We sat down with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Anstie for a chat ahead of the MXGP of Germany. The MXGP Rookie talks about his return from injury, teammate rivalry and MXoN.
Dirt Bike Rider: Max, you had a good ride in Latvia with ninth and sixth for sixth overall. That was your first race back after the knee injury, so how was the knee?
Max Anstie: It was tough. It’s a weird one, I’m not 100 per cent. I’ve never hurt my knee before, touch wood, which is good but with this class everyone is at the top of their game and everyone is pushing so hard that you need to be 100 per cent and even a little injury takes off a couple of per cent, then you’re not where you want to be.
I came back good – the track was flowing and my knee didn’t hurt. I felt solid but not as fit as before I got hurt, but that’s what happens after you miss a month of racing.
I was pleased with the weekend, I got to seventh in the first race and stalled it on the last lap and dropped to ninth then got sixth in the second race, so two solid rides inside the top 10 and moving forward we’re in a good place.
DBR: The second race looked really rough and a few guys crashed out like Simpson and Gajser. Was it different than previous year’s or is it just the intensity at which everyone in the class is racing?
MA: I think so. Everyone is pushing hard. But I didn’t feel the track was dangerous or weird in any way. I know a few guys went down but when you’re really pushing on a rough track these things happen. Everyone’s so close and pushing the limit, no-one’s got time to rest, you haven’t got time to breathe. There are a lot of guys that can win races.
DBR: This is your first year in MXGP after a very successful MX2 career. We’re eight rounds in, how has the transition gone onto the 450 and racing in the MXGP class? Has it been different to what you were expecting?
MA: Tough in a way that the workload that you have to be at the top level here. The teams are so professional, all the top brands and manufacturers factory teams are run so well have every detail worked out. It’s been great on this team to have the people around me to elevate me to the next level, I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own, and I think that’s made things a lot easier.
I’ve got two great teammates that I’ve been able to learn from and take things from in the week in training. They’re two experienced guys and I’m the inexperienced one, so I can learn from them, which has been great.
It’s a combination of all those things that’s made my transition pretty smooth. I wasn’t expecting too much, I was expecting to be where I am now, just solid and keep building and I don’t think it’ll be too long before I can run in the top five or top three. I’ve got all the tools and equipment to do it, so we’ll just keep pushing on.
DBR: You mentioned your teammates: you’re all front running guys, is there any rivalry or do you all get on fine?
MA: There is for sure. We all want to beat each other and I’m the young one so they definitely don’t wanna get beat by me *laughs*. But I’m told by Antti [Pyrhonen, Team Manager] to keep pushing. We train together, we ride together in the week, we compare lap times so it’s all about pushing the level in the week. But I get on really well with both of them – they’re really good guys and both done really well so it’s nice to be around them, but when the goggles go on we all want to be as near the front as possible.
DBR: Is it too early to talk about the MXoN? I understand Mark Chamberlain has already spoken to some of you about the GB team.
MA: Mark’s done a great job so far, I know its still early but with it being in England it’s gonna be good. He got us together in Valkenswaard to chat about the pros and cons from previous years – what we can improve and to try and get us out riding together like other nations do.
I think it’s a step in the right direction, we’re all on a group chat now and I think it’ll be good for the team and for the Nations whoever gets selected.
I think there should be a lot more publicity this time, Mark’s doing a really good job with that, you can follow their Instagram and Facebook pages, I think there’ll be a lot more about it than in previous years and I hope that continues.
You see other countries do it, it’s a massive race and you get fans that only go to the Nations. I met some guys last year that don’t go to GPs but for them, the Nations is what it’s all about, so it’s about bringing that together and making sure we’re all prepared.
DBR: Thanks Max, have a great weekend.