March 12, 2023 marks the sixteen months since Jeffrey Herlings raced his last Grand Prix, where he took his second MXGP title on November 10th in 2021 in Mantova, Italy. The 2023 season starts on March 12-13 in Argentina Patagonia. MX Active talked exclusively to ‘The Bullet’ as a preview of the 2023 season. Talking about his recovery, his dreams, his ended cooperation with Ruben Tureluren and the wish to race Eli Tomac 1 VS 1.
We all remember the actionpacked 2021 season with championship battles between Herlings, Gajser and Febvre till the end of the season. You also have to remember coming in to the 2021 season Herlings was also nine months out of competition. Once The Bullet is back behind the gate again, he is there to win championships! Let’s bring on 2023! The question is, will it allready happen in 2023? The 2023 MXGP season LIVE and ON DEMAND on MXGP-TV!SENT ME EMAIL TO INFO@MXACTIVE.COM OR WHATSAPP MESAGE TO SUBSCRIBE TO MXGP-TV
How are you, but really, how are you?
Jeffrey: I’m doing well and I feel good on and off the bike. On a sporting level, you should of course not underestimate to be out for a full year. The riding feels good, the speed is there in training, but I don’t know exactly where I stand right now. That will become clear once the races start.
How did you experience the 2022 season from the sidelines?
Jeffrey: For me, the year 2022 was a year to forget soon, from racing point of view. But I also learned a lot from this year, so I am now fully focused towards 2023.
KTM Pressrelease | Jeffrey Herlings: “I’m hungry to get back racing. It’s been way-too long. 2022 was a difficult year to take but once we made the decision to recover from the problems and focus on 2023 then I’ve had a date and target in mind and it’s coming close now. I know I will need some track time and my plan is to build into the season because we are now back to something like a ‘normal’ championship for the first time in three years. I want to try and get back to my best. I know the team has changed quite a bit around me but the goals in racing always stay the same.”
With an other MXGP title in 2023, a Redbull Formula 1 test drive will become reality?
Jeffrey: That would indeed make a dream come true for me… But that MXGP world title in 2023 is still very, very far away. But should it happen, a test drive in an F1 car would be a dream come true for me, especially as a huge F1 and car enthusiast.
Online on the Gypsy Tales podcast you talked about a 1 VS 1 race against multi-time AMA Champion Eli Tomac. When will this race take place?
Jeffrey: Like I mentioned in the podcast, I would love to do it, but for this to happen we have to be with the two of us and the conditions have to be right and fair for both of us. Since my interview with Gypsy Tales june last year, things have been a bit quiet about the 1 VS 1 competition against Eli Tomac, who knows. But I’m wondering if it will ever become a reality.
Is awarding points for MXGP qualifying on Saturday a good idea? Or back to a one-day racing format?
Jeffrey: For me personally, this isn’t even a discussion. I think the “one day format” was perfect. Mainly to exclude as many risks as possible in a sport with many injuries. These are 20 extra heats that will also count for the world championship. This makes the championship 50% longer, and now 60 heats with points instead of 40. I think that’s too much, but this is of course my personal opinion.
What other races will you do besides the MXGP World Championship?
Jeffrey: Besides the World Championship, I haven’t made a full plan yet which other races I will participate in before the World Championship kicks off in Argentina on March 12th. I can already confirm that I will start on February 26 in the English classic Hawkstone International Motocross.
What do you think of the Dutch Grand Prix being organized in Arnhem in 2023?
Jeffrey: I thought Oss – MXGP 2021 – was a great track, and so is Arnhem, so for me it doesn’t matter where the race is held. In any case, I am really looking forward to a Dutch Grand Prix being organized in Arnhem.
What changes are there for the 2023 season?
Jeffrey: Ruben Tureluren and me indeed do no longer work together. He was my mechanic, trainer and coach for 13 years. I have never heard from him since October 2022, he has not responded to my last WhatsApp message either. Surely this proved that the friendship was not as close as I thought it was and had hoped. I am disappointed that after working together for thirteen years, it was only a ‘work relation’ unfortunately.
Tony Cairoli has indeed become the new team manager of KTM in Europe and I will be able to use his knowledge and experience and as you know Jumbo is no longer my sponsor in 2023. In 2022 I had multiple operations on both feet, the problems are not completely gone, but they have become better than before and I am very happy with that.
What are the chances that you will ride a full AMA Outdoor season?
Jeffrey: That’s too far away for me at the moment, I recently extended my contract with KTM until the end of 2025. For now the focus is on the MXGP World Championship, so I can’t answer that today.
Watch the gallery of the 2023 photoshoot below.
Photo: KTM / JP Acevedo