Rasmus Jorgensen interview
Posted on October 21, 2019
Former Grand Prix racer Rasmus Jørgensen is a young man in a great position in the sport. Having just been given the position of team manager of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna factory team, the 28-year-old Dane is excited and has a lot of energy and motivation for the new job.
Husqvarna Motorcycles confirmed the signing of a multi-year agreement with Nestaan-MX a few weeks ago and they will manage and run the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing MX2 team from 2020 onwards. In the deal Jorgensen was given the job to manage the team, and no doubt, with his experience as a former racer and already the hands-on man for the Husqvarna MX2 riders, his job should be an easy transition.
As always Jorgensen was available for a chat, and in his typical professional manner gave us a good look at how the 2020 season will be for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team and also what changes have happens.
MXlarge: Firstly, congratulation on your new positions as team manager of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna factory team. I think everyone in the paddock knew what was happening, but how was that transitional period for you, difficult, or easy?
Jorgensen: Yes and no, it was definitely interesting all the way, but as you can imagine, the season is very busy and that is the important thing. So with all the travel and the racing, together with Kay Hennekens the team owner, and Joël De Busser, who was the technical manager at Jacky’s, to do everything and set everything in motion, after doing our normal jobs was of course interesting and challenging. There are periods where it was mellow and then where it was very busy with three in a row, but it has been a positive transition all the way.
MXLarge: Obviously Jacky had his workshop and everything in Lommel, so how is that now? Will you guys still be based in Lommel?
Jorgensen: We purchased an old building at the beginning of the year actually. We saw a lot of opportunities, but it needed a lot of work on the outside and the inside. It was a full renovation, and this has been going in through the season and after China we could move stuff in. Getting all the parts and getting everything organized it was a big job, but most importantly we could keep going and after Assen we did our training and the workshop wasn’t 100% ready. Now the riders are having their rest, and everything will be ready when we start up again for 2020.
MXLarge: Just a workshop and office or also living quarters?
Jorgensen: Just a workshop and office.
MXLarge: Obviously, you have very good contact with Antti (Pyrhonen) in the MXGP part of Husqvarna. As you know Antti has everything so organized and clean, and I even joked with him at the Nations about being a clean freak. Do you want the same type of set-up for the MX2 guys, or will it remain similar to this year?
Jorgensen: I think it is important for the Husqvarna motorcycles brand to look like the premium motorcycle brand, that is their philosophy, but we also know this is motocross, so, we will try and look as clean as possible, the same as what we did with Jacky. No, definitely clean, easy and I want to keep it simple. This is still motocross and we will walk in mud up to our knees sometimes. It is a new team, new workshop, new truck, so why not keep it clean.
MXlarge: Some teams are very strict with their riders and others are very flexible. How do you want to run the team and the riders?
Jorgensen: So, obviously going from the title I had before to now, not much will change actually. I get the team managers title, but I will keep overlooking the riders and their training and that worked in the past and I don’t want to take that away. From their side and their wishes, they want to continue like in the past, so I might have some late nights in the office, but I don’t mind. I really live for this sport, it is my passion and I am so grateful to be in the position I am in. After my accident (where his racing career ended), that I can now be so heavily involved, I really appreciate that. So back to your question, I don’t think the riders want it to be flexible. It isn’t like they are locked in a cage, but we expect them to cooperate in the way we want to do it.
MXlarge: Nothing against Jacky, or some of the other older team owners or team managers, but I think the revolving door of the sport is a good thing, with fresh blood coming in like yourself and replacing the older paddock people. We see many new teams, new team managers. It seems so many of the teams now are run by different people and the whole era of Sylvain Geboers or Michele Rinaldi has now passed. What is your opinion on this?
Jorgensen: Well, I don’t think about it too much to be honest. I have been given this opportunity and I want to make the most of it. I am very hungry, motivated and I am relatively young, I am only 28, I just turned 28 a few weeks ago. In my position I like it, like you said, it is a generation change. Also the young guys in MX2, guys like Sylvain and those guys, they had incredible careers, but they haven’t had that new generation of riding styles and me being a part of that, at a close level, I think that helps, but in saying that, guys like Sylvain, they have a lot of knowledge, that we can use today.
MXlarge: 2020 and the MX2 class, my god. With Prado gone, I think there could be as many as 12 guys who could win the championships. Obviously, a small group at front, but then a bunch of riders right behind them. Thomas as people seem to forget he finished second in the World, won a Grand Prix, but he does sort of just cruise through the season, not making mistakes and just getting it done. Does something need to change, or is it okay and he is just unfortunate he came up against a rider as gifted as Prado?
Jorgensen: I think Prado was the better man this year, that is no secret. Anyone else, was in the shadow of that and at one point we tried to beat him every single weekend and we succeeded once or twice. You are absolutely correct, Thomas just cruises along, doesn’t get that much attention, but people forget he was third in his rookie season, third in his second year and now second in 2019. He has been very consistent. He has been on the podium a lot of times and you can not take that away from him.
MXLarge: Those are actually championship qualities?
Jorgensen: Exactly and with Prado gone that opens up a lot of opportunities for Thomas, but it also opens up opportunities for a lot of the young guns coming up. Thomas is aware he might be the title favourite coming in, but he also knows he can’t go to sleep. He needs to give his all, because there are also Vialle, Geerts, Watson and all these guys. It is what it is, he has been ready every single season, ready when we got to the first round and we won’t change the formula, because he has the good formula. If we can improve in some small areas of course.
MXlarge: I watched the Monster Energy Cup, well the highlights because I am not getting up at 3am to watch it live, but watching Adam Cianciarulo race that 450, I was really excited and thought to myself, this guy could be the future of AMA motocross and supercross. He looked amazing, but I also thought about Thomas, because Thomas seems to be very similar to Cianciarulo in size and Thomas is also very talented. I know he still has an MX2 championship to go for, but I can’t wait to see Thomas on a 450 in the MXGP class. If he didn’t have a ride for 2021, would you make room for him in the team you manage?
Jorgensen: It is really difficult to say, but I think you are absolutely right, the full potential of Thomas will be on the 450. To see what this guy goes through every year with the weight, it is incredible. We are talking 15 kilos heavier than his rivals. That is a lot on a 250. I mean everything about Thomas is big, big hands, big feet, long legs, so he has a lot has a lot against him on the 250. In saying that, he is really motivated to end his MX2 career really strong, but I think no doubt his full potential will come out on the 450. His contract is up at the end of 2020, but he is in interesting rider for the team and for sure I hope he stays on an Austrian brand, but as it is now, we are the factory 250 team for Husqvarna.
MXlarge: Last question, the calendar came out, I really like it, because we have some good tracks, some nice fly-aways and a good mix of old school and new school. What do you think of it?
Jorgensen: I liked the changes. It is nice with the European start, we haven’t had that for a while. It is good they moved China, because three fly away races in a row is too much in my opinion. In general, I think 20 rounds is maybe too many, I think 16 is perfect if you also go to four or five overseas. It has a bit of everything like always and it is interesting.