Jeffrey Herlings to America and AMA Pro Motocross – he has no plans, or at least not yet. In an interview with a Dutch news publication, Herlings essentially admitted to trolling motocross fans. And then within a few sentences, he started to troll again, or did he?
Speaking with ED he was asked about his recent foot injury and the chance of missing the start of the season. “I will miss Argentina anyway. To miss one is not a good start, but on such a long championship I can afford it.”
Although British motocross fans would be disappointed if Herlings hadn’t recovered in time for Matterley Basin – the second round of the Motocross World Championship on March 24 – we know from his winning margin last season where he collected 151 more points than his arch-rival and team-mate Tony Cairoli, he may be able to let a few rounds go without racking up any points.
Although leading the points and stretching a lead is a lot different to making up a mountain of points – that would put significant pressure on his shoulders to win just about every moto.
The combination of Herlings’ social media posts – he posted the number 108 (which also happened to be the same number of days to the Hangtown opener) on Instagram with a winky emoji that set forums alight – and the prospect of not being mathematically able to defend his world title if he didn’t make a speedy recovery led to rampant speculation that he would quit MXGP for the season and head to the US for Pro Motocross.
Herlings trolled motocross fans by feeding the speculation. “I thought: I will light up the fire,” Herlings reportedly said to ED while grinning. “At various forums I read that I would not pick up the GPs and that I would drive in America. I had not said anything about it myself, not even talked to KTM about it.”
The fact that racing in America would not be helpful for KTM, either in Europe or the US, appeared to escape the sanity check of some.
It’s not up to Herlings where he races, that is down to KTM and he confirmed that in his interview this week.
“I have a contract to drive MXGP, I have no say in this situation. To be allowed to drive in America, I am dependent on the goodwill of KTM, he said to ED.
Herlings also confirmed his love of MXGP. “I prefer to stay active in the world championship, than I have to go to America,” he told ED.
But the champion wasn’t done fuelling speculation just yet. “If I miss too many GPs in the beginning, the American championship could be interesting. That is a very highly regarded championship. And a title that I do not have yet.
“In Europe I won just about everything I could win.”
There are a lot of unknowns with his injury situation – even Herlings doesn’t know just yet when he’ll be fit to ride again. “First wait and see what the doctors say,” he said. “If I’m only driving in five months, I will not get to America either.”
Herlings is generally not concerned about what he reads about himself online. In fact he feeds off it. He loves motocross and he loves to see rivalry within motocross, which means he’s happy to occasionally troll and the internet eats it up.
I’m looking forward to more mind games from Jeffrey, what about you?