He may be battered, and bruised; but Jeffrey Herlings is still confident in his ability to battle with the established MX1 stars in the Superfinal. Despite finishing seventh in the Superfinal at the GP of Qatar, he will still fight for the win in the Superfinal in Thailand, rather than sit back and protect his MX2 points lead.
Evidently, Jeffrey Herlings is of the belief that MX2 riders can fight upfront in the Superfinal, his tweet is proof of this: “I do think on a more technical, sandy track or on a track that has less grip you can rider top five, maybe top three in the Superfinal”. Can he do it? Here are our views; what do you think? Let us know in the forum.
Looking back over recent years you have to say it is possible. Herlings won the Superfinal at the Italian championships, Ken Roczen took second at the MXdN in France, and Ryan Villopoto won at the MXdN in Budds Creek. But, the difference is those races did not have the depth that the MX1 GPs do.
At the Nations the 450 class is essentially split between MX1 and MX3, at a GP the MX1 class really is all the twenty best 450 guys in one race so that makes it a bit more difficult. However, Herlings is a sensational talent and if he gets the start again, (the fact that MX2 go to the line first helps) he could just figure out how to stay there if the track is suitable to MX2 machines.
The track in Thailand seems to have a sandier base and this should help him. Herlings flew back to Holland where is was riding 40 minute motos in the sand while the rest of the GP contingent were riding scooters in Thailand so his fitness should be fine as long as he can adapt to the heat and humidity.
He can do it but he might have to ride harder than he ever has to make his dream a reality. At just 18 years old the whole success of the superfinal could be resting on his shoulders!
Can Jeffrey Herlings finish inside of the top three in the Superfinal? Yeah, he definitely can. Sure, it will be a much harder challenge that he faces in the MX2 class; but as I have alluded to previously, Herlings’ confidence will see him have a good amount of success. His tweet that is quoted above serves as proof of this, in my mind all it would take for the Dutchman to finish up inside of the top three is a holeshot.
Honestly, the only two MX1 riders that could probably beat Jeffrey Herlings no matter where they start are Antonio Cairoli, and Clement Desalle. I can see the Dutchman slotting in below these two on the podium. In fact, I wouldn’t be overly surprised if he were to win one of the Superfinals at some point. Another factor that could play in his favour is that the two classes are scored separately. So, if he was sat in third with a top MX1 rider reasonably close behind him; would the MX1 guy put himself out to pass him, knowing that it would have no impact on his final race position in the grand scheme of things?
There is no question that in the MX2 class, Jeffrey Herlings will have things easy this year. So, it seems that he is looking to the Superfinal for a bit of competition; in fact he might be the only rider that is really analysing the combined MX1 and MX2 results in this race. There is a precedent for an MX2 rider defying the odds and beating the 450’s; just look to the MXdN for proof of that. Although the rest of the MX2 field may struggle in the three remaining Superfinals, Jeffrey Herlings may be the one that excels whilst grabbing the headlines.
Words by Lewis Phillips and Jonathan McCready
Image courtesy of KTM Images/Ray Archer