MXGP team bosses on MXGP break and how it’ll change their plans
We got the thoughts from some of the MXGP bosses/team managers in the MXGP paddock to get their thoughts on the impact the Coronavirus will have within the industry as well as the racing season not ending until the end of November.
Giacomo Gariboldi (HRC Honda): Regarding the whole situation of the Coronavirus, Team Gariboldi HRC has stopped any activity till April 3rd in compliance with the Italian laws and we let Mitch Evans go back to Australia where he could heal his shoulder and start training again. Tim Gajser is training regularly in Slovenia but we have advised him to slow down his training because of the new calendar announced which will carry on until November or further. Same for Team 114 riders, Crawford and Malkievicz, who flew back to Australia last night to be able to get a regular training on the bikes. Of course we are all very concerned about the diffusion of this virus and about the possibility to have a full season of MX but I would say that now the absolute priority is to save the lives of the thousands people involved and this overshadow our sport like all the others.
Tim Mathys (Standing Construct – Factory GasGas): The riders have to try and stay fit without exhausting their bodies, the season will be a lot longer so they have to keep that in mind. As the tracks are closed it is searching to find opportunities to ride during the week, the mechanics keep working. As you know we will develop the 2021 model so there for sure is a lot of work to be done. Another problem is that most of the contracts in MX end on the 31st of October, this is a real problem where all the teams have to find solutions for. Strange world…
Justin Amian (DIGA-Procross GasGas): Almost everything changes in our time management, at this moment we see week by week how everything changes and try to make the best out of it. You can see it negative and positive, we try to make the best out of this situation, we all sit in the same boot. We want to take more care about the details, setting our bikes up better, work in more structure with the mechanics, and prep as good as possible everything. When its starts, that we will have most of the stuff ready and don’t have the pressure when the season continues. It’s important to accept it like it is, be flexible and make the best out of it. This will be the key.
Rasmus Jorgensen (Nestaan Husqvarna MX2): There isn’t much to say really, we are on the train and the train has left. This situation around the world has to be taken serious, and for sure it’s a shame. We prepare for a long time to get everything ready and organised and the riders have worked hard to be as prepared as possible for the long season. Now nobody knows what is going to happen, and we are looking at a much longer race season. It’s tough for an athlete to stay sharp for that amount of time, so basically we have to take time off and restart again. It’s almost like a new off-season all over again. At the moment we are still working here in the workshop, but obviously it’s not so easy to keep finding job for the mechanics etc. without racing and training. TKO is going in for another small surgery on the wrist tomorrow morning (last Wednesday), so for him the situation is not too bad. For the rest we just need to manage the situation as well as we can, keep the spirits high, stay healthy and be ready to go when it all kicks off again.
Dirk Gruebel (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing): Difficult question, we have been on full operating mode since February, racing some pre-season races, having 2 GP‘s under the belt, rushing home from Valkenswaard to pack the overseas crates to be ready for the pickup in time. All was going smooth, until Tuesday night after Valkenswaard, Booom, STOP, the Argentina round got postponed!!! COVID19 Outbreak in Europe. From then on, it started snowballing, more and more venues got postponed. Countries shutting down, Factories taking a break to help not to spread the Virus! Everyone is on hold right now, riders getting frustrated since now it’s the time to go racing, instead there’s house arrests in certain Countries, normal life comes to a standstill.We all need to stay calm right now, live through the difficult times of the virus spreading day by day. Once the Situation comes back to normal, then we should make a plan how we can continue the 2020 season. Everything else, is just speculation, nobody knows how long this crisis will take. Therefore we didn’t make any plans for the Riders, Team, etc. Everyone take care and stay healthy!
Livia Lancelot (114 Honda Motorsports): This is a situation that nobody could expect, this is bad for the sport of course, but today we don’t “care” about our business or passion, unfortunately people die from this virus and we all need to do our best to “save” the world. On our side we sent the riders back home to Australia, at the moment they can keep riding over there, but at the same time we don’t really know when will be the next race so it is a weird situation. Concerning the season going on until the end of November, this is something really not easy, most of the contracts are until the MXoN. I would like to say that we all have to listen to the security recommendations, stay at home and take care of your family, be safe everyone!
Klaas Hattem (Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha): At this moment the situation is difficult and it’s not clear when the competition will restart. We ask our riders to train only physically at home at this moment because we also take care of their health. So, there is no practice on the bikes until the government gives us the green light to go on. We hope the situation will be in control soon and then we are ready to go on. But now the health for everybody is the most important. All the rest will come later.
Daniel Zollinger (STC/IXS Yamaha): I try to answer your questions in this difficult situation. We are maybe a little bit luckier than the other teams in this difficult situation. The situation is a bit easier for us, we can all do the job ourselves (except the riders). For the rider, on the other thing, this is of course a bit more difficult, they have to try to keep the current form and be ready to continue the season. It is of course also very difficult, since the bike training is almost complete, since all tracks are closed. What makes the situation even more difficult at the moment, of course, are the closed borders in Europe. As far as the moved race are concerned, we can probably not yet foresee what exactly is still to come, I expect that there will probably be more moved race and even cancellations as we have not yet reached the pic of this pandemic. Of course we try to stay as positive as possible and, despite everything, hope that at some point it will continue and that we can once again pursue our beloved sport. We will definitely be ready when it starts again!
Article: Andy McKinstry
Pic: Juan Pablo Acevedo