Jeffrey Herlings injury update means a long wait until 2023 MXGP

Jeffrey Herlings

Jeffrey Herlings

Jeffrey Herlings has been ruled out of MXGP and Pro Motocross racing for the remainder of the 2022 season, putting an end to the long-running speculation that he would switch to racing the AMA national series this summer.

Herlings, the reigning MXGP champion, has not recovered enough from the left heel he broke at a factory KTM team photoshoot just weeks before the start of the season. There is concern that a similar impact could cause further damage and setbacks at this time.

His Red Bull Factory Racing team said Herlings “is likely” to be out of motocross racing for the 2022 season. They also revealed that Herlings would now have surgery on both left and right lower limbs to regain full conditioning and fitness for the 2023 FIM Motocross World Championship.

It’s understood that Herlings had an appointment this week to assess the condition of his injury. He and the team’s management then held a meeting at KTM’s Motorsport HQ in Munderfing, Austria and jointly they opted for two further medical procedures, and to miss the rest of the 2022 motocross season. This means the slight possibility Herlings could have raced in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, which is set to start on May 28, is no longer possible.

The team revealed that Herlings will have a plate removed and his left foot corrected. In addition, a second operation will look to resolve the issue in his right foot that troubled him throughout the 2021 season. Hopefully, that will remove the discomfort and inflexibility he has been suffering.

If that goes well Herlings can head into this winter with recuperation and rehab complete, which means he would then be fit and ready to test and train with a view to a potential third MXGP title in 2023.

Earlier this year, the KTM team drafted Mathys Boisrame as a fill-in for the injured Herlings, but the Frenchman crashed out on his team debut at the MXGP of Great Britain. The team has since consistently said they will not seek another temporary appointment for Herlings’ seat.

Herlings has been a Red Bull KTM stalwart since he entered the FIM Motocross World Championship with the factory team in 2010. The 27-year-old has claimed five titles: three in MX2 with the KTM 250 SX-F and two in MXGP with the 450 SX-F including one of the most dominant seasons in the modern era in 2018 and then the unforgettably close contest in 2021 that was won in the last moto and by just four points. With 99 grand prix wins Jeffrey is just two victories away from the all-time record, currently held by the great Stefan Everts.

“I wish the situation was not like this and it’s so frustrating that my career keeps throwing things at me,” exclaimed Herlings. “I’ve been recovering from the injury but the condition of my foot – because of some old problems – means it is not in the best shape and not enough to think about racing at the highest level this summer.

“It’s a bummer not to run the #1 plate in MXGP or to think about the chance of doing the AMA Pro Nationals but we’ve made our decision and now my only goal is to get my body right, get pain-free and think about preparation for 2023.

“It feels like a long way away but I know it will also come quickly. Thanks to all my fans for the messages of support and of course to the best team in the sport. Red Bull KTM have always had my back and I’m really grateful they still do.”

Robert Jonas, Head of Motorsports Offroad said: “This was both a hard and easy decision. It was tough for Jeffrey to miss more racing, especially when there were some tempting goals for him for 2022, but then it was also easy because he would have been putting his health at risk again. We chatted and made the call that he should use the time to get fully ready for his fourteenth season with us in 2023. We all know how fast and competitive Jeffrey is when he is fit, happy and confident and this is how we need him in our racing program.”

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