It was a great weekend for Calvin Vlaanderen at the MXGP of Germany as he secured his first podium of the season and his first podium with the factory HRC Honda outfit.
Vlaanderen has had a good start to the season and was knocking on the door for a podium so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
The first moto was great as he ended up third and only three second of the race win which was encouraging. In the second moto Vlaanderen didn’t get the best of starts as he was sixth ater the first lap but he worked his way upto third to secure a podium.
We caught up with Vlaanderen to disuss his great weekend in Germany.
Gatedrop: Calvin, it’s the first podium of the year for you, you must be pleased with how it went. Can you talk me through your weekend?
Calvin Vlaanderen: Sure, I’m quite happy with how it went. I was consistent the whole weekend and I showed good speed, it wasn’t just luck. I had two solid moto’s and went 3-3 on the day. It’s a good feeling to get my first podium of the year, it’s been coming. I’ve had some good rides here and there but I haven’t had the speed or fitness to get two solid moto’s in so to get it done is great. I feel more confident going into the next races and hopefully I can get good starts to battle up front with Jonass and Prado. They’re riding good at the moment but I think it’s a matter of time before someone beats them.
Gatedrop: I wouldn’t have put that track down as a Calvin Vlaanderen track but what was it about the track you liked? You were riding well every session.
Calvin Vlaanderen: I’m not actually sure to be honest. I didn’t expect it, to be honest coming into the weekend, I didn’t really like this track, it’s not my favourite at all. I even said to the team don’t expect too much because it’s not my favourite track (laughs). I just had a good feeling and the bike was working really well. We made a few changes here and there which fitted with my riding quite well. The track was deep and technical which I like. With my riding style, I’m more smooth and fluent compared to guys that aren’t so smooth, you needed to be patient and that’s what it was. It was a great weekend and I can’t complain with it.
Gatedrop: Just on being under the HRC Honda awning, you’re the only MX2 rider under it, does that big more pressure for you? It doesn’t seem to be bothering you too much!
Calvin Vlaanderen: Yeah, I would say there’s pressure but there’s also not much pressure. The team is really good by saying just take it easy and no pressure but in one way I put a lot of pressure on myself because I know all the work that gets done in the backgroud. The team puts a lot of work in for me alone because I’m the only MX2 guy but I put the pressure on myself, I dont’t feel it from the team.
Gatedrop: Just how much of a step up is the HRC Honda team compared to the HSF Logistics KTM team you were previously with?
Calvin Vlaanderen: Yeah, it’s great to be working with just a professional and balanced team. They really work hard and there’s so many people, there’s a guy for this and a guy for that. There’s so many people around and at the beginning of the season it was about getting used to it because I wasn’t used to such a big setup. For me it was tough and that also showed in my results. I wasn’t really feeling like a family member of the team but now it’s coming and the team have made me feel great. It’s great to be part of HRC and hopefully I can work for them for many more years.
Gatedrop: You’ve always showed good speed but you’ve had plenty of injuries here or there and even this year too! It is important for you just to stay fit the entire season this year?
Calvin Vlaanderen: You know, that’s the goal. It’s a long season and we aren’t even half way through right now. We are sixth in the championship and that’s the best we’ve been ever actually. We are staying focused and taking it race by race, we aren’t getting ahead of ourselves. The main goal is to stay fit and stay focused all the time. Something can happen and then you’re injured, that’s what’s happened the last few years. When there’s so many races weekend after weekend, your body is tired and you lose focus for one second and something happens. I’ve learnt from my mistakes and I’m taking it in. I’ve got more experience now so I’m taking it in to the rest of the season.
Gatedrop: This isn’t your first podium and it probably won’t be the last but what do you think you need to do to get them more regularly?
Calvin Vlaanderen: I think good starts and two solid moto’s like I did here in Germany. It’s difficult to say, the guys are riding really good. There’s at least seven guys that could be on the podium each weekend so it’s tough. If we don’t get a podium here or there but are still in the top five them I’m happy. Every weekend you can be on the podium but at the end I think it’s the championship that counts. If I get a good start I think I can run with the KTM boys, at the start they are always there and I think that’s what you need to be on the podium.
Gatedrop: Just on the future, I know you had an HSF Logistics contract and that meant you ended up on Honda. How many years did you sign with Honda?
Calvin Vlaanderen: My contract ended with HSF so I signed a new deal with HRC for two years so I still have another year.
Gatedrop: How many years have you still got left in the MX2 World Championship:
Calvin Vlaanderen: Next year will be my last year.
Interview: Andy McKinstry