With the Factory TM outfit leaving the MXGP World Championship for the 2019 season, it left Max Nagl without a ride for the upcoming season. However, the Sarholz KTM team approached the German and came to an agreement pretty quickly.
Of course, Nagl is no stranger to the team as he rode for them many years ago and he’s decided a move back to his roots is exactly what he needs. Unfortunately, Nagl won’t contest the full twenty rounds of the MXGP World Championship in 2019 but he’ll contest the rounds that take place in Europe.
We decided to catch up with team manager, Andre Sarholz to discuss how the signing of Nagl came about and plans for the future.
Gatedrop: Andre, the team just announced some exciting news as you’ve signed Max Nagl for the 2019 season. Just how did the deal all come about?
Andre Sarholz: When we heard that Max won’t work with TM anymore, we (the team) were talking about the option of having Max in our team again. We talked with our sponsors and with KTM. After that we had a nice meeting with Max. The communication and the atmosphere was really nice and both sides felt good. We made a good package and finally found a deal together which is great for our team and German motocross.
Gatedrop: Knowing Max, he’d have wanted to race all twenty rounds of the MXGP World Championship. Was that ever an option for you as a team and was it ever a stumbling block for the deal?
Andre Sarholz: For Max it was’t that important, because last years he had some problems over there. We will focus on the European GP’s and the ADAC MX Masters series. We have a plan and want to achieve our goals together.
Gatedrop: Obviously the team won’t go to China, Hong Kong or Indonesia. Will the team contest the Turkish and Russian GP’s or will that just depend on how the results go?
Andre Sarholz: This is not decided yet. This option is still open and it, for sure, depends on the results. By now, I am critical about doing these races for different reasons.
Gatedrop: What are your expectations for Max in the MXGP World Championship next year?
Andre Sarholz: He wants to show some people what he’s still able to do. We can promise that. We want to support him as much as we can to get good results. At the MXoN he showed up with pretty impressive speed, even with his injury. I think he is able to surprise.
Gatedrop: How would you describe the level of MXGP at the moment? I’m not sure if it’s ever been so deep, never mind the speed at the front with Herlings and Cairoli!
Andre Sarholz: The level is really high at the moment and it is fun watching GP’s. A lot of good riders are fighting for the top 10 and even the top 15 positions.
Gatedrop: Tom Koch posted some good results for the team in 2018 as he contested in the MX2 World Championship, will he stay with the team for 2019 or will you fully focus on Max?
Andre Sarholz: He is riding the SX series for our team at the moment and he shows up with good speed there also. We believe in his strength and want him to be part of our team. At the moment we talk about the 2019 season. The decision will come soon.
Gatedrop: From a team manager’s point of view, what’s your thoughts on the fly away GP’s? They’re obviously expensive but then if you don’t go it’s not a true world championship!
Andre Sarholz: The fly away GP’s are quite expensive. For the smaller teams, as we are, it does not make sense going there with the whole crew for several thousands of Euros. It is good for the brand “MXGP”, but not for the smaller teams.
Gatedrop: It’s been a long time since the team have signed a rider in the calibre of Max, are your long term targets as a team to fully focus on MXGP again and perhaps do all rounds in the future? Just what are your long term plans for the team?
Andre Sarholz: For our team and our sponsors it is important having German riders in the team. We want them making the next step into the world championship. With Max, it is great to have him back and we are really excited. He is a nice guy and we are looking forward to working with him. The team is full of motivation for 2019. We hope to do good and gain some good results.
Gatedrop: What did you think of the Motocross Des Nations? The MXGP riders really showed just how fast they are!
Andre Sarholz: The MXoN is the biggest motocross event every year. The atmosphere is always special and everyone likes to be part of it.
Gatedrop: Anyone you’d like to thank?
Andre Sarholz: Thanks to all of our sponsors, especially KTM Germany and KTM Austria! Without them it would be impossible to do the world championship!
Interview: Andy McKinstry