KTM’s Jeffrey Herlings has won the FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship at the penultimate round aboard his KTM 450 SX-F in front of his home fans in Assen, The Netherlands, on Sunday (September 16). It has been a memorable season in which Herlings has won 16 of 19 rounds during the series, clinching his fourth world title and KTM’s seventh win in the MXGP category.
KTM riders have led the way in both the FIM MXGP and the FIM MX2 Motocross World Championship classes this year, and in the MXGP category it was Herlings and Tony Cairoli battling from the start of the season, with Herlings taking at least a podium finish at every round he has raced so far. It was an incredible story for the Dutch star, as mid-season Herlings defied the odds by returning from a collarbone injury sustained in a practice crash that forced him to miss a round of the series, to truly dominate the second half of the championship earning 14 1-1 moto finishes in total. A warrior in all conditions, 24-year-old Herlings only finished lower than second place in a moto once all season whilst winning 31 of the 36 motos he has raced, and the KTM ace clinched the title after the first moto in Assen. KTM has won all but one of the 38 motos this season.
Herlings has progressed through the ranks with the Austrian manufacturer and previously won three world titles in the smaller capacity class aboard KTM machinery. The Dutch ace is only the third rider to have won both FIM MX2 and FIM MXGP World Championship medals, and it was an emotional moment for ‘The Bullet’ to win his first MXGP series’ victory in his homeland. Teammate Tony Cairoli is one of only two other riders that have beaten Herlings this season. With a pair of second place moto finishes in Assen, the Sicilian secured the runner-up position aboard his KTM 450 SX-F, which reiterates the strength of KTM’s racing program, and demonstrates the brand’s READY TO RACE promise.
Herlings: “It has been an amazing day and it was a blessing to be in my shoes. Everyone had been saying ‘enjoy the day’ but it just ‘went’! To do this in front of my home crowd here at the TT Circuit Assen is amazing: a special day and it was nice to do it in style. I pretty much led the whole of the first moto and then in between races it was hard to stay focussed because there are many friends, family, sponsors who want to congratulate you and I couldn’t really do my normal routine! I tried to pass Glenn in the second moto but I went down and had to pick up from tenth position and then work to get back to the lead. I managed to get a little gap over Tony. It was a great day and it has been a special year. Going 1-1, winning the championship, home crowd: enough said. I have to give it up to Red Bull KTM; we’ve been together through this all the way so a big thanks to all the team and all the guys at the factory.”
Pit Beirer (KTM Motorsports Director): “It has been a very special season for KTM, and we are so proud to see Jeffrey win the MXGP World Championship title. Jeffrey has grown with us over the years, and while he has always been an exceptional talent, he has matured into a rider that is nothing short of incredible. Of course, when he was injured in the middle of the season we were concerned, but while we have seen so many victories this year we should not forget the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, from Jeffrey himself and all of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team. I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to this success, and KTM’s seventh title win in MXGP, but especially I’d like congratulate Jeffrey for his approach and determination to achieve this goal and his fourth world title. This is a poignant moment for us and we will certainly be celebrating together.”
Heading into the final race of the season in Imola, Italy, and 17-year-old Jorge Prado heads the MX2 World Championship standings from teammate Pauls Jonass, who led the series until round 14 of 20. Since Prado took his first red plate, the duo has been battling for supremacy week in, week out with the Spanish ace currently having the upper-hand over the 2017 World Champion Jonass, who hails from Latvia. The KTM 250 SX-F has so far won 30 from 38 motos this season, completely dominating the top of the FIM MX2 Motocross World Championship standings.