Interview: Kay Karssemakers talks EMX250 and targeting a return to MX2

Last season, young Dutch talent, Kay Karssemakers made the move up from the EMX125 class to the MX2 World Championship after signing with Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee and he had a pretty good rookie season. He was preparing for his second season in MX2 when the team sadly had issues and decided to close their doors.

Before the start of the season, Karssemakers inked a deal with BT Husqvarna to contest the EMX250 series and he’s been a great coup for the team being a consistent front runner.

We caught up with Karssemakers after his home round of the EMX250 series in Arnhem.

GateDrop: I am sure you really wanted to win here at home but after the start crash in moto one and then another crash on the second or third lap, you’d have snatched somebody’s hand off for a podium so overall it is still a good weekend?

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Karssemakers: Yeah, of course a podium is not too bad. But yesterday, a bad start and then I crashed twice on the first lap and actually two times by another rider. I needed to work my way through the pack and came from almost last to sixth. One guy got a five place penalty so I ended up fifth, it was not too bad. Today I had a much better start but I don’t know, I just didn’t find the flow like yesterday, some spots were really flat and I like it more bumpy for sure. I fought the whole moto with Bonacorsi and made a small mistake with two backmarkers, I choose the wrong line so he passed me. A little bit of mixed feelings but I know yesterday my speed was one of the best so I think we can be happy with the podium.

GateDrop: Just on the first moto what was it like coming through the pack because EMX250 is known to be chaotic so how did you find it moving your way through such a rough track as well?

Karssemakers: I just looked to the front as much as I can. I tried to ride smooth and don’t go to crazy but still I needed to push really hard because I wanted to get up to the front. I think I did pretty good with the passing.

GateDrop: In the second moto you had a lot of pressure from behind by Bonacorsi, did you know he was there or where you just focusing on what you were doing out there?

Karssemakers: No, I knew he was there because you can hear the Yamaha bike but yeah I just kept focus. I tried to do my own thing and sometimes I did switch lines to maybe find a better line but I didn’t find the flow like yesterday but it is what it is.

Image: Danny Relouw

GateDrop: Arnhem, you actually know this place well but it’s the first time it’s hosted a World championship, how did you find the track and how it developed? I wasn’t expecting it to get that deep…

Karssemakers: No I didn’t expect that it would get deep like this either. I think Arnhem and MXGP did a really good job, I liked the track and it was really good. Good job to them to make the track like this and I hope it will be on here next year as well.

GateDrop: I think it is important to have a Dutch GP so hopefully it can stay on the calendar, how did you find racing in front of the Dutch fans here this weekend?

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Karssemakers: It was nice to ride actually at my first home GP I think so it was pretty nice. I hope it can stay on the calendar to see all the people and fans next year again here.

GateDrop: Just going back to last year you were a rookie in the MX2 World Championship after making the jump up from the EMX125 class, a big jump up but actually you had a positive rookie season in MX2…

Karssemakers: I think we had a pretty good season for my first year racing the 250cc and straight into MX2. It was pretty good but unfortunately something happened with the team, I fell back to EMX250 but all in all I am really happy with the team this year and we do quite okay. Hopefully we can get a ride next year in MX2.

GateDrop: Just on next year, I think it could be perfect for you to go to MX2 and be a solid top ten guy and close to the top five on a good day…

Karssemakers: Of course, the goal is to be in MX2 next year so I hope we can find something and have a full season next year in MX2.

Images: Danny Relouw

Interview: Andy McKinstry