Interviews 25 Feb 2020

Conversation: Mitch Evans

MXGP rookie on his preparations ahead of the 2020 season.

Words: Supplied

Australian Mitch Evans will make his premier class debut in the MXGP World Championship this weekend when the series kicks off at Matterley Basin in Great Britain. In this Conversation interview, the Team HRC rider talks about his preparation for the upcoming season.

Image: Supplied.

Just talk briefly about what that 2019 season was like for you…

I got off to a great start by getting on the podium in Argentina, but things didn’t quite go to plan from then on. I struggled a little bit just with everything being new and perhaps trying to push myself too much in order to over-compensate for the results. It was a learning curve though and I’m glad I was able to come over here and do it. Obviously after that I got the call to join Team HRC, it was a dream come true for me, I’ve always grown up looking at the scene over here and HRC is one of the best rides you can have. I was a little bit speechless when it happened but I knew it was going to be a big challenge and I couldn’t wait to get started.

What has this off-season been like and what can you tell us about the new bike?

I went over to Japan just for one race at the end of last year and that was a really cool experience. It was great to see what HRC is all about and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience there. Then I went back to Australia for a little bit over the holidays before coming back to Europe this year to ride the new bike and to just work with the team in preparation for the MXGPs. The first time I rode it was in Sardinia and right away I was impressed with what they had done. I was coming from a different place than Tim but I knew that it was a machine capable of winning races and that they’d put in a lot of time and effort to getting it ready for this year.

What about your preparations for this coming season and how you plan to approach it?

I’ve done a lot of gym work to make sure I’m ready for the extra size and power of the 450 machine. I started a little bit earlier, which meant that I could go to Australia and I think that was important as it refreshed me a bit. Last year I wasn’t able to go home and I felt a bit homesick, so just those couple of weeks I think have made a big difference mentally and physically. I’ve tried to work smarter and not just harder, but now I’m back working with the team to get everything ready for this season and it’s all going well.

Image: Supplied.

Things went very well in Italy – talk about that championship…

Like Tim said, those three races went very well. I was very happy with my results and my racing, and my fitness was good too. Winning the last race was also a great feeling for me as it had been a little while since my last victory and it was just a great way to head into the world championships. Things will definitely be tougher there but I’m feeling strong and the Honda CRF450RW is riding well and is fast out of the gate and that is going to be very important when the season begins.

What are you hoping to achieve in the MXGP class this year?

I would like to be one of the three or four guys at the front of the field by the end of the season. I know it will be a massive challenge, and I know that the class is extremely competitive with a lot of fast guys in it but I believe that is what I am capable of eventually. To start with, I just want to be consistent and make sure I am in the top 10 each weekend. I want to build my fitness and just work from there towards the front of the field. I’d love to get a couple of podiums and perhaps even a win before the year is out but I’d be happy with a couple of podiums.

What’s it like having Tim as your team-mate?

Having Tim as three-time world champion as my team-mate is pretty cool. To be on the same team that he did it on is awesome because they know how to win as well. I couldn’t have anyone better to learn from, so I’m looking forward to improving from him and he’s a great guy, we get along really well so I’ve really enjoyed my time riding with him. We have a bit of banter when we can but when we need to be serious, we are, and its just a good dynamic between us both.

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