MXP: Hey Dylan, 9-10 for 9th overall was an incredible finish for you on Sunday. First off, congratulations! Can you briefly take us through the day?
Yeah, thank you for saying that! Coming into the series at the end of it is never easy. These guys over here are the real deal when it comes to racing motocross. So, jumping in last minute is never an easy task to do. These guys are the top-level racers in the world, and I can assure you that they do not want to get beat by the “NEW KID”. But for me, my job is to beat them!
Coming into the series, I had no real idea of where I would fit in, but one goal was to be inside that top ten and I was finally able to do that on Sunday. First of all, I think it all kind of started the day before. I went testing at a different track on Saturday before the race to try and get my setup a little better because I was struggling a little bit with it. We all know that testing on race day isn’t exactly ideal, but up to that point, that was my only option. I decided to go riding the day before because I knew it would be beneficial. Then on Sunday morning, right away I felt more comfortable on the bike. My lap times in free practice were good, which led to a better qualifying. I typically am not the best at the whole qualifying thing, so I knew that I would be able to finish better than that in the moto. My lap times during the motos are typically better than qualifying (laughs). Then going into the first moto, I was able to get a better gate pick, closer to the inside. From there, I was able to get a start just outside the top ten and after passing a few riders I found myself in 9th. From there, I could see that I was gaining on Lupino and Prado. I put my head down to try and catch those guys, I reeled them in from about 8 seconds back but fell a little short of making a pass at the end. However, 9th was good, and my lap times were matching some of the guys inside the top 5. That is always a confidence booster.
Heading into the second moto, I wanted to finish the day off with a consistent moto inside the top ten! I spun a little getting off the gate and knew my life wasn’t going to be easy. But thanks to my trainer, my fitness has been unreal over here, and I was able to keep picking guys off until the last lap and found my way to the top ten! Again, that ride for me was almost better than the first one, I was just grinding the whole moto. All and all it was a good day. I am having another day of testing this week to try and get my bike even better for the next couple of races at Mantova!
Did the track change much during the three rounds or was it pretty much the same for each race day?
The track layout stayed quite similar. They added some rollers or some inside humps here and there throughout the week, but it remained pretty much the same. To be honest, by the end I was getting a little bored of racing on that track (laughs). The one thing that did seem to change was the side of the track where we were banking off of, which kept getting deeper and deeper. By the end of the week, it was getting a little sketchy! For me, this track took a while to get used to as it is the most Euro style track on the circuit!
You’re team must happy with the progress you’ve made in the past ten days?
Yeah, I think they are happy. Coming into this adventure, I don’t know what their expectations were. But I think I have exceeded them. They all know it’s not super easy to come here and jump into the series. I have been able to adapt fairly quickly, and a top 10 in MXGP isn’t the easiest thing to do. I mean, if you look at the names inside the top 20, these guys are no joke. My team and HRC have been pleasantly surprised I think. They’ve all been super good with me!
Okay, the series moves south now to Mantova. What is the plan for this week?
The plan for the beginning of the week was to give the body a little bit of rest. The last week and a half have been tough on the old body! Traveling over here by myself and adapting to the time change, the new teams, the environment, plus racing three MXGP rounds wasn’t easy. I was thrown a little to the sharks but I’ve been able to manage it well! Then, I am going to have a day of testing when we can find some time in the forecast that looks good. I am not scared of riding in the mud, but when I have to race and practice on the same bike I would like to keep it in the best possible condition! After that, it will be GO time for the weekend of racing in Mantova. I will most likely practice some starts on Saturday. I want to do some with Tim [Gaiser] so that way it’s good for both of us and I can maybe learn a couple of things as the grate starts are still new to me!
Overall, are you enjoying yourself over there?
Yeah, I am having a great time. Some of the days at the start were a little long by myself, not knowing anyone. But now I’ve made some friends and on the days off we always find some stuff to do. Where I was staying in Arco, the hiking and mountain biking was unreal! It’s easily one of the best places I’ve ever been!
Was is the plan after the final round. I see your name is on the list for the Paris SX?
The original plan was to head home and take some time off heading into the holiday season. But like some of you have seen the Paris supercross has changed dates, making it possible for me to attend. Eric Peronnard contacted me a couple of weeks ago to see if I was interested. Eric has always been super good with me and sometimes you just can’t say NO. Eric is someone I would like to work with long-term as well as he’s extremely connected. So yep, I will be heading home for about a week after Mantova, before heading back over here to Paris. I’ve never been to the Paris supercross but from what I’ve heard, it’s an unreal event and I’m looking forward to it. Also, I will be able to visit Paris a bit, which is cool. That just goes to show some of the younger riders that sometimes when you just put yourself out there, opportunities do come your way!
Exactly! Other than your starts, what is the thing or things that you improved upon the most during the three MXGP rounds last week?
The one thing I have been able to improve on is my first couple of laps and adapting to the aggression these guys have. They don’t care who you are, they will move you. It’s a smash or be smashed kind of game. In Canada, I feel like we get used to being too nice while over here rubbing is racing. I’m one of the most aggressive guys over in Canada and I found myself being too nice here sometimes. So, being more aggressive has been helping me. If someone leaves the door open, you take it, because you may not get another chance! Also, the other thing I feel like I have been able to improve on is getting my bike set up better for the GP style tracks! I’m excited to see the progression in Mantova. It’s a little more my style of track and I enjoyed it back in September when the MXoN was there.