Max Anstie, of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team, has recorded some noteworthy rides in his maiden season aboard a 450F. Anstie still believes that he has more to give though, as he has moved past some of the circuits that do not exactly play to his strengths.
MX Vice: Consistent day, really. That second moto looked a bit boring. You were kind of by yourself, but got solid points on the board. I guess that is kind of what you are looking for, with this track and your recent injury.
Max Anstie: Yeah, I actually felt really good yesterday in first practice and I went fourth. Then just at the start of timed training, on my very first fast lap I crashed and got my hands stuck underneath the front brake or the handlebars on the floor. It was just a simple little tip-over but – the way the bike landed on my hand – it really ached then all day yesterday. It was stiff, but then last night it was a bit stiff. Today it was okay, but with my knee and then my hand I had a few things going on. It was hard to just sort of focus on riding. I always had little things that I was worried about if I slid out here or slid out there. It was tough.
Today was a really tough day. The track was really beat up. The thing was, everyone was pretty similar. That was the thing. It was hard to make a difference – that is what I found. You had to find the right combination of being intense, being smooth and not making mistakes. It is a difficult track, a difficult track for me and for learning on the 450F. I’ve only really had this last week as good training. I felt like I had a good week coming into here, but I’m looking forward to having the next two weeks to get back on it and try and catch up some of the ground that I missed when obviously I was out with the injury.
I think we’ll be good coming into Russia. I just want to have another solid weekend with two solid rides. I think when we get to Ottobiano and places like that that’s going to suit me more. I do want to do a bit more work. We’re coming back down to France at the end of this week to do some more work in the north of France. It’s great riding with my teammates, because obviously both of them were the fastest two around here in one of the motos. It is good training. I’m looking forward to it for the next couple of weeks.
I guess it is good to get out of these two tracks, because with the off-cambers and long ruts it kind of proves that your knee could hold up against anything.
Yeah, exactly. I felt a little bit nervous and then in warm up this morning again – after all things – my hand was fine, but I went and fell off on the other side. I went and fell off again on my knee. I was like, ‘oh, great.’ It really hurt for about two or three minutes and then it went away. I knew it was getting better, but it is just annoying. It’s just a frustrating weekend, because I think my lap times could have been a lot better in practice and timed training.
I think I was pushing a little bit too hard in practice and had a couple of crashes, but then I think in the races I was trying to not go over the limit and crash. I should just find that limit of being aggressive and being smooth. I’m learning.
I don’t want to be that guy, but I feel like we have to ask this question. Obviously we all know what happened here in the past, so did that enter your mind at all? Obviously you didn’t just forget, but did it come into your mind more than once?
We’re actually lucky, because we were not jumping the downhill triple, but I did it yesterday. I think I only did it once yesterday in practice. I’m always real loose on jumps. I went all practice and I thought, “I’ve got to jump it. I should do it because I saw Febvre and I saw a few of the guys jumping it in practice." Then I went for it and I got it fine, but I was stiff. It was kind of like a hurdle to get over. Then in the qualifying race yesterday I felt a bit stale and was thinking about a few things like that. It’s hard when something so big happens.
Obviously with everything recently as well – with things that have been going on – it’s one of those ones that I think I was extremely lucky here. I could have ended up a lot worse and couldn’t have been racing. It was kind of one of those things that just kind of reminds you a little bit. But then today – to be honest – I didn’t think about it. I didn’t think about it at all today. A little bit yesterday, but I made it through Ernee. That was a good one.
Finally, last time I spoke to you, you said you were working on your starts because you were still kind of doing them as if you were on a 250. Have you made progress with that?
Yeah, I have actually. Yesterday I felt like I would have holeshot if I had been down the inside. I went a bit wide in the turn. Today it was tough, because everyone was pretty good and solid. I didn’t feel bad. I feel like my starts are getting better. I think even in Germany starts were good, so I think we’re not bad at all.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Husqvarna Motorcycles