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Interview: Lotte van Drunen on the opening WMX round, adapting to Yamaha and raising the popularity of WMX

Interview: Lotte van Drunen on the opening WMX round, adapting to Yamaha and raising the popularity of WMX

The opening round of the WMX took place in Spain at the weekend and it produced some great racing and battles at the front.

Lotte van Drunen and Daniela Guillen were at it all weekend long which was fantastic to watch. In the end, Guillen won in front of her home crowd but van Drunen is looking superb in hard pack conditions.

The young Dutch talents is very popular and is helping raise the popularity of WMX – she was signing posters and taking selfies for at least half an hour before this interview – she is a superb ambassador for the sport!

You can watch/listen or read our interview with van Drunen below…

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GateDrop: The first WMX race here in Spain you must be delighted with how your weekend went, you obviously can’t win the championship at the first round but you can lose it…

Van Drunen: It was a very solid start to the season, it started off really well. Yesterday, I was fast in free practice and got second in the first moto, it wasn’t too bad. The speed was there and now I second in the second moto. I passed at the start so I was leading for a while and then I went back to second. I fought for it and I was really close in the finish but more wasn’t in for this weekend, I gave it all I have and I think me and Daniela made a big gap to P3 so yeah, the championship is on.

GateDrop: You and Daniela especially in the second moto, was amazing to watch. What was it like being part of that battle and the crazy Spanish fans… I’m sure even you heard them as well!

Van Drunen: Well, when I was leading I knew exactly how far DanIela was behind me because of the crowd but I was really enjoying the ride. I love the track and she gave me a lot of pressure but I’m happy with the second overall.

GateDrop: Like you said, I mean you got the gap to third place to 1 minute and 24 seconds, I think that shows how unbelievable the level was. Did it feel like you were you were pushing out there and it was a high level?

Van Drunen: Well, I had some parts where I wasn’t really fast so yeah there’s a lot of room to improve still for me. But if I look back to last year on this track I definitely improved a lot. I couldn’t even catch up here last year so yes I’m really happy about it.

Image: MXGP/Infront Moto Racing

GateDrop: Just on the track, obviously you can ride fast everywhere but it wouldn’t be your main skill set I would say, to start the series like you did here this weekend having the same pace as the winner really in these type of conditions must give you a lot of confidence?

Van Drunen: Yes, definitely my brother said if I got on the podium this weekend that it would be amazing. Yeah, I was fighting for the win so I’m definitely good on speed and now we’re going on to the sand so yeah we’ll see how that goes.

GateDrop: That triple you’ve pretty much done it all weekend, it was amazing to watch and some GP guys weren’t even doing it so it must make you proud that you’re able to do stuff that some GP guys didn’t even do…

Van Drunen: Well, it was pretty far and the first time I tried it, it was pretty scary but after a while I chose to do it and I just sent it every lap.

GateDrop:  Obviously last year you were working with your family it was a very privateer setup, you’ve joined the de Beats Yamaha team, just how is all going with the team and being underneath this big awning?

Van Drunen: It’s going quite well. I’m happy with the team and I finally got a trainer that fits pretty well so yeah I think we improved a lot with that as well. Last year was really privateer and pretty amateur, let’s say. I’m happy about the setup now.

Image: MXGP/Infront Moto Racing

GateDrop: Just on the Yamaha, how long did it take you to adapt to the new bike as  you were Kawasaki for quite a while…

Van Drunen: Well, it wasn’t really too hard. I went to the USA and I first tried the 23 bike and when I came back to 24 and I was used to it pretty fast. I got my race bike pretty late but yeah I’m really happy with the bike now. It’s the best bike I’ve ever had so that’s good.

GateDrop: Just on the off-season, how was that for you, did you change anything compared to last year and obviously you mentioned America… What was it like going over to race new tracks and new competition in America…

Van Drunen: Well, it’s a lot different especially the races. You know here we get free practice and races on the same day and on Sunday we have a few laps before the moto. But there you just wake up in the morning at 7:00 a.m. and you go to the gate and that’s the race. No training, nothing… But I broke my arm when I came back so I was out for a while but yeah definitely had enough time to improve a lot.

GateDrop: Breaking your arm, how long were you off the bike for with that and did it hinder your off-season too much or did you still have quite a lot of time in the bike before this first round?

Van Drunen: No, I had four weeks off and then I started riding again. It was really bad but I slowly started to get back to my rhythm again and when I came back to my old level I started to improve a lot. That’s where we’re at now.

GateDrop: I have to say you’re an amazing ambassador for the sport, you’ve just stood here and signed posters for at least half an hour… Did you expect to get such a fan base so quickly because this is only your second year in WMX and can you feel that you’re helping the sport grow?

Van Drunen: Especially on the women’s side, I think so yes… Of course the top girls always keep it growing but yeah I think I have a big impact with that. Just after the second moto, I couldn’t even leave the podium, I needed a security guard to help me so yes there’s a lot of people who enjoy me.

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Main image: Full Spectrum Media