Interview: Ben Watson

Russia wasn’t the ideal start for Ben Waton’s MXGP career but his pre-season form pointed to the fact that it was probably just a blip and his performance at Matterley Basin showed that’s exactly what it was.

Two decent starts and fighting hard both motos, Watson showed what he can do on the 450 to go 10/11 for 9th overall and a top ten in only his second race in a very competitive class. We spoke with the MXGP’s leading British rider at the end of the day.

A good performance today, I know you weren’t happy with qualifying but in the two races you got away decent and fought hard for a top ten in the end…

Yeah qualifying was big struggle. it was just too flat, it wasn’t technical enough for me but it was the same for everybody, I just wasn’t good enough in that situation. That was what it was but the races were good, I took two mediocre starts, nothing special but not bad and then I just put two solid races together, consistent laps and just kept plugging away and finished ninth overall, can’t complain really.

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How did you feel feel during the motos, that’s a pretty intense pack, it’s jsut a train of riders! Is it hard to keep the focus in that or does that make it easier?

The difference with this track is everyone is so similar in speed because it wasn’t technical, there wasn’t enough lines to make difference so if you wanted to change your line to try and make a pass, if the rider behind you is on the normal line, which is the fastest, they are going to make a pass on you! So you have to be smart and not rush a pass and wait for a rider in front to make a mistake let’s say. This was a little bit annoying but it was the same for everybody, but that was just the way your needed to work with the track today.

The track looked great at the end of the EMX yesterday, would have preferred the to not level it or just prep it different?

I don’t know it it was because they were expecting rain or what but they just didn’t rip the track normally they rotovate it a lot and it’s deep, whereas now they just scraped round it and tracked it in actually so it was strange how they did the track. I thought even if you do work with the track like that it would get real techical so I don’t know if it’s because we have had a lot of dry weather of if they tried to seal it through the winter, I don’t know what the situation was it but the dirt definitely felt different.

I was surprised they levelled it last night

Yeah, when I did the GoPro lap there was already no ruts that needed working on, it was bumpy – skittery bumps, but nothing crazy that they needed to flatten. For me it would have been better if they left it or completely ripped it really deep, that would have been the best for me.

In the pre-GP races you were looking really comfortable. Russia nothing seemed to go right there but today you looked back to form, are you happy with where you are now?

It’s been really good. All winter was good progress, obviously the pre-season races also. Russia I didn’t feel comfortable with the track one bit, I felt risk riding round and I got a bit blocked in my head at that stage and just couldn’t perform or ride like myself. So that was that, it was on of them days and we moved on. I didn’t let that affect me, it was nice to come here today and come away with a top ten overall.

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And you are racing your big brother Nathan this year. That’s pretty cool thing for the family to have to brothers racing at the highest level in the sport.

Yeah definitely. Nathan has a lot to learn it’s going to be difficult for him in the beginning, he has been away from motocross for five years so to come back in is really difficult. I think he is enjoying it a lot which I guess is the most important thing. It’s definitely special to race alongside my brother.

And if you ever see him in front of you does it add some motivation!?

Yeah! We have not done many races together yet but he is my brother at the end of the day and he is still someone you want to beat! Obviously I am not going to T-bone him or something stupid but he is just another rider on the track.

Interview: Jonathan McCready

Images: Nigel McKinstry

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