Boog, the leading Kawasaki rider in the MX1 class this year, will line-up next season alongside Jonathan Barragan in the Kawasaki Racing Team.
“For next season we have two of the best MX1 riders with Jonathan and Xavier. Jonathan was really unlucky with injuries this year but we all know that he can win GPs, and Xavier is the best rookie rrider in the MX1 class. His riding style and his mentality suits Kawasaki perfectly; he learnt very quickly how to be fast and consistent on a KX450F, which requires a totally different approach than in the MX2 class. He surprised me with his consistency on every track, and for sure with more experience he will be even stronger in 2011”, said Steve Guttridge, the European Race Planning Manager from Kawasaki Motors Europe. It was the right time to ask the young Frenchman, who has already finished in the top five at five GPs this year, a few questions.
Xavier, Kawasaki Europe and Kawasaki Racing Team confirmed you for two more seasons in the team. Does this give your confidence a boost for the rest of this year’s GPs ?
"For sure it has a positive effect. I’m very happy to have signed a new two year deal with Kawasaki. I had some talks with other teams, but my priority was to stay in green; everything is going perfectly with KRT, and I feel comfortable on the KX450F-SR Kawasaki. This year I discovered a new team, a new bike, and the best way to be stronger and better next season is to keep on working with the same people. We won’t lose time this winter getting to know each other, and I have a great relationship with Jonathan Barragan who will be my teammate next season. I’m sure that we will work together even closer this winter to prepare for 2011."
Two-thirds of the way through the GP season you’re sixth in the standings. Were you expecting such a good result ?
"Yes, actually I was expecting to do well, but that doesn’t always mean that you can achieve it. My personal goal was to be in the top ten of the series, but I have been pretty consistent with only one DNF during the twenty heats we raced so far, and the results are even better than what I expected. And the season is not finished yet!"
Did you think you could ride for a podium this season?
"I didn’t think that I could battle with riders such as Cairoli, Desalle, Ramon, Philippaerts or De Dycker this year; I was not expecting to ride at their level for my first season on a 450. But I am improving with every race; I am now capable of setting the fastest time in a practice session and have battled for a podium result in the GPs. It was after Portugal and Spain in May that I realized what I am capable of in this class, and now I am no longer satisfied if I finish a race eighth or ninth. But to be realistic several riders have been injured, and that has helped me to get some top results."
After four campaigns on a KX250F, how was it to move on a KX450F?
"I really like this bike, as it is better suited to my riding style. I don’t like to be aggressive, I like to ride smoothly, so the 450 is much better for me. I did a couple of German Championship races on a 450 three years ago, so I expected it to be easy for me to switch to the bigger bike."
After the injuries to Jonathan Barragan and Sebastien Pourcel you were alone in the KRT awning for several races. Did you feel some more pressure?
"Yes, because it was the first time that I had so many people working around me! But to be honest the pressure that I feel is the pressure that I put on my own shoulders; nobody in the team put any pressure on me. I want to thank all of them, they didn’t change anything when I was alone; this year I was there to learn and prepare for 2011, for sure it will be different next year. But I am confident that we will work hard during winter time and I will be ready."
You have now some experience on the KX450F-SR; do you know what you will have to work on this winter?
"I will not change many things, but I will focus on some points; for example I will do more physical training as you need more strength on a KX450F. We will continue to develop the bike and test parts; we already test a lot with the team and the bike is already really good."
It seems that the first part of a race is not the best period for you; many times you need several laps to find your rhythm?
"It depends on the track. When it’s physical like in Latvia for sure I have some problems during the early laps, but in Germany I posted fast lap times straight after the start. It seems that on a demanding layout I unconsciously don’t give my best straight away during the first few laps, maybe my body wants to save some energy. That’s a point I will have to work on this winter."
You claimed the French MX1 title, and you are on the list of riders who could ride the Motocross of Nations. It’s definitively been a great season for you.
"The French title was my main goal this season, and I’m glad that I got it at the penultimate race. It’s the first time that I have won a title; that’s important for me, my family, my fans, the team and our partners. Concerning the Nations it would be a dream to be part of the French team; I have never been selected for a team race, and for sure I hope that I will be selected by the French Federation."
You finished 4th in Portugal and USA, 5th in Italy, Germany and Latvia, do you think that you can get your first MX1 podium soon ?
"Everyone asks me this question, and you can be sure that I want it as soon as possible ! We have five more GP to go, but two of them are on tough sandy tracks so there will be three real opportunities for me. The sand is not a problem for me, but it will be difficult to get a top result in Lommel or Lierop with so many strong and experienced MX1 sand riders, but I will give my best, as always."