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Catching up with Arminas Jasikonis!

Catching up with Arminas Jasikonis!

Youngster Arminas Jasikonis has come out swinging in 2017!

The shock replacement for Ben Townley at Suzuki at the end of 2016 is proving once again that Stefan Everts can spot a talented motocross rider and bring him to the next level.

Jasikonis has had two podiums in pre-season, one at Hawkstone and one in France last weekend (and qualified fastest at both), but it was his performance on hard pack in France that really opened some eyes. Known as a sand rider last year, Jasikonis looks to already be a more complete rider after working with Everts over the winter and could be a surprise package this season on the 2018 factory Suzuki.

We caught up the tall and down-to-earth kid to get his thoughts on a brilliant pre-season and his expectations for the world championship.

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Gatedrop: You competed at Hawkstone and the Lacapelle International races, can you talk me through how they went for you?

Arminas Jasikonis: The pre-season races went smooth and a bit of a surprise for the many people I guess, for me as well! It was really nice to check up where I currently am, how the speed is and all that.

Gatedrop: Are you surprised at how well Lacapelle went for you? Hardpack was one of your weaknesses last year but it looks like you have worked hard on it over winter?

Arminas Jasikonis: Actually, I can tell you that I haven’t practiced on hard pack that much, it’s been 30% hard pack and 70% sand. Of course I’ve been working hard and all that hard work pays off, but it’s only the beginning of everything and Qatar is the race where I must show it.  This was just a warm up, no one was pushing or anything here so we will see in Qatar!

Gatedrop: You passed a lot of top guys to win a race at Lacapelle, how did it feel passing and battling with some of the best riders in the world?

Arminas Jasikonis: It’s something really special, passing those guys is really great but as I say it’s only pre-season race!

Gatedrop: You are racing with the Suzuki 2018 model, how does the bike compare to last year’s bike and have you done much testing on it?

Arminas Jasikonis: That bike is something which really makes my riding on hard pack better. We didn’t have lots of time to setup the bike and for me it was tough because it was my first year in factory team.  We can test so many things, so it’s not been easy for me, but I made quite good job on it, I’ve made quite an alright setup. Of course we still need to improve, but it’s step by step.

Gatedrop: Have you and Kevin Strijbos been riding much together and has it been good to ride with him to improve your speed?

Arminas Jasikonis: Kevin is nice guy and I have big respect for him. It has helped me a lot to improve in training and mainly in hard pack. I can tell you he is the man at the hard pack tracks and for me it was perfect to practice with him to know where I am at!

Gatedrop: This time last year Ben Townley was getting a lot of hype but you are going in as a big of an underdog, do you think that helps you as you don’t have too much pressure to deal with?

Arminas Jasikonis: Every race I go too, I try to just enjoy it and ride with my head – not over my limit. I don’t really expect anything from myself, I just go there to enjoy it and do my work, the results will come by themselves!

Gatedrop: You have been working with Stefan Everts for quite a while now, just how good is it to work with him and how has he helped you? He has a record helping young guns!

Arminas Jasikonis: Stefan? That person is special, for him it is or white or black, but it’s the thing what you need for this sport, there’s no maybe! The respect I have for him is huge and the results I have made so far is only because of him and Harry, they have been pushing me the whole winter!

Gatedrop: Qatar is next weekend, have you got a goal in your mind of what kind of results you would like there and what you expect from yourself?

Arminas Jasikonis: No goal. I want to just enjoy it, collect experience and the result will come itself!

Gatedrop: Have your goals changed for the season since you have put in good results in pre-season?

Arminas Jasikonis: No, the goal is still the same.

Pic: Suzuki