Interview: Petr Polak talks JM Honda and his MX2 GP improvement
Coming into the 2022 season, Petr Polak landed a great opportunity with the JM Honda team who have worked with a number of elite talent in the past. So far this year, Polak has been a regular points scorer and the Czech talent will hope to improve as the season continues.
Polak currently sits nineteenth in the MX2 World Championship standings in what is a very stacked class this year. His best moto of the year so far was the second moto at Mantova finishing thirteenth just behind Conrad Mewse.
We caught up with Polak to discuss the opportunity signing with JM Honda, his season so far and more.
GateDrop: Petr, you’ve been racing MX2 GP’s for a few years now and showed some good things coming into the 2022 season but I felt it was difficult for you because you didn’t have the best equipment, would that be fair?
Polak: Exactly like you say. The previous three years of my MX2 career I was competing with not the best material and also the teams around me were a bit difficult to work with. So far that has been difficult but this year I have a nice surrounding and a really good team around me. I am feeling good but it’s definitely not so easy as well because it’s a high quality team and everyone is waiting for it but as long as you don’t make pressure in your head then you don’t have any pressure. It’s just a really nice opportunity and I will do my best to make sure it turns out great.
GateDrop: Coming into this year, you signed a deal with the Jacky Martens Honda team, just how did the deal all come about and it must be great to have a good team behind you?
Polak: At the end of last year I was struggling with my team from last year so the mindset was to try and find a proper team for this season and do our best to make it the best as possible. Through a few of my friends here in Belgium, we got in touch with Jacky and it all started. I tested the bike and we agreed, it was super nice and great for me – I’m very grateful.
GateDrop: The team’s workshop is based right at Lommel, I guess you spent many rough days at that track during the winter?
Polak: Exactly. The team’s workshop is right in Lommel and we’ve spent many days there along with the tracks in Belgium, Holland and Western Germany. So far, so good, I really like it. It’s a really good opportunity to be ready for the GP season and I’m grateful for this.
GateDrop: How do you feel on the Honda after many years on a Yamaha/KTM, did it take you long to adapt?
Polak: On the Honda I felt good straight away. The new model Honda CR250 is just really really nice and it’s easy to adapt to. My first test was at a really wet Lommel but after three laps I felt good already so there was no issues there.
GateDrop: You’ve been working with Jacky Martens and Joel Roelants – what’s it been like working closely with them?
Polak: Exactly, I’ve been working with them for more than five months now and it’s a big pleasure. They are both super experienced and they help me to improve. We are still on the way, every day is a journey but I still believe I’ve plenty to show. So far, so good.
GateDrop: We are six rounds into the MX2 World Championship, how would you describe your season so far? You’ve scored points in every moto you’ve raced except for the first moto in Arco and Kegums, so you must be happy?
Polak: At the moment, we have just raced Latvia which wasn’t so successful for me. I had a tough weekend after some sickness, it wasn’t easy but so far the season has been going good. The beginning of the season was good with good starts and many many things that’s completely new for me. I am happy so far but it can always be better and I am looking forward to more opportunities.
GateDrop: I interviewed Roelants at the start of the year, he said you are fast when you get up to speed but it can take you some laps… is the early pace intensity something you are working on?
Polak: The early race pace intensity is something we are working on. In this area if I can improve, I will have much better performances on the track. As I said, this is an every day journey and we are working hard for it.
GateDrop: What’s your goals for the rest of the season?
Polak: My goals for the rest of the season are to improve every day and every race. I want to feel the steps we are making, results wise I’m not concerned the goal is just to improve.
GateDrop: There’s been a lot said about the low number of entries of GP’s this year but what’s your thoughts on the level this year? You’ve raced MX2 for a few years now so you’re probably a good guy to ask – for me, it’s still pretty stacked the the top fifteen are very fast!
Polak: Yeah, the number of the riders just looks sh*t for people watching on TV but exactly like you say, the pace and level is still really hard. The top fifteen has plenty of fast riders.
GateDrop: The two day format is back, what’s your thoughts on it over the one day format? All the tracks this year have been rough as well!
Polak: The two days format I like much more because it means more track time and I am more the guy to improve with more time on the track. I really appreciate that the one day format was a bit of a rush for me.
GateDrop: Anything you’d like to add/anyone to thank?
Polak: I would like to say thank you and show appreciation to everyone that is helping me, involved in this project and everyone involved from Czech Republic. My private sponsors, JM Honda, Jacky Martens, Joel Roelants, Henry Jacobi, Ivo Monticelli, my family and I’m super happy to be here. I am looking forward to showing my abilities as the season continues.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Pics: Danny Relouw