MXGP champion-elect Tony Cairoli took a pragmatic approach to his second-race crash in America, saying he is looking after his title aspirations instead of going full out for wins.
Cairoli roared to the holeshot and set the pace from the beginning of the second moto. He had Red Bull KTM team-mate Herlings for company and the pair were again a level apart from the pack as Tomac laboured in third and admitted afterwards he had no way to fight back.
On lap ten Cairoli lost the front end in a rutty left turn and briefly crashed, handing the advantage to Herlings who needed no invitation on his works 450 SX-F. Cairoli went from a championship-winning berth to third place overall and has to wait another seven days before he confirms his ninth crown.
With a 96 point gap between the KTM riders and 100 left in the last two Grands Prix, the Sicilian could be opening the bubbly after the first moto in Assen.
“We are always happy to finish on the podium, in a season like this it is really important to be consistent and that is what we have done. It is one of my best seasons ever and I want to get the title as soon as possible to have some time on the last races because I’m riding a little bit carefully, I don’t want to crash or break something. I did my best to close it today, I could let him go easily but I tried to fight back and yes I made a mistake, but this is part of racing,” said the eight-time champion.
“My condition is dropping a little bit since the beginning of the season whereas as Jeffrey is the opposite way and is in a good place. I am a fighter and always want to fight back. I hope I will make it in the next GP in Assen, which is a track I really like, and hopefully clinch the title in the first moto, and then after that have some good battles. Together with Jeffrey we have showed that we have some good speed lately and we are ‘there’ most of the time.”