Revision: MXGP of Italy

Dive into the MXGP history books

· 3 min read

Typically, this regular MX Vice column focusses on what has occurred at a track in the past. The Grand Prix of Italy this weekend will mark the first time that the FIM Motocross World Championship has visited Imola, a road-race facility, though and therefore it is impossible to do that. An interesting point still jumped off of the page when flicking through the history books though.

Antonio Cairoli is the winningest rider on Italian soil, out of the current crop, as he has won eleven Grand Prix in his home nation. The first occurred more than thirteen years ago at Castiglione del Lago, a track that most fans will have no recollection of. Who is next in line? Jeffrey Herlings has won ten rounds in Italy and, if he stands atop the box at Imola this weekend, has the opportunity to match his foe. It is a very interesting subplot to pay attention to, even though it is not going to mean anything in the grand scheme of things. It would just be a statement.

Antonio Cairoli has stood atop the box at an Italian round eleven times (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

Jeffrey Herlings won his first Italian race at Fermo seven years ago. Fermo did not spend much time on the schedule, which may explain why Antonio Cairoli never won there, but accounts for two of the ten triumphs that Herlings has had in Italy. It is actually an interesting point to consider now, as prior to this season those who are uninformed continued to think that he is not as dominant on hard-pack as he is on sand. The fact that he has had so much success in Italy, a country that is known for its hard tracks, dispels that theory that naysayers opt to cling to though.

It is actually intriguing to dive into that particular subject further. There have been sandy races in Italy, like Mantova and Ottobiano, but those account for just one of his ten triumphs. Injuries are the reason for that though. Antonio Cairoli, on the other hand, has acquired fifty percent of his home victories on those circuits. Italy have a lot to offer in that area, hence why they occupy more spots on the calendar than other nations. This year is a perfect example of that: There was the old-school layout at Pietramurata, then the sandy event at Ottobiano and now the Grand Prix contingent are heading to the man-made facility of Imola.

Jeffrey Herlings is the favourite to take the overall win at round twenty (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

One would think that Antonio Cairoli is keen to stand atop the podium at his home Grand Prix this weekend. Not because of these statistics, but because it would be a nice way to conclude a troubled campaign. Cairoli was quick to deny that when speaking exclusively to MX Vice at the previous event in The Netherlands though. "I do not really have pressure on," he said. "This season has gone with a lot of emotions. I do not really plan stuff. I just ride and if we can win, we win. Otherwise we finish on the podium. It is a great year still. Like I said, I know where I need to improve. It is a lot of work to do, so I am far from where I want to be with my physical."

There may not be title fights to follow at the Grand Prix of Italy, but one does not have to try that hard to unearth a story to follow. This may be a great one that is also discussed over the next twelve months. There are many more duels on Italian soil to come.

Italian wins for Antonio Cairoli

2005

Castiglione del Lago

2007

Mantova

2008

Mantova

2010

Mantova

2012

Faenza

2013

Pietramurata

2014

Maggiora

2016

Pietramurata

2017

Pietramurata

2017

Ottobiano

2018

Ottobiano

Italian wins for Jeffrey Herlings

2005

Fermo

2007

Fermo

2008

Faenza

2010

Pietramurata

2012

Maggiora

2013

Pietramurata

2014

Maggiora

2016

Pietramurata

2017

Mantova

2018

Pietramurata

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

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