the middle on and this cannot happen.
At this point the championship is obviously quite unrealistic now. Are you looking forward to the end and making sure that you come out swinging next year or are you still looking forward to the remaining GPs?
For sure my goal is to win a GP and to win a race. For sure the main goal now is to see where we can improve. I already know where we have to improve to try to challenge Jeffrey next year. We know that he is a machine lately. He is always a constant and also very fast. I know I can match the speed a lot of times in the moto, but I know where I know to work. The fitness and the endurance of the moto is really important. We know where to work and we know where we have to work.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: KTM Images/Ray Archer