Interview: Oriol Casas on ending the season in MX2

Young Spanish rider, Oriol Casas got the opportunity to end the season in the MX2 World Championship. The opportunity came about when Marshal Weltin left the Vamo Honda team to the F&H Racing team.

It meant a spot was available at the Vamo Honda team for the reminder of the season and they called on Casas.

The young Spaniard showed some good speed but had a lot of technical problems which meant the results weren’t there but he can be happy with the speed he showed.

We caught up with Casas to discuss what it was like racing the MX2 World Championship.

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Gatedrop: Oriol, you ended the season with the Vamo Honda team, can you talk me through your last 5 GP’s with the team?

Oriol Casas: Yes, since Switzerland until the end of the season I was with Jumbo No Fear Vamo Honda, It was an amazing opportunity and I am really thankful to them for that! It came totally unexpected for me, I had just started riding after getting shoulder surgery and I was unprepared, at first I even thought for a moment about not doing it, that it was to early to do GP’s and I would give the wrong impression and when I had the chance to do it I wanted to do be 100%, offers like that don’t come everyday so luckily I decided to do it and I jumped on that, it worked out pretty good with what was on my hands I think.

Our goal was to improve race by race and get used to the speed and fitness you need to race at the highest level, expecting I would be a little off the pace in the beginning but I could hopefully find it at the end of the season and then maybe battle for some points, it worked way better than that! In the first 3 races I was already inside top 15-20 but on the other hand having bike problems in all the moto’s at Switzerland or Turkey due to bike issues! After that we had a break of race weekends and really had the chance to find where the bike problems were coming from and as myself be able to focus on my thing to keep improving and put in some solid preps for Assen and Imola. Unfortunately it was the complete opposite and it only got worse from there, we started having so much trouble also with the training bikes, between Turkey and Imola I went training 13 times and 11 of them I had broken bikes, some days I could ride 10 mins, others 40 but never a good training. Having so much problems was surreal, surreal!

I was getting really frustrated with really wanting to make a good impression in the last 2 GP’s but at the same time not being able to put in the work to that, if at that you add that I had a few broken bikes on a face of a jump and almost died, I completely lost my confidence and the 2 last races were bad really bad, also as myself riding on the bike.

But taking the positives out of the negatives I learned a lot and it will for sure make me a better rider in the future, it could have been better yes for sure but I got 14 world championship points overcoming so much adversity and I am now confident that next season if I get the right support I can do so much better!

Gatedrop: Out of the GPs you contested which one was your favourite and why?

Oriol Casas: Switzerland! I just love that track and I always do quite good there, it’s full of ruts and I love rutted tracks, the more ruts are on a track the better I feel!

Gatedrop: You were knocking on the door for some top ten finishes – you must have been happy with your speed?

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Oriol Casas: Yes, happy with my speed but I also know with better preparation it could have been better but I am happy with what I did, I wouldn’t say top 10, I would say top 15 finishes because in the end I never finished better than 17th, with a high of the 1st moto in Bulgaria where I got a bad start made a few quick passes in the 1st lap and found myself on 13th trying to pass for 12, I stayed there for like 25 mins and then went quite deep physically and finished 17! And in Turkey I also stayed top 15 for most of the 1st moto but the bike let me down another time.

Gatedrop: How does the level in the MX2 World Championship compare to EMX250?

Oriol Casas: I can’t really compare because this year I didn’t race emx, I can’t compare directly like some others that experienced both in the same same year, but last year I was struggling to really score points in emx and I went to a GP in France and I couldn’t even follow the group. This year I think I made a good step and I was on points on GP’s but I still think if you want to really battle for the top in emx you need to be able to have like close to top 10 speed in GP’s, we see with Renaux and Boisrame when they did a few world championship rounds. But at the same time I don’t understand that I was so close even sometimes winning them to riders who were going for the crown in emx last year. But well it’s a different championship.

Gatedrop: Have you got any plans for 2019 yet – is staying with Vamo an option?

Oriol Casas: Staying with Vamo is not an option, they told me before Imola they won’t be in the paddock next season and I will have to search for something else, as of right now I have a few doors open but at the same time there is nothing 100%, so hopefully it works out fast and I can find the right team with who I can make the right preparation with, if you don’t have that and others have it, it can really get hard to do good in this sport!

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Pic: Shot by Bavo