An already proven Grand Prix winner, the 30-year-old Dutchman has finally revealed the motivation behind the ‘fresh start’, his goals for 2021 and how he is finding the new challenge thus far.
What inspired your move to Yamaha and the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP team?
I think Yamaha was very interested, and I feel like they were really, really motivated. In the end I had to choose between two really great teams, which was not easy, as I was with the other brand for five years. I feel very good with my new team, we have had some really good times. Also, with my mechanics and the crew I am working the most with, we have already developed a great relationship in a really short time, so I am really happy.
How have you found it so far? Based on what we are seeing on Social Media, it looks like you are enjoying the facilities at the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Head Quarters such as the fully fledged gym?
The gym at the workshop is for sure a big plus. I have a small gym at home and normally I have a guy who takes care of my gym stuff, but he had to close his gym as well because of the Coronavirus. So, when I am at home in The Netherlands, I go to the workshop every day to do some training. It’s also good to have this kind of set up for the connection between the team, the mechanics and the riders, I really like it, it’s really good to have.
You missed the last few rounds of the 2020 MXGP series due to a broken neck, but you made a great recovery. When were you back on the bike and would you say you are back to 100% now?
I was back on the bike after 6-weeks, so at the end of November. It was safe and I was healthy again. I could then ride without pain or any problems. At the moment, I am fully recovered and I’m in full preparation for the new season. I would say I am pretty strong already, but I still want to make another step for when the season starts.
Are you still training with Ryan Hughes and what was the main thing you learned from him?
Ryan has his own vision I think, on how to train as a motocross rider. I actually got to learn a lot of small details, especially with recovery. Now I do ice baths, I bought a sauna… on the training side, like the physical conditioning, I train a little different now because of him and like I said, I learned a lot in a really short time, also with riding the bike and working on technique, I think he is for sure one of the best teachers or coach out there.
Do you think the YZ450FM suits your riding style?
I have just started testing. There are some things I would like to change and try. It’s a good package to start with, the suspension is really good, I would just like to do something different with the engine to suit me better and we should be ready to do that next week. We have only done two days of testing so far, so we still have plenty of time left.
What are you hoping to achieve in MXGP this season?
The goal is to be every weekend on the podium, that is the big goal. Obviously of course I want to win the world title, we all know this is not really easy, but we are doing as much as we can. The team is really professional in helping me with training, I think we are looking good. I just want to improve my consistency a bit, I am pretty consistent in the top five but I want to be consistently in the top three. I think this would already be a big step, and we all know that. I am very motivated to try and achieve the top-three.