KTM takes on the world
What can you say about KTM? They are dominating the World Motocross Championship scene. Last year Steffi Laier of Germany won the WMX World Championship. France’s Marvin Musquin won the 250 MX2 World Championship. And Italy’s Tony Cairoli won the MX 1 World Motocross Championship.
KTM is looking very strong to once again claim all three major World MX Titles.
This year, Steffi Laier has already clinched the Women’s World MX title. Kenny Roczen could win his first MX2 World Championship, possibly at the next MX GP round in Germany. And Tony Cairoli could win his fifth world motocross championship title at the next round in Germany as well. All race for the KTM Red Bull Teka team.
In North America, KTM has embarked on a plan to use a similar formula for success as when they, headed by Pit Beirer and Stefan Everts, decided to tackle the world MX championships in a new way a few years ago.
One of the first things KTM did in implementing their plans for North American Supercross and Motocross was hire Roger De Coster as Racing Team Manager. They also brought over current MX2 World Motocross Champion Marvin Musquin from France to race AMA Supercross and AMA MX.
For year two (2012), I’m sure they have more plans for North America.
This past weekend was the British Grand Prix of Motocross. KTM once again won both the MX 2 class ( Ken Roczen ) and MX 1 class ( Tony Cairoli ).
KTM’s press release simply and clearly states the obvious – right now they are the dominant player in World Championship Motocross …
KTM Press Release:
MX1 – Tony Cairoli of the Red Bull Teka KTM Factory Racing team fully capitalized on a second chance in the second MX1 moto in the British GP and converted a holeshot to moto victory to add enough points to his third place from the first race to take the day’s honors at Matterley Basin.
The Italian is now close to retaining his world championship title in his second season with the KTM factory team, with a commanding 82 point lead and 100 only up for grabs.
All indications were that Matterley Basin was not going to be Cairoli’s day. He got bumped at the start of the race, and then after several laps he made a mistake, went off the track and almost picked up some of the notorious green fencing that lines the course. He came back from 11th to third at the checkered flag.
Cairoli was around seventh at the start of the second race but again made another mistake, crashed and found himself back in 15th. Then the race was red flagged after a nasty crash between Billy Mackenzie and Tanel Leok. (According to FIM rules, the race was completely re-started after a 30 minute break.) This time Tony got away cleanly by grabbing the holeshot and the lead. From that point on he was not challenged for the top spot as he took full advantage of his second chance to pick up the most points possible.
The rough and rutted conditions also made it a hard day’s ride for teammate Max Nagl who has been plagued with a back injury. But the German rider still managed to finish fourth overall with a 5-5 result and is now fourth place overall in the season’s standings, and still with a chance to finish on the podium at the season’s end.
Cairoli now has the possibility of securing the title for KTM in the next round in Gaildorf, Germany in the second to last GP of the season. KTM also has an attractive 62-point lead in the MX1 Manufacturers standings.
Tony Cairoli: “This was a good weekend for me and I managed to win the GP. It was quite a different track because it is wide and there were a lot of lines. Everyone likes it here and so do I. Its one of my favorites this season so far. I am just happy to win this GP. Now we only need a few more points to take the title in Gaildorf so I am very happy things are going so well for us.”
Max Nagl: The riding went really well for me today although it could be even better. But today I had bad starts and I always had to come from the back of the field and that costs a lot of energy and hard work. I managed to come back from 20th place to fifth in the first race and I also didn’t have a good start in the second race. But in the restart it was a bit better and I got up to fifth. Then (Carlos) Campano (of Spain) was pushing hard behind me and I had to keep blocking him so that I could hold on to fifth place for overall fourth. Now I have the chance to finish in the top three in the championship and that would be really nice for me.”
MX 2 – Ken Roczen was in a class of his own at Matterley Basin near Winchester in the UK to take the British GP with two clear wins from gate drop to checkered flag. Roczen was untouchable in both motos to log his 18th moto win of the season and his eighth MX GP victory.
The German teenager now needs only four points to take the championship title. With the next GP at home in Galldorf, he certainly will receive a huge ovation from the German fans. After Sunday’s race, KTM has also already secured the MX2 manufacturer’s title for 2011. It would be Roczen’s first career world title in MX2, and with the Red Bull Teka KTM Factory racing.
What was a storybook ride for Roczen was less successful for his teammate Jeffrey Herlings. Jeffrey finished with a 7-3 result on Sunday, but a mistake in the final lap knocked the Dutch teenager from second to third in the moto and bumped him off third place and the podium. With Herlings, as Roczen’s only rival for the title, sacrificing 24 points to Ken on Sunday, this now makes his teammate a substantial favorite for the MX2 title. Jeffrey admitted later that he had some stomach problems and that it had been a disappointing weekend for him.
Jeremy van Horebeck, the third member of the KTM factory team, who was riding with a virus infection this weekend, stayed with the front-runners in the first moto but eventually finished sixth, but totally drained of energy. He finished out of the points in race two. Another unlucky KTM rider in Matterley Basin was Joel Roelants of Belgium, who finished third in race one, was also up near the front in the first half of race two, but dropped back and did not make any points. It was also a good ride for HM Plant KTM UK rider Jake Nichols, who finished sixth overall.
Ken Roczen: “In the first race I checked out the lines a bit to see what would be the perfect position for me and I made up some good points on Jeffrey. Then I got the holeshot again in the second race, even though it was hard because the track had started to get rough. But I was able to do it pretty good to finish first again. Now I have a solid gap in the championship standings and it was another great weekend for me.”
Jeffrey Herlings: “The weekend already started bad for me Saturday when I had a crash in the qualifying. I had quite a good start in the first race today but somehow I just didn’t have the speed. The bike was perfect but I was missing a bit of confidence and I just couldn’t catch the others. Then I almost took the holeshot in the second race but right from the start I didn’t feel well. I expected much more from this weekend.”
Jeremy van Horebeek: “My starts were perfect. I was twice second, which is very good and the bike was awesome. I tried to push right from the beginning in the first heat but I had to slow down because I started to feel pain in my recently injured shoulder and I finished sixth. I got away well also in the second moto and I managed to even do a few laps in third and fourth place then I felt no power in my shoulder and decided to pull out because I didn’t want to take any risks.”
Results from the Grand Prix of Great Britain are here
Watch Tony, Ken, Jeffrey, Max, Jeremy, and Marvin battle at the upcoming Motocross of Nations – live on Supercross.com.
Tony will be racing for Team Italy, Ken for Germany, Jeffrey for Netherlands, Max for Germany, Jeremy for Belgium, Marvin for ‘home team’ France. Roger De Coster will be there captaining Team USA. And Stefan and Pit will be there as well.
Will there be an AMA Supercross Series title in KTM’s future? Time will tell … as I mentioned, for year two (2012) of a multi-year plan, I’m sure KTM has more in store for North America.
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Kenny Roczen with holeshot in MX GP of Britain
Jeffrey Herlings, Dutchman in Britain!
Tony Cairoli, TC 222, going for a fifth world championship!