Red Bull KTM factory riders Tony Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings both launched their bids for 2012 World Championship titles in MX1 and MX2 respectively on Easter Monday at the first GP of the 2012 World Championship season in Valkenswaard.


Both Cairoli on the KTM 350 SX-F and Herlings on the KTM 250 SX-F took double moto wins for maximum points in a display of near perfect riding in the soft wet sand of this Dutch circuit. It was also a solid day for the other riders in the factory team with Ken de Dycker of Belgium standing in for the injured Max Nagl finishing overall sixth. Herlings’ two MX2 teammates Jeremy van Horebeek and Jordi Tixier finished overall 4-5.

Herlings a class of his own in sand with the KTM 250 SX-F

While Cairoli was his usual stylish self, the day perhaps belonged to Jeffrey Herlings, the Dutch teenager who put on a stunning display of sand riding at his home circuit at Valkenswaard. He was 51 seconds ahead of the field at the end of the first moto, lapping up to seventh place and 37 seconds ahead in the second moto, lapping up to sixth place. While the undisputed best sand rider in the World championship series, Herlings now has to put his head down and prove he is just as strong on other surfaces. It was the third season in a row that Herlings has won in Valkenswaard.

Third consecutive victory for Herlings on home soil

Tony Cairoli: “I just rode a smart race with not so many mistakes. I had a good speed and also good fitness levels so everything was good to take the won. Riding in the sand is just fun for me and I don’t really get tired. Now I look forward to see what my speed is like on hard pack!”

Jeffrey Herlings: “I knew was going to be fast and that no one could stay with me if I was riding well. But although I rode well my starts weren’t that good even if I managed to make up the ground I lost. I think in Bulgaria (next GP) if I ride well, stay healthy and make a good start I can there win too. We’ll do our best. I know the team is behind me. I have a good bike so it all comes down to me.”

Pit Beirer (KTM Motorsport Manager) was at Valkenswaard for the season’s opener and expressed satisfaction with the factory team’s results. “It was a difficult race, Valkenswaard in this condition,” he said, thanking the team for their efforts. “It was just the very first beginning, the very first step. The season will be long and its now important to stay concentrated. To have the GP winners in both classes is a great season opener. Let’s keep on pushing.”

MX1 podium Valkenswaard (from left) Clement Desalle, Tony Cairoli and Steven Frossard

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