Motocross

Jeffrey Herlings admits to being swayed by MX2 again and records

Jeffrey Herlings admits to being swayed by MX2 again and records

Andrew Hill

Red Bull KTM’s Jeffrey Herlings is still undefeated in a Grand Prix event since the final round of the 2012 MX2 FIM Motocross World Championship.

At France last weekend – his fifth double moto triumph in a row this year – increased the brightness of the spotlight on the nineteen year old Dutchman, and his plans for 2015 that could change the dynamic of MXGP.

Herlings has repeated his commitment to KTM and to satisfy the last year of his contract but this hasn’t stopped rumours that he could be part of a big Red Bull-backed project with Kimi Raikkonen’s IceOne team in MXGP for 2015.

Update: [Ed] Speculation on Twitter is that Herlings will race the last three AMA Pro Motocross races – Unadilla, Indiana and Utah – to keep himself race fit for the final GPs of the season in Brazil and Mexico. The dates would work and although Herlings doesn’t really need the bike time he wouldn’t be pushing himself too hard either, after missing the Brazil flyaway earlier this season. If this does happen it would certainly spice up the AMA series for us Europeans.

There was even more indication that the double world champion and now winner of 39 Grands Prix could stay another season in MX2 where he – again – faces little challenge for victory ever week and in every type of terrain.

Herlings is almost certainly set to become the biggest earner in the MXGP paddock whether he switches for 2015 or waits a year and courts a number of offers. He insists his motivation is to batter the sports’ statistics as much as his current rivals.

“If I want to stay in MX2 then that would be really cool because I can break records,” he admitted at St Jean D’Angely. “Hopefully I can take a third title this year and maybe one day take Stefan Everts’ [record of 101 GP wins and ten world championships]. To win in MX2 to be honest is easier than MX1 [MXGP]; I think it is fair to say this. My long term goal is to break as many records as possible and it is easier to pull off GP wins in MX2.”

He talked further on his thoughts for the future: “It is a difficult question [on what he should do]. There are many things included: Red Bull, KTM, they have a say in the decision. I cannot really answer right now. I also have to look at myself. If I want to be a better rider in the future then maybe I have to go to MX1 to race against those guys.”

“There are many different ways to look at it,” he added. “We had bad luck at the beginning of the season but now we are in a good way. I want a few more races with good results before I start thinking about next year and maybe get a mess in my head, make mistakes and risk an injury.”

Herlings will face a heavy weight of public opinion that he should switch classes for 2015. Many feel he should have already entered MXGP at the end of 2013 after easily securing his second title. If he stays on the 250 – still at 20 years of age – for 2015 then MX2 faces a truly bizarre scenario with most of the KTM rider’s closest peers being forced into MXGP by virtue of their age.

With every passing GP of domination Herlings makes his continued presence in MX2 even more ludicrous in terms of credibility. Regardless of views on what Herlings should do there is one pressing subject that cannot be ignored: his decision must be made swiftly as it will affect the structure of Red Bull KTM and their planned line-up of six riders and motorcycles for 2015. Depending on what he does Herlings’ actions might have wider implications, as he says: “In one month we will know the decision and I have to make it soon because a lot of people in the paddock are waiting.”