Interview: Karlis Reisulis on his Factory Yamaha MX2 GP opportunity

Image: Yamaha Racing | Interview: Andy McKinstry

Karlis Reisulis came into this season fully focused on the EMX250 championship but had the opportunity to make his MX2 GP debut at Maggiora last weekend. It turns out that will be his last race with the VRT Yamaha team as due to injuries, he has the opportunity to be a full factory Yamaha MX2 GP rider for the rest of the season.

This weekend, Reisulis travels to Indonesia and will make his full factory debut in the MX2 World Championship but it’s a team he knows well as he rode for the Hutten Metaal Yamaha team when they ran the EMX250 Yamaha setup in the past.

We caught up with Reisulis ahead of a new chapter for the young Latvian.

GateDrop: Karlis, let’s start with the big news, you are a full factory MX2 Yamaha GP rider for the rest of the season. Just how did the deal all come around?

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Reisulis: I think everyone has seen the news about me going to MX2 with Yamaha. Coming to this team hasn’t been so tough because already after Kegums, we started planning everything and we did some test riding. I got a deal offered after the second moto in Kegums. The change up hasn’t been so difficult.

GateDrop: It must feel amazing to get this opportunity? It’s probably not something you’d have expected at the start of the season…

Reisulis:  It’s of course a really nice opportunity. It’s kind of my dream to be racing in the MX2 or MXGP World Championships. I was not expecting this at the start of the season. I’m happy that Yamaha gave me this chance.

GateDrop: Just on your EMX250 season which has now come to an end, how would you reflect on it? You had good pace but didn’t have much luck!

Reisulis:  My season in the EMX250 championship didn’t go as planned at the beginning. I couldn’t get on the podium a couple of times due to some issues. Otherwise, the riding was okay.

GateDrop: How did your winter preparation go, did you change anything up? I’ve noticed this year you look a lot fitter at the end of moto’s but perhaps that’s just a years experience in the class that has helped…

Reisulis:  In the winter training, I didn’t really change much. I was just working harder, focusing more on what I eat and all the little things. I tried to focus more and I think that really helped.

GateDrop: You made your MX2 GP debut at Maggiora, how was that? Tough conditions with a lot of rain! Starts were important…

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Reisulis:  My MX2 debut was not so good. The pace was good in the qualifying race but in the moto’s, it was so bad, and the starts didn’t help. But we have something to learn from, so let’s just keep working.

GateDrop: How do you feel heading to Indonesia? Your first fly away GP! It must also help the fact you rode for Hutten Metaal Yamaha last year…

Reisulis:  Going into Indonesia, I’m quite excited to go overseas for a GP. Especially my first GP with the team. This hasn’t been so difficult for me since I already rode for the team last year. I already know everybody. The environment is quite familiar. I like working with them. I think that would make the Indonesia trip a lot easier.

GateDrop: Have you any goals/expectations for the rest of the season?

Reisulis:  The main goal for this season is to do the best I can and give everything in each race. Just to work on some individual stuff that I still need to put on the bike. That’s mostly the main goal.

GateDrop: Just on your time with VRT Yamaha this year. How was that and working with Pela Renet?

Reisulis:  This year with VRT, it was an incredible experience. I would really like to thank them again for everything they did for me. It was really nice working with the guys, Pela and all the mechanics. I had a really good time. It was a really nice experience with them. Of course, I had to change teams. That was it this year with VRT. I hope for the best for the guys.

GateDrop: In America we have the Lawrence Brothers dominating and in MX2 the Coenens are right at the front. You must want a bit of that with Janis in the future in the GP’s – it may not be for a few years but something to look forward too…

Reisulis:  It would be nice to be fighting with my brother also, sometime later in the GP’s or something. That’s quite a special thing. Not many riders have a brother who is also riding in their class at a similar speed. I think it’s quite an interesting factor that I also have this opportunity to ride with my brother.