When you have a look around the MXGP paddock, it’s hard not to be impressed with the set up of the Ice One Husqvarna team. It’s one of the best setup’s in the paddock, if not the best! You’d expect nothing less with F1 driver, Kimi Raikkonen the team owner.
Kimi trusts Antti Pyrhönen as the team manager of the team, Antti is well respected in the MXGP paddock and has the knowledge required, he’s been there and done it as a rider.
The Ice One team didn’t get the best of starts to the season in Argentina but round two in Valkenswaard was already much better with Paulin on the podium.
We caught up with Antti to get his thoughts on the team.
Gatedrop: Antti, it was a good day for Gautier Paulin, you must be happy with his podium?
Antti Pyrhönen: Sure, you know it was a good day for us to be honest. After Argentina, let’s say we had a medium start so it’s good to be already on the podium at the second round. Also, with Max Anstie he was fighting for a podium until the last lap but then he had a crash. At least both guys were in the fight for the podium with Gautier being able to get on it.
Gatedrop: Just on Max, he obviously ended the season really strongly last year and people had him down as a possibly title contender. What do you think he needs to work on to get back at the front?
Antti Pyrhönen: He needs to continue with the solid work like he has done. You know, for sure he ended off the season last year strong. Of course, we still need to be realistic, he finished ninth in the world championship last year and now the goal is to improve on that, this is clear.
Gatedrop: Max didn’t have too much pressure last year as he was a rookie. Do you think some riders struggle more in their seconds seasons in the classs due to the pressure they might have as there’s more expectations on them?
Antti Pyrhönen: Sure, you have a little bit more experience after the first year. In the second year on the 450cc you might have some more expectations. Obviously, it’s like this but the pressure is mainly coming from themselves. They want to be successful and they know what they can do, sometimes they build that up themselves. I always tell you, when you do the good training during the week and you put everything in that you can then there is no pressure because more than your best you can’t do.
Gatedrop: Just on last year the team had three MXGP riders but with Max Nagl leaving there’s only two now. I personally feel all factory teams should have three riders, what was the reason for the change?
Antti Pyrhönen: Basically, we are still on a three-rider line up. We have Mikkel Haarup in the EMX250 class. So, for us, we don’t have three MXGP riders but two MXGP riders and then one that’s a little bit younger that we are building up so on that side we are still in the same situation.
Gatedrop: Just on Mikkel, he had a crash last week and broke his collarbone, do you know when he will be back yet?
Antti Pyrhönen: Redsand for sure he will miss. I don’t know yet when he is going to be back but I think quite soon to be honest.
Gatedrop: Have you been surprised with the speed he’s been showing in pre-season? He’s been showing good speed on the 250cc already!
Antti Pyrhönen: Yeah, he’s been good you know. We know he’s going to be good and that’s why he’s under our tent. We plan to continue building him up and hopefully one of these days or one of these years he can be one of our main riders.
Gatedrop: What’s your thoughts on Jeffrey Herlings and Antonio Cairoli battle today? It was good racing for the fans that turned up in the cold!
Antti Pyrhönen: For sure, it was great racing. They are definitely a step ahead, this is clear. Our goal is to try and close the gap to them as much as we can.
Pic: Shot by Bavo