The Honda World Motocross team is looking forward to its first race of the season at the Mantova Starcross in Italy, for the annual pre-season international this weekend, in preparation for the start of the World MX1 Championship in March.
The Honda pairing of Evgeny Bobryshev and Max Nagl have endured a long winter filled with testing and a heavy training schedule, as both riders have pushed to achieve maximum fitness after challenging seasons in 2012. With tests in Japan in November, followed by time aboard the bike in Sardinia throughout January, the Honda duo are looking forward to making their race debut aboard their 2013 CRF450R machines this weekend in Italy.
Mantova is situated in the north of Italy and the pre-season race usually sees a number of Grand Prix regulars attend to dial in their machines in race format, while fans get a first glimpse of their favourite riders ahead of the start of the season. For Bobryshev and Nagl the main focus is to gather data at the sandy circuit and to get themselves into race mode against some of their competitors, as they gear up for the start of the World Championship season in Losail, Qatar on the 2nd of March.
For Nagl, it will be his first race with the Honda team, and the 25-year-old German star is looking for a solid outing to continue his familiarity with the machine he will contest throughout this season. The weather forecast is dry for the weekend, and the Honda World Motocross team is looking forward to getting to work.
“We’ve been training really hard on the bike in January, and I’ve had a couple of days off while continuing my physical training this week, but overall everything is good. I feel ready for the weekend, as I like the track and I’m looking forward to being back in a race environment. My aim is to ride my own race and not do anything stupid. So far I feel very good, a little stronger than before and everything is going in the right direction. I feel at the minute it’s all clicking together; I know the work I’ve put in, so I feel strong mentally too. I don’t really care so much what everyone else is doing, I am just going to concentrate on my own job, as it’s been so long since we’ve raced, and I can get a feeling for where we are at. No-one will show their all here, as our goal is for the GP’s, so I will bear that in mind and have some fun while getting back into race mode.”
“We leave Sardinia tomorrow and the bike training preparation has been going well. For this weekend I feel that we are around 60% or 70% ready, but it’s just a training exercise for me to see where we are at with the bike and we need to try to stay in one piece. We had quite a big gap with no riding, so I’ve been enjoying being on the bike, but this weekend will be the first ride on the factory CRF450R since November, and I’m excited about that. We’ve been training on the production bike with some modifications, so it will be another step up with the feeling at the race this weekend. After the event we leave Mantova to continue testing with the factory bike, so we can maybe make some more improvements. I like the track, but it depends what the weather is like, as sometimes it’s frozen there. It will also be the first weekend we’ve operated together at a race in a team environment, which will be good, especially as there are some members I haven’t met yet.”
Roger Harvey: Honda Motor Europe Off-Road Manager
“Obviously the season starts early as the first Grand Prix has been brought forward a month, so we are all working hard in preparation for that. The Mantova race is a good way of assessing the work we’ve done over the winter, although with it being in January we hope to have go od weather, as it isn’t something we can expect. We have a good direction and all of our preparation so far has gone to plan for the early part of the season, although we will continue this development with a test following the Mantova event.”