Tony Cairoli and Max Nagl, Red Bull Teka KTM Factory Racing’s two MX1 contenders raced in Italy on Thursday in Round Two of the Italian National Championship and were up with the best to finish overall second and seventh in the Elite Class.
Both riders rode the 2011 edition of the KTM 350 SX-F, the bike that Cairoli raced to the World Championship MX1 title in its debut year 2010.
Italian National championship organizers have been continually hampered by bad weather in Italy but were finally able to run Round Two after two cancellations.
Rain had fallen here in the days immediately before the race and the morning practice was very muddy. But the track was thoroughly groomed before the start of the first race making conditions quite acceptable.
Cairoli, enjoying racing at home in Italy, had a good start in the first race but was bothered with arm pump as the race progressed.
Toni Cairoli (KTM 350 SX-F) says: "My arm got quite hard but I tried to relax and shake it out and in the end I managed second."
The second race was more dramatic for the KTM factory rider. He got into a tangle with several other riders at the start and found himself right back at around twentieth. Tony made one of his typical charges and managed to work his way right back to the front, slipping past David Philippaerts in the final corner to claim third place. The 2-3 result garnered him 180 championship points, trailing eventual overall Elite Class winner Evgeny Bobryshev by 20 points to wrap up a race day that he said was overall "quite satisfying."
While teammate Max Nagl had a DNF in the first race, he put on a great performance to finish second in the second race, commenting that the wet track had dried out well by race two leaving some nice lines.
Max, always a demon at the start, went very close to getting the holeshot in race two but made a small mistake in the straight to be third in the first corner. He went on to secure second at the checkered flag.
Max is still making the transition from the 450 SX-F to the new 350 SX-F bike and said at the close of the day he was very satisfied. "Today I had good starts and I had the speed. I sometimes had some problems with shifting but that’s only because I’m getting used to the new bike and adjusting my riding style to suit it."
Tony and Max will race again at the weekend in Round Three of the Italian Nationals at Cingoli and will have one more outing in the championship before the start of the World Championship series in Sevlievo, Bulgaria in the first weekend in April.
The team’s MX2 riders did not compete in this round, instead Jeffrey Herlings and Jeremy Van Horebeek will contest the second round of the Dutch National Championship in Halle on Sunday. The team has opted to use these national competitions as their competition warm-up for the GP season.
Italian Championship Race One
1, Steven Frossard, France, Yamaha, 30’07.205
2, Tony Cairoli, Italy, KTM 30’15.614
3, Evgeny Bobryshev, Russia, Honda, 30’24.718
4, Davide Guarneri, Italy, Kawasaki, 30’26.718
5, Tanel Leok, Estonia, TM, 30’48.974
DNF Max Nagl, Germany, KTM
Italian Championship Race Two
1, Evgeny Bobryshev, Russia, Honda, 29’50.530
2, Max Nagl, Germany, KTM, 29’53.367
3, Tony Cairoli, Italy, KTM, 29’55.104
4, David Philippaerts, Italy, Yamaha, 29’55.829 5.299
5, Kevin Strijbos, Belgium, Suzuki
Overall classification: Elite Class Italian Championship Round 2
1, Evgeny Bobryshev, Russia, Honda, 80 points – 120 – 200
2, Tony Cairoli, Italy, KTM , 100 – 80 – 180
3, Steven Frossard, France, Yamaha 120 – 50 – 170
4, Davide Guarneri, Italy, Kawasaki 65 – 55 – 120
5, David Philippaerts, Italy, Yamaha, 50 – 65 – 115
6, Kevin Strijbos, Belgium, Suzuki 45 – 60 – 105
7, Max Nagl, Germany, KTM, 0 – 100 -100