KTM MX1 and MX2 factory riders had a roaring start to the 2009 racing season in Mantova, Italy at the weekend snatching four of the top six podiums in the first of the pre-season events with a fifth also going to a KTM-supported rider.
The positive launch to the pre-season events indicates that both old and new faces in the factory team line-up are in bristling form.
At the conclusion of the three-moto format, in which MX1 and MX2 riders raced together on the sandy track made heavy by much recent rain, KTM’s MX1 riders Jonathan Barragan of Spain and Max Nagl of Germany finished second and third in the standings behind Belgium’s Kevin Strobos. In MX 2 Shaun Simpson of Scotland, the newest member of the KTM factory team, and a re-energised and very confident Rui Goncalves of Portugal scored the 1-2 for KTM. KTM supported rider Marcus Schiffer of Germany (KTM Sarholz) was third overall.
Although the weather cleared on Sunday for the races, the super pole had to be cancelled on Saturday and the rain that has been deluging Italy made the sand heavy and deeply rutted. Riders had to approach the steep declines with caution.
[u][b]What the MX1 riders said after Star Mantova
Jonathan Barragan, KTM Silver Action: I am happy to be second in the first pre-season race. It’s not bad considering I don’t think I am yet at my full potential or at my top condition after the winter break. But we still have one month to go before the first GP and I am confident that I will be in top form by then.
Max Nagl, Red Bull KTM: My plan for this weekend was to be consistent. I finished in the top three, I had no crashes and I had good starts. Considering I haven’t had so much training on the bike so far, this was a good result.
[u][b]What the MX2 riders said after Star Mantova
Shaun Simpson, Red Bull KTM (first race as a full factory team member): It was a very good weekend for me. I can say I had perfect starts, I managed the ruts well, I was always in the top 10 even with the MX1 riders and I was always consistent, even though I was a bit tense. It was a perfect start for me in the factory team.
Rui Goncalves, Red Bull KTM: Even though I did not have too many expectations about the race I feel very good about the way it turned out. I’ve completed my home base training and feel great on the bike. The KTM factory team is like a family and they have done a great job on the engine, suspension and frame. I’m happy that they have believed in me.
Following in the footsteps of the two big KTM names in MX2 from last season Tyla Rattray and Tommy Searle, has clearly not affected the two MX2 riders. Simpson is highly motivated and is pushing forward with the same conviction that he showed as a KTM supported rider last season. Goncalves, who during the off season has been to South Africa to work with Rattray’s former trainer is showing new confidence and is very focussed.
1. Kevin Strijbos, Belgium, Honda 75
2. Jonathan Barragan, Spain, KTM 60
3. Max Nagl, Germany, KTM, 58
4. Ken De Dycker 47
5. Josh Coppins 46
1. Shaun Simpson, UK, KTM, 75
2. Rui Goncalves, Portugal, KTM, 59
3. Marcus Schiffer, Germany, KTM 58
4. Manuel Monni 53
5. Yhoel Kojima 41