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MXGP World Championship

Chatter Box: Dirk Gruebel

Insight from KTM’s Dirk Gruebel.

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Although Jeffrey Herlings was not present at the Grand Prix of Lombardia, round eleven of the FIM Motocross World Championship, he was still discussed more than anyone else. With that in mind, getting an update on his injury from Red Bull KTM’s Dirk Gruebel seemed like a great idea. Gruebel also discusses the fact that there will be a round in Hong Kong next year.

MX Vice: First off, we will start with the big news from the week. Jeffrey [Herlings] had a crash and broke his collarbone. Just talk about what happened, when you found out and what has gone on since then with his surgery.

Dirk Gruebel: Wednesday, the mishap, it was a normal practice crash. Nothing serious, but he fell on the shoulder and the collarbone was broken. They went straight to the hospital and got checked out and same night surgery. They put a bigger plate in, so now it is all fixed. According to Jeffrey, it is feeling all fine and it is all good. Surgery made it all well. Now we need to wait and heal up a little bit.

Let’s say in a strong week we will know much more about when he is going to be able to be back on the bike and start riding. At the moment, no physical training even, but beginning next week he is allowed to. Knowing him, he is not sitting for long on the couch… That is clear. It is a pity. He puts so much effort in and was riding so well. Sometimes shit happens.

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Dirk Gruebel still thinks that Jeffrey Herlings can win the title.

KTM Images/Ray Archer

There were a couple of rumours that he cracked two ribs as well. Is that true? Is that a problem?

No… That is not a problem. They are only bruised. It looked a bit like it over there from the feeling. He went down hard. He is not practicing slow, of course, and he was quite beaten up. So aching all over the body, but the second check there is nothing on the ribs.

One thing that always makes me a bit mad, and I am sure you will agree, people see the crash and go, “Of course Jeffrey has crashed.” There have not been that many, if you look through his career, especially since he got on the 450. There was Ottobiano in the pre-season last year, then in Russia he had the big one coming down the hill that was no problem, but apart from that, I cannot think of any crashes that he has actually had on the big bike.

No, to be honest with the way he rides and how much he twists the throttle on the 450, he is pretty steady. He had more get-offs with the 250, but there I think at one point he was just taking too easy and not paying attention anymore because it had been too easy anyhow. Now, at the moment, I do not know. It just happened. He cannot practice slow and race fast. That is not possible, so he also practices fast.

Unfortunately it strike again on him – he is not fortunate with that. Not one season the last seven or eight years he was without injury, but he had it before. He came back strong. I think it is not a big deal. Now Tony [Cairoli], he gets some extra horsepower, of course, and the championship is really interesting again. He just needs to stay cool.

Do you know how he is feeling in himself? I know with some of the injuries in his MX2 days he was really mad and bummed out. Is he feeling quite upbeat considering the circumstances?

No, actually not. I talk with him and said, “Listen, we just need to stay cool.” Whatever happens this week happens and we make the best out of it from the ongoing races when he is healthy again. We know he is the fastest at the moment. His teammate Tony is a big opponent, of course. You know Jeffrey. He is going to give everything to win this first title this year. He was really bummed last year that the first year did not work out. I am pretty confident it will all be good in the end.

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Pauls Jonass also works under Dirk Gruebel's wing each week.

KTM Images/Ray Archer

You are one hundred percent preparing for him to be back in Indonesia, right? He will be back there, as long as disaster does not strike?

Yeah, the plan is he shows up in Indonesia of course. The riding until then is going to be not much, but I think it does not matter. The way he is riding lately, he still can finish top five. Then you do some damage control if it is not going like you think it should be, but it is not going to be really too bad I think. He rode before with a broken collarbone, and some other stuff happened when he ripped his finger off in Sweden, but the speed was always there.

Speaking of Indonesia, this is going to be a busy couple of weeks for you. From a team’s perspective, just talk about what you have got to go through to get ready for that race.

We need to rush home now. The tent is already down, as you can see, because the truck needs to go back to Austria. The boys jump into the sprinter vans and go back. We need to pack up tomorrow because Tuesday is already the pick up of the flight crates. Everything needs to be ready for Tuesday lunchtime.

It was announced yesterday we are going to Hong Kong next year. Did you find out about that from Youthstream before the announcement? What do you think about heading to another flyaway?

Well, there were enough rumours but nothing was really confirmed. Yesterday we really had it confirmed. It’s for sure exciting to race there, but flyaway races are taking over a bit lately. Having six next year is heavy on the staff. We have twenty races, six flyaway rounds. Like Giuseppe [Luongo] said, first one Middle East, then come back and onto Argentina. Those are two single ones. It takes its toll. You spend much time in airplanes and airports. At home you cannot do much. Development during races is nearly impossible. Luckily we have a test team, but still to test with the riders themselves… It is not really possible with that schedule.

Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: KTM Images/Ray Archer

MXGP World Championship

HRC Video: Meeting Ferruccio Zanchi

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Ferruccio Zanchi is the new face in Team HRC, with the Italian youngster leading the renewed CRF250R programme for 2024. Watch on, to get to know a bit more about this new MX2 rider.

Lead Image: HRC

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MXGP World Championship

Hawkstone International in the books for Gabriel SS24 KTM

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In the MX2 class Cas qualified 3rd and had a good feeling on the sandy circuit. In moto 1 he had a good start but struggled to pass on the one lined track and by the time he got to third position the leaders had pulled away. Shortly into moto 2 there was a red flag with a full restart. Cas again restarted in second behind current MX2 world champion Adrea Adamo to where he would finish the 25 minute + 1 lap race. As well as securing 2nd on the podium these results qualified Cas to line up for the superfinal. The MX2 riders were let off the gate first shortly followed by the MX1 riders. Cas started in second and throughout the moto was picked off gradually by the faster 450 machines. He finished a very respectable 12th in the combined results, and the second MX2 machine. Up next for Cas is Lierop International this Sunday 3rd March.


Words: Press Release | Lead Image: Gabriel SS224KTM/Ray Archer


Coming into the weekend Josh was carrying a slight lower back issue but was able to compete and got stronger as the day went on. He qualified 17th which he was not happy with but didn’t let it affect him ahead of the races. In moto 1 he had an unusually bad start but got up to 11th place just behind Adam Sterry and despite getting close was not able to make the pass. In moto 2 he had another good jump but had more bad luck when he got caught up with another rider and had a first turn crash. Coming from dead last he came through the pack to finish 10th. Heading into the superfinal Josh rode his best all day and finished the superfinal 7th in the combined results, 6th MX1 machine and top British rider for which he received the Vaughan Semmens Memorial Trophy for. This was Josh’s last preseason race to get the final touches sorted before his season officially starts in Argentina for the MXGP series on the 9th/10th March.

Team Manager Shaun Simpson, said: “Hawkstone is always a great pre-season race and this year certainly didn’t disappoint! Probably one of the biggest crowds I’ve seen at Hawkstone in the last 20 years. It’s a great test for the riders and was nice for us to showcase our new paddock setup for our British fans and sponsors. Both Josh and Cas steadily got better as the day went on, the mechanics done a fantastic job with the tight schedule and it was nice for Cas to get his first podium of the season. We are gathering some momentum now and are looking forward to Lierop this weekend for Cas and Argentina in two weeks to start the MXGP championship with Josh.”

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European Motocross

Lucas and Sacha Coenen confirmed for Lierop

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This Sunday (March 3) the Dutch motocross season will start at the Herselse Bossen circuit in Lierop. The field of racers is getting stronger and stronger and it promises to be a really high-level race.


Words: Press Release | Lead Image: Husqvarna/Bavo Swijgers


The MX2 class is full of young and motivated riders and Lucas and Sacha Coenen will join them for Lierop. These talented twins regularly impressed in the MX2 World Championship last year and Lucas won his first Grand Prix in Indonesia at the age of sixteen.

A fifth place was his share in the final standings and he certainly wants to improve on that this year. Sacha also regularly showed that he has the speed to compete at the front. Highlights were his second place in the qualifying heat in Finland and top five finishes in the Czech Republic and Sweden.

In the deep sand of Lierop, the Coenen brothers will compete against riders like Kay de Wolf, Cas Valk, Hakon Osterhagen, Max Werner, Scott Smulders, Bradley Mesters, Hakon Fredriksen, Oriol Oliver and others.

Also in the 500 class we get fireworks with the participation of Jeffrey Herlings, Jago Geerts, Pauls Jonass, Calvin Vlaanderen, Brent van Doninck and others.

The weather forecast looks good, so the Dutch MX Season Opener in Lierop has all the ingredients to see a great day of racing.

For more information have a look at www.maclierop.nl

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