MXGP

Interview: In shock Jacky Martens opens up on being dumped by Husqvarna Motorsports – ‘it just hurts’

Thomas Kjer-Olsen

Thomas Kjer-Olsen

At the tail end of last month (March 29, 2019 to be exact) Husqvarna Motorsports dropped a press release into the motorsport world’s collective inbox that shocked and saddened many as they announced that there would be a new structure in place from 2020 onwards for their Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing MX2 team.

Ultimately, this meant the Jacky Martens run team would disband and a new squad formed over the off-season.

Although quick to show ongoing support to the JM Racing Team for the rest of the season, many question why Martens’ team – that currently leads the MX2 series with Thomas Kjer-Olsen – would be ousted so publicly so early in the year or at all given their current rate of success.

Former HRC Team Manager Lorenzo Resta was certainly curious to know so he hooked up with Jacky at Valkenswaard to get his thoughts about the decision and what the future might hold.

Dirt Bike Rider: The news that Husqvarna decided to go a different route with their factory racing effort for MX2 in 2020 certainly came as a huge surprise to us – it seems like it was a big shock for you too?

Jacky Martens: “Honestly, I am still a bit in shock from what happened. Now I think I need time to process it all because it just hurts. I need time to think but at the same time I have to stay focussed on the team I have today. We did a lot of work during the winter and already this year and I still want it to pay off – for us to finish well. My contract reaches an end after this season and I don’t want any kind of bad situations – I want to finish the season in the best possible way.”

DBR: How did you hear about it?

JM: “The Thursday before Matterley Basin I went to Austria to find out what was going on and the answer was that they already reached an agreement with a new team – one that was set-up partially with people from my team and behind my back.”

DBR: Incredible, and right before the race that delivered victory and the red plate…

JM: “I never thought I’d lose this team, ever. We have a group of fantastic people from Claudio De Carli to Dirk Gruebel and the combination of all of us with the R&D, everything was practically perfect or so I thought because otherwise they wouldn’t have changed teams.”

DBR: Do you think this is just a question of money?

JM: “I don’t know, it’s not nice if I said it’s just about money. But if you look around in the paddock you see some things are changing – some good but some are a shame if you ask me.”

DBR: In what sense?

JM: “In the sense that the sport is starting to be run by businessmen – rather than people who have a competitive background in the sport.”

DBR: The factories are probably happy that business people with money get more and more into the world of MXGP but this way they could lose knowledge and experiences that could become irreplaceable…

JM: “Yes, I am convinced. It is easy to make new rules, complain or anything but only those who have grown up in this environment know what is best to have safe bikes, safe tracks and reduce risks. And on the other hand, there’s the R&D factor – a lot of time can be lost if you just work on figures or budget alone.”

DBR: In your opinion, was there no other way?

JM: “I would have been happy if we had an open conversation about how we could strengthen our team or to solve any issues for the next years. But the decision was made – there was nothing to do about it. If they had made another team, even parallel to mine, I would have accepted it but it wasn’t.”

DBR: What is it that you most regret?

JM: “Giving a little too much trust to some of the people and sponsors within my organisation and being blind to what was going on.”

DBR: Now what will happen?

JM: “I don’t know. I love sports and I do this job with passion. I started at 35 with KTM as a team with Husaberg at the request of Mr Pierer, then KTM, Husqvarna – I spent my life doing what I like best and what I can do best. Now let’s finish this season in the best way possible – then we’ll see.”

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