Catching up with Arminas Jasikonis!

What a year it has been for Lithuanian rider, Arminas Jasikonis. Last year when Ben Townley picked up an injury it left the door open at Suzuki for a fill in rider. To somewhat of a surprise it was Jasikonis who got a shot of a factory ride as a replacement rider. Stefan Everts, a former ten times world champion who is now the team manager of the World Suzuki MXGP team clearly show the potential that the young rider had.

He impressed so much last year that he got himself a contract extension and is with the team this year – he’s proving to be a revelation. He had a great pre-season and he has brought that form into the season. He ended up tenth overall at the MXGP of Trentino and the last two GP’s in the sand have went even better.

He ended up a superb seventh overall in the sand of Valkenswaard and if it wasn’t for a DNF in Latvia he would have been in contention for a podium as he got the holeshot in the second moto and lead for ten minutes! He ended up third behind two greats of the sport, Jeffrey Herlings and Antonio Cairoli.

Moving forward it will be interesting to see how much he can progress but the young rider looks like he is destined for great things. We decided to catch up with him to talk about his great season so far.

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Gatedrop: How did it feel to be leading your first GP, and what was the secret to that holeshot?!

Arminas Jasikonis: Amazing! Leading in front of my almost home crowd is amazing! The secret is, it was just like, I’m gonna take this start and I felt strong in my head.

Gatedrop: You had a good result in Italy in the hard pack in the top ten and shown fantastic speed in the last two sand races, your confidence must be at an all time high?

Arminas Jasikonis: Yeah, I’m getting a better and better feeling there, I’m enjoying every weekend more and more, it’s good for my head.

Gatedrop: You are developing a new bike this year, how are you finding it and does it allow you to do more than on the old machine?

Arminas Jasikonis: Yes, the new machine for me is a big improvement on the handling, it feels much more free to ride that the bike let’s me do whatever I want with it!

Gatedrop: What have you been working on over the winter with Stefan Everts to bring you to this level?

Arminas Jasikonis: It was a tough winter, we did lots of moto’s and we worked a lot on my physical stuff, but in one winter we can’t make something really really a lot.  It need some more time, but we made some huge steps.

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Gatedrop: Your success must be helping to bring the sport a lot more publicity in Lithuania?

Arminas Jasikonis:  I really hope so. I hope people will get to know more about motocross in Lithuania!

Gatedrop: With Strijbos out injured and you being the only Factory Suzuki rider in the MXGP class, you didn’t seem to feel any pressure that it was all on you for the good results?

Arminas Jasikonis: I never had any big pressure from the team as it’s my only learning year.  I get more pressure from myself I guess.

Gatedrop: Have your goals changed for the rest of the season given your recent speed?

Arminas Jasikonis:  No, I’m just going to learn and improve every race, my experience is nothing against the top 15 guys.  So, I’m just going to go out there to do my best and no stupid things on the track.

Gatedrop: You rode quite a lot of MXGP races last year, how would you say the level in the series compares this year to what it was in 2016?

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Arminas Jasikonis: It’s all the same, only a couple more stronger guys this year.  When you look to that top ten – all of them can win a GP!

Gatedrop: You have came a long way in 12 months, when you look back does it feel like a dream to not be a GP regular to now being on a factory team and be one of the rising stars of MXGP in such a short space of time?

Arminas Jasikonis: Yeah, it’s a huge step I made and a year ago I would not even think that in one year I would ride in one of the best factory teams and take holeshot and lead a GP for 10 minutes, with being the fastest rider on track in that moto!


Pic: Nigel McKinstry