Max Nagl interview
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory rider Max Nagl is very much a veteran of the MXGP series, but despite this he is still one of the favorites to shine in what many people are saying will be a very tough 2017 season.
The German rider has just recovered from a back injury picked up at the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations, and is slowly working into his preparation for the new season, which starts in a months’ time at the Redsand circuit in Spain.
We caught up with the always friendly Husqvarna Factory rider and asked him about his winter.
MXlarge: Max, first how are you feeling because the last time we saw you was at the MXoN and you got injured there?
Nagl: I am fine now, it was a bit difficult in the winter period, because normally when your season is done you enjoy a holiday, but I was spending most of my time in the hospital. That wasn’t so great, now I am ok.
MXlarge: From memory, somebody hit you in the back? Can you tell me what happened?
Nagl: The crash wasn’t nothing special, but the problem was I landed on my back and my legs landed over my head, and somebody rode into my lower back at full speed and it was a big hit.
MXlarge: And what was the problem with your back?
Nagl: It was a big impact and all the ligaments and muscles were stretched and there were not cracks, but damage to the ligaments and muscles. It took a long time to recover. The problem is when you damage those things, the position of the back starts to change and you get problems there also. After a few weeks, my vertebra started hurting, because everything was out of position.
MXlarge: You seem to have a lot of bad luck when you crash. Your crashes are usually not too bad, but then somebody runs into you, or you crash into a fallen rider.
Nagl: Yes, three years ago, we had that big accident in Eersel, when I jumped into that guy who was crashed behind the jump, then last year while I was leading the championship, I crashed and Philippaerts ran over my leg. Now somebody ran into my back. I don’t know if it’s unlucky or shit happens.
MXlarge: Obviously, you started 2015 on fire, shocking everyone and as you mentioned leading the championship. How did you enter this years, because your results were not as good?
Nagl: The beginning of 2016 was difficult, but it was a few things. Firstly, I wasn’t as well prepared for 206 as I was in 2015 and we had a brand-new bike. So, all winter we spent a lot of time testing and I couldn’t do my training like I wanted. This year we have the same bike, so I can focus on training.
MXlarge: So, what do you do leading into Qatar. I saw you are entered for the Redsand race, which is amazingly now only a month away.
Nagl: We do Redsand in Spain, Hawkstone in England, and Lacapelle Marival in France, then we have a week off and go to Qatar.
MXlarge: How important are those races? Track time, what is important?
Nagl: First, it’s a good practice day, but it’s important to have a race, easy or tough, it doesn’t matter. If you go into the first GP without doing any races, it is difficult, then you are too stressed.
MXlarge: Like Villopoto in 2015?
Nagl: Yes, and for sure you will get horrible arm-pump and you will feel nervous. When you do a few races, you feel so much more relaxed. It’s more for the head you could say.
MXlarge: Have you been to Redsand before?
Nagl: Yes, last year, but this year they have a new track and everything. The dirt is great. Good weather and the whole area is good for training. It’s a bit like Mantova, every day is good to ride.
MXlarge: You obviously have Paulin in the team now. He is a high-level rider and they always say you want to beat your team-mate. Is that good for you?
Nagl: I think yes, also Anstie is there, so three good riders. We practice together on the bike, and we can push each other a little bit, especially in the winter period. It’s not such a big change for me, because I need to beat them anyway on the track in a race, but it’s fine to have some competition in the team to push harder.
MXlarge: It’s a funny combination, because your personalities are completely different, or not?
Nagl: Yes, completely different, all three of us.
MXlarge: I can imagine with Max, riding with two experienced riders, that should help him a lot, but also working with Antti, he seems to relax riders.
Nagl: Yes, but it’s also good for us, because Gautier and me, we are in the business a long time and Anstie is coming from the MX2 and he is motivated and he always wants to ride and is always pushing 100%, and he is pulling us with him a little.
MXlarge: How often have you ridden with Max so far?
Nagl: Yes, I have only ridden twice since Maggiora, but we spent some days riding Lommel, and it was good.
MXlarge: How does Max look on the 450?
Nagl: Surprisingly good. It fits him well, because he isn’t a small guy and the bike fits his body well.
MXlarge: Thanks for your time Max, and have a great Xmas.
Nagl: Thanks for calling and same to you.
Images: J.P. Acevedo