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5 Minutes with... Antonio Cairoli

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With his second win of the FIM MX1 World Championship season at Agueda in Portugal last weekend (round five), Yamaha Red Bull De Carli’s Tony Cairoli is pushing ahead with the feat of claiming the MX1 crown in his maiden season. The likeable and popular Sicilian already has three victories from just six appearances in the class and now leads the standings by 25 points...

  • Antonio Cairoli
Tony when you saw you were down in eighth place on the first lap of the second moto and De Dycker was streaking away, did you really think the Grand Prix was still winnable?
TC: No, in fact around the first six or seven corners I could see I probably wasn’t even in the top twenty so I wasn’t happy because I thought any chance of the GP win had gone. My goal changed, and that was to get as many points as possible. I was always looking ahead at the next rider and after a little while I could see how much time I was making on the others. I could build my race from there. When I got to second place De Dycker was something like twelve seconds ahead, so I pushed really hard and he was getting tired. It was an amazing feeling to take the lead and make this win happen.

That little double you did into the whoops made a lot of time and was also a good place for passing...
TC: Yeah, I had a good line there and I experimented with it in the first moto. I knew I had to remember it for the second race because the track was getting rougher. All the others were taking the same line and struggling to do the double, so I always went outside, carried the speed and made a lot of positions.

You had to pass Clement Desalle for second and you have a bit of history with him, after incidents at Mantova in pre-season and at the Bulgarian GP when he hit you...
TC: To be honest I was a bit hesitant when I came up to him! I was afraid that I would lose too much time and De Dycker was getting away, so I made the move and he allowed it so he could try to follow me but I was able to make some distance.

It seems like you are emerging as the leading Italian rider now...
TC: Yeah, it is nice. For sure it was a shame about the crash with David at this GP because I think we would have had a nice race together. I don’t feel like I have a lot of pressure and I am still very much enjoying my first MX1 season.

The incident with David was a talking point, especially as he didn’t finish the race and picked up a broken finger...
TC: Yes, I am really sorry about the contact we had. I did not expect him to be coming around the outside that fast and now I hear he is a bit injured and that is something that is not nice. It is good to have a close battle but sometimes this happens on the track.

  • Cairoli has adapted well to the big 450
If we go back to January or February and if someone would have said that you would be leading the championship by 25 points after five rounds, would this have been a big surprise?
TC: Yes, there were so many good riders starting the season. I honestly thought that if I could have been in the top five at this stage then I’d be satisfied.

Really?!
TC: Yes, I didn’t want to finish the season with a top five position but at this stage if I was still close for the championship then I would have been happy. I have had to find out some things about MX1 as I went along; I was tired after the first GP in Faenza so I knew I had to pick-up my training a bit more and that has worked out well.

It is a shame about all the injuries that have hit the class...
TC: This is big disappointment and it is hard to understand why so many people have gotten injured at the same time. I think perhaps we are all a little too much on the limit. Injuries are a part of the sport though and staying fit for as long as possible is so important. I do think some of the national races are not such a good idea. Some of the Belgian tracks are not really that safe. Once the GPs have started I do as few races as possible to concentrate on the world championship. 

The result at Agueda could not have been much of a surprise considering your record here...
TC: No, not so much. Nine wins from ten motos is pretty good! I really like this place and was looking forward to racing the 450 here.

{LINKS}At the moment you are on top of the world. Naturally this must be good for the confidence...
TC: Of course, I am really having fun on the bike and I come to every race with the objective of doing my best. Until now I cannot be more satisfied with my riding, although I think I need to work a little bit more on my starts and then I won’t need to waste so much energy making positions.

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