The Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna racing team will be busy in the coming days with tests for the 2016 FC450 machinery to decide whether Qatar and Argentina Grand Prix winner Max Nagl will use the new material for round four of the FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship at Arco di Trento in Italy on April 18-19.
So far this season Nagl has looked the most accomplished athlete in MXGP with two dominant performances at Losail and then unbeatable speed to come through the pack to a 3-1 at Neuquen.
This form – that has taken the German to within 10 points of Clement Desalle and the red plate and given Husqvarna their first victories in the premier class for more than 20 years – has been achieved thanks to the team’s work on the FC450 to fit Nagl’s smooth and particular style.
“The bike set-up is just perfect at the moment. It is so good,” the 27 year old says. “We have a really strong engine and have found such a good solution for the suspension and every time I go out I feel so comfortable.”
“Now we are working on the new one and the plan is maybe for Arco,” he added. “We have three days of testing after Argentina and if it goes well and we get the new bike to a similar level or better then we will use it in Italy.”
The Husqvarna naturally shares the same base of technology as KTM’s 450SX-F; the latest generation of which is being vastly credited in the USA for helping Red Bull KTM riders Ryan Dungey and Marvin Musquin to the edge of AMA 450SX and 250SX titles thanks to reduced weight and altered geometry.
Nagl has been making his own adjustments to the FC. “When I first started testing the new bike it felt like it was ready for supercross and then we made changes for the outdoors and I was quite surprised about how good it felt,” he says. “I cannot say too much about the differences to the old model yet. For me it felt higher because my current bike is so low it is like a pit-bike! I am a small guy and even I can touch the ground with both legs. I have the setting very low, that’s just my style, and it means quite a bit of work for the guys with the new bike.”
Nagl could be steering an even more potent package around the tight Italian hard-pack in less than two weeks but if the team decide to hold-off on giving the ’16 motorcycles a Grand Prix airing then he will still have a new experience at Arco thanks to the presence of girlfriend Sabina with four month old son Mason, who will see his Dad in action for the first time.
“I’m excited. The weekend before Arco is the first round of the German Championship and even though I said I would not do so much this year because there are many GPs we have already made the plan to go to the race with the camper and then spend the week together before heading to Arco,” he explains. “I’ve been looking forward to that trip. Mason is still too small to know what is going on but I’m still so proud of him.”