A new addition to the Arenacross UK series this year is Valentin Teillet after it was announced only last week he’d contest the pro lites series for the SR75 Suzuki team.
Teillet joins a long list of French riders to contest the series and got his campaign underway in Belfast.
After riding the Suzuki for the first time in Belfast, the first night was more or a learning night but he was much improved for round two.
We caught up with Teillet to get his thoughts on his weekend in Belfast.
Gatedrop: Valentin, this is your first time competing in the Arenacross UK series and you only found out last week you’d be competing. Can you talk me through both your nights?
Valentin Teillet: The first night was not so good. I mean I came here for the victory but we had a big challenge. We didn’t ride with the bike until I came here, I’ve been used to riding with the KTM. Here was my first time on the Suzuki and it was difficult day. The bike was really good but we had a lot of settings to figure out. The first night was more like a learning night.
Today (Saturday), was completely different, I was feeling more comfortable with the bike and suspension. I finished two times, second and third in the super-final. It was the best job I could do today but for sure at the next race I want to be on top trying to win. I’m used to riding with the bike now so no excuses, I’ll do my best.
Gatedrop: What did you expect from the track when you were coming over here? There’s a lot of French guys that have done it in the past so I’m sure you spoke to them. Also, this track is only around 25 seconds. How does this compare to Supercross tracks in France?
Valentin Teillet: It is completely different. I mean in France it is way more difficult and more technical, you know. Here everybody is fast because you just need to give it throttle on the gas. For me, it’s a big difference but like I said I got used to riding the bike during the weekend and it was getting better and better. Also, with the track I was getting better and better, my first laps on the track were terrible but to finish the weekend with a third place, I think we improved a lot.
Gatedrop: The track crew here made changes to the track from the first night. Do you think that suited you better too? It was more technical than the first night I think.
Valentin Teillet: Yeah, yesterday (Friday), was very easy. Today (Saturday), was more technical and I like the way they change the track between the two nights. It’s a cool concept and I really appreciate the work they do.
Gatedrop: Not only were you having to adapt from the KTM to the Suzuki but you were also riding a 250cc after spending the season on the 450cc. How did you adapt to the smaller bike?
Valentin Teillet: It was really fun. It’s light and I’m not so tall so for me, it was the perfect size. The team, SR75 did an awesome job. I told them after the race that they’re like a family but professional at the same time. They worked really hard during the weekend to make me feel confident with the bike.
Gatedrop: I guess this is your first time in Northern Ireland, did you get much time to check out the country and what’s your thoughts on Belfast?
Valentin Teillet: Yeah, it’s really cool. I mean I love to travel and I’m always curious when I am going to a new place. Between practice and the races we had time so I could visit a little bit the city, I really enjoyed it.
Gatedrop: You’ve signed with the JPM racing team for 2019 to contest the French Elite and French Supercross series. How did the deal come about and the decision to switch to Suzuki from KTM?
Valentin Teillet: We decided to stop with my team, you know I made a team (VRT KTM) three years ago. We were together with another guy – he was incorrect and did some things in the team really badly. I preferred to stop and change my way. I had a good proposition with the JPM team and that’s why we made the deal. I’m very motivated for the season ahead.
Gatedrop: It’s been a few years now since you’ve been in the MXGP paddock. Have you been watching the racing and what do you think the level is like now compared to the last time you raced in the World Championship?
Valentin Teillet: Today, if you want to do something in the MXGP class, you have to be very strong. The level gets higher and higher every year. For me, to do a MXGP at the moment, I think makes no sense. Maybe, I can be top ten, just maybe. My place I think would be around fifteenth. To be fifteenth in the GP’s, I think doesn’t make any sense.
Gatedrop: You say being fifteenth in the GP’s doesn’t make any sense, if there was prize money would that mean you’d be more interested in racing MXGP or have you just no interest in racing the World Championship anymore?
Valentin Teillet: For sure, when you are racing for prize money, you are more interested and motivated. If I go to GP’s now, I will be going on my own travel so it will cost me a lot of money. I would be doing it only to say ‘yeah, I done a GP’, but it doesn’t make any sense for me to do that.
Gatedrop: Just on the French Championship for the year ahead, Boog has retired so I guess for you is to win the series?
Valentin Teillet: For sure. That’s why I said I am very motivated for that. I’ve finished second, second, second and now I want to win. It will be a fun season.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Pic: Nigel McKinstry