Photos by Tempestini.
The team’s Italian maestro Tony Cairoli was in his element in front of his loyal Italian fans, taking the MX1 glory ahead of Evgeny Bobryshev of Russia and his old rival Italy’s David Philippaerts in the overall MX1 category. “I am really happy about everything today. It was a nice race, also with the bike settings and everything else so it was a positive weekend and a good start for the season. I feel good on the track here, its one of my favorites and I always ride well here,” Cairoli said.
After the three heats on Sunday when all MX1 and MX2 riders competed together on the sand track it was clear that the team’s MX2 lineup are in good form. Jeffrey Herlings enjoyed an excellent day delivered strong results in all three motos on Sunday, winning the second ahead of Cairoli. “Today I was fast and I showed some good skills. I had a good start in the first two motos but I was not so good in the third. I also managed to win the second moto and I beat some of the MX1 guys.”
Jeremy van Horebeek, who was plagued with injury last season, was also in good form and spirits at Starcross Mantova. “It was good for me for my first race. I took it a little bit easy and we were testing suspension and stuff. I crashed in the last heat but I’m not hurt and the bike is working really well. We can improve the suspension a bit more and its going to be a rockin’ year this year.”
Young French rider Jordi Tixier rode his first race as a full member of the Red Bull Teka KTM Factory Racing team and was positive after his ride in Mantova. “It was not so bad as here it is sandy and that’s not my specialty. I didn’t go so well in the beginning but by the third race I had a good start and I was a little bit better. I found a good speed and I finished third. I hope to do even better in the next race.”
The team used the first international to fine tune the factory bikes and for competition practice to hone skills ahead of the start of the World Championship season in Valkenswaard, Netherlands on April 9, 2012. Plans are for the factory team to stay in Italy to contest the opening round of the Italian Championship next weekend. They will also race in some of Dutch Championship rounds. This, according to team boss Stefan Everts will give the riders solid practice on both hard pack and sand surfaces.