all riding on the edge. Everyone pushed each other,
which made it all the more exciting.
WHY DID YOU SIGN WITH THE RED BULL
KTM TEAM FOR 2016? I believe that they are the
best team in the world, as they have shown over the
past few years. I am honored to be a part of the team
for 2016. They didn’t have the best of luck in 2015,
especially with Jeffrey and Tony getting injured, but
the team is great, and I am happy to have this opportunity. I was the one who approached them and asked
if I could ride for them. In the beginning they weren’t
certain of signing me. I think the win in Latvia made
it easier for me to get the job.
DID SUZUKI OFFER YOU A CHANCE TO RIDE
ON ITS FACTORY TEAM? No. I had asked them
about the possibility, as I really liked the people there
and wanted to stay. They said it was not possible.
They told me that they wanted to continue on with
Desalle and Strijbos, so there was no room for me.
They told me to go look elsewhere. And now, Desalle
has left them to go to Kawasaki.
special 450 rookie year, but it was a huge deal for me
to win. I have made some big improvements since
then. The Assen race in Holland was such an amazing
race, as they built a sand track on a road race circuit.
There were grandstands all over the place, and every
time I came by the crowd was cheering for me. On
Saturday I won my qualifying heat, and on Sunday I
finished third overall.
IT WAS QUITE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT TO
BE THE TOP-PLACING 450 SUZUKI RIDER. In
the beginning of the season Clement Desalle was
very strong. It’s a shame that he got hurt. Then Kevin
Strijbos had an injury at the beginning of the season,
and then another one at the end, too. I wish they
could have been racing, especially at the Glen Helen
USGP. To not get to race that track was missing
something special. DeSalle and Strijbos are the factory
stars, but in the end I was the only rider to take a win
on the Suzuki. I think that’s cool for the Suzuki guys,
as they probably never expected that from me.
WAS IT HARD BEING OVERLOOKED AT THE
BEGINNING OF THE SEASON? Honestly, I didn’t
expect to win a race. Everyone was thinking it would
be Cairoli versus Villopoto for first and then Nagl and
Desalle. I think that everyone improved, and we were