Coming from the MX2 World Championship to the MXGP series is never easy but it’s even worse when you pick up an injury during the winter which is what happened Petar Petrov.
The Bulgarian had been busy putting the laps in on his Assomotor Honda to prepare for his rookie season in the MXGP World Championship but picked up an injury which meant he wasn’t 100% fit for the first few rounds of the series.
Despite only picking up one point at round in Argentina, Petrov has been improving and improving as the season progresses and he’s now racked up thirty-two championship points.
Petrov will be hoping to get closer to some top ten results and then break into the top ten before the end of the season. We decided to catch up with the MXGP rookie in Germany to discuss his first season in the class.
Gatedrop: We’ve just had round eight of the MXGP World Championship here in Germany, can you talk me through your day?
Petar Petrov: The weekend was quite positive. I had decent speed on Saturday already and I made quite an improvement the last two GP’s actually. The weekend was okay but results wise I was not happy. In the first moto we had a mechanical issue and we had to pull out, I thought that I could finish top fifteen in moto one.
In the second moto I had quite a good start, I was running in around sixteenth. I made a big mistake and got passed but I came outside the top twenty to seventeenth, the speed was quite good but it was hard to make a difference and passes at this track. Overall we made big steps the last few weekends and we are getting close to the top twelve guys or actually the same. That’s positive, we will try to get those top fifteens and move forward from there. I want to try to get top ten’s by the end of the season, I feel like I’m capable of it. I’m looking forward to each weekend to get better and improve also the bike. We will keep on working and see how it goes.
Gatedrop: It’s difficult enough coming into MXGP as a rookie but to make matters worse you picked up an injury just before the start of the season. Just how difficult did that make the first few GP’s because you weren’t 100% fit?
Petar Petrov: Actually I had a really good winter and felt really good on the bike. I had really good speed and was feeling really good, I must say. I thought that I could come in straight away and battle for top ten’s but then I got injured. In MXGP the level is so high that one injury sets you quite far back. I went to Argentina with only three practices or even two on the bike and not even on jumps. We arrived in Argentina and there were huge jumps, from there on it’s GP after GP so we have no time to settle and we just try to keep improving.
The last few weekends I’ve been able to do that and I’ve decided to do some more racing, I’m happy with how everything is going but like I said the injury put me back. We can see it with myself and many riders that once you pick up an injury it’s not easy to come back – the level is just really high and everyone is doing their best. There’s like fifteen riders that can be top five on a good day so it’s just like this.
Gatedrop: You signed a deal with the Assomotor Honda team for your rookie season, just how hard is it to compete with the Factory riders?
Petar Petrov: It’s not easy. I mean we are just a private team and there’s like fifteen factory bikes so to be fighting with them is not easy. Also, material wise there’s a reason why it’s factory and private. But yeah, it is what it is and we just keep fighting and working trying to improve the bike and ourselves also. I know the team is giving their best and they’re doing all they can, it’s a matter of material and it’s not that simple.
Gatedrop: I mean you were always a good MX2 rider but I felt you were a little too big for the bike and you rarely got a good start! Do you feel the bigger bike suits you better?
Petar Petrov: Yeah, I really like the 450cc. Just like I said we have fifteen factory bikes and also picking up the injury and the level is really high. Each weekend we are improving but I do really like the 450cc. The last 2-3 years I’ve been a top five guy in MX2 but it’s quite a difference.
I’ve had two big injuries the last two years and I almost missed the entire season last year. It took me a few rounds to rebuild myself, we changed brand, changed team, changed category. There were a lot of changes but now we’re settling and it’s getting better each weekend. There’s still a lot of racing to go and I’m excited for what’s to come.
Gatedrop: Just how difficult is it to secure a ride in MXGP? Especially with the age rule it means there’s a lot of MX2 riders always moving up. Was your deal last minute or did you have it sorted early?
Petar Petrov: I must say we had a few options but with me being injured most of last year I didn’t really show good results, it was difficult. But in a way I feel like people knew I could ride a 450, unfortunately I haven’t shown that yet but it’s not easy. I mean there’s so many good riders and not enough teams but it is what it is. It’s like a fight for the spot and a fight for food pretty much. It’s like this and everyone is doing their best. Hopefully there will be some new teams coming in so there’s enough rides because I’m guessing there will also be a few riders coming from MX2 next year. We just have to keep on going, show some results and get a good deal.
Gatedrop: Did you sign a one year deal or a longer deal with the team?
Petar Petrov: I have a one year deal.