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Herlings is Coming!

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The MXGP class has been awaiting this moment for a long time. Three times MX2 world champion Jeffrey Herlings of the Red Bull KTM Factory team is taking the step into the big boys class, and the competition knows it isn’t going to get any easier with his presence.

Herlings himself knows that not only the competition, but also the fans have been waiting for the Dutchman to make the step to the 450cc class, and he is as excited as anyone to be racing the likes of defending champion Tim Gajser, 2015 champion Romain Febvre and MXGP legend Antonio Cairoli.

“Everyone has been waiting for this moment for a couple of years,”Herlings said this week. “Herlings moving up to the 450, to see how I do. It brings a lot of pressure, but I am so excited to race. So many people are saying once I get off the 250 I won’t be the same, that the 450 is too tough, and I can’t wait to prove those people wrong. I am not saying I am going to win, and I know it won’t be easy, because Febvre, Gajser and Cairoli, those guys are on their game, and I know it will be tough, but after going to the des Nations, and I just had three or four days on the bike. I won my qualification, I won the final moto and I went 2-1 for the day. I won my class overall, and we nearly won the event with Team Holland.

“At the SMX Cup I definitely had some bad luck. First race I got in contact with Febvre and we both went down and I could only finish fifth, second moto holeshot and crashed, but came from last to fifth and then last moto came from 10th to first, so I think I had the fastest speed of anyone. We have now had more testing and improving the speed and I am definitely looking forward to Qatar. I think it will be a good event and it’s a long series, we went from 18 rounds to 20, so a long, long season, but I can’t wait for the gate to drop.”

Frenchman Romain Febvre of the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory team, prefers not to look at who he is racing, but more prepare for his own season. As for needing extra motivation because of the arrival of Herlings, the 2015 MXGP champion doesn’t think that is possible.

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“I think I don’t need motivation,” Febvre said. “For sure he is really good, he will be one of the best, but motivation I have enough and I know what I need to do. It would be better if I win, because he will be there. We race to win and the riders all want that. For sure next year will be good, I think a lot of guys fighting for the win.

Arnaud Tonus who returns to the MXGP class after a couple of years racing in America knows what he is up against, having raced Herlings for many years in the MX2 class. He also knows that staying fit and being consistent will lead to some good results in the MXGP class.

“When you ride with Herlings,” Tonus said. “You are on that type of speed, everything is clicking, and it’s really hard to be consistently on his speed. Sometimes you can reach it, and you are there, but it’s hard every weekend. For sure I am confident on what I can do, have a good winter preperation, and trust my body again, because for a long time I had a fear or doing too much or not enough. Being tired, or whatever. When I had the virus, I thought it had passed, I started riding again, and it came back and it took me a long time to recover and trust my body. Now I am happy I have time to be 100% again.”

Whatever 2017 brings, you can be sure the action will be wild, with more drama than ever before as the best motocross riders in the world go head to head in a dozen or more countries, spread from Doha in Qatar, to Lommel in Belgium. It doesn’t get any better than this.

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