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In what turned out to be one of the most dramatic days of Antonio Cairoli's career, the five times World Motocross Champion ended his Grand Prix of Sweden last weekend with zero points and his stronghold on the MX1 red plate for 2012 is now gone.
The Italian legend had two terrible motos in Sweden, first having a stone stuck in his chain in the opening moto and then riding himself into a huge mud-pool where he just couldn't get out in moto two. As always, on both occasions Cairoli stayed rather cool, kept himself in check and didn't let the frustration take over. He walked away from his stricken KTM 350 and even watched part of the second moto in the KTM pit tent.
Many people wonder what the next step will be for the Italian. In my opinion it's bad news for his rivals. Having entered this year's Championship as the favorite, and from the moment the FIM World MX1 Championship began it seems as though Cairoli was taking his time, not giving 100% and with the knowledge that he was the man and his moment would come.
Sure enough he won the opening Grand Prix in Holland with 1-1 results, then cruised to 4-3 in round two in Bulgaria; around a circuit he has never experienced big success. After scoring 1-3 results in round three in Italy, and 1-3 in round four in Mexico, he wasn't the fastest, losing the GPs in Italy to old rival Christophe Pourcel and gaining a slight advantage over his rival in Mexico, but he never looked in dominating form, at least not like he has in the past. When I asked him about this he just smiled, and told that he didn't want to make a mistake and lose too many points.
Again in the mud of Brazil, the Italian struggled, picking up just 25 points from his moto two. It would be one of the worst Grand Prix's in his brilliant career, yet he remained positive and confident. A couple of weeks later he made up for his Brazilian disappointment with 1-1 results in France, and rode better than he had all season. At round seven in Portugal he then returned to his steady and easy mode to pick up 3-2 results, and went 1-1 in Belgium.
Cairoli's latest poor showing in Sweden will be burning inside, and the Italian is not a rider who uses negative energy. He will arrive at the Grand Prix of Latvia in 11 days time with fire in his belly.
Kegums is a circuit that has seen some rough battles between Cairoli and the new red plate holder Clement Desalle.
That Latvian battle field will once again showpiece the two strong men of the MX1 class, but who will come out on top? My tip is Cairoli, and it will be in a stunning domination like we haven't seen for some time. Cairoli is in this era, the best, and the best don't waste time looking for revenge.