Mitch Evans offers injury update and discusses having Gajser as a team mate
MXGP World Championship rookie, Mitch Evans got his season off to a great start at the first round in Matterley Basin just missing out on the podium. Things didn’t go quite as well at round two at Valkenswaard though as Evans dislocated his shoulder – with a break in the MXGP calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic it’s worked out well for the HRC Honda rider.
Lisa Leyland and Paul Malin caught up with the Aussie to discuss his injury and the start of the MXGP World Championship.
“The recovery is going really really good actually. Right from the start everyone that I’ve seen, the surgeon, physio and team physio have said I’ve double the amount of range in motion that I normally should have. Even after the six week mark I thought it was the same as my other shoulder but they were telling me stay calm and make sure I didn’t overuse it because that’s when you can do more damage to it. It got to a point were I hadn’t done any strength training on it and I had a lot of range in motion in it that it started to feel unstable because it got so weak. About 3-4 weeks ago now I’ve started doing strength training and it’s came back really fast. It’s feeling like I can get back on the bike pretty soon. I’m planning on getting back on the bike at the end of the month”, Evans stated.
Evans was given the option of having an operation immediately or at the end of the season but with the break in the MXGP calendar wisely decided to have it now to get it out of the way and focus on a full recovery.
“I’ve had a couple issues with my left shoulder back in Latvia last year and Riola this year, just little hits but they come good after a couple of days. This was the first time dislocating a shoulder, at first I didn’t really know if it was dislocated or not, I tried to get back on the bike but the whole arm didn’t work so I knew for sure something was wrong. It ended up that I had a labouring tear and the surgeon said to me “look, you can either get surgery done now or keep racing until we get to the end of the season and do it then. We thought with the lockdown and not knowing when we will go racing again so might as well get it done. On the first downhill, I believe Tonus and Jonass came together at the bottom of the hill, at the top of it I came together with Paulin and as we landed, I landed on his handlebars and it sent me to the back of Cervellin. I endoed down the hill and landed straight on a breaking bump on my shoulder and rolled down the hill, walking back to the pits was the longest walk of my life (laughs), at least it felt like it, I was in so much pain”.
The Aussie admits he struggled with the track at Valkenswaard as he’d never experience a track like that before but felt great the week before at Matterley Basin and really enjoyed the track.
“Everyone struggled with the track there (at Valkenswaard) that weekend, I just couldn’t gel with it at all. I was feeling a little bit off all day so wanted to survive the weekend, I didn’t even make a lap. I just felt great (at Matterley), we had a short schedule there but it helped me out because I had a chest infection leading up to it but by the second moto I didn’t feel it at all. I struggled a little bit with it in the first moto but I was really happy with my riding. I’d have loved to have been on the podium but we fell a little bit short but I still can’t complain how that weekend went”.
Before the opening round of the MXGP World Championship, Evans contested the International Italian Championship which give him confidence heading into the season as he ran with team mate, Tim Gajser and even beat him in a moto.
“Those Italian races give me a lot of confidence, just knowing that I could run that pace for a good portion of the race, they’re a little shorter than the GP’s but I knew I could run the pace for the moto’s and that I had the pace to start off with. Honestly, my riding in the first moto wasn’t that good but in the second moto it was really good, it’s just a shame I span out on the gate and had to come from dead last”.
Evans has a new team mate in the form of World Champ, Tim Gajser and he’s enjoyed putting in the laps with the Slovenian during the winter as there’s not many riders better to learn things from.
“It’s been really great (having Tim as a team mate). At the testing, we don’t really help each other that much because the way we setup bikes are completely different. Just to go riding with him and watching him ride, seeing his lap times and comparing them to mine – I kind of knew I was around the same sort of speed so that was a confidence booster. I was focusing on improving my fitness a little bit to survive on the big bike so it’s good to see the sort of training he does because I’ve been doing training by myself, doing my own programme. He’s probably one of the fittest guys in the paddock so definitely one of right people to learn off. Tim gets along with everyone I think, he’s one of the nicest guys in the paddock, he’s quite quiet whereas I like to have a good time and joke around. Even though he’s world champ you wouldn’t really know, I don’t give him that respect of being world champ, I tell him I’m going to beat him and whatnot but he’s pretty cool with how he takes it”, concluded Evans.
You can watch the brilliant studio show below:
Pics: Shot by Bavo