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Monday Conversation: Antonio Cairoli

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  • Antonio Cairoli
Yesterday at the Teutschenthal Grand Prix in Germany, team Red Bull De Carli Yamaha team rider Antonio Cairoli bounced back from a few off races to go 2-1 for the overall win in the MX1 class. The former MX2 World Champion had been the story of the GPs with his ability to bounce back from an injury suffered last year and, in his very first season on the bigger 450, has now won four rounds this year and has a commanding lead with six races left.
       At the Grand Prix he charged along in the first moto to make up an eight-second gap on hometown hero Max Nagl and at the finish was only half a second behind. In the second moto, he grabbed the lead on lap two and rode off for the win. Afterwards I waited by his truck for a good forty-five minutes to speak to AC. I finally gave up and retreated to the press tent and there he was, three feet from my computer!

Racer X: AC, congrats on your ride; it was a great day for you. Can you talk about your race?
Antonio Cairoli: Yeah, it was great, this track is not my favorite one and I have never won here before so it’s nice to come here and first year in MX1 manage to win. I’m really happy with this race, especially in the second heat where I could have fun riding with Nagl. I’m happy about my race for sure.

In the first moto you were riding pretty steady and in control but a ways back of Nagl--were you worried about not being able to catch him?
Yeah, I had a bad start—well not that bad, about third or fourth—and I was behind Josh Coppins and once I got by him, I got a little tired. Then I see Nagl and I wait and breathe a bit to relax. Then I got back on the gas again and I caught him on the last lap. I almost got him also, it was really close.

How is your injury from a few races ago?
Everything is okay with me now, I’m looking forward to the GPs that are coming up.

What about the sand tracks that are impending, are you good at those because traditionally Italians are better on the hard pack.
Yeah, I mean, it’s hard for me on the 450 because I still have to learn how to ride it in the sand and in the mud. It’s not a big problem coming up in Latvia because I saw the track and it’s not too bad. I’m looking forward to going there because we’ve never had a race there and it should be good.

Are you surprised at how well you’re doing in the 450 class?
Yes, I am surprised a little bit. I am already satisfied with how everything has gone because the plan was to be in the top five and work from there.

What about coming over to America someday and racing, any plans for that?
Yes, I would like and have thought about it before. I have a few contacts there but I’d like to stay here because I’ve had my team for five years now and they are like family to me. For sure if I could get what I asked for in terms of money then I might go but my priority is to stay here. If they cannot afford what I want to go, then I stay here. My manager has spoken to a few Yamaha teams over there but we don’t have anything really for sure certain.

How much are you looking forward to the MXoN which will be held in Italy?
Yes for sure, I look forward to it. It’s going to be home for me and I hope to race for Italy in it. You know last year I missed the race—I hurt myself. It’s a nice track. It’s a very fast track that suits me well.

Yeah, you missed it last year and then at Budds Creek ’07 there was some bad luck for you…
Budds Creek was a disaster for me.

So you have to be looking for redemption with all your fans cheering you on.
You know, in USA when we go there Ricky was very, very fast and it was a different track for us that we had to get used to. It was impossible for me to catch Ryan Villopoto that day, he was very fast. For sure when we have a track that suits our style a bit better, we can do well I think.

Good luck with the rest of the season, Tony.
Thank you.

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