Cairoli: “I wanted to push Gajser”

A potential duel brewing at the top of the MXGP standings?

Tony Cairoli showed the same kind of speed and form that helped him dominate the Grand Prix of Qatar at Neuquen, Argentina last week but the Sicilian had to use his pace to come through the pack in both motos and finished seventh overall. Two mistakes proved costly for #222 who had to relinquish control of the red plate to the World Champion and one of his principal rivals for the title, Tim Gajser.

Cairoli and Gajser are the only two athletes to post a 1-1 scorecard so far this season with Wilvo Yamaha’s Shaun Simpson conquering the sole moto in the rain-hit Grand Prix of Indonesia. Cairoli painted a positive picture of his efforts in South America but was correct in alluding to the fact that the bounteous crowd at Neuquen missed the chance to see both riders now fully fit (Gajser was ill for the opening race at Losail) duelling for the win.

“My condition, the speed and everything was so good for me here and for this I am so disappointed [with the result] because it should have been another 1-1. I could push from the first lap to the last and I wanted to push Gajser because I felt this was one track where I could put a lot of pressure,” he said. “It should have been a nice race and he had it easier. The championship is still so long so we have time to get back this lead.”

Cairoli suffered with his starting prowess but refused to cite the new metal grid behind the MXGP gate as part of the cause: “I had problems slipping and losing traction so we’ll have to see if it is something with my settings. It was easy to crash out there.”

While riders and teams juggle the time zones and travel over the next two weeks and the run-up to the Grand Prix of Mexico and also contemplate the next far-flung episode of the 2017 calendar, Cairoli was able to see the shinier aspect of his time in Argentina for what was the third running of the Grand Prix in Patagonia. “[the reaction of the fans] is amazing and it looks like my second home GP; so many people were cheering while I was right at the back and this showed they are real fans and I am very grateful.”

Photo by Ray Archer

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