Photo by: JP Acevedo
American racer Thomas Covington pulled off one of his better races in race two of the Grand Prix of Trentino. Just as he does on occasions, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider showed what a talent he is by chasing down moto two leader Jorge Prado and putting on a masterclass performance around the very difficult Trentino circuit.
We caught up with Covington to talk about the weekend and also his possible move back to America in 2019.
Obviously well done. That second race, it was like it was being played on fast-forward. Is that how it felt?
Yes, for sure. You know the first 25 minutes of the race, I don’t even know if I looked at the pit board or at the timer over the finish and then at one point when I started getting close, I thought I better take a look and see how long I still had, or how many laps were left and see if I can make this happen. I looked up and there five minutes left, and those last five minutes went quick. I thought I had him there a few times, I launched that single going into the back corner and thought I had him there, but he came around the outside of me, then it was an epic battle really. It was one of those races you dream about. With the crowd like this, it was unbelievable.
It looked tough, because like you said, you nearly get him, maybe lose ground in the attack, and then it looks like it’s really hard to make up the ground again?
It is frustrating, because there were not a lot of places to make passes and when you force it, you end up losing a lot of ground. They put a ton of water on the track this morning, which kind of made it a one lined track, because everyone falls into the same dry line and the rest of the track is just sloppy. You pretty much just have to follow the guy for the whole lap, and then it’s like, okay, I am going to get him here and that is the only way to pass and when you get that point, you just have to make it happen. I had a better line through the waves and I figured if I could just push him wide in the next corner. I didn’t really get there on time, but maybe I was close enough that he could hear me, and he hoped to the second line and I was able to squeeze him out before the top of the hill.
Changing the subject, it seems you have options for America in 2019. Can you talk about that?
I can’t say too much about it yet.
Is it an option, or a priority?
I don’t know how to put it, to be honest. It is a tough decision for me. If I should go back, or when I should go back. Husqvarna being so closely knit on both sides of the Atlantic, they work pretty well, and that is cool. Right now, I am really enjoying the GPs and obviously when it goes like it did this weekend, I am having a lot of fun, and I have been doing it for almost five years now. It is something I am used to, and I have learnt the GP life and it would be hard to leave in my last MX2 year.
Is it also difficult because you are a work in progress and I could imagine if you leave, you will feel like you are leaving when the job isn’t done. Is it like that a bit?
I have worked so hard, since I was 17 for this world championship, and to go home somewhat empty handed, well not completely empty handed, but I came here to win a world championship. It’s been incredible, but the goal is a title and it would be hard to go home without that.
How difficult is it, when you have a race like today or that qualification race in Valkenswaard—or your GP wins—and then have some weekends that suck? And why is that? Is it mental or what?
I think a lot of it is the start. In Spain was terrible, like dead last. In Spain there was a bump just after the start, I don’t know if you guys saw it, but I kept messing up over that. Then coming through the pack is difficult, because the top ten are on a good pace and if you are not inside the top ten at the start, then it’s really difficult to come back. You end up forcing stuff and you make mistakes and like you saw with Pauls (Jonass) today, you can crash.
You are the only guy to beat KTM this year on the Sunday, so that must be nice to beat the big brother?
I don’t look at them any different to any other brand.
It isn’t like you are family with KTM then?
Not at all, in fact, if anything the opposite. It’s always nice to beat those guys, and it doesn’t matter what those guys (Pauls Jonass and Jorge Prado) are on really, they are the top two guys this year.
Portugal, you like that track. Are you looking forward to going there?
You know, I feel like it’s similar, bit slippery, hard pack, and I did well there last year, so I am looking forward to getting there. Good weather again and it should be fun.