"When I see myself riding, I feel I’m going too slow!”
Fresh from his successful defense of the "Götland Grand National” in Sweden and from the EICMA of Milano, the newly crowned Enduro 2 World Champion Pierre-Alexandre RENET (F - Husaberg) gave us a bit of his time for this interview.
Pela, it only took you three years to win an enduro world championship. Are you surprised by how quickly you’ve risen to the very top of your new sport?
Pierre-Alexandre RENET: "Yes, it’s a little crazy how fast everything has happened. But to be honest I felt ready to win last year. However, I ran out of luck with some technical issues. Even though we will never know, I still remain convinced that it was possible to fight with Antoine(MEO) for the E2 title.”
As the newly crowned E2 champion, you are also the only rider to have won a world title in both motocross and enduro.
PA.R: "Yes, I'm really proud to have achieved this! When I arrived in enduro, I knew that nobody had ever done this before and I was really hoping to be the first rider to do it. It is a great satisfaction for me.”
Tell us about the Grand Prix AMV of France. Did you feel a lot of pressure?
PA.R: "The GP of France was a strange weekend. On Saturday I didn’t think about the title. I fought all day with Johnny(AUBERT) and Juha(SALMINEN) for the victory. I was disappointed to finish in second place and only six hundredths of a second behind Johnny, but I was also happy because I was able to extend my points lead over Cristobal GUERRERO (E – KTM). Also with that result Juha could no longer race for the title. However, on Sunday I was tense from the very first special test. I was overly careful with my bike and myself – my only goal was to simply finish the day.”
"My first thought went to my cousin who recently died”
What was your first reaction at the end of the final special test?
PA.R: "My first thought went to my cousin that I lost just before the start of the season in a car accident. I had promised to do everything to win the title for him and at the end of the last Cross Test I dedicated that moment to him!”
Juha SALMINEN has eight titles, Ivan CERVANTES five, Johnny AUBERT two and Cristobal GUERRERO has a title in Junior! To win a world championship in a class with such talent is very impressive!
PA.R: "Thanks! To think that those four riders have 16-enduro world titles between them shows how stacked E2 was. It was a great season in the E2 class, there were constant fights and many different riders led the championship at various stages in the season. To win against so many top riders is a great feeling.”
Along with the E2 world championship, you were also a winning member of team France at the ISDE and the French Enduro 2 Champion. Are you pleased by how perfect 2012 has been?
PA.R: "Indeed, this is an dream season. If I could, I would sign immediately to do the same every year. Right now though I’ll have to recharge the batteries so I can hopefully do it all again next year!”
As the MX3 World Champion in 2009 you had a bright future motocross, yet you decide to join KTM France and enduro in 2010. Why was that?
PA.R "After my MX3 title, I wanted to make my comeback in MX1 and my team wanted to keep me. But I did not know what support I would have – I was venturing into the unknown. So I decided to try my luck in enduro instead. It felt like it was the right time to do it, and actually, it was a good time!”
Once again, Eric BERNARD (France head competition KTM / Husaberg) seems to have had a hand in helping you come to Enduro?
PA.R: "At the age of 18, I had enduro trials with Eric BERNARDand he offered me to join his team. But I was still young and I wanted to continue in motocross while telling myself that the speed I would gain would help me later in enduro. In 2009, I went back to Eric, telling him that I was ready to try my luck in the EWC. He made a proposal for the first GP. And then after I fought for third place with Thomas OLDRATI (I – Husaberg) Ericmade every effort to ensure that I finished in good condition that season. In the end I finished fourth in the World Championship and was the French E2 Champion.”
"To win against the best riders ... is awesome!”
Your riding style is very smooth and precise but incredibly effective. Is this something that has come naturally to you or do you work hard at it?
PA.R: "I've always ridden this way. Many people have often criticized to me about a lack of aggressiveness, yet when I'm on the bike I really think that I attack! Then when I look at myself on the TV, I say, "Oh, I don’t look very exciting on the track”. But I think my riding style is very good for the enduro and my results are not going to lie to me.”
Earlier this year it seemed like you might sign with HVA CH Racing team of Fabrizio AZZALIN, yet you have finally decided to stay with Husaberg for two more years...
PA.R "I was negotiating with several brands including Husqvarna. But Husaberg made efforts to keep me. I feel good with them, they’re a great team and we feel like a big family. It was them who gave me the opportunity to join an official team, it felt right to stay.”
What is your relationship like with the Swedish team and your manager Thomas GUSTAVSSON?
PA.R: "I have a very good relationship with them. The mechanics are really cool but very quiet. It’s a little different than us French, as we tend to be more expressive. For Thomas (GUSTAVSSON)I appreciate his temperament. He remains the same. He did not change behavior based on the results and I appreciate it!”
What do you think of your teammates and especially your young countryman Mathias BELLINO?
PA.R: "I have very good relationships with each of them, whether it is Oriol(MENA) or Joakim(LJUNGGREN). Regarding Mathias, when he arrived in enduro, he was a rowdy kid, always looking for any shit to do ...(laughs) ... But now, we "dealt with him" within the KTM / Husaberg France team and he’s calmed down! I get on very well with him!”
You finished as runner-up of NAMBOTIN in the HVA Xtreme Test Award and the Mika Ahola "Brave One" Trophy this year. These trophies will be a priority targets for you in 2013?
PA.R: "During the season I always looked at the standings with NAMBOTIN. I was even leading for a time on the HVA Xtreme Test Award. Of course, my priority will be the title, but I'd love to win the Mika Ahola "Brave One" Trophy. In 2010, my first Grand Prix was in Spain. I was in the same category as Mikaand Ivan(CERVANTES) and they were almost one minute faster than me in the enduro test. I couldn’t believe their speed; I thought it was not possible that they must be cutting the special test! Then I learned and now I make good time in these stages.”
Will you be back in E2 or is there another category that attracts you?
PA.R "I’ll stay with my 450 Husaberg in Enduro 2. I'll wear the number one plate and fight to defend it.”
Is the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship interested you?
PA.R "This championship is interesting but the timing is difficult. The dates are too far apart. The first round is in early December and we have to wait until February for the second and the third round. Also the final round is only one week before the start of the EWC!”
How will you occupy your time during the offseason?
PA.R: "I have many things to do. I was at the Motorcycle Show in Milan, then I’ll go to the FIM Gala in Monaco and I’m also invited to the KTM factory for Christmas. And on top of that, I must resume the training between Christmas and New Year's Day with Christophe(NAMBOTIN)!”