Former world champion suffers mechanical DNF in race one.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings experienced a luckless return from injury at the MXGP of Sweden, where he was forced to retire from the opening moto when his bike suffered significant damage after falling into the path of Arnaud Tonus (Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha).
Herlings had led the opening half of the outing before relinquishing the top spot, however a small tip-over saw his KTM 450 SX-F land in front of an incoming Tonus, ultimately damaging the cooling system and making the bike unrideable.
The Dutchman returned in race two, charging to strong P4 result for his first grand prix since June and just his third of an injury-riddled season.
“Yesterday [leading] was fine for 20 minutes, but in the first moto I was really struggling with arm-pump,” Herlings explained. “We made some changes to the bike to have the suspension a bit softer because I was not at my normal pace. I led for the first twenty and then couldn’t hold on so well and had a small tip-over.
“Another rider hit my bike and damaged it pretty bad so I couldn’t finish, which was a shame because I think I could have been fifth-sixth. In the second moto I didn’t get a holeshot – which was pretty good because I don’t feel comfortable leading yet.
“I was around eighth and worked my way up to fourth. Together with first yesterday, it hasn’t been bad practice for less than two weeks on the bike. We can still work for a few more races until the ultimate goal in Assen.”
The 2018 MXGP world champion elected to return early from injury in order to be better prepared for the upcoming Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations (MXoN) at Assen in The Netherlands.