The twenty-five-year-old Dutchman inked his deal on the eve of the British Grand Prix this weekend and the opening round of twenty in the 2020 MXGP series; his fourth in the premier class and eleventh in the FIM World Championship all with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing.
The association began in 2009 when Herlings was signed to make his MX2 GP debut for the 2010 season as a fifteen-year old. He claimed his first top-three race finish in just his second moto at the Grand Prix of Bulgaria at Sevlievo, celebrated his first podium at Mantova in Italy for round two and then started an incredible seven-year unbeaten streak of wins a few weeks later at his home event at Valkenswaard; scene of his very first 1-1 clean sweep.
Since that initial term in 2010 Herlings has gone on to accumulate 86 Grand Prix victories in two classes and ace titles in 2012, 2013, 2016 (all MX2) and then 2018 (MXGP) with KTM 250 SX-F and KTM 450 SX-F machinery. In that time there have been some astonishing performances – such as the first moto chequered flag in Latvia last summer, taken with a broken foot – and also some tough moments when he conceded likely titles in 2014 and 2015 due to injury. His peerless 2018 MXGP campaign saw #84 own 17 from 19 Grands Prix and classify as runner-up in the other two outings.
Herlings is already the most successful Dutch rider in the history of the sport and is third on the list for all-time Grand Prix triumphs. In 2019 he added the Motocross of Nations Chamberlain trophy to his heaving collection of silverware.
Jeffrey Herlings: “I’m very, very happy. I have been with KTM since 2009 so by the end of this next contract it will be fifteen years together. I’m excited to stay in the orange family and I have been working with Pit [Beirer] and the entire crew since the beginning and I was fourteen. I’m blessed to be able to do it for another three years; four including this one about to start. It is also good to have this done before the weekend and GP1 of 2020. KTM is where my heart is, and they are my family. I’m thankful that they trust in me, and I believe in them, the bike and all the people I work with. I’ll be racing with them until I’m 28 and I’m super-happy, hopefully there many more happy days ahead.”
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “This contract definitely means a lot to me personally because it was back in 2009 that we gave this young kid and his family our word that we’d take good care of him and he had a great future in front of him: we wanted to be a partner in that. We went through so many ups and downs with Jeffrey and he has collected all of his wins and titles with us – just one brand. It was actually quite emotional to know he could spend his career with just one company. I’m really happy that we could agree everything so early for another three years and I wish him a healthy and strong season and hopefully an even longer association with us when he’s stopped racing.”
Robert Jonas, Vice President KTM Motorsports Offroad: “Jeffrey’s story with KTM is really special and I think it shows the strong bond we have with him that he wanted to commit to another three years with us. We all know his speed and his ability, and that determination to get the best of himself on the circuit can be almost unmatchable. He is a spectacular athlete to watch and to work with and we’re looking forward to a lot more races together.”