Interview: Lucas Coenen – MX2 GP rookie wants to run at the front

It might only be his rookie season in the MX2 World Championship but Lucas Coenen has clearly been able to adapt to racing the World Championship. The young Belgian has speed in abundance and has what it takes to run with the very best but starts haven’t been kind to him so far.

The Nestaan Husqvarna rider will be hoping to get better starts and despite only being a rookie in the class is motivated to run at the front and battle for podiums.

We caught up with Coenen after round three in Switzerland to discuss his season so far, the move to Nestaan Husqvarna and more.

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GateDrop: Lucas, third round of the MX2 World Championship here in Switzerland, two very different moto’s for you. In race one you came from the back but wow, what a recovery ride! In race two another bad start and maybe you didn’t ride with the same flow but it was hard to pass out there…

Coenen: Of course the first moto, I started from gate 33, you start on the outside and end up in pit lane. I tried but I didn’t have a back break in the middle of the straight so I was like, “shit, what am I doing here?”. I went straight out of the corner and when I came back I was last. I made some quick passes, one good point this weekend is that I was aggressive, I learned this. I made some good passes and the speed was good to come back to sixth in what was a really good race. The second moto, they told me to inside for the start gate so I tried, it wasn’t good enough so I was almost dead last again. I tried to pass and got back to fifteenth but I got arm pump from the second or third lap. I tried to pass another guy but it didn’t go to plan and I crashed, a nightmare. I went back to nineteenth and it was difficult to get back with arm pump but it’s like this. I came back to sixteenth, it was not a good weekend for, I didn’t like it so much. The track I liked a lot and we know the speed is not bad but the qualifying race cost me the whole weekend.

GateDrop: Making the step up from EMX250 to MX2, how would you describe the move up and the biggest challenges? I mean it looks like you have the speed and it’s only your rookie season so it’s not so bad…

Coenen: EMX250 is also fast but you only ride 25 minutes, here it is 30 minutes (plus two laps), I can hold it but everyone is giving 110% every lap. The top ten almost every lap are the same lap times so you have to make a difference. We are ready for it, we have showed it also and we are ready for what is coming because I haven’t had a lot of luck on my side since the beginning of my season – only a bit in Sardinia but also there I had bad luck with the starts but we will get there.

GateDrop: Last year you signed with DIGA-Procross but then they closed their doors, you then got a last minute deal with Nestaan Husqvarna and are full factory. What’s it like being part of the factory team?

Coenen: Yeah, it’s not bad. We signed two factory contracts with my Brother also. It is a good thing. We have some good material but we need to have this to improve. It is going good now.

Image: Full Spectrum Media

GateDrop: Just on the track here in Switzerland, it’s very old school and a track from the 80’s but I think it worked quite well in the end and got technical as well…

Coenen: Yeah, I liked the track, the only point, even though the ruts were good… for sure in the first moto I can’t say it was difficult to pass but for the others it was difficult to pass. You needed to try but in the second moto I couldn’t because everyone was using the same lines, if you tried to go outside then someone would pass you. I feel like in the first moto you could pass more, in the second moto I couldn’t find places but I liked the track with the ruts and everything. Like I said, the qualifying race cost me a better result.

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GateDrop:  What’s it like having Kay de Wolf and Roan van de Moosdijk as team mates? Do you ride with them much and there’s maybe a bit of rivalry to see who will be the #1 Husqvarna rider?

Coenen: I don’t look to them a lot. When I train I always train with Sacha, I rarely train with the others although a little bit with Roan and Kay in the winter but not so much. It’s not like I want to beat them, I just want to beat everybody, that is the only goal. We need to learn from every weekend.

GateDrop: Have you a goal you’d like to achieve this year or are you taking it GP by GP to learn this year then go for it in 2024?

Coenen: I just want to make the best out of it. We are only three races in and now we go to Arco. I’m ready, now I just want to be out front every moto and battle for podiums. Even if guys think it is a rookie season for me I still want to do the best as possible.

GateDrop: I know you are coming from EMX250 so you’re new to the qualifying race but this year there’s points for the top ten – do you like that?

Coenen:  Going from EMX125 to EMX250, I didn’t really know how the qualifying race worked like you said but now I am doing it and now there’s points. Sure there’s more risk but it is like this, we cannot change it.

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Images: Full Spectrum Media