Interview: Iker Larranaga
This year was Iker Larranaga’s rookie year in the MX2 World Championship on board a Creymert KTM who decided to run a team in the MX2 World Championship for the very first time. It was a massive learning curve for both the rider and the team but they clearly worked well together and Larranaga surprised people with his results and speed this year.
Unfortunately Iker missed the first four oversea GP’s but he rode well and learnt a lot during the races that he competed in that he found a way to race the last two GP’s in USA.
Iker ended up seventeenth in the series which isn’t bad for a rookie and considering he missed four rounds of the series. His best race result was a sixth position at the first moto in Assen, he will be looking more of that in 2017. His most consistent race in 2016 was at Matterley Basin as he went 10-11 in the moto’s for ninth overall.
There is a good chance he will get plenty more top ten results in 2017 as he moves over to the 8Biano Husqvarna squad with better equipment as he will receive some factory support. The Spaniard will be one rider to keep a watch on throughout the 2017 season as he now has his rookie and learning year behind him and knows what to expect next year.
We decided to catch up with the Spaniard to talk about his switch to the 8Biano team and his successful rookie season in the World Championship.
Gatedrop: Your move to 8Biano is now official, I know you had quite a lot of offers. What made you feel this is the right move for you?
Iker Larranaga: I have many good reasons to choose this way; I´ve been in Ktm-Husqvarna family for the last three years and it feels like home. The bike is also very important, and the Husqvarna for me is one of the top bikes in the paddock. My new team 8biano make a very good offer with some factory support and they give me the chance compete in the full world championship, so I think this the right move.
Gatedrop: Creymert give you the opportunity of your first year in MX2, was it a tough decision to leave the team?
Iker Larranaga: Yes, it was a tough decision, they have been the first team to believe in me and make the step to World Championship, and I really appreciate it. Most of the things worked well in the team, but they could not offer the same as the other teams, so after having a meeting we agree that the best for me was to step to a bigger team.
Gatedrop: This year was your rookie year in the MX2 World Championship, where you happy with how you performed during your rookie year?
Iker Larranaga: Yes, I am satisfied with my performance. The goal at the beginning of the year was to take points and we did better than we thought. I finished 17th in the championship without racing the first 4 overseas races.
Gatedrop: A lot of people probably thought you would be battling for points but you had some top ten results, did you surprise yourself?
Iker Larranaga: Maybe in some races like Assen where I finished 6th, yes I surprised myself. I was a hard pack rider and I had a big challenge to ride in the sand. In the beginning of the season I could only do three laps training in Lommel, my boss was really worried (laughs). But, after working a lot we managed to finish the Lommel GP in 11th place, which was a big step. In the hard pack I knew that I had the speed to make some good races.
Gatedrop: What’s the level like in the MX2 World Championship compared to the EMX250 series?
Iker Larranaga: That´s a difficult question for me. I made very few races in the EMX250 class and not even one good race. But I have the chance this year to make the step and it went well. I think the level in EMX250 is pretty high, we could see riders like Thomas Kjer Olsen, Prado and Sanayei also in good spots in some World Championship races that they rode in.
Gatedrop: Unfortunately, you got injured and had to miss the Nations for Spain. How tough was that to take?
Iker Larranaga: Yes, I got injured in a multiple crash during the start of Glen Helen. Immediately I knew that something was wrong with my wrist and that I was going to miss the Nations. It was very tough because it was my first time to be picked for Spain and I was really motivated. Also, my team had everything ready to go but MX is like this, you just never know what’s going to happen. But next year we will work hard again to try and be in the Spanish Team.
Gatedrop: What are your plans for winter?
Iker Larranaga: I will be back on the bike in November. In December I will be training at my sponsor´s training facility in RedSand MX Park (Spain), this is a perfect place for preseason. In January I will move to Sardinia (Italy) with my team to make some testing and to prepare for the Italian International Championship.
Gatedrop: What are your goals for the 2017 season?
Iker Larranaga: My goals for next season are to make a consistent year, fight as much as I can to be at the front in the World Championship and to try to get back the Spanish MX2 title.
Gatedrop: Anyone you’d like to thank?
Iker Larranaga: Yes, I would like to thank to all my sponsors who support me this season: KTM, RedSand, Creymert Racing, I Just Ride, Iris Chains, Robotics, Shiro Helmet, RRR72, Michelin, ProGrip, Acerbis, Viktor34 and FullGass Nutrition.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Pic: Nigel McKinstry