With the new rule change that puts the MX1 and MX2 classes in the same races in Qatar, Thailand, Mexico and Brazil the teenager isn't too bothered by the possibility of banging bars with guys like Antonio Cairoli, Ken De Dycker, Clement Desalle and Steven Frossard.
Geoff Meyer from MXLarge.com caught up with Jeffrey today and asked him about the new rule change and also his expectation for 2013.
MXlarge: Jeffrey, what do you think of the new rule change that MX1 will race against MX2 in the races in Qatar, Thailand, Mexico and Brazil?
Herlings: Well, you know on an MX2 bike it is pretty unfair, for sure in Mexico because of the altitude, and competing against MX1 bikes. I think we have to respect the rule and just make the most of it. I think for me it's pretty cool, because I get to race against guys like Cairoli and De Dycker and all those guys, and if I want to go to MX1 in 2014 I know what to expect. It is going to be difficult with the horsepower, but for the fans and the television and to promote it is going to be nice to see, it will be an awesome event.
MXlarge: How will you entered these races, with the thought of racing the MX1 guys or just being top MX2 rider?
Herlings: As a rider you always look for new challenges, and my next challenge is to get another World Championship. It is going to be 18 rounds, so it will be difficult to go undefeated, but I don't give up that dream, 36 motos and it is going to be tough, I am going to try and win as much as I can do. The first moto is in Qatar in three months and it is going to be way tougher to beat Cairoli than the other MX2 guys, it is going to be hard on an MX2 bike. I have less horsepower and it is going to be hard to get a good start. If I get 5th in the MX1/MX2 race I will be pumped, but I really try and go there and race with Antonio, I know it is out of reach, but I really want to try. It is almost impossible, but I will give everything to challenge those top guys.
MXlarge: I have heard the circuits in Qatar and Thailand are sand. Have you heard anything?
Herlings: I have seen images from Thailand the Dutch trainer Jan Postmar is there and he has shown me images of the track. I have seen some movies and it is sand, not like Lierop, Lommel or even Valkenswaard, but it is sand and that is going to be an advantage for me. It is possible that I could win that, it is going to be difficult, but I can do it. Qatar I have not seen anything from the track, I just know it is going to be new and I want to get the KTM on top of the box.
MXlarge: Changing the subject a little. You were clearly the fastest guy in Lommel at the MXoN, but watching Antonio go 1-1 must have been difficult, because everyone talked about him going 101. How was that?
Herlings: He went 1-1 and he was the strongest guy in the opening moto, and in the second moto he was the only one I really raced with, but he started off with a holeshot and I started off crashing in the first corner. He rode his own pace and had nobody in front of him and I had to pass 38 riders and by the time I got into second he was like 30 seconds in front, I still managed to close that gap, but then with two laps to go I was on his rear wheel and I couldn't get him. It was tough, because I didn't have a long break between the motos, but I felt like I was the fastest guy there, and I felt comfortable to say that and to be the fastest sand rider in the planet. I think if I had not gone down in the first corner I could have won that moto also. He went 1-1 but I still felt like the fastest guy there.
MXlarge: I have to admit I have always liked your honesty and maybe I understand you better because I live in Holland and understand the Dutch way of talking, being straight forward and saying what they think, but you made a lot of enemies in 2012. Did you learn anything from what happened?
Herlings: I made loads of mistakes and a lot of times I was wrong, I am happy to admit that. I mean with Tommy we had a horrible year on and off the track, it wasn't nice racing each other, but I saw him at a practice track and we sat down for 10 minutes and talked and it is going to be way nicer to race with him in the future. I am pretty sure we will race each other again in the next three or four years. He is a really good rider and obviously I will race him again in Qatar and we won't be good friends, but we will get on okay from now on.
MXlarge: How about Mel Pocock?
Herlings: As for Mel Pocock, we did some riding last Friday and I asked him if he wanted to go to a party with me, but he couldn't go, but it is all good with him now and I don't have any enemies on the track. I tried to learn from my mistakes. I just hope I have a good 2013 and don't make as many mistakes as in 2012.
MXlarge: Last question, America? Speaking to Antonio he has no desire to go and live in America, and knowing the Dutch a little, living in America compared to living in USA is very different. What is your goal, do you want to race in America?
Herlings: Well, with all the rules changing, so you can only defend your Championship once in the MX2 class and also the changes to the MX1 and MX2 class racing against each other, I mean I really want to stay in Europe, but I also want to spend another year on the MX2 class, so it is tough. I want to stay in Europe because I feel at home, but I don't want to go MX1 yet. I have to make that decision when it comes, go MX1 or go to America. I know I will be a good MX1 rider, but if I want to stay MX2. I mean it might be other peoples dream to go to America, but it isn't really mine. I like Europe and being with my friends. We have to see what happens. I want to stay in Europe and finish my career like Antonio will.