I arrived on the Sunday morning to find the riders taking a rest day. The Monday, though, was something else again as they began with a 15-minute run, then a trip to the gym for a tough work-out and finally a 30-minute drive to a really well-prepared circuit on a hillside.
What was impressive was the way the KTM team were doing their on-track training. Two 45-minute motos, all on the circuit at the same time. The action was feirce as Everts lead Philippaerts, Rattray, Barragan and new MX1 rider Max Nagl. The tempo was obviously not GP pace, although the KTM riders will work up to a quicker pace as the Mantova Starcross comes closer.
"I did something similar in 2004 with Ben Townley," Rattray mentioned. "We are going at a really good tempo and for sure it's a great preparation. I took a small crash, which dropped me off the lead pack, but it is always good to fight on the track and check your speed against the others."
Stefan Everts told us about the form of training. It's not new to him, but has taken him to several of his world titles. Working with the younger riders seemed to give Everts a lot of satisfaction as he laughed and smiled the whole day.
Interesting to note that Cedric Melotte won the opening GP of the season when the team used this method. Looking at the riders on the track, they way everything is done to a very strict schedule, then it is easy to see why it works.
The two motos are run the same as two GP motos and there is a similar break between motos as at a GP. The perfect preparation for racing.
David Philippaerts was very impressive. Clocking quick times and working super hard in the gym, he will be a force when the season starts, although he is struggling with arm pump as he gets used to the bigger 450cc machine.
"My forearms are hurting a little," Philippaerts told. "I was riding maybe 80 percent of my top speed. I am learning to be less aggressive and not wasting too much energy."