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Interview: Rasmus Jorgensen – MX2 success with De Wolf and Coenen!

Interview: Rasmus Jorgensen – MX2 success with De Wolf and Coenen!

Former GP rider Rasmus Jorgensen has two of the most talented young GP stars on his factory Husqvarna squad and both riders have shown searing speed this season so far!

Kay De Wolf is back from the injuries of 2023 and has started the season on fire, winning the the first two GPs of the season while 17 year old Lucas Coenen has already shown he has the pace to win races, taking the qualifying race win in Argentina and coming within two corners of winning the final moto in South America. So, with both riders title contenders this season, what is it like being the team manager of such a powerhouse duo?

We spoke Rasmus to get his perspective of the year so far after Kay won his second GP of the year to extend his lead in the championship and Lucas came through the field for fourth overall, again showing flashes of his blistering pace.

Rasmus, this must be a pretty dream season for you so far as a team manager! Lucas absolutely flying, Kay really on top of his potential now and over those injuries. Last year it looked like he was going to do this now he’s doing it this year. What are your thoughts on both riders and from the team manager point of view?

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Obviously for the whole team I’m extremely happy you know? This is a dream start for us but I’m also very well aware of knowing that we need to enjoy these moments and we need to keep feet on the ground now and keep moving in this direction as a team. The riders are both in a great position and we need to stay healthy and like I say, enjoy these moments because GP victories doesn’t come easy. I know that for a fact and it can turn around really quickly. I really hope that we can stay healthy with both guys this year and just continue on this positive path, you know GP victory or not we need to keep a positive vibe around everything and keep moving forward and and go for it.

They seem to get on quite well, obviously they could be rivals for a title later in the season but I saw them racing scooters there on Friday or whatever it was so there seems to be a good vibe within the team. I guess it is your responsibility to keep that even as the pressure heightens at the end of the season?

Yeah, I mean obviously to have two title contenders in the same class under one awning is is not a walk in the the park. It’s important obviously that both know that from my side there is just as much attention to to either rider and if any conflict comes up, I need to to be careful, I need to have my facts before I I go into it you know? This sport is full of emotions and this is why we all love it and so far it’s going good. I couldn’t be happier.

In Argentina they were battling pretty hard and I was actually thinking of you, you must be pretty nervous right now! How is it watching them when they’re they’re close together from your point of view because they’re both pretty aggressive and they’re both really fast at the minute!

Well honestly, Argentina first race, first gate drop of the season, the qualifying race, it was too close, both guys know, we talked about it. Is it going to be close again later on? For sure but like I say, it’s important that that they both respect their teammates. They obviously want to beat each other which is fine and which is how it has to be, but also being being teammates, you know, there needs to be respect and I feel that there is that at the moment. And it’s something that we need to manage as a team not only me, we need to manage this as a team and those guys on the track also need to manage it and I’m quite confident that they will be fine.

Talk about Lucas last week, Argentina he was really really fast and then he had the crash, obviously the injury he was riding with and then the crash again with a couple of turns to go in the last moto. How was he and, as an ex- rider, do you feel you can relate or empathize with these situations that he’s going through?

Look, in situations like that I’m heartbroken for my rider you know? In a situation like that in Argentina on one point we were over the moon winning the first GP. We had the red plate going into Sunday with Lucas and then he had a very difficult Sunday and Kay had a very good Sunday. So, in my position, you’re split as a team manager in that situation and and you’re obviously extremely happy with the GP victory. But, on the other hand, you know, you see a guy going through what he went through and fighting so hard for the second moto with pain and with two corners to go you know… yeah what should I do? I’m not going to stand there and and you know yell at him, you know he he did really good and did good this weekend as well. It’s a long season. I still believe that he can fight till the end.

And that’s part of your role I guess to be a man manager to know when to be hard on a rider and know when to be soft on a rider. You’ve lived it as well, so does that help understand when and what to say to the guys?

On race weekends you know we have to manage the situation as best as we can and for me positivity builds positivity. And it’s not always going to be positive, it’s not always going to be you know smooth weekends. There’s 20 weekends. 20 GPs, you’re not always going to feel great as a rider, you’re not always going to feel amazing on your bike and those weekends are the weekends that you need to work together to get the maximum. When your bad weekends are not too bad and your good weekends are very good. That starts to be interesting you know, so that’s the approach we’re trying to have and have had all the time. But yeah, we need to enjoy these moments but tomorrow morning it’s is Monday and it’s Monday regardless, so need to look forward.

Red Bull KTM have been the guys winning the championships for the KTM group, how much pressure is there being you’re the team manager so you’re going to have to take a lot of that to get Husky to this point. Just not you obviously, but the riders, all the team members to become a championship level team and do you feel know that everything’s in place, that you’ve got everything in place to do that?

It’s too early to say honestly. I don’t really… it’s a good question but I haven’t thought about it like that. Like I said, it’s very early, I’m very happy for the position we are in but I don’t even want to talk about a championship or this or that. My riders are doing great for the moment, we are two GP’s in, we have 18 to go and there’s a lot of gate drops to go. The dreams are there, it has been there the last four years and yeah, we will see. I’m generally happy with with how everything is going.

How is Kay to work with? He’s so much talent. He kind of went up (got to the top of the mountain) then dipped last year with those injuries, mentally, that looked really difficult for him to take and yet he’s come back this year maybe in the form of his life! So you must be really proud of what he’s done but how is he to work with on a day-to-day basis?

I’ve worked with Kay since he was 13, so I’ve seen the development, I’ve I’ve been with him all the way and obviously now on the coaching side, on the the riding side, it’s more Ruben you know being involved. I am not on a daily basis out with my guys on the track anymore like I used to and I think that’s only for the better, but I see what’s going on and I’m in contact with my guys and my riders very closely.

Kay has developed and developed and like you said last year he was he was also doing really good, he was leading the championship. He got injured and we were fighting with this injury, he was fighting really hard with this injury and it was not easy. It’s not easy riding around injured and and having to fight and keep fighting. At one point it it becomes extremely difficult. He’s had a good winter, he’s feeling great and let’s see where it brings us.

Do you miss racing yourself because you got to this level and then injuries hit, you do get the fulfillment from seeing what these are guys are doing and being so involved? Or is there still a part of you that when that they’re all on the line and that gate drops you’re like, ‘I’d still love to be out there.’

No, that went away a few years ago. I’m 32 now, I would be probably be at the end or coming close to it now. Had you asked me 5 years ago I would still have that feeling in my stomach of like that should be me. You know, I only got that one chance and then you know…

Was that hard to deal with mentally?

Of course it was, but I was still grateful to be be involved, but now, like I said, it would have been close to the end anyway. So I’m very glad to be in this position and yeah, just trying to do something good and be involved with the sport. I’m super grateful for that.

Interview: Jonathan McCready

Images: Full Spectrum