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Interview: Antti Pyrhönen discusses the first half of KRT’s MXGP season

Interview: Antti Pyrhönen discusses the first half of KRT’s MXGP season
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The FIM MXGP World Championship reaches its mid-season point this weekend with the first of two rounds in Indonesia and Romain Febvre currently third in the series. We took the opportunity to chat with KRT team manager Antti Pyrhönen about the first half of the season.

Antti, how is it going so far as we approach mid-season?

Antti: Romain is performing exactly as we hoped with a great start to the season; he’s had several podiums and, when he is not on the box, he is very close. He’s in the battle for the medal rankings and we’re happy with the first part of the season. Unfortunately he had some bad luck in Spain when he crashed at the start with another rider; it was a pure racing incident, just sheer bad luck. Luckily he didn’t get injured and could continue the season with a podium at the very next round in France. Winning the second moto in front of his home crowd was for sure the highlight of the season so far.

That was a nice reward for Romain but also for the team?

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Antti: For Romain especially for sure, but also for the team; we are working really hard for this and aiming for wins, podiums and great results. It is of course our goal to be successful.

The winter was extremely busy for you and your staff for the second year in a row as you became acquainted with a new bike?

Antti: It’s a very exciting project with our new factory bike; winter was for sure full of work with long days and weeks but it was also very very motivating and exciting. It’s a really great project and it was great to work closely with Kawasaki R&D; it was absolutely fascinating, exciting, really motivating, and also a learning process. I’m extremely proud to be involved in such a major project!

You had the opportunity to travel to Japan this winter and meet the people working in the Racing Department at Kawasaki Motors Corporation, Japan. How important was this trip?

Antti: For the first time we had the opportunity to go to Kawasaki this winter; for me personally it was my third time in Japan as I raced the GP at Sugo in 2005 and 2006. I had great memories from this time, and it was great to go back to Japan, to go to the factory and to work with the engineers; they are such professional people. This is something for which I am very grateful.

Let’s talk about the new bike. KMC was using your feedback throughout the 2022 season to develop the new KX450. Is the factory bike similar to the production one?

Antti: Yes, our bike is really similar to the production bike. It’s a really competitive bike; it’s great out-of-the-gate and very very comfortable to ride, both chassis- and engine-wise. Our riders are extremely happy and report that this is absolutely the next level; a step forward compared to what they had experienced before. Of course we had input in the new bike. Japan was listening to our feedback, but they also have so much data and decades of experience in developing the best products.

What can you expect for the second part of season?

Antti: I expect that we will continue our great form; Romain has been doing really well and we plan to continue the same way, staying calm and focused on our job to be there until the end. This is our target; we’ll see what happens. Regarding Mitch he’s coming back from injury so the first part of the season has been challenging for him but we have high hopes that he will achieve great performances during the second part of season.

So, are you confident for the next rounds of the World Championship?

Antti: For sure we are still learning and improving at each GP – that is visible – and we believe that even if the first part of season was good for us with strong performances from Romain, there is even more to come.

Words: Press Release

Image: KRT

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