Nine times world champion Tony Cairoli says he has received death threats over allowing his KTM team-mate Jeffrey Herlings by on the last corner of yesterday’s Italian GP at Arco. Herlings had crashed hard and was coming back through. His KTM team-mate Jorge Prado put up little opposition to the championship hopeful, but it was Cairoli that obviously followed team orders and let the Dutchman by on the run to the flag.
“5th overall today. Happy with the speed, not with the result but sometimes you need to Respect team orders and Help your team mates. Every Brand would have done the same if they had a team mate fighting for the world title. So to that few people sending me life threatening direct messages. STOP! I don’t deserve this because I always behave like a real gentleman INSIDE and OUTSIDE of the track!” said Cairoli on social media.
“I had settled for 4th when I saw Jeffrey was coming on the last two laps. For me 4th or 5th was not that important because I knew I wouldn’t have been on the podium so I gave [away] my position. I hope a few points more will help him and KTM for the championship. That’s KTM’s goal for this year,” said Cairoli.
Herlings thanked Prado and Cairoli for the help in the moto. He said: “Thanks to Tony. Only the greatest and the biggest champions would do that. To me he not only showed his loyalty to KTM but helped me a lot because those are two very important points. Only a real team player would do that. Jorge as well, I had to pass him three times in that second moto. It was a real team effort and I cannot thank them enough.”
The HRC team of Tim Gajser, still second in the series and one point behind new red plate holder Romain Febvre, went onto social media to have a dig at KTM team tactics that helped keep Herlings just three points off the title lead.