Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tony Cairoli launched his 2014 MX season with flair on Sunday taking impressive wins in both the MX1 and Elite Class at the opening round of the Italian International MX Championship in Riola on the island of Sardinia.
The owner of seven World Championship titles, Cairoli was clearly at home on the sand track and racing in front of the Italian crowd. He rewarded his fans with two impressive performances on the track, winning the MX1 race by almost 38 seconds and the Elite race (a combination of MX1 and MX2 riders) by 27 seconds. Carioli came away with a perfect scorecard of 120 points and leading the MX1 and Elite championship.??
Tony Cairoli: “I really like this track and I am confident to ride in the sand. This seems to be getting better and better for me every year, so even though the track was difficult we had a good start to the season.” Cairoli said he was pleased with his physical condition and said Sardinia was an excellent place get in some track time in the sand when the weather in Belgium and Holland was still cold.
Also in Riola to contest the MX2 category was Red Bull KTM’s Jordi Tixier who had to settle for a fourth in the class, conceding a podium third to KTM rider Pauls Jonass of Latvia. Riding now in the senior competition, Jonass is contesting the MX2 Worlds this season for the Marchetti Racing Team after successful World and European titles in the 125 and 250 classes. Tixier and Jonass finished 11 and 12 in the mixed Elite class race.
Tixier had several crashes on the sand track and had to fight his way back into the action in both races but he came away reasonably satisfied with his first outing for the season. “My start in the super final was not so bad but I crashed in the first lap and then again with a slow rider. It’s not exactly the result I wanted but it is only the first of the pre-season races.”
Factory rider Ken de Dycker, unfortunately on this injured list was in Riola with the team but only as a spectator. He said he was making good progress with recovering from his injury and confirmed doctors were satisfied that it was healing quicker than they expected.
De Dycker: “I hope in 3-4 weeks I will be able to do everything again. I am feeling positive for the season and I’m happy this injury happened in December and not during the season. Now I just have to fight back, to do everything as good as I can and gain some points when I get back on the track.”
The Italian International MX Championship is a popular pre-season opportunity for the top riders to hone their skills ahead of the opening MXGP fixture in Qatar on March 1. The second round of the Italian Championship is next weekend in Sicily, Cairoli’s home island.