KTM’s Jeffrey Herlings had a nightmare start to his 2018 season as it lasted just one corner! He collided with several riders entering the first corner of the MX1 sprint in the opening Italian championship race at Riola Sardo and crashed heavily; being run over by a following rider. The Dutchman landed on his shoulder and was checked out where he was diagnosed with some bruising to his back. But as he didn’t finish the race in the top 20, he didn’t make it through to the Superfinal.
But he says he’s not hurt and will be racing the Hawkstone International on Sunday, alongside his KTM factory team-mates Glenn Coldenhoff and world MX2 champ Pauls Jonass.
Herlings said: “The crash wasn’t too bad but getting run over wasn’t much fun! I was lucky that it wasn’t too bad but the bike was pretty damaged so that meant it wasn’t possible to continue. A shame we couldn’t race; at least this is an upgrade from this time last year when we came away with a broken hand! Aside from today I’m feeling good with the bike and we’ll go again next week.”
World champ Tony Cairoli – defending Italian national champion – was in impressive form to win both the MX1 moto and the second ‘Supercampione’ Superfinal outing.
“The first race of the season is always difficult simply because it’s the first one! But we had a good weekend. We are still testing some parts for the GP season and the Italian Championship is always a good time for this. We’re looking forward to the next few races,” he said. Cairoli will enter the second round of the Italian series at Noto at the weekend.
Dutchman Glenn Coldenhoff rode to 11th and 9th positions while nursing a sore left hand as a consequence of a minor training accident the previous week. #259 was limited with his clutch operation and opted to gain safe and valuable race mileage.
Coldenhoff said: “The first race in the books. I picked up a small injury last week during practice so my speed and riding wasn’t the best today but I was still happy that I could race. I’m going home to get some treatment now and then we’ll look towards the International at Hawkstone Park.”
In the MX2 class FIM World Champion Pauls Jonass took his 250 SX-F to a 2-6 scorecard: the second ‘Supercampione’ moto involving competition against the larger 450cc motorcycles. The Latvian rode positively on the #1 machine to recover from a first moto tumble. Team-mate Jorge Prado did not take part in the meeting.
Jonass said: “I’m happy to get the first race behind me. I’m happier than I was this time last year as I struggled a bit more then and my riding was not too bad. I made a stupid little mistake in the first race and had to come back from tenth up to second. I then rode calmly and decided not to take any risks. We still have some time to improve before the season.”