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.
Firstly, congratulations. How does this feel compared to winning in Latvia last year?
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.
Tell me, the track was very rough, did it feel a lot rougher than usual?
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.
Was it better than other way around?
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.
Are you making the progress you want to make. How are you feeling this year compared to last year?
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.
What did you change on the bike?
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.
You mention Germany and Latvia, but we have seen so many good tracks this year and so diverse. Have you had a favorite so far?
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.
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?
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 sacrificing their whole life for this sport.
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?
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 my starts and that will help a lot.
Have you kept an eye on the MXGP class and if yes, what do you think of the whole Cairoli vs Herlings things?
Yes, of course I watch them every weekend, and every moto. Those two are so fast and you can learn so much watching those two.
You are a big guy, have you decided when you want to move up to MXGP?
I just turned 21, and I am not sure. We have been talking about it a little bit, but I think I stay one more year in MX2 and then see if I am still enjoying it. MXGP is tough, and I feel like the move to MXGP from MX2 is a bit like moving up from EMX to MX2. MXGP is so tough right now.
Is it a bit scary moving up, because if you see Cairoli and Herlings, they are nearly unbeatable?
Not scary, but it is like, when I go there, I need to be 100% ready. I did that coming from EMX to MX2, and I want to learn as much as I can in MX2 before I make the move to MXGP. You can’t go half hearted into MXGP, because it won’t work out well.
Photos by: JP Acevedo