Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings made an impressive return to the MX2 track on Sunday in the opening round of the Italian International Motocross Championship at Alghero in Sardinia, a series that serves as a warm-up to the MXGP World Championship.

The Dutch rider took a dominant victory in the MX2 class then went finish fourth in the combined Elite Class, the only MX2 rider in the top 12 finishers. In his MX2 race he crossed the line an impressive one minute 20 second ahead of second placed Michele Cervellin. Beset by injuries in the past two seasons that prevented him defending his two MX2 world titles, Herlings has been working hard on his preparation and rehabilitation.

Herlings said it had definitely been a good weekend. “It was disappointing over the past two years because of the injuries so now we are just trying to get back what belongs to us and that’s the championship. We’ve had some good preparation and I’m looking forward to Qatar (the opening round of the 2016 world championship) and some more preparation. The bike is doing good, we’ve had two good weeks of testing with the team and everything is looking really positive.”

Speaking about his race day Herlings said the track at Alghero suited him well, even though it wasn’t the deep sand that is his usual natural habitat. “I enjoyed the track a lot but it wasn’t so easy with the 250 because there was only one line and it was difficult to pass. But the practice was good,” he added. Herlings races next week at the Hawkstone Park International, another one of his favorite venues and where he has many British fans.

Round One (of three)
at Alghero, Sardinia

MX2 Race
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), KTM, 29 minutes 25.557
2. Michele Cervellin (NED), Honda, 30:45.138
3. Max Anstie (GBR), Husqvarna, 30:45.543
4. Karel Kutsar (EST), KTM, 31:08.070
5. Alvin Ostlund (SWE), Yamaha, 31:19.937

MX2 Championship points after round one
1. Herlings 120

2. Cervellin 100
3. Anstie 80
4. Kutsar 65
5. Ostlund