Jeffrey Herlings had one heck of a weekend at the Grand Prix of Sardegna, round ten of the 2021 FIM Motocross World Championship. Not only did he sweep both motos for the first time this season, he jumped from fourth to first in the championship standings and erased a 34-point deficit. Not bad for a day’s work! Herlings recapped his phenomenal outing in this exclusive MX Vice interview, as well as some other interesting topics.
The 2021 Motocross of Nations is set to be run this weekend, of course, and Herlings is one of the few elite guys who will represent his country. Herlings was down to compete in MXGP for The Netherlands, but switched to the Open class just last week. It turns out that move came about after his countryman, Glenn Coldenhoff, requested it. There is more on that below. This interview was first posted as an MX Vice post-race podcast.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Ray Archer
MX Vice: 1-1, pole position in qualifying and the red plate. Perfect does not even cover it, really.
Jeffrey Herlings: Could it be any better for today? Maybe we could have had a better start in the second moto, but we started second. If we would have been first it would have been easy going, but we had to work for that second one. Practice was good and timed practice was good, so I was able to get a good gate pick. I pulled a holeshot in the first moto… I was pretty surprised with that. I just felt comfortable the whole moto. I was leading and pulling away every lap almost, so I was happy with that one and it was super good.
I had a good start in the second moto, with a second, but you know Jorge [Prado] when he is leading… He’s hard to pass! He is not doing anything dirty whatsoever, he just rides defensive and uses the right lines on the inside. He is really good with that. I saw the countdown clock counting down and I was like, “We have got to put the hammer down.” I passed him with like five laps to go and then I managed to pull a little gap. 1-1, and I went from minus 34 points to plus one or tied. I don’t even know [Ed. Note: Jeffrey Herlings is now one point ahead].
You were much faster than Prado on the second half of the track, but in the first sector he could eek out a little bit of a gap and that made it harder for you to pass him.
Yeah, because in that part there were a lot of 180 turns and he kept roosting me. At one point I was starting to run out of tears offs! I had to give him a little bit of a gap at some points. I was still able to fight as hard as I could, and I was able to pass him.
What did you think of this track as an MXGP round? I would have liked to have seen them water it a lot more and maybe not flatten it, but they had 65s and 85s. What did you think?
Yeah, 65s and 85s were yesterday but only at the beginning of the day. There was so much wind, so the track dries out so quick and you have to water more. I think that’s why it was so one-lined. You just go inside, inside and inside everywhere. You just defend! I think with more water the track would get rougher, and you get more options. That’s the only thing I would advise for the future: Water the shit out of the track!
You have the red plate now and are one point up. Lot of guys are going into a weekend off, but you will be hammering down at the ‘Nations. No regrets? You are happy to go into Mantova and give it your all?
Yeah, I mean some of them are not there for the risk, but it can happen at any time. It happened before for me – many times in practice I have had a crash and with Tim [Gajser] it also happened in practice. It it needs to happen then it might happen. If you are thinking about that then you should not even go to the toilet at night, because you could also crash! Yeah, it’s a shame that a lot of the guys won’t be there. I hope Tony [Cairoli] will be there, because he is one of the top five in MXGP and he is the only one of them that is supposed to be there. Let’s hope he is fit enough to race. For the rest, there is Glenn [Coldenhoff] but we are divided into two different classes.
In that Open class, you may just dominate.
Actually, Glenn requested me a month ago if we wanted to swap classes.
That came from him? Did he just want to run the number-one plate?
No, he asked me if he could have the longer break between motos. For me, I’m a team player and it didn’t matter if I have to race the MXGP or Open class. I race the same guys every weekend and no matter what class you race, you only have to race half of them. For me, it does not really matter. I will do it for the team to make Glenn feel better – he requested it so I am happy to do it. I just have a shorter break between motos, but I can sleep in a little longer on Saturday. That is good!