Herlings – Confidence and Momentum

Red Bull KTM Factory rider Jeffrey Herlings might have made history at the last round of the FIM MXGP World Championship, but you just know that with the goal of becoming the greatest Grand Prix winner of all time reached, he will set his sights on the next goal and that is to grab that red plate from the grasp of current series leader Jorge Prado.

Having not won a race from the first 11 (including Saturday qualification), he has now won four from the last seven and finished with 1-2-3-1-2-1-1 from the last seven races. That is dramatic news for his competition.

I won today,” Herlings said after Spain, “Tomorrow, I am back on my bicycle and working hard for the next win. In seven days, nobody will think about this weekend. For sure, it’s been on my bucket list for a while and Stefan (Everts) was one of the best ever. A Grand Prix win is difficult in any class and sure it’s a different era, but a GP win is a GP win. Recently I have won three races out of six, I could never have imaged to do it so quickly. My starts are still not great, but getting better, top five average starts, so that is an improvement. Off to France and I heard they changed the track and I always did pretty well there.”

Something that always stands out with the Dutchman is his late race strength. Herlings always seems to have a little more in the tank and around the 10 minutes to go mark, he starts clicking quicker laps times and when behind, he closes the gap to the leader at a rapid pace.

Most of the time I am physically strong at the end, so I could make some passes. Same with the second races, I seethe leader in front, and I could stay with him. I came from fifth (in Spain) and made some passes and then moved to the front and won easily. I enjoyed the crowd in Spain, whenever I could hear them, I knew either Jorge (Prado) or Rubén (Fernández) were close and when it was quiet, I knew I was safe. The Spanish fans are good for their hero’s, but also for us.”

While the fitness seems to be reaching it’s peak, the confidence of Herlings is also growing and with three GP wins from round two in Riola Sardo, round five in Portugal and round six in Spain, he might just start putting together a bunch of Grand Prix victories, one after the other.

“The confidence is coming quick, but it also goes quick. If I get beat straight up, then it dents the confidence, but once I get on a roll, then the confidence is very good. Let’s wait and see, race from race. At the end of the day, the championship is the goal and Jorge has made big steps from last year and he will be there.”

Now, roll on France and the undulating circuit which presents a tough challenge for all the Grand Prix riders. The big question is, can Jorge Prado dent the confidence of Herlings, or will the Dutchman continue his streak of wins and take the red plate?

Photos Credit: Ray Archer

Author: 
Geoff Meyer

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