For his first season with the Teka Suzuki WMX1 team and the fuel-injected RMZ-450, Ken de Dycker could feel satisfied with his final placing of third in the 2008 FIM MX1 World Championship; taking a grand prix win in Holland, five moto victories, eight podiums - the joint highest total - and three pole positions on the way.

The lofty 24-year-old is now considered one of the main contenders for the 2009 title with the GP series soon to get underway in Italy, at Faenza, on March 29th. Here he speaks about his rise to the status of protagonist at the highest level and his approach to arguably his most important season yet.

Q:
Ken, how do you feel coming into this season? Did you get a good winter period of preparation behind you?

Ken de Dycker:
Yes, the important thing is that I did not have any injuries or physical problems and I was able to do the work that I wanted. I was ill for about a week but for the rest of the time I got a lot of riding done in the sand and I feel pretty good. Two years ago I went to America in the off-season to do some training but I didn't want to go this time because I did not like the inconvenience. It is a long trip and you don't have the things that you need close to hand. The tracks never really get heavy either. I had everything that I needed in Belgium, my doctor and my trainer - and of course being close to the team.

Q:
Each year you seem to have made a step up in terms of your results, performances and profile. Have you changed anything, mentally or physically, for 2009?

Ken de Dycker:
I've had a good think about 2008 and where I made mistakes and where I dropped points. Physically I am stronger and it is important for my mental side to feel 100%. I have been doing a lot of training for a good base condition. I did many 40 minute motos at difficult sand tracks like Lommel and Dunkirk; if you keep on doing those then you just get faster and faster. So I have the platform that I want and I am happy with what I have for the season ahead.

Q:
Last year the first grand prix of the season was at Valkenswaard and you took a lot of confidence from that because you dominated both motos. This time we start in Italy on hard-pack, so how will that be for you?

Ken de Dycker:
Quite different! Valkenswaard was a track that was perfect for me and my style and strength. Even though I had an injury during the winter I was still strong enough to make a first GP like that. I think I was a bit lucky because the track was very difficult and came naturally to me. We go to the hard-pack now but hopefully the weather will be good. It won't be as easy for me as a place like Valkenswaard, but it shouldn't be a problem either.

Q:
The 2009 World Championship calendar has some new circuits with places like Istanbul, Latvia and Brazil...

Ken de Dycker:
Yes, it will be nice to try some new tracks; only afterwards can we say if they are any good! It will be important to keep consistent throughout the whole season and these three tracks are quite a big part of the overall calendar. Things also change on the tracks that we already visit and sometimes you find you have to learn them again because of the weather or the conditions.

Q:
It is a hard time for motocross and motorsport generally but Teka Suzuki WMX1 is in great shape and looking very strong for the season ahead...

Ken de Dycker:
Yes, every time I go to the workshop I appreciate how good and professional this team is. Sylvain does a good job and the support of all the sponsors is really important; I just hope I can keep them happy with some results! This is the best team I have been with and that Belgian connection is also something to be thankful for.

Q:
Will you be doing any other races apart from the GPs? Belgian or German championship appearances?

Ken de Dycker:
I will do be doing four races in Germany and maybe some Belgian rounds. It would be nice to win the Belgian series one day but my priority lies with the GPs and that is my main goal.

Q:
Have you made any special requests for the 2009 RM-Z450?

Ken de Dycker:
We did some testing already at the end of 2008 and made some small improvements with what we had but the 2008 bike was already so good that there was not so much to be done. We have the new chassis coming and also need to do some suspension work still, but this will happen in Italy in the next couple of weeks. I really liked the fuel injection from the first moment I tried it; the feeling with the gas is better and helps to be faster. We will have the second generation of this and I know it will only make the bike even better and easier to ride.

 

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