Antonio Cairoli | Red Bull KTM | 2-2 for second overall in MXGP
Racer X: Antonio, you didn’t start quite good yesterday with that start but then you made a fantastic recovery. We knew that you would be fast today and you proved it. Even though you don’t have the overall I guess you are happy taking into account the physical conditions that you had when you arrive in Glen Helen?
Antonio Cairoli: For sure. Last week I was very sick in Charlotte and I had to take a little medicine, antibiotic and this and that. I stop only Wednesday with the taking of the antibiotics. I knew it would be hot here so it was not really the best thing, but I know that I feel better. The track was very nice prepared and I really liked it. I had 25 minute on my tank and after that I start to make mistakes. Eli [Tomac] was very good and much faster than me in certain points. He had very good speed so I couldn’t really hold on, but it’s okay like this. I know this season was a very tough one, one of my worst I think, talking about the feeling and riding style and this and that. It’s not really what I’m used to. So hopefully next year I can be back how I was before and try to be more ready for the title again.
Next stop we go to Maggiora. We go to the Motocross of Nations. I’m sure that you’re looking forward to that race.
Yeah, for sure. For me it’s really important race. We don’t have the best team to win, that’s clear. Also maybe not for a podium, but we do our best to be there. I try to win the overall. That’s my goal. Without that we cannot really wish to be on the podium. So always my job is more tough than the rest but I try to bring less point as possible to Italy.
Tim Gajser | Gariboldi HRC Honda | 4-3 for third overall in MXGP
Racer X: Tim, third overall today here in the Monster Energy MXGP of USA. It was not such a good start yesterday but you managed to recover and finish on the box, so you must be happy with your performance?
Tim Gajser: Yeah, I’m happy overall. Yesterday was a tough day. I struggled a lot but today I came back a little bit stronger. Two good starts and also riding in the first moto, I was pushing too much in the beginning and then lost a little bit also focus in the end of the race. Second one was better. We were battling with Tony in front and then Eli came. I finished third, so overall I’m happy. To be sixteen times on the podium out of eighteen times, I’m really happy.
When we are in Europe we used to see a lot of people from Slovenia coming and supporting you, but actually here it was just as in racing Europe, we had a lot of supporters for you. We also have a lot of people from Fox supporting you. They gave you a birthday present the other day. All in all it’s not a home GP of course but do you feel like home with all these fans supporting you also here in USA?
Yeah, they’re just unbelievable. These fans travel almost half a world to come here and see me racing and cheer for me. I’m so thankful for them that they came here and support me also here in the USA. I’m so thankful for that. Hopefully for next year it’s going to be even more. I’m looking forward. It was tough, long season. I’m happy that it’s done but I’m looking forward for Maggiora as well.
Last year you clinched the championship in MX2 here. At the time when we were talking to you, you had mentioned wanting to do American supercross, but the 450 thing worked out for you. Now when you look back on where you were then and where you are now, as the premier class champion in the world championship, what are your thoughts on that?
Actually when I signed with Honda we made plans. Last year we became the champions in MX2 and that was the plan. When we became [champion] we go forward, actually it happens really quick. Actually I really like 450 bike. It suits me better than 250, I think. I really like powerful bikes. I was really enjoying riding I think even better on the 450 than last year. I was really revving the bike really high. We have just amazing season for the rookie and I’m so glad that we did like that and so thankful.
Max Nagl | Rockstar Energy Husqvarna | 3-4 for fourth overall in MXGP
Racer X: You finished third on the championship. Good weekend also for you, consistent motos. I guess that you’re also happy? I know it’s very important for the team this third position.
Max Nagl: Yeah, of course. Today I had good starts, also yesterday. That’s always really important for us. We try to do our best there. Then somehow the speed wasn’t there, also last weekend in Charlotte. Just somehow speed was a bit missing. It was better here now but just missed the podium, same points with Tim, but he had a better second race result. But of course I’m happy with the third place, also the team. That was our goal for this year, finish in top three. That’s what we did and I think everybody can be happy now.
Jeremy Martin | GEICO Honda | 2-2 for second overall in MX2
Racer X: You were saying yesterday that it would be fantastic to finish on the podium in your first official appearance with Honda, so you must be happy with that second position?
Jeremy Martin: Yeah, I’m pumped. It was a good weekend with the new team. I was a little bummer, I got a revised schedule of the whole event and I didn’t think practice was until 10:20 this morning so I left the hotel around 9 and I got a phone call coming down the highway and they were like, “Dude, practice is going on.” So I just pinned it in my danger Ranger and started going about 95 [mph] and as soon as I got here everyone was finishing up practice. So I was like all right, we’ll just test this setting out in the first moto.
You had two consistent motos, but were you impressed with Jeffrey’s speed, because I think he finished seven seconds and ten seconds ahead of you?
No, I wasn’t surprised. He’s a three-time world champ for a reason and you have to give him credit where credit is due. He’s fast, he’s fit and he was stronger than me today. He was the better man. It was fun races, though. I really wanted to come in here and ride with these guys. You know, I respect them a ton… the whole day was good, other than this morning. The start is a little different for me. They’re so used to it and it’s so foreign to me.
First time on the bike. Do you have a whole lot of notes now or things that you want to change?
It was good. The new bike is good. I had just gotten on it coming into the weekend, so… I was testing back at home [Millville] but we only had one or two guys at the practice track so it didn’t get very rough. We made some adjustments every time we went out and the bike got better and better. You know, we have a good base going into outdoors for next year.
This is your first race back from the rib injury. Did that hinder you at all?
No, the ribs felt good. I was just suffering out there today. I’m not in good as shape as I was [due to layoff with injury]. I took like four or five weeks off, but, hey, I knew what I was getting myself into.
Mitchell Harrison | Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha | 5-5 for third overall in MX2
First moto got a decent start, about fourth. Just ran that way until about the end. Thomas Covington got me at the end, which was a bit of a bummer. I tried to get him back but he was riding really good. Second moto got another good jump in fourth. Went down the hill and Forkner had a crash at the bottom of Mount Saint Helen and I ran into him. So I had to come back a bit of a ways to get back to fifth place and the third overall. So a lot of hard work put in today and just accept that I got this third.
You psyched on that podium?
Yeah, first professional podium ever. Stoked on that. Now to keep going up.
How’d you feel on the bike this weekend?
Amazing. I think we’ve… not a lot of bike changes but worked on a lot of stuff with me, and I think that’s definitely helped throughout the past couple races.
What do you think made the difference between the nationals and today? Obviously these guys are no slouch.
Just working on stuff. I started working on stuff right before Indiana and after that it just started clicking and just kept riding better and better. Definitely made a lot of progress.
What’s your opinion of the two-day format?
We didn’t get to do the two-day format last weekend which was kind of a bummer. I wanted to do it last weekend. Today it felt really dragged out, especially how they do it. It’s a lot longer breaks, but you get to rest longer.
Do you like that bigger break between the motos?
I do and I don’t because I feel like I have the fitness that I can just go back to back. But the longer break, everybody else gets refreshed, so that’s a bit of a bummer. They’re still tired and I still know I have the fitness to do what I can.
Do you feel like they prepped the track any different at the GP versus the nationals?
I don’t think they prepped the track as good. They don’t really groom it as much. If it was a two-day event I think the AMA circuit would fully prep it again for the next day. I feel like they prepped it deeper at the AMA Glen Helen. Definitely a lot choppier, but the track was still good. It wasn’t bad. Typical Glen Helen.
What’s your plans for the off-season?
I’m going to take at least a two-week break, just refresh. I’ll still be missing dirt bikes and probably wanting to ride during that break, and then get back to testing and get back to training.
So you’re going to be training in California?
The W training facility is where we’ll be at, and California for sure because we’ve got tests and whatnot.
Austin Forkner | Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki | 3-18 for tenth overall in MX2
Racer X: Take us through your day.
Austin Forkner: It started out pretty good. I was second gate pick from yesterday. First moto I got a pretty good start. Kind of got shuffled back a little bit on the first couple turns, but ended up just having a pretty solid ride and got a third in that moto. Then in the second moto I got… it was an okay start. I think I spun a little bit out of the gate. Kind of got together with some guys right off, and then on the first downhill me and [Jeffrey] Herlings were side-by-side and I was trying to brake. They watered it so much that my wheels were locked up going down the hill. I couldn’t brake any harder. I smacked Herlings in the bottom and I slammed into the outside of the berm and fell. Then got up and was the last one going by far. Caught up, I think I was in tenth. I needed I think eighth to get podium overall. I was in tenth and kind of catching ninth. Over on the big, fast, uphill step-up in the back landed off that. You kind of go over a little roller into the turn and the roller had some ruts in it and some bumps and it was pretty slick from the water. There was like water standing in the bumps. Kind of hit and slid and kind of swapped off the bumps and then caught, and just got pitched and landed really hard on my lower back and my butt. Kind of knocked the wind out of me. I couldn’t even move at first because it was like a really gnarly crash, but like in your butt and my lower back. I couldn’t move hardly at first and I crawled off the track and was just trying to make sure nothing was broken or hurt really bad. Then I was just kind of laying there. The bike was messed up from the first crash and I’m pretty sure after that crash it was really messed up. The medical people got there and they were telling me not to move and stuff, and at that time I think I could have got back on and ridden but I was already so far back at that point. That was my second crash, and I kind of hit my head just a little bit, I think. I was like, whatever. I was just kind of over it at that point. I was still hurt. At that point I didn’t know if it was just like a stinger or if something was actually messed up. I’m pretty sure it’s just a stinger, but I did smack my head pretty hard. The only race all season I didn’t finish. It bums me out that it had to be my last one. I was feeling pretty good and all I had to do was catch the guy in front of me. Then it ended up while I was getting hauled off the guy that was in eighth actually got together with another guy and they fell right there. So if I could have got the guy in front of me and passed eighth whenever he was down, would have been podium, but whatever.
How would you compare the way they prep the track at the nationals versus the GP?
I don’t know. It’s been a while since I’ve ridden this track, even just for practice day or the national. It’s kind of similar. They watered it a lot today. The start of our motos, even most of our motos was just really slick. The track got pretty tore up because they really didn’t completely fresh prep it this morning so it had all day yesterday riding on it. They prepped a few corners but not all of them. It was just really, really hard bumps and hard packed. Not the whole track, just where they didn’t work was hard, hard, and then they watered it so it was slick. It was tough. It kept you on your toes, but ended up getting me in that last one.
What do you think about the two-day format?
It’s not bad. The whole first day is kind of like just for gate pick. You do free practice, then you do qualifying for qualifying. Then you do the qualifying race. You do the qualifying practice just for your gate pick for the qualifying race, and then you do the qualifying race for your actual gate pick. I feel like there’s a lot of sitting around compared to what we do, because we do everything banged out in a day. Sometimes sitting around a little extra in-between the motos is good just to kind of regroup a little bit more.
Would you rather have that extra day at home or training?
Yeah, probably. That one day takes a lot out of me, too. Even though you don’t ride all that much it’s still just hanging around, being at the track and everything. It just takes a lot out of you.