In spite of the usual hoopla surrounding a home Grand Prix there’s not one bit of tension visible when we meet Ken De Dycker. The Red Bull-KTM rider travels to Bastogne, in the south of Belgium, is holding fifth in the MX1 World Championship and he feels confident in himself and his bike. Even a huge get-off last Saturday during the Portuguese GP could not unsettle his balance.
Is the build up for a GP in Belgium different than normally?
Ken De Dycker: “Not so much. It’s nice to do a Grand Prix at home because for a long time it seemed that we wouldn’t have a Belgian GP this year. So hats off to the organizers to pull that off in a very short space of time! For sure there will be a lot of fans and friends there but beyond that I’m in the same boat as the other riders, it’s a new track tot discover and that’s also very exciting. I haven’t been there before myself so don’t ask me what I think about it, I will tell you on Saturday! On the other hand it’s bit funny to have another home event because actually Valkenswaard and Lierop are a lot closer, people speak Dutch there as well. While Bastogne sounds more like abroad you know, it’s further away and people speak French but once you see all the Belgian flags and you hear the cheers I will know where I am!”
You took quite a hit during the qualifying race in Agueda, how do you feel now?
De Dycker: “It’s okay, however the physiotherapist needed to straighten me out a little bit more than usual after a GP weekend! I definitely feel it in my bones but nothing is broken or hurt. It didn’t affect my racing on Sunday, I see no reason why that would be different in Bastogne.”
Since the start of the season you have been very regular. On the other hand we have four leading men in the MX1 class in Cairoli, Desalle, Paulin and Pourcel. What do you need to mix it up with them?
De Dycker: “I believe I have the speed to run with those guys. We just need to improve on my starts which have not been so good in France and Portugal. If you can race the fastest riders from the beginning that makes all the difference! Rather than just catching up I should be able to attack when I’m upfront. My first goal now is still to get on the podium.”
After a disappointing 2011 season you seem like a man reborn. What has been the key to your success?
De Dycker: “Actually it’s not as if a ton of things have changed! I feel the same as the previous seasons, just my clothing and my bike have changed. I have a lot of confidence in the KTM SX-F450 which is obviously a big boost. Not only is it a very powerful bike, it always you to ride more effortlessly as well. On top of that I worked really hard over the winter time, probably harder than ever before. All of that is starting to pay off now, although there’s still room for improvement!”
The eighth round of the FIM MX1 World Championship will take place on the 16th and 17th of June in Bastogne, Belgium