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GAIN THE

UPPER HAND THE MOST POWERFUL TRACK WEAPON

When the gate drops for the premier battle, the new KTM 450 SX-F is more than ready to stand up and face its rivals. Packed with the latest technology and refined to be even lighter, faster and more balanced, this 63 hp (46 kW) dirt-ripper has all the credentials to come out on top in any championship fight. Step up your game now!


Please make no attempt to imitate the illustrated riding scenes, always wear protective clothing, and observe the applicable provisions of the road traffic regulations!


Building Pressure Interview David Bulmer images Ray Archer

Red Bull KTM Factory rider Jorge Prado is without doubt a rider in good form, and while he doesn’t have the MX2 championship points lead, he is showing enough to give you the feeling defending champion and series leader Pauls Jonass must be looking over his shoulder as the young Spaniard starts to look really strong in 2018. A 2-1 victory at last weekends Grand Prix of Germany saw him try to close the points gap to Jonass (who went 1-2), and his sixth GP victory came at a good time, as he continues to look at improving at a young age. David Bulmer caught up to him to ask about his weekend.


MXLarge: Jorge, you won the Saturday qualification race and that gave you a good starting position for Sunday. Passing is difficult here, so the start will be critical I guess? Prado: You know, on this track, the first ten places are okay for a good start. It was good to win the moto, good start and a win, and I looked forward to the Sunday. MXlarge: How did feel about your win on Sunday? Prado: The first moto I got the holeshot but decided to go to the inside ruts on the second corner and they were deep and muddy. Pauls went outside and passed me and from that moment I was behind him the whole moto and trying to make the pass. I just couldn’t find one spot and was thinking every lap ‘where can I do this?’ and look for new lines but it became too late. MXlarge: The second moto you had some problems early or not? Prado: It was tough, and I knew the next start would be so important. I touched something with my front wheel in the second moto and came across into Pauls a little bit out of the gate. We kind of fought down to the first corner and I had the inside. I could lead every lap. So, I’m happy. The points gap is not so big, and we are still improving. MXLarge: In Latvia you were at times the fastest guy on the track, but you didn’t even get a podium. Was that disappointing for you? Prado: No, it wasn’t disappointing at all. I was riding good all weekend, first moto I crashed twice in the first lap and had to come back from last to


10th, so that was ok, after all the time I lost. Second moto I finished first after crashing once. I was happy with my performance. MXLarge: Starts are important and Jeffrey Herlings mentioned that there is a lot of bar banging and blocking in the starts. How difficult is that for you, battling with a teammate? Prado: It is just another rival, I am more focused on myself and it doesn’t make any difference and I do my best and that is it. MXlarge: You need to be Pauls often to get the points difference close, which rounds are you looking at that might be to your advantage, to get those points? Prado: I want to do that in every single race, to get close. I make too many big mistakes and he has been consistent. I just need to keep pushing. MXlarge: I saw Pit Beirer watching today, and its clear the complete KTM team, both MXGP and MX2 are doing well. Are you getting good feedback from the guys like Pit? Prado: Well, Pit is really happy with our performances. I am happy to be part of the KTM family and Pit has always been supportive and its nice to be involved with KTM.


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Onward and Upward Story Geoff Meyer images Husqvarna

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory rider Thomas Kjer Olsen picked up his second Latvian GP victory last weekend and made another step closer to the two KTM boys of Pauls Jonass and Jorge Prado. A slight change in his suspension from the previous rounds made all the difference, and now Olsen will go into the German GP this coming weekend with a lot more confidence of running with the orange army riders.We caught up with him and asked him about his weekend in Latvia.


MXlarge: Firstly, congratulations. How does this feel compared to winning in Latvia last year? Olsen: A win is a win and it definitely feels good. I have been on the podium more and I have wanted that win a little more. Last year I was shooting for the podium place more. I don’t know if this feels better or not, but this definitely feels good. MXlarge: Tell me, the track was very rough, did it feel a lot rougher than usual? Olsen: I don’t know. We are so used to riding really rough tracks in Belgium, so it isn’t like anything unusual, but I think they did a great job with the track, with not prepping it too much. They only flattened the places that it was really needed. MXlarge: Was it better than other way around? Olsen: I wouldn’t say better, but it also wasn’t worse. It was kind of fun to change it up a bit. I don’t know which one is better to be honest. MXlarge: Are you making the progress you want to make. How are you feeling this year compared to last year? Olsen: In the points I am a little behind the two top guys, but to be honest, we made some changed to the bike coming into this weekend and it worked out great and I am really happy about that. Now we go into Germany, which is also a really cool track, so I am just trying to improve all the time and this was a step in the right direction. MXLarge: What did you change on the bike? Olsen: It was just the suspension. The guys at DP are doing such an amazing job there. We got the suspension really good for this


weekend and I was so happy with it. Huge shout to them, they are doing a great job. MXLarge: You mention Germany and Latvia, but we have seen so many good track this year and so diverse. Have you had a favourite so far? Olsen: I really enjoyed Argentina, also Redsand and of course Latvia, so I like the ones with the softer ground. I had a tough time in Russia on the really slippery stuff, but I am improving and I was pretty happy with my race in Russia really. MXlarge: It has been a bit of a Jonass, and Prado show until your win this weekend, but has anyone surprised you, maybe Jed Beaton or Ben Watson, or somebody else? Olsen: There are so many talented guys in the MX2 class this year. It seems like every weekend there is a different guy coming through. It isn’t like I can sit back and think I am a top three guy, because there is always somebody new there. I am just trying to improve myself, instead of worrying who is there. Everybody is working had and safrificing their whole life for this sport. MXlarge: You won the Grand Prix, but Prado and Jonass still had moments where they looked really fast. What is it going to take to beat those guys on a regular basis? Olsen: The suspension change is going to help me, but there are things I need to improve on with myself if and that is my focus. Those guys are really fast and also good in the starts. I think this weekend was the first time Prado didn’t get the holeshot, or something like that, and I showed what I can do with the holeshot. I just need to improve


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Rocky Road in Hangtown Former World and American champion Ken Roczen is fighting one of the worst battles a rider can have, and that is time. Having crashed badly in the last two years and picking up bad injuries, the German rider struggled in the opening round of the AMA Motocross Championship last weekend. Now he goes to Glen Helen with a lot of pressure to get on track, and not a lot of time to do it. Another former World and American champion, Grant Langston mentioned after Roczens performance that he feels worried for Roczen. Mentioning that it might be tendinitis that Roczen has and that won’t repair quickly. The sport would be poorer with a less than 100% Ken Roczen, so let’s hope he gets it together soon. Below is what Roczen thought of his weekend. “I knew this weekend was going to be kind of crazy. We haven’t had a lot of time to prepare for the race, but I wanted to start the season off. We need seat time so there’s no better practice than racing. We knew we were going to show up and have to just wing it to see what we could do. I got the clearance to ride a few weeks ago, though it’s been very hard for me, with my thumb, to get a lot riding time in. “We knew that we shouldn’t have high expectations because of the lack of preparation that I was able to get on the bike, but I’ve done everything I can and left nothing on the table in terms of what I can do to prepare my body. In the first moto I ended up sixth, which we were pretty happy with considering where we’re at. I knew the second moto was going to be tough. “I’m incredibly fit, but my race fitness and bike fitness are just not there yet. I know each and every weekend, I’m going to be making big steps forward, which is important. We were also searching a little bit on the suspension side, just because I’ve only had a couple days of testing prior to this race. We still have a little more work to do to optimize everything. “We made a little change from the first to the second moto; sometimes you have it in your mind, ‘What if there’s something better?’ Unfortunately, we went the wrong direction. Overall, I gave it my all and we came away healthy, which is important. I’m definitely going to do some work this week


on both myself and the bike and show up at Glen Helen in a good mood and ready to rock. “The worst part is waiting for the next race to better myself. The type of patience I don’t have. Getting track time is always a benefit, but especially for me right now. I’ve been riding for a few weeks now, but only within the last week have I been able to put in some full motos. I’ve also only been riding in Florida and haven’t tested with the team anywhere else, so getting some time ahead of the race to try a few different settings is huge. “I’m just excited to be back at the races with my team in general, but really looking forward to getting back to motocross,” he said. “It definitely comes more natural to me. I haven’t raced outdoors since I won the championship in 2016, and although I want to take things slow and progress each week since I’m just returning, I’d like nothing more than to give my team good results.”


T


N O L L I R TH


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Motocross Illustrated  

June Issue

Motocross Illustrated  

June Issue