The 3rd round of the FIM MX1 Motocross World Championship will take place this weekend at the spectacular hillside track of Fermo, Italy. For Red Bull-KTM’s Ken De Dycker, currently 4th in the world standings, the Italian GP offers a great opportunity to continue his adaptation to the factory SX-F 450. Moreover Ken will be enjoying ‘another’ home Grand Prix because he’s riding for the Italian structure of Claudio De Carli. After defending the Ricci-Yamaha colours in 2010 this is Ken’s second stint on an Italian squad. Before traveling from Rome to the Adriatic coast we caught up with De Dycker.
So have you been living the dolce vita in Italy this week?
De Dycker: “Naturalmente! (smiling) If you are used to a lot of rain it’s easy to get a holiday feeling here, that’s for sure. We had some good conditions and nice weather to train and ride this week anyway. The De Carli team has a private track close to their workshop, that’s where I have been riding again.”
How is to be a team mate to Antonio Cairoli, the most succesful rider in the World Championship?
De Dycker: “I like it, because Tony is a really cool guy. We get along very well. When it comes to preparation I won’t say that to me it’s a must to have a strong team mate. I’m always going faster in a race compared to riding during practice anyway! It might be even a bit intimidating when you come across another rider at a practice track who’s really flying and who’s faster, especially when you are beating him easily come Sunday. But this week was nice though. Tony knows the track we have been riding inside, out. I was chasing him and we kept an eye on each other. That showed in my lap times as well because I was just a little bit slower than him.”
What about the gesture you made to Cairoli in the second moto in Sevlievo?
De Dycker: “When I signalled to Tony I was spurring him on! I think it always helps if someone is rooting for you, certainly during a race. If team mates are pushing each other it’s mutually beneficial.”
It’s great to see you gel with the bike so quickly. What’s the plan on that front?
De Dycker: “In both GP’s I have been racing the 2010 450 factory bike. Probably I will continue on that for the coming races as well. Actually there’s not so much that we changed about it, just the position of the handlebars, a few clicks on the suspension settings and that’s it basically! There’s no need to throw everyting around when things are working out but I’m definitely still learning more about the bike. It’s crazy to think that I have just made six race starts until now. For example, during the first moto in Bulgaria I was shifting too late into the corner. Otherwise I was right there with the leading men from the start. The second moto was already better, so that’s a great feeling; to be improving every time out.”
In Bulgaria you showed that your speed on hard pack is okay. Did it help you to spend time in Spain in preparation for the season?
De Dycker: “It’s true that I rode quite a bit of hard pack early this year, and it might give me a little something extra. On the other hand in the past my results on hard pack have also been good with just a couple of sessions on hard pack and focusing on stamina in the sand. You need to put that hard work in Lommel in to build your endurance. That’s something you can not achieve on a hard pack track!”
What about Fermo. You didn’t race there last year after your neck injury, but you were there in 2010.
De Dycker: “The layout is fun in Fermo, it’s nice to ride… alone! In a race, it’s something different. In 2010 you didn’t have ruts or berms, it was just rock hard and extremely difficult to make a difference. We’ll see how it goes this weekend. I know I have the speed and I feel confident.”
Images by Ray Archer