Interview: Iker Larrañaga on joining Marchetti KTM

It’s recently been announced that Spanish talent, Iker Larrañaga will spend the 2019 season with the Matchetti KTM team.

Larrañaga showed great speed in 2018 until an injury ruling him out for the rest of the season. After the 8Biano Husqvarna team closed their doors, it wasn’t ideal for the Spaniard. However, he was able to get another ride under the DIGA-Procross Husqvarna awning.

The 2019 season will be Larrañaga’s last year in the MX2 World Championship due to the u23 age rule so he’ll wanting to impress.

We caught up with Larrañaga to discuss his new deal.

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Gatedrop: Iker, it’s just been announced you’ll move to the Marchetti KTM for 2019, how did the deal all come about and you must be happy to have your future secure for next season?

Iker Larranaga: Yes, I’m very happy to sign with Marchetti, everything came together easy and fast. Next year will be my fourth season in the world championship, since I started in Creymert in 2016.  Every year I made steps with my riding and results and the same happened with the teams, from little teams to bigger ones.

Gatedrop: I believe the Marchetti team have tried to sign you before so you must feel happy they really want you as part of the team?

Iker Larranaga: Yes, in the past we have been talking to work together but the agreement never came. It’s nice, when you feel the team really wants you.

Gatedrop: Just on 2018, it was going well for you before the injury. Where you happy with your speed/results?

Iker Larranaga: The moment I crashed I was 10th overall in the championship classification. That was my goal at the beginning of the season, so I can be happy about that. My best race was in England were I finished P6.

Gatedrop: You started the season off with the 8Biano Husqvarna team but they closed their doors and then you went to DIGA-Procross Husqvarna. How was that for you? It’s not the ideal scenario to happen during the season..

Iker Larranaga: Yes, it was a difficult situation in the middle of the season. 8Biano finished the budget so quickly, and I could see that the bikes were getting old (no new material) and I also was having problems with my salary. They were so many rumours that the team was going to close, and as a rider this is tough for the head. I didn’t know which race was going to be the last and I was not fully focus on racing. So after Germany Robert Jonas came to speak with Brent and me about the situation, and they decided that the best option was to close the team and move to another one, in this case Diga-Procross. I was glad because the change was definitely better.

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Gatedrop: The Marchetti team had Morgan Lesiardo in 2018 but things didn’t go well and he left before the end of the season, does that worry you in anyway?

Iker Larranaga: I don’t know what happened with Morgan. I just could see that the results and speed wasn’t as they expected, they explained to me that the team tried everything to change this situation, to improve with Morgan, a new trainer and better stuff but nothing changed. Furthermore, my friend Jose Butron was with Marchetti for 3 years, and always talked good about the team, so I am not worried at all.

Gatedrop: You got injured this year, can you just remind everyone of the injury and when will you be back on the bike?

Iker Larranaga: Yes, I had a scary crash in Indonesia. I dislocated both shoulders and I had surgery in both. After 3 month of rehab, this week I started riding again slowly and it felt pretty good. Now I am happy that I have enough time to prepare 100% for next season.

Gatedrop: You were forced to miss the Motocross Des Nations which was a shame but what did you make of the event this year?  Spain did well and the GP riders showed their level!

Iker Larranaga: Yes, In the beginning I was selected in the team. But it wasn’t possible that I could arrive to the Nations well recovered, so Carlos Campano took my spot. The team Spain made a good race and finished 8th overall. Prado was incredible, and helped a lot the team. Next year, I would like to be back in the team for Assen MXoN.

Gatedrop: Youthstream have announced an U23 age rule in EMX250 which is the same for MX2. What’s your thoughts on both the age rules? Would you like the MX2 age rule to change as I believe this is your last season in the class?

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Iker Larranaga: In my opinion, the rule in the EMX250 is correct because it’s a championship for the young riders that want to make the step to MX2. But the age rule in MX2 has no sense, they should take it away like it was some years ago. It’s so difficult to take a spot in MXGP, so where is our future, to be honest I don’t know.

Gatedrop: Have you any plans for winter yet, where will you be based and which pre-season races will you contest?

Iker Larranaga: Yes, most of the time I will be with the team in Sardinia. Also, some weeks I will be at Redsand, for me it’s the best place for pre-season training. I will race Internazionale di Italia races, if I don’t have any Spanish Championship races on the same date.

Gatedrop: Will you race the MX2 Italian Championship in 2019 as well as the World Championship?

Iker Larranaga: No, I will focus on the World Championship and Spanish Championship with KTM Spain and I will try to win the tittle again.

Gatedrop: Anyone you’d like to thank?

Iker Larranaga: Yes I would like to thanks all my sponsors that helped me this season: Husqvarna Spain, Diga Procross, 8biano Motorsports, RedSand, Paco Rico, Michelin Shiro, AKA, FLY, Alpinestars, I Just Ride, FVM, 2CVINTAGE, Motorex.

Interview: Andy McKinstry