Herlings has not recovered sufficiently from the left heel he broke less than two weeks before the opening round of the 2022 campaign and the state of his foot means that a similar impact could cause further damage and setbacks.
After discussions at KTM’s Motorsport HQ in Munderfing, Austria, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing management together with Jeffrey decided to opt for two further medical procedures and miss both the rest of the 2022 MXGP term – which is now six rounds old – and the slight possibility of competing in the forthcoming AMA Pro National motocross series in the USA that begins at the end of this month.
The 27-year-old will have a plate removed and his left foot corrected and will also visit the operating theatre a second time for more repair work on his troublesome right foot to reduce the discomfort and inflexibility the Dutchman has been suffering. Recuperation and rehab from both processes means that ‘The Bullet’ can head into the winter, fit and ready to test and train with a view to a potential third MXGP title in 2023.
Herlings has been a Red Bull KTM stalwart since he entered the FIM Motocross World Championship with the factory team in 2010. He 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.
Jeffrey Herlings: “I wish the situation was not like this and it’s so frustrating that my career keeps throwing things at me! 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: “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.”