Jeffrey Herlings has been denied the opportunity to contest the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship according to a report from the Netherlands.
The reigning MXGP world champion is currently recovering from a broken foot after a training accident in pre-season and with the recovery time expected to run into multiple FIM Motocross World Championship rounds, there was interest from the 24-year-old to switch to USA outdoor racing when that starts mid-May. That hope has now been squashed.
KTM Motocross Factory Racing Sporting Director Joel Smets revealed the news to NOS. Herlings will just aim for a return in the MXGP series Smets offered in an exclusive to the Dutch media outlet.
“Participating in the MX circuit in America was a wish, an idea,” Smets told NOS after KTM met to discuss the dilemma.
“However, KTM already has two advantages there, the American Cooper Webb and the Frenchman Marvin Musquin. Another driver would cause unnecessary rivalry. We prefer to see him alongside Tony Cairoli in the MXGP.”
Smets and KTM are also keen to protect their motocross star. “We know Jeffrey’s drive and don’t want to take any risks. In the past he made mistakes and we think we should protect him against himself.”
NOS report that Herlings will have an x-ray on his foot on Monday, March 25 but the team aren’t expecting Herlings to return to the bike until the end of April. “We will not put a date on his return,” says Smets. “That will be a return in which he has to drive with less ambitious goals.”