Catching up with Cairoli: Switching to a 450, racing for the championship and blitzing around on a 125!
The new generation SX MY16 range will soon be hitting dealer floors around the globe, and it’s interesting to know that some of KTM’s most successful riders had their influence during the testing and development process of the new bikes. The KTM BLOG caught up with eight time Motocross World Champion Tony Cairoli on his season so far, his input on the bikes and riding 2-stroke!
The 2015 season has been quite tough so far for Cairoli, with crashes and niggly injuries, including the knee injury he sustained back at the nations last year, which caused some of his usual pre-season program to be disrupted. Cairoli currently lies second in the championship standings with two overall victories so far this season. Valkenswaard, round five of the series, was a real challenge for the Sicilian, but he’s bouncing back and on the right path to claim the red plate back.
“The season is going good. I had some crashes that haven’t allowed me to get the red plate, but we are on the right path. For sure I was a little bit frustrated that I didn’t win some GP’s in the beginning, but I knew it would come, and finally in Spain I took the overall victory. We had some small crashes and injuries, including the pre-season, but we’re still fighting for sure,” explained Cairoli.
With a brand new bike, new engine, completely new chassis, and only a short off-season it’s all hands on to be prepared in time for the new year, but Cairoli explains that it’s gone well for him and the KTM team. The Red Bull KTM racer has also made a switch to the 450 in the last few races to re-motivate himself now he is injury free and so far the turn around has been very positive.
“I find the new bike overall and the 450 very good. The motivation is high again, because it’s a cool bike and really easy to ride. I know it well already, because I tested a lot during the development time, but I wasn’t ready for the 450 at the beginning of the season – we new at some point I would be ready for a change.”
“There were a few reasons behind the bike change, I would say re-motivation and for me the track conditions now are being prepared more to suit the 450. I’m happy we made the change and I’m enjoying this bike.”
As part of the hectic MXGP schedule Tony also is involved with the development process of new parts and new models. The hard work of the last three years has now come to fruition and the Grand Prix ace was at the launch in Maggiora, Italy recently to see the new KTM SX range being presented to the media for the first time.
“It’s amazing to see the bikes being presented. I like to help to improve the bikes, because KTM is the top brand in offroad and we are very proud to make the best bike for the customers. The main things I like about the new model is that the engine is very strong on the 450, and also the chassis makes it a very light bike, which makes it easy to ride. There’s many things I like about the new design overall.”
Cairoli even took a few standard bikes out to ride around Maggiora and commented on how much fun it is to ride something completely stock. The KTM-ace also blasted the 125 SX around the course, which was a real spectacle for those watching.
“Everything is good, the bikes are much, much better than the old stock bikes. We have a big step in front from last year’s bike, and the bikes are already at a good level straight out of the crate, even for a professional rider. They feel very comfortable, are working very well on the track, and that’s with the completely stock suspension. Before today I hadn’t tested the air fork, but I really, really liked it.”
“In some places it’s more fun to ride a stock bike rather than a race bike, because the bike is more comfortable. It has softer suspension, and you’re not pushing to the limit to get the best out of the bike. When you’re pushing very hard you need very stiff suspension, but it was nice to enjoy the riding with the standard bike, as it’s very comfortable. I rode the 450 SX-F, 250 SX 2-stroke and the 125 SX. I liked them all, but the 125 is the most fun to ride, and it makes the jumps look so much bigger. You need to work harder, which is cool and I’m a 2-stroke fan anyway.”
“My plan for the rest of the season is just to be there and to win as much as possible, as well as be consistently on the podium to go for the championship. I have a close family with KTM; they give a lot to me, and I give a lot to them, so it works very well for everyone,” concluded the KTM-ace.
Photos: Marco Campelli