FOUR ROUNDS INTO THE 2015 FIM ENDURO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP AND HUSQVARNA MOTORCYCLE’S MATHIAS BELLINO LEADS THE ENDURO 3 CLASSIFICATION.
Since switching to the TE 300 for this season, the Bel-Ray Husqvarna Factory Racing rider has been a force to be reckoned with in the EWC’s biggest capacity class.
Delivering the goods at every round of the series so far, Bellino has claimed five race wins from eight starts. Only missing the podium on two occasions has seen him build up a 22-point lead in the championship fight. Hitting his stride at the recent GP of Greece in Serres to win both days in style, the Frenchman now hopes to build on that momentum as he heads to Rovetta for this weekend’s GP of Italy…
Mathias, it’s now just a couple of days until the GP of Italy. Are you looking forward to the GP of Italy as E3 championship leader?
Mathias Bellino: “This weekend’s race in Italy is very important. All GPs are important but world championship races in Italy are always special. They’re always hard as well, so for the championship it’s a big race. I feel pretty good, and I’m looking forward to it. The last world championship race in Greece went really well for me, with two wins, so I hope I can continue my good results. After the Italian GP there are only two races remaining and for that reason it is very important.”
Winning both days at the GP of Greece must have been a great confidence boost for you?
Mathias Bellino: “Coming away with a double win was incredible. I really felt like everything came together there. The enduro test was so important to ensure a strong result in Greece. At 10 minutes long it required a lot of concentration to get it right. On the first lap of each day I pushed hard and was able to put myself in contention. Being immediately sharp and fast made a huge difference to my results.”
After such a strong start to 2015 you must be enjoying the switch to the TE 300?
Mathias Bellino: “Deciding to switch to a two-stroke after so many years on a four-stroke wasn’t an easy one. I had many, many questions for the team but I know now it was the correct choice for me. I’m in a great team and have a great bike, so my work at the start of the season was quite easy really. I was happy with my bike from the beginning. There wasn’t much that needed to be changed. I just had to adjust to riding the two-stroke. Once I knew that the bike was ready and set-up the way I like it, I just focused on my riding.”
The Enduro 3 class is proving very competitive this year. How important is it to remain consistent at each round?
Mathias Bellino: “The most important thing is to be on, or as close as you can to the podium each day. It’s been great to get some wins this year, but it’s being consistent that really matters when the points are added up. My goal is to get on the podium every day. I’ve only failed to do so on two days. I know that my bike is perfect so a bad result is due to a bad performance from myself. If things aren’t going so well then I have to change something. Thankfully things are going well so far.”
You’ve shown great maturity in your riding this year. Do you feel now that you’ve put all the pieces of the enduro puzzle together?
Mathias Bellino: “Definitely – with age comes experience. But remaining calm is always difficult for me because I want to do my best at every race. I want to be winning, or as close to winning as possible. Some riders are very good at staying calm when things don’t go perfectly, but for me that’s hard. But I am getting better. I understand the importance of keeping as calm as possible when things don’t go so well and to give my all. I think I am calmer and more mature than I was before.”
Unfortunately 2014 ended early due to a knee injury. How is your knee now?
Mathias Bellino: “I feel really good this year. Injuring my knee was disappointing for both myself and the team. I’d just won at the GP of Sweden and was looking forward to the second half of the season. Once we understood the full extent of the injury we knew it was important to take the time necessary to recover from my knee surgery and be ready for 2015. It was hard to watch that championship slip away but I feel I’ve come back stronger as a result.”
Have you any thoughts on racing the final round of the series in France, or is that still too far away to think about?
Mathias Bellino: “The GP of France is always a special race. It’s one that I am really looking forward to. But right now I’m not thinking about it at all because I’m focused on taking the races one-by-one. Of course I’m well aware that it will be a very big, special and important race. My goal is to try and win the E3 title, so if I can arrive to Requista with the championship lead it could become a magical weekend of racing. But for now my focus is on this weekend’s GP of Italy, after that we will see.”
You enter the GP of Italy with a 22-point lead. Is the goal still to fight for race wins?
Mathias Bellino: “Yes, of course. It’s still too early in the series to think about anything less. I will look to get as many points as possible and not worry too much about the championship. I am leading Enduro 3 by 22 points now, which is good, but even with this small advantage I have to keep pushing for race wins. At this stage in the season the goal hasn’t changed. I need to try and win, or at least finish on the podium. If I can do that the rest will follow.”
The FIM Enduro World Championship continues with round five of seven in Rovetta, Italy on June 20/21.