There’s no secret that coming into the WMX Championship that Kiara Fontanesi and Courtney Duncan are the favourites for the title but standing at the top of the podium at the end of the first round was German, Larissa Papenmeier.
Papenmeier took good starts and stayed out of trouble which helped her grab victory at round one of the series. At the end of the first moto, she was under a lot of pressure from Fontanesi but she stayed strong to win the first moto of the year.
The German will now have the red plate heading into Portugal for round two this weekend where she will hope to keep it. It’s also nice to see a Suzuki back on top!
We decided to catch up with Larissa after her impressive first round.
Gatedrop: Larissa, the first round of the WMX series is done and dusted. Can you just talk me through both your moto’s?
Larissa Papenmeier: First moto I had a good start and I was second behind Nancy Van de Ven. I followed her for 3 laps then passed her and I could pull a small gap. The last few laps I had bad luck with the lappers and Kiara Fontanesi was on my back wheel. I gave everything and managed to cross the line in first.
Second moto my start wasn’t that great and I was around 6th place. Caught all the way up to second. I got too nervous and was struggling to find a rhythm. So Kiara passed me and I was 3rd. I managed to get the 3rd place into the finish and this was enough for the overall win and the red plate.
Gatedrop: To win the first round and have the red plate heading into round two must feel awesome..
Larissa Papenmeier: It is an unbelievable feeling and feels more than awesome! It is a dream come true to have the red plate!
Gatedrop: In the second moto, did you get nervous thinking about the overall win or were you able to black that out?
Larissa Papenmeier: No, I got nervous but I didn’t know if 3rd place was enough. I couldn’t think but I also couldn’t really ride anymore (laughs). I also didn’t check the board of my mechanic, I just tried to stay focused on the race.
Gatedrop: Coming into the season what were your expectations and do they change now you’ve won the first round?
Larissa Papenmeier: My expectations weren’t that high. My goal was the podium but the top spot I never expected. For sure I will give everything to keep the red plate but the season is long and I want to stay healthy!
Gatedrop: It looks like you’ve had a great winter behind you. Where did you spend your winter and did you work on anything specific?
Larissa Papenmeier: Well we had a really cold winter in Germany and it was tough to ride at minus 10 degrees. But I haven’t had the time and money to go to Italy or Spain to train.
So I stayed in Germany and rode as much as I could. We didn’t work on anything specific as I got to test my race bikes a week before Italy so I think it will be only get better from now.
Gatedrop: Are you a full-time motocross rider or do you work as well?
Larissa Papenmeier: No, I’m not a full-time motocross rider as I don’t earn enough money with this. So I work 5,5 – 6 hours a day in the accountancy of Multimatic.
Gatedrop: In terms of the championship, everyone is talking about Nancy, Kiara and Courtney. Do you think being an underdog will help you?
Larissa Papenmeier: I‘m good for every surprise and I didn’t expect it on my own. It won’t help me as the competition are still the same!
Gatedrop: The future of the WMX series wasn’t looking so good 3-4 years ago as it wasn’t even in the GP paddock. However, it’s back in the GP paddock and would you say the future for the WMX series is looking promising again?
Larissa Papenmeier: Yeah it is on a better way again. For sure there are some parts that you could still change but it will come good I think.
Gatedrop: In a recent interview we did with Livia Lancelot, she said a lot of the time the WMX class riders on over watered flat track’s, would you agree with that and do you think there should be changes made?
Larissa Papenmeier: Yes that is true. We always had over watered tracks. But they changed it already in Arco and I think that was a good idea. We had a good track at the weekend.
Gatedrop: Livia is now a team manager, is that something you’d consider when you retire from racing?
Larissa Papenmeier: Mmh I don’t really know. I think I will do something that’s not to do with motocross. In Germany it is not as big as in other countries and it is more difficult I believe.
Gatedrop: It must feel good to win on a Suzuki, especially after they left MXGP etc last year!
Larissa Papenmeier: Suzuki is the best bike for me. As I’m not the biggest person. I will keep the flag up for Suzuki as I believe it is a good bike. Stefan Everts did a really good job to bring suzuki up and they have made a big step forward.