Ashley Wilde has been on an upward trend for much of his career. Even though last year was one of the toughest with some unfortunate injuries, Wilde still made that next step and claimed a moto win in the Michelin MX Nationals. A move to his third manufacturer in as many years is what he believes will help him elevate his performance again.
MX Vice: First off, how was your off-season? It seemed like you were able to get a fair few laps in with no interruptions?
Ashley Wilde: My off-season has been pretty good. I managed to get started on the KTM quite early on and get used to the bike. I had two weeks off the bike totally over Christmas and then I went out to the south of France and Spain, which was great. I've was pretty busy working with the RMJ Academy getting the laps in.
Seeing as you’ll be at a handful of GPs this year, how have you structured your training? Have you focused on the extra track time that you’ll get at a GP, rather than the smaller British schedule?
My training is structured to both. Being a part of the academy with so many good riders really helps out for being prepared for everything. Our riding schedule is busy, so we always have lots of track time. RMJ make sure we are prepared for whatever race we have coming up! The long motos are already in the bank and I'm sure there's lots more coming up to ensure we are ready for whatever race we are doing!
On the subject of MXGP, how do you feel about the metal mesh starts? Do you have any experience on that at all?
I think it's quite cool. We were already practicing the mesh starts whilst we have been away and getting a feel for them. So far so good!
After so long on Japanese machinery, did it take time to adjust to the KTM? Did anything catch you off guard about the bike?
I have been racing for twenty years and never raced a KTM! The change has been really good; I tested the bike and liked it. I remember my first day on the KTM 450F with the team. I knew straight away I was going to gel with the bike well and I had made the right decision. We are constantly making progress with everything. I'm very happy where I'm at though and I'm looking forward to getting racing.
Obviously it is fairly different to the unique Yamaha so, on the other hand, is there something about the bike that you specifically love?
The electric start [laugh]! That is a big bonus, apart from that I really like the engine. It's such a strong engine from stock!
After so long in a privateer setup, does the fact that RFX KTM is so family-orientated almost take you back to that? Do you think that makes it a perfect environment for you?
I'd say yes and no. It feels really nice going into an environment that feels like that, but at the same time the team is really professional with a relaxed atmosphere. The change to RFX KTM has been really good for me and I've settled in nicely. All the people involved are really enthusiastic and are doing everything they can for me. I think the environment in the team is going to work really well for me, I know all of the team members well and we all want the same things. I already have a really good relationship with my mechanic ‘Big Jon’ and we are working really well together. Like you said, the team is like one big family and I'm excited to go racing!
I'd like to say a big thanks to my team, RFX KTM, and all the companies sponsoring the team, but also my personal sponsors for their continued support! Toughsheet, Dents8, Ad Modular, First Step Vehicle Solutions, Wray's Builders and Big Arth.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: RFX KTM