Features 18 Jul 2023

Five Questions: Nathan Crawford

MX2 contender on 2023 season and future 450 plans.

KTM Racing Team’s Nathan Crawford is putting together arguably his best season so far. The Queenslander has racked up five moto wins and two round overall victories, but still finds himself 35 points down on series leader Wilson Todd (Terrafirma Honda Racing). MotoOnline caught up with the 26-year-old this week to ask him Five Questions.

Image: Foremost Media.

This year we’ve seen arguably the best Nathan Crawford we’ve ever seen. How do you rate the season so far despite the few downs?

It’s been pretty good. Obviously, we’ve had those two setbacks, the scenario at round one and the bike malfunction at Wodonga, which was out of everyone’s hands. The conditions were just so bad that some bikes made it and some didn’t. Other than that, I think my worst result in a moto has been a third. So, obviously, I’ve been super consistent, I’ve won a lot of races and got a couple of overalls which I’m, happy about. I think it’s just been a combination of myself and the team. This new bike that we have really suits me. We did three days of testing in January and I haven’t touched the bike since. But, the season has been good, the team have given me a great bike.

We’ve seen you riding a little on the 450. Can we expect to see you make the switch to the 450 soon?

At the beginning of 2023, I entered a two-year agreement with KTM and the plan was to do the motocross season on a 250, then see where we’re at and transition to the 450 for supercross. We haven’t really spoken much about plans moving forward since then. I’d been trying to get a 450 for a little while now, just to train and get a little head start on for when that time comes. Obviously, I’ve done a season on the 450 before, but I’ve actually never ridden the KTM, so just trying to get a little head start.

We’re in the middle of a seven-week break right now. What does that look like for you and is there any supercross prep in the mix?

No we haven’t started any supercross yet. Purely because of where we are at in the season. Obviously, we’re at a bit of a points deficit, but I’m still in the title hunt. So, the team and I made the decision to stick to motocross for now. We’ve got six weeks after Coolum to get ready for supercross and we’ve already got a base to start with from my supercross set-up last year, wether we move to 450 or not we sort of know where we we’re at. So, for now we’re just focusing on motocross. I did take some time off after Toowoomba, for nearly two weeks I didn’t touch the bike actually. It was good for me, I’m back on the bike now, I have been for roughly two weeks and my body feels fresh. I’m well aware that we’ve got to go pretty deep into the year this season, so I didn’t want to grind myself out for this whole break.

Image: Foremost Media.

You and Aaron Tanti are not only training partners, but you’re really close mates too. Do you find the training and behind-the-scenes stuff easier working with someone when you have a relationship like that?

As you said, we’re really good mates. So it’s good. Away from the track we spend a hell of a lot of time together. Then when we’re at the track, I’ve got a massive carrot to chase. Obviously, he’s on the 450 and I’m usually on a 250, so it’s a hard push during the week to either get close to him or not get my door blown off. He’s a really good rider. So, to have him in our group is a massive bonus, but I think it goes hand in hand. Even though I’m on a 250, some days we’ll go to a track where it might not suit the 450. I might not necessarily be quicker than him, but I’ll be keeping him on his toes. So, I’m sure that as much as he’s good for me, I’m good for him. So, we sort of bounce off each other a lot during the week. We’ve never let ego’s get in the way or worry about who’s faster and who’s not. We really just push each other during the week. So, it’s definitely a positive.

You’ve got experience racing MXGPs. Are there any aspirations to get back overseas, whether it’s racing in Europe or America?

I don’t know. I’ve always told myself I’d love to go race in the US. I’d love to race a Pro Motocross round at some point. The hardest thing with going overseas is, I know that if I go back, I need to be on a good bike. Especially if it’s a 250, I’m a bigger dude, so it’s harder. But, I’d definitely love to race a Pro Motocross at some stage. I kind of almost tried to make it happen this year, but I never really got to it. It’s a lot of work and I didn’t really want to drop it on the team. But, to commit to a full season again, it would need to be for a really good team with a really good bike. Because, it’s hard going doing that stuff when you’re not on the best equipment. Over here in Australia, I’m so used to having the best of the best, so if I was to go somewhere and not get a good bike and good equipment, it’s hard to adapt. So, I’m not sure, but I’d like to get there eventually.