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5 Minutes: Nathan Watson

Nathan Watson was a revelation as a fill-in aboard the Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna team last year, so most were excited to see what he could do in a more permanent role this year. Unfortunately injury kept him off the bike through rounds four to ten, but he posted some solid finishes in his return to racing this past weekend…

MX Vice: I feel like this was a promising comeback for you. Was it exactly what you wanted?

Nathan Watson: Yeah, obviously I’d like to be in the top ten – I was close in that first one. It was consistent and a good race. The track was difficult and one-lined, so starts were key as always. I didn’t really get good starts, to be honest, but I showed some good speed. The last race was difficult, because my plastic fell off; it was really bothering me and I was struggling to ride with that, so I had to back it down a little bit. Yeah, I’m coming out of it in one piece and we can build on it.

How serious was your injury? Matterley was originally where you were aiming to return, and obviously we’re now at round eleven…

It’s been crazy. It was a nasty fracture, according to the doctor, but it was a broken wrist so I thought four to six weeks and I’ll be able to start riding and training. I got it out of cast after six weeks and it was locked solid, I had no movement. I had to go to the physio a lot and it was really painful. I started riding after nine weeks and it was really difficult, I could only do fifteen minutes a day. It was really painful and took so much longer than I thought. It’s a real shame, but I’m back to one hundred percent now finally.

If the injury had never happened, where do you think you would be at this point? How far behind that are you?

It’s hard to say. Coming back and finishing just outside the top ten, I’d like to think I would have been in the top ten consistently by now. Obviously each week you gain speed, fitness and everything. If it had all ran smoothly, who knows, but unfortunately this stuff happens in our game.

I guess that’s what you’re looking for going forward then, consistent top tens?

Yeah, definitely. I just want to get inside of the top ten. Who knows, maybe even higher? Hopefully we can do it by the end of the season.

What’s the situation with the team like? Originally you were only going to do European GPs, but then you did the opening few rounds, so are you on par with Max and Todd?

The plan originally was to just do the European GPs, not the flyaways, but I did some pre-season testing with the guys and was running a real similar speed. Antti wanted to give me the opportunity, and unfortunately it went sideways. Antti’s really good, he treats everyone equally. The only different thing with the bike is that I’m developing the air suspension, so I’m running full air suspension and the other guys are running springs.

I’m guessing it was a one year deal, so what about next year? I guess you’d love to stay in the same setup, is there an opportunity there?

I don’t know, to be honest, we haven’t really spoken about it. I don’t want to put myself under pressure, but I need to get some decent results. If the opportunity was there to stay with the same team, I’d take it straight away – it’s just amazing.

Interview: Lewis Phillips | Image: Husqvarna/J.P Acevedo

MX Vice Editor || 25

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