It’s the first year for young Dutch talent, Kjell Verbruggen on the 125cc after moving up from the 85cc he was on last year but he’s adapted well to the 125cc.
Verbruggen has especially showed good speed in the sand which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise considering he’s from the Netherlands. The F4E KTM rider saved the best to last as he put in his best round of the EMX125 series at Assen in front of his home crowd.
He managed to win the first moto of the weekend at Assen which was somewhat of a surprise. In the second moto he took a bad start but came back to sixth to get on the box.
We caught up with Verbruggen to discuss the podium in front of his home crowd.
Gatedrop: Kjell, a great weekend for you racing at your home GP, you won the first moto, that must have felt amazing?
Kjell Verbruggen: Yeah, I took the holeshot and felt good all the race. The track was a little bumpy and I did good to take the win. I didn’t really feel like a win but it felt good and especially to lead the entire race. In the second race the start was not so good but I came from twelfth to sixth. On the finish line I nearly passed Raf (Meuwissen) but I missed a little bit of speed to make it happen. I ended up third overall but it’s the first year for me in the class. It’s good for me and hopefully more will come.
Gatedrop: This is your first year in the EMX125 class and not many rookies can win a moto during their first year in the class! Are you surprised to win a moto and what where your expectations coming into the season?
Kjell Verbruggen: Yeah the expectations were for it to happen towards the end of the year but I didn’t really expect it to happen. It was good and it did happen so I’ll build on it.
Gatedrop: It’s your first time at Assen, what was your thoughts on the track?
Kjell Verbruggen: It’s sand and I like the sand so I liked the track. Some parts of the track weren’t flat but then other parts weren’t as bumpy. It was difficult with two different parts of the track, it wasn’t easy.
Gatedrop: Have you been happy with how your rookie season has gone and what’s the highlight been for you?
Kjell Verbruggen: For me, Valkenswaard was good but for sure this round at Assen was the best for me. I took a podium and could have maybe done better. Of course, I wanted more from the season but with the injury in the middle of the season was the point I went down a little. Now I am going back up again.
Gatedrop: Will you be on the 125cc again next year competing the EMX125 Championship?
Kjell Verbruggen: I will stay on the 125cc next year, yeah.
Gatedrop: What are your expectations for next year?
Kjell Verbruggen: At the sand tracks I want to be top three but in the hard pack, I need to train hard on it. I will ride more hard pack in the winter to try and improve on that.
Gatedrop: Do you already know how you will spend your winter to prepare for the 2019 season?
Kjell Verbruggen: I will go a lot to Spain to train. They have good hard pack tracks and I know that the sand isn’t hard for me but I will also train a little bit on it.
Gatedrop: Are you looking forward to moving to the 250cc in future?
Kjell Verbruggen: Of course, but first I have another year on the 125 but then I will go to the 250cc.