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EWC 2014: ‘Not facing each other is our strength!’

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Inseparable during training as during test walk, we met Christophe NAMBOTIN (FRA – KTM) and Pierre-Alexandre RENET (F – HVA) for an interview. A few hours before the last KTM Super Test of the season, E1 and E2 World Champions are chatting on their seasons and their projects…

It’s been a month since you became World Champion. I guess you pretty well celebrated this?
Pierre-Alexandre RENET: “Right now, not so much. On Sunday evening after the race in Italy, as I had the plane on Monday early morning, I simply made a small restaurant with family and friends who made the trip. And then I broke my foot in Lumezzane and I had to stay quiet at home so I have not really celebrated the title. Then, there are still a few dates before the end of the season. Between the World Championship final, the ISDE and the French Championship it’s not over, I think I’ll really celebrate it in November…”
Christophe NAMBOTIN: “Title or no title, I had already decided to go on vacation just after Italy. I did not celebrate but I made a break of a week and totally cut off with the bike. Later, as Pela said, I didn’t wanted to release me too with deadlines coming and I want to especially don’t do like last year when I finished the season pretty bad in St Flour on a big crash. I continue the training until Six Day but I have already planned a party in November to celebrate this title!”

Compared to your previous titles, does this one has a special flavor?
PA.R: “The first has already been materialized after a big fight with SALMINEN, GUERRERO and CERVANTES but it’s true that this year, it was still high voltage up till Antoine (MEO) injured himself even if there were Johnny (AUBERT) and SALVINI behind. But as SALVINI came down early in the season and then moved on to the fault in Greece it was a serious duel with MEO until he crashed. The rest of the season has been totally changed. I’m still very happy to have ended the domination of MEO in Enduro… He grabbed four titles in a row! ”
C.N: “During the offseason, I asked Fabio FARIOLI to move in Enduro 1 and of course I had to convince! The first title is always with a special flavor I was running after it during many years. But this one really has a different flavor because nobody believed in me…”
P-A.R: “… No, no! I believed in you! ”
C.N: “Once I had requested the change, it was necessary to ride directly with good speed despite my injuries of last season. It is clear that it was complicated. The winter was difficult, I was riding with Pela was shaped early in the winter so I struggled a lot in the beginning… with an almost permanent doubt. And of course the first victories at the opening of the Championship made me feel good! ”

For your part Pela, were you angry that everyone announced a duel MEO – SALVINI in E2?
P-A.R: “Angry… blah! Afterwards, MEO had won again in E1, SALVINI had made a very big last season winning rather easily in E2 so it was a little normal that people announced a duel between those two…”
C.N “… It annoyed you…”
PA.R: “…No, I don’t say it annoyed me, rather it motivates me even more. I knew in my heart that he would not be only the duel between them and that I would also be present. I was convinced! I don’t see why I could not fight with them. I really liked the new bike. The arrival of the links has significantly changed the handling of the bike. When I rode with, I felt that I was better on it and physically I was ready! ”

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Christophe, if you had to choose now between the 250 4T and the 300 2T, what would you choose?
C.N: “It’s exactly the issue that being currently asked. I haven’t seen with my manager but I really want to start again on the 250cc. I spent a lot of time on the 300cc. There are things that I didn’t like on the 2 strokes and I don’t know if they are corrected and if I could accept them for an entire season. For cons, the 250cc still much to be developed. I’m not at 100% of its capacity. I take pleasure on both bikes but yet I really want to go back in E1…”

“Delighted to have ended the domination of MEO!”

So no chance to see you face to face next season?
C.N: “Right now, we didn’t plan it at all!”
P-A.R: “It’s kind of what makes us strong. We train together all the time and inevitably if one day we find ourselves in the same category it will be different. But it is thanks to this that we get to be so strong. It is clear that it takes us both up in training and even racing. Comparing our trajectories. When you are direct competitors, there is a strong rivalry so we couldn’t train together…”
C.N: “In the future why not but for now I don’t think about it. For my part, I give me three seasons at the highest level and it would be a little shoot in our foot. All winter we help each other. For example during the last season, Pela motivated me a lot because I had a lot of difficulties! ”

Pela, except E2, you are not interested in another category?
P-A.R: “Last year, as I knew Nambot ‘down in E1, I proposed to Husqvarna getting into E3 but they were not interested! At HVA, I’m a little bit like…”
C.N: “… the rider number one!”
P-A.R: “Yes you can say it like that! Obviously, they want to see me in the Enduro 2 class as it is the current “big” category. Husqvarna therefore didn’t want me to go in a different category than the E2…”

Next year, you two have still a contract year…
C.N: “Exactly, I have a season and I’d love to extend for two more. In the short term I still see myself in the circuit for at least two seasons more. We will discuss with Fabio soon I think. I want to confirm and continue to grow in E1. But to move forward and keep the desire, you need doubt and if I do not feel that doubt, then I’ll look for a new challenge.”

Despite your title, you still aim to win Brioude?
P-A.R: “Yes, especially in France! This is an important Grand Prix with many spectators, friends and family who come to us. You want to do well! Then the “Brave One” Trophy is not yet won. If I can win everything I will not deprive myself!”
C.N: “And I, if I may be behind him and pop through, I will! Win in France is really great. We had the chance to catch the Grand Prix title before the end of the season and so I did not experience the pleasure of being titled in France…”
P-A.R: “I knew this in Brignoles in 2012, it was really great but I’m not stingy with the possibility of winning the title before the last Grand Prix in France!”
C.N: “First, I don’t want to end up like last year (after a big crash on Sunday in St Flour and a nasty injury, NAMBOTIN had to decline the French selection for the ISDE). The objective is to win, but other riders will push very hard. For Pela with SALVINI and AUBERT in battle for runner-up position and for me with REMES and GUERRERO in just a point or BOISSIERE and TARROUX for fourth place. So it’ll beat up hard!”

“PHILLIPS will be Champion!”

What is your bet for E3?
P-A.R: “PHILLIPS has still 11 points ahead, and even if he is not 100%, he will arrive to ride hard. Between CERVANTES, PHILLIPS and the others there is still a lot of gap so if PHILLIPS happens to ensure two third places although Ivan wins, he will be titled! So I say PHILLIPS!”
C.N: “We will say that Ivan doesn’t have all the cards in hand. He must win but it also depends on the outcome of Matthew. I think PHILLIPS will be titrated although both would make a great champion. In addition they experienced some of the same physical problems during the season!”

Are you afraid of PHILLIPS in the future?
P-A.R: “It’s a young guy who wants to win and who doesn’t raise questions. When I see him ride I wonder how he can do to go faster; He already attacking like crazy! I don’t know what he can give in the future. He is fiery and it’s hard to know how far he will go!”
C.N: “It’s hard to predict the future of a young although today his strength is that he fears no one. He will race the Six Days in E2 where he wants to beat Pela. It is also one of his strengths; he never looks back and always wants to be the best!”

A word on the ISDE… Are you targeting the title?
C.N: “For sure!”
P-A.R: “We’re going there to win for sure! It is not the best team but it is still a homogenous group. We’re all hungry, from the new ones to us. Australians will be our main rivals like Americans…”
C.N: “…We expect that Pela put serious gas! I was disappointed to have missed the victory last year and did not see my name on the Champion plate. And we will all have to give it up!”

Do you have something planned during the offseason?
C.N: “To train the “young” for Le Touquet!”
P-A.R: “Indeed, there is a good chance that I ride in Le Touquet this year so there will be a lot of training in the sand!”
C.N: “For my part, I am already looking to have confirmation of my class for 2015, but I always train in the sand during the winter and this year I’d love to have a 450cc to see what it gives. But for me it will be fully prepared for the first Grand Prix! Then I’ll put myself in front of the TV to watch the expected duel between MEO and RENET in Le Touquet 2015!”

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