Last Friday reports trickled out of Europe that Red Bull KTM MXGP rider Jeffrey Herlings had suffered a crash while training in Spain and the resulting injury required immediate surgery. The Red Bull KTM MXGP team confirmed the news over the weekend and stated a full diagnosis would be made in the following days. Rumors of the injury were rampant over the weekend, as some stated that the severity of the crash could sideline the defending MXGP champion from much of the 2019 race season.
On Thursday, the official word from KTM dropped, which outlined the injury and the rider’s plan for the next few weeks. Per the release, Herlings underwent successful surgery to repair the multiple fractures in the foot and made mention that there was no damage to the ankle. However, Herlings will be in a cast for a week and will have a follow-up exam with doctors six weeks later. That timeline runs to mid-March and the opening round of the 2019 Monster Energy FIM Motocross World Championship will take place on March 3rd in Argentina. As a result, the team stated that it is unlikely Herlings will be on the starting line for his title defense.
In addition to this, Herlings posted a very vague Instagram Story that simply said “108.” Now that could mean anything, but it’s worth noting that the start of the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Hangtown on May 18th is 108 days away.
The press release from Red Bull KTM MXGP, including quotes from Herlings and team coordinator Dirk Gruebel, is posted in full below.
The Red Bull KTM star, who won 17 from 19 Grands Prix in 2018, suffered the injury Friday afternoon while training at the Albaida circuit in southern Spain. Herlings immediately flew back to Belgium that day and underwent a procedure with renowned surgeon Dr Claes to fix fractures in his right foot. Thankfully the 24 year old did not sustain damage to his ankle and the whole operation took place swiftly and with success.
Herlings had planned to race the Hawkstone Park International in the UK on February 16th but will now focus entirely on his rehab. He will change his cast next week and is scheduled for a consultation with medical staff in six weeks to determine the full extent of the recovery time, making his participation in the opening round of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Argentina on March 3rd unlikely.
Jeffrey Herlings: "I landed strangely from a jump and was at an angle when I went too close to the track 'wall' of dirt at Albaida. I got my foot caught between the bike and the mud. I knew we were in trouble, and we had the operation as soon as possible when we saw the foot was starting to swell. This is obviously not the best way to start 2019 but we'd been riding and preparing well and we have to work now to get back to that level. The good news is that Dr Claes and his team were really happy with how the operation went and I don’t have any more pain or swelling. In six weeks time we'll know more and it all depends how the bone heals. Thanks for all the messages from the fans. We'll be back strong!"
Dirk Gruebel, MX2 Team Manager & Technical Co-Ordinator, Red Bull KTM: "This is obviously a disappointing situation for Jeffrey and the team and also for fans of MXGP because we all want to see the guys fit, healthy and ready to go for a new season. It is a shame the way the crash happened and if it hadn't been for that part of the track then maybe he would have escaped without a problem. Jeffrey had some first class treatment by Dr Claes in Belgium to fix the breaks in what is a tricky part of the body for injury. Everything went well though and there is nothing wrong with his ankle or anything else that could have made the injury more serious. Now he'll look to recover again and come back to MXGP close to the form we saw in 2018."