Interview: Mikkel Haarup discusses MX2 podium’s, DRT Kawasaki & being based in Denmark

It’s been a fantastic start to the season for Mikkel Haarup who inked a deal with the DRT Kawasaki team coming into the season and what a signing it’s looking to be. The DRT Kawasaki team haven’t had a podium since Brylyakov but Haarup has now had two in a row and he’s moved up to third in the MX2 World Championship.

We caught up with Haarup to discuss his fantastic start to the season, the DRT Kawasaki team and more.

GateDrop: Mikkel, coming into this season you had one MX2 podium to your name, you’ve waited a few years to get another one and now two have came along at once… you must be pretty pumped!

Haarup: The one in Argentina felt the craziest. Everyone was so happy just because it has been so long since I was on the podium. This weekend we felt that we had the pace just like the previous weekends so we knew we could make it happen if everything went well. Obviously there’s a lot of work to do in the week and anything can happen but we managed to stay clear of the crashes that happened in front of us. We got a holeshot in the first moto which made it a lot easier for me and then good riding while being consistent. It’s nice to be consistent but at the same time being able to get the results. It just shows that we’ve got the speed for it.

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GateDrop: Interestingly you said you knew you had the speed for another podium again this weekend… The first podium you got at Matterley Basin after that you had a bit of a lull, so I feel now you are in a better place mentally?

Haarup: I’m two years older, you know. I have learned a lot of things the past couple of seasons, and I was quick two years ago when I got my first podium, but I feel like I’m in a better position now to get results consistently and that’s the main goal. At the end of the day, it is the championship that counts and so far, we have did the best start of the season we’ve had ever so we couldn’t ask for more.

GateDrop: Last year I do feel you had better speed than maybe the results suggest but you couldn’t buy a good start for whatever reason, this season the starts maybe aren’t unbelievable but they’re still much better than last year?

Haarup: What do you mean? I got a holeshot (laughs) and at Mantova as well I’d have got a holeshot if I didn’t make a mistake going into the turn. But yeah, the bike is quicker the one I have now. The Dixon Racing team have done a very good job on the bike and all the mechanics around so I cannot complain. We continue to work and make the bike and myself quicker. We are doing everything we can and it’s good to see the progress, it would be sad to go backwards from last season but we are working in the right direction and that’s what counts.

Pic: DRT Kawasaki

GateDrop: What’s it been like working with Steve Dixon and being under the DRT awning? It’s been a while since he’s had a podium as Brylyakov was the last so he must be happy to have two in two!

Haarup: Ah, Brylyakov got a podium? Okay… but yeah, it’s been a long time, but everyone is happy. We have got a good setup going, I am practicing back in Denmark so the practice is mainly myself and my mechanic at home, but the boys are doing what they have to do at the workshop getting the bikes ready and everyone is in a good mood. We are working really hard to get the results, it doesn’t come out of nothing, and everyone is motivated. Even though Steve has had some tough years and myself also so we are working really hard. We have another year after this one as well so if we can get a good end to this season, next season should be pretty good as well I assume!

GateDrop: Can you tell me about your engines? Someone did tell me you’re running pro circuits engines but I don’t know if that’s true…

Haarup: No, it’s not a pro circuit engine. It is done in-house with the help from Cosworth and they’ve put many hours into this. It is not just something you get, no pro circuit just an exhaust, I can’t remember the name – DVR or something and then just hard work from the boys in the workshop. That’s basically it!

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GateDrop: I’m not sure how long exactly but I know you’ve been living in Belgium for a number of years, what’s it like being back in Denmark and do you think that’s helping?

Haarup: Five years and that is one of the reasons that I have decided to. I could have stayed in England if I wanted to, Steve asked me if I wanted to but I just feel leaving them to do their job is important so they can focus on what they have to do. At home I have got a good base with many tracks around me and people that are there to support me. I think that is why I can get the best results during the week as well, so I think just the combination of that is what works.

Pic: DRT Kawasaki

GateDrop: I’m not sure if you’ve raced this track before but it’s been off the calendar for 2019 – what was your thoughts on the track? It was totally different both days…

Haarup: It’s weird. I’ve been here two or three times already but every time I come here, Saturday is one track and then Sunday is completely different. Sometimes not even because of the rain but with the way they water so much or rip it. It’s a little bit weird but you have a little bit of everything but at the same time it is interesting. It challenges you and some people made mistakes, but I avoided them this time.

GateDrop: In the second moto it did look a bit harder to pass? You caught Horgmo and did look a little quicker, but it was tough finding a spot to overtake…

Haarup: I could catch up to him after making the pass on Gifting but to make the pass is something different and I didn’t have the lines that were necessary, or we were maybe a little to close in speed when I was following. But no doubt that I had the pace that if I did get past, I’d have pulled away, but I had more at stake than he had so I didn’t want to take the risk because who knows. I did what I could, didn’t manage to get the pass but that’s it.

GateDrop: You are with a British team, any chance we could see you do a British Championship round this season?

Haarup: We were discussing it actually. I mean the first one we wanted to do but I thought it was maybe better to take the weekend off. You might see me at one of the last rounds of the British if we have got the time and if I feel like it.

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Interview: Andy McKinstry

Pics: DRT Kawasaki

Podcast: Jonathan McCready gets the inside story from Andy McKinstry who was at the Portuguese MXGP and they also discuss the chances of Jeffrey Herlings racing the US Nationals. 

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