Round four of the 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship saw Red Bull KTM maintain their unbeaten run in both MXGP & MX2 classes this year with Jeffrey Herlings and Jorge Prado emerging triumphant.
Bright conditions and a bumpy and rutty hard-pack Pietramurata track was the setting for the Arco di Trento fixture and the first of three Grands Prix staged in Italy this season. Around the tight and narrow layout on the foot of the Dolomite mountain range the starting prowess of both man and machinery was key to success at this fourth event of twenty on the 2018 MXGP schedule.
The milestones from this particular GP: Red Bull KTM continuing to rule both GP classes, Jorge Prado secured his first MX2 ‘spurs’ of the year, Herlings recovers the red plate with his 70th career triumph and all three KTM 450 SX-Fs filled the top three positions for the initial phases of the second MXGP moto.
Herlings aced his first holeshot of 2018 to win the first moto with a comfortable margin over Clement Desalle and Romain Febvre. The Dutchman, who celebrated his first Qualification Heat success of the season on Saturday, then overhauled teammate Tony Cairoli early in the second moto to again pull free. The 1-1 represents Herlings’ second double of the season (his third overall GP win) and takes his chequered flag tally to five from eight outings. #84 now has 70 winner’s trophies and heads the MXGP standings by ten points from Cairoli.
Herlings: “It is amazing to win in this way and we have worked hard on our starts. There was a big improvement for us this weekend and I hope we can keep it this way. This is not one of my favourite tracks even though I enjoy coming here. It was a great two days. It is pretty amazing to have won so many races and with just one brand. There is a lot of love with KTM and to do all of that together is pretty special. I’m looking forward to Portugal.”
Tony Cairoli classified 3rd. The world champion was the focal point for most of the crowd within the Pietramurata complex. He struggled with a stone lodged in his front brake in the first moto and persevered to capture fourth position. In the second race the 32 year old made the ideal getaway from the line but was powerless to match Herling’s rhythm. He was runner-up at the end of thirty minutes and two laps.
Cairoli: “For the championship it is good to always finish on the podium but I wanted a bit more today. Jeffrey was really fast in that second moto and it was difficult to beat him for speed and consistency. In the first moto something happened in the first corner and some stones hit my brake and the front [end] felt strange for the first few laps. It was very sketchy. I dropped to eleventh and then the wheel felt free again so I could push but then it was hard to pass on this track. We will try to be more consistent at the next GP.”