Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider Thomas Kjer-Olsen has started the season on fire. Finishing second in the opening GP of the season in Argentina, and last weekend winning the opening round of the Dutch MX2 championship.
Still building and learning, the Danish rider sure looks like he has found his mojo in 2018. We caught up with him this morning and talked about his season so far.
Firstly, congratulations on your win on the weekend. Obviously, it is just a Dutch championship race, but it’s still a race and a win. Can you explain your day for me a little?
The weekend was really good. In practice and stuff, the track was really busy, so it was difficult to get a good time in, but I managed to get fourth, and that was good enough for the gate pick. I got two solid starts and I made some changes to my set-up. We made some small changes on the bike last week, and its working really good. I just felt loose and nice on the bike last weekend and made my way to the front. The track was super technical and rough, so it was good practice for Valkenswaard. I had a small slip up, crashing on the last lap of the first moto, so I am a little stiff this week.
Did you hurt yourself a little bit?
Just muscles a little soft. Just the whole body, you know when you crash sometimes, when you take an impact you come out a little sore. I will have a massage and it will be ok. You don’t have to make a big deal out of it (laughing).
Was Markelo rougher than Valkenswaard?
If it’s rougher, I don’t know ,but it was different with many square edges and the jumps are not as well prepared as if you are at a Grand Prix. I would say you had to be more careful, but its good, we are used to practicing in stuff like that and if I am honest, when we come to Valkenswaard it isn’t so rough, because we practice in really gnarly stuff.
You must also be happy with the weather change, because before Argentina it was pretty cold and wet in Holland, and now its improved a lot. I understand it will get colder again for the weekend, but at least it isn’t snowing or -10 or something.
It’s nice, and we can go practicing without having to drive a long way. I mean its raining again today, so its still a bit of a struggle, but I am not too nervous, because I got a lot of bike time this winter. I am not in a hurry to get a lot of riding done and I am happy the bike, so we don’t need to test or anything. It isn’t important for me to ride a lot at the moment. I just hope the weather will be good for Valkenswaard.
Speaking about Argentina, you did well there. Can you explain your weekend?
I wanted to be on the podium for sure. It’s a long season, and you expect so much, but you don’t want to be like, if I don’t get on the podium, it’s the end of the world. I wanted to get on the podium and I knew I could do that, because I put in a lot of hard work in the winter and I had some good pre-season races. I was pretty calm coming into the weekend, and I was a bit surprised how calm I was compared to last year. It was a bit funny, but I am happy I didn’t get frustrated by anything, and if I wasn’t riding good at one point I could learn from that and just change my lines and make it work again. I was able to fix all the small mistakes.
Obviously mental is a big part of any sportsman’s performance, so that you changed in that so much, to come in comfortable and not be stressed about anything, that must be nice and very positive for you?
Yes, it really is, I think it comes with how good a shape I am in. I can easily do two motos and push all the way. Obviously, you see Jonass and the other guys, they are also in great shape, and that is what it takes to be on top. Everybody is in really great shape and you can’t let off. Being in good shape, keeps me calmer and I have something in reserve.
Speaking about Pauls [Jonass]. He was very strong in Argentina, going 1-1, and he won in Valkenswaard in 2017 with I think 1-1, so he will be a heavy favourite this weekend. Do you think about him at all? Do you have to think about how to beat him, or you just do your own thing?
Not yet. I mean for sure he is really strong, he is the champion from last year. He has been good in all his races, but I am not setting myself up against him, because there are so many good guys and I just want to focus on getting the best result possible. I am not going into a head to head battle with him, because the other guys might sneak up on me.
Photos by: JP Acevedo