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Interview: Cornelius Tøndel on stepping up to MX2 and signing with SM Action KTM

Interview: Cornelius Tøndel on stepping up to MX2 and signing with SM Action KTM

The 2023 season is going to be a big year for Norwegian talent, Cornelius Tøndel who will step up and race the MX2 World Championship. After serving his time in the European championships – EMX Open and EMX250 in the past, Tøndel will now race with the very best in the world.

Tøndel had a great year in 2022 despite having some issues to deal with but still managed third overall in a hotly contested EMX250 series. For 2023, he has signed a deal with the SM Action KTM team who are known for developing bright young talents and turning them into factory riders – such as Maxime Renaux and Andrea Adamo.

We caught up with Tøndel to get his thoughts on stepping up for 2023.

GateDrop: Cornelius, you’ve signed with the SM Action KTM team for the 2023 season – a big move for you to race the MX2 World Championship! How did the deal all come around with the team?

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Tøndel:  I knew SM Action were looking for a new MX2 rider so I got in contact with them. Since I’m turning 21 this year I felt like it was the correct time to move up. From the moment I contacted Emanuele the deal came around quite quickly.

GateDrop: You sent a great year with the Fantic team contesting the EMX250 series. How was your time/season with the team and was it difficult to leave them?

Tøndel: My season started great with Maddii, but approaching mid-season I got the Ebstein-Barr virus and soon after Covid which I struggled with that all season long. I’m thankful for all the work the team put in but in the end it was the right decision for me to move on.

GateDrop: You finished third in the EMX250 series last year – where you happy with your season or did you want even more?

Tøndel: I was very disappointed with my third place in EMX250, as I was aiming for gold. Looking back at my health situation a third was acceptable.

GateDrop: Heading into your rookie MX2 World Championship, you must be very excited for your rookie season in the class and to have this opportunity?

Tøndel: I am very thankful for this opportunity with SM Action, and I really can’t wait to go racing. I’m thankful for the trust and the work they put in from the very first moment, and it’s a great group of people.

GateDrop: The SM Action team helped Renaux and Adamo become full factory riders, I guess you are hoping to follow in their footsteps in the future?

Tøndel: It’s of course nice to see that the team have had great success in the past, and I hope we can keep delivering. I’m excited to see what the future brings but for now I’m 100% focused on this season.

GateDrop: In terms of moving up from the EMX250 series to the MX2 World Championship, what do you think the hardest thing will be for you?

Tøndel: I think it’s a major difference in intensity and it’s double the amount of races. So constantly being 100% and being consistent will be two important things for me.

GateDrop: What’s your plans for the off-season before the season gets underway in March? Will much change for you compared to your off-season in the past?

Tøndel: My plan is to do the two International rounds in Italy before the World championship kicks off. I had some time of after last season to let the body recover from a tough season. The biggest difference for me have been that I have listened more to my body and been very careful with not starting too early.

GateDrop: Results wise what’s your goals/expectations for the 2023 MX2 World Championship?

Tøndel: As it is my rookie season I will see it as a learning year. Of course, I will do my best all season long and try to get the best results possible.

Interview: Andy McKinstry