Rockstar Energy Suzuki MX1 rider Tanel Leok talks about the Motocross GP season so far, the factory RM-Z450 and his fight to regain full fitness.
So far my season has been all about catching up. Ever since I landed on a fallen rider after a jump at Lommel in Belgium and injured my left leg I’ve been chasing full fitness and it has not been easy. The accident happened pre-season and for sure there was not enough time for it to heal properly before the start of the World Championship and at Valkenswaard for the opening Grand Prix of the year I even made it a bit worse.
I didn’t ride much with the bike before the next race in Bulgaria and while things were OK on Saturday in practice, on Sunday morning in the warm-up I caught my leg in the ruts and was back to square one. I had swelling and pain and no feeling in my toes after 10 minutes. There are two bones in the lower leg, the tibia and fibula and between the two there are ligaments holding them together. Basically I had broken one of those ligaments and that was causing the pain. It was a bit confusing because there was nothing wrong with my ankle. I have damaged ankle ligaments before and they’ve never hurt like this.
I went to the Italian GP a week later and I had to be more careful on the bike and couldn’t really commit to the ruts or the corners and when we got to Mexico a fortnight afterwards I was finally able to guide the Suzuki like I normally do.
It has been fantastic to be a part of this team and it is exactly the level of support and equipment that I was looking for towards the end of last season. Apart from my bad luck with the injuries I am very happy where I am and the very high professionalism that the guys bring to the whole operation.
I’ve ridden a few different bikes in the GPs in the last few years but the Suzuki for me has quality and consistency in many different areas and this is the strong point for the RM-Z450. The power is good, handling is good and suspension is good. It is like the bike ticks boxes across the board and there are no weak points that need working on. Combine the Suzuki with the level of people around it here and the team is a step higher than the others.
I have flown to the races this year and for this reason, so far, I haven’t been able to bring Karoliina and the kids to the GPs but we’ve got events in France and Belgium coming up so they will be there. We have a motorhome but I don’t have a driver so it can mean covering long distances and it can be tiring for me to get the camper to the races by myself.
I just need riding and race time now and if I can get myself into a position where I can really attack a moto, then there is plenty more to come. I know I can be fighting for the top fives and podium positions and when the condition is there and the starts come, then we will see it. The MX1 class is so competitive. In Valkenswaard I was looking at the start list and I worked out that there were 18 riders in the gate who have won a Grand Prix! If you don’t get away well at the beginning then these guys are just too quick. Everything must be 100% to win and if you look at a rider like Steven Frossard, with his injured knee, it is not possible to race if you are not ready.