Valentin Guillod moved into the MXGP class in 2016 with the Kemea Yamaha team and had a season full of promise after finishing ninth as a rookie. The Swiss rider usually delivers his best results after a few seasons in a class. However, he signed with the Assomotor Honda outfit and the 2017 season has been one to forget.
Some good news is that he’s re-signed with Standing Construct KTM who he has some fund memories with. His best results have probably come with the team in the past so he will be hoping to be back on top in MXGP next year.
We decided to catch up with Guillod to discuss his tough season, on re-signing with Standing Construct KTM and a range of topics.
Gatedrop: Valentin, it’s recently been announced you’ve re-joined the Standing Construct team. It must feel good to re-sign with a team you know so well and that you will be back on the KTM?
Valentin Guillod: Yeah it’s awesome, I’m never going to be able to thank Tim Mathys enough, I’m so happy to be back working with great people and people who believe in myself. It’s really great be back on the KTM and to have them support me.
Gatedrop: Just on your season, it’s been a difficult year for you as you seemed to struggle with the Honda and then you picked up the injury to make matters worse. Can you just summarize your season for me?
Valentin Guillod: Yes, it’s been a tough year, after four years riding at the front of the EMX250, MX2 and MXGP class, going back to the 20th place wasn’t nice. I struggled already in the winter after that I split with Yves Demaria, I had to find a new base. Then for the season I don’t have much to say, I prefer to look to the future.
Gatedrop: After a difficult year, it feels like people have forgot how good you are. Has that been frustrating and it must make you motivated to prove people wrong next year?
Valentin Guillod: Yeah, it’s crazy how people in the paddock forget that fast and for that I want to thank my fans because they always believe in me. Yes, I will prove them wrong.
Gatedrop: On your most recent ride. You finished seventh in the MX2 class at the Motocross Des Nations. Where you happy with your weekend and how Switzerland performed or where you expecting better?
Valentin Guillod: To be honest my results weren’t great. I wanted to do better, but I knew it would be difficult with the material I had. I’m happy because I gave everything and finally we got fifth place for team Switzerland, my team mates did a great job. We had a great atmosphere within the team.
Gatedrop: Was it nice to be racing the 250cc again after you’ve been racing the 450cc for the past two years?
Valentin Guillod: Yeah, I really enjoyed it. It was great, I had a smile under my helmet and that was a good feeling.
Gatedrop: Just on your rookie season in the MXGP World Championship, you ended up ninth and had some good races on your Yamaha. Where you happy with how your rookie season went?
Valentin Guillod: I had some good races throughout the season but I wasn’t happy because I had the possibility to do better.
Gatedrop: When you split with the Standing Construct team back in November 2015, it was due to disagreements over your winter preparation. Is there a clearer plan for your winter preparation heading into 2018 and what will it involve?
Valentin Guillod: On the 15th of October I moved to Belgium, I’m living close to the workshop. I will train out there, riding in the sand, mud and difficult conditions. I know that it’s going to be a good winter.
Gatedrop: Do you realise now that you must put in the work on the sand throughout winter to get to the top in MXGP? In order to be battling for a top five in the world championship you have to be good in both hard pack and sand!
Valentin Guillod: We can add also mud (laughs). It’s a big job I have to do this winter and that’s why I moved up to Belgium.
Gatedrop: Obviously you were a front runner in the MX2 World Championship and won GP’s in that class. Just how much of a step up is MXGP and what’s the level like in that class?
Valentin Guillod: It’s a big step, more work, harder work and better material. Finally, we are there, where Mr Luongo wants to be, the best 20 riders of the world on the track. The level is so high that some great riders don’t have a team for next year. It’s called racing the World Championship – MXGP.
Gatedrop: Heading into the 2018 season what are your goals for the season and what do you want to achieve?
Valentin Guillod: To be ready and in shape for the first race of the season. If I do a good winter, I will be back at the front. It’s my goal and the goal of my team Standing Construct KTM team.
Pic: Jey Crunch / MXON Team Switzerland