Kevin Strijbos has been one of the fastest riders in the premier class of the FIM Motocross World Championship so far this season. At least on Saturdays.
The 28-year-old Belgian has comprehensively taken two pole positions from the three rounds of 18 run so far in Qatar, Thailand and Brazil but has been unable to convert that speed into podium potential during the GP motos.
Through frustration with the arm-pump problem that seems to null his pace and prevent the Rockstar Energy Suzuki rider from challenging for trophies, Strijbos is now set to have medical checks in Belgium this week to see if there is physiological cause behind the complaint.
“I need to sort out my arms and I might go to the hospital this week,” he said after the Brazilian Grand Prix where he finished eighth overall after sealing first choice in the gate on Saturday afternoon. “I want them to look and see if there is something wrong. I don’t understand why it comes or what the problem is. Is it the arms or the front fork? I really don’t think it is the fork or the shock but it is pretty shit because I’m riding well for half of the Grands Prix.”
Strijbos, who is contracted to the factory Suzuki team for the 2015 campaign as well, is in the midst of his third stint with Sylvain Geboers’ Lommed-based crew. He burst through to the Grand Prix scene in 2002 as team-mate to Michael Pichon on the RM250 (full time in 2003) and gave Suzuki their first GP win with the RM-Z450 four-stroke in 2005.
After finishing as MX1 championship runner-up twice he left ‘yellow’ and rode for Kawasaki for a year and then Honda for two while suffering injury problems. Some wild-card rides for Suzuki in 2011 led into a privateer saddle with HM Plant KTM UK where he turned his career around with three MX1 podium finishes in 2012 and the British Championship. He went back to Geboers in 2013.
Strijbos now has to re-think and find a way to channel his Saturday fluidity to GP podiums. “I’m pretty down and not sure what to do,” he confessed last Sunday. “I’m not having fun when I ride and we need to change something and figure it out. Maybe try a few days off to clear my mind and go again for Arco [di Trento and the Grand Prix of Trentino on April 13].”