Dixon: Moto2 move a dream come true

The British Superbike title contender opens up on his move to the Moto2 class in 2019 and feels he has “the best package … [to] develop into one of the top riders” in the series.
Dixon: Moto2 move a dream come true

September was a rollercoaster of a month for Jake Dixon. Not long after completing a memorable British Superbike double at Oulton Park, which strengthened his claim as the only man capable of halting Leon Haslam’s charge to the 2018 title, a costly mechanical failure at Assen, two weeks later, led his charge hanging in the balance.

But as dismayed as he was by Sunday’s events, all is not lost. For in between rounds one and two of the high-pressure Showdown, Dixon was at the recent MotoGP round at Aragon to announce his plans for 2019: a shot at the Moto2 class after agreeing terms with Team Angel Nieto.

Fronting the Spanish squad’s return to the intermediate category after a four-season absence, 22-year old Dixon will contest 2019 aboard a KTM chassis in a deal that he believes will allow him to establish himself as one of the class’ leading names before too long.

The five-time BSB race winner described the deal, which will see him work within the “fundamentals” of Alvaro Bautista’s current MotoGP crew, as “a dream come true.” As those that have met him will attest, Dixon's ambition can’t be questioned, either. “I’ve got the team around me to progress … and hopefully be a regular winner soon."

“It’s a dream come true from when I was young obviously wanting to be a MotoGP star and be in this paddock,” said Dixon, after Team Angel Nieto had announced his signing at Aragon. “To be in Moto2 is a massive step forward. Coming from British Superbikes, it’s completely different.

“The format is obviously changing from a Honda to a Triumph engine so I thought the best time to go is going to be now. To come here for the next two years is great. It’s great for me and it’s great security as well knowing I’ve got something in line that I can work at for the next two years.

“Some of the guys [in the team] have got 20 odd years of experience. It’s only going to help me when I come to tracks that I don’t know. They’re going to be able to give me the information that I need to know.

“I think having that wealth of knowledge will help me in the long run. I can’t wait to get going. As you know, Bautista is a great rider and he has a great team around him because he’s doing a great job on the bike he’s got. It’s good and, like I said, I can’t wait.”

As Dixon, the son of double sidecar world champion Darren, mentioned, considerable changes for the Moto2 class lie ahead. Not only is the series changing from stock Honda CBR600 engines to Triumph’s 765cc triple. The machines will also have a host of electronics aids to adapt to.

A good time then to jump into the middle of it all. And Dixon is not a complete stranged to the Triumph 765 engine. “To be fair, because I was jumping from my Superbike when I first did a wildcard with the Honda engine,” said Dixon, referencing his first grand prix wildcard appearance at Silverstone last year. “I thought there was something wrong with the bike because it was so slow.

“But I jumped from the Superbike to this [Triumph] engine [at a one-day shakedown], I couldn’t believe how fast it was. It didn’t feel that different to what the Superbike did. I think the torque and everything, that’s where the massive gain will be. The top end will still be better. The engine, you have to ride it a lot more like a Superbike and get it off the side of the tyre.”

Qatar, 2019 will be the scene of Dixon’s second grand prix appearance. An outing at Silverstone last year, to replace the injured Marcel Schrotter in the Dynavolt Intact squad, showcased his potential to the world. A 25th place finish, 44s back of the race winner, was more than respectable when considering he had done no testing before.

“It was hard,” he said of the experience. “I was jumping from a Superbike that’s got 210 horsepower to a bike that’s got 119. You’re riding in two completely different ways. I think the tyres are completely different. They [Dunlops] give you a different feel. The chassis is completely different. There are all these things.

“I just got chucked in at the deep end and had to try and provide a result. If you start Alex Marquez somewhere like Cadwell Park on a Superbike, he’s not going to get within two seconds. I think I did a good job with what I had underneath me. I did the best I could with what I had. Obviously I want more but with testing and a preseason under my belt we’ll be in much better shape.

“The hard thing is, when you go and do that, you’ve got to be able to reach the limit straight away. Me not knowing the bike’s limit or the tyres’ limit, I crashed from not knowing what I had underneath me, or not understanding what I had underneath me. In preseason I’ll have time to develop, understand what I’ve got and chip away. Come round one I think we’ll be in a good place.”

A two-year deal in Moto2 should provide adequate time to learn the bike, tracks and rivals. But Dixon stopped short of fixing his attentions beyond 2020. “Like I said, my main aim at the minute is to focus on the job I’ve got now, and that’s to be the best in the Moto2 class,” he said.

“It’s not going to be easy. There are a lot of things I’ve got to learn: tracks, bike. But I’ve got the best team around me and the best package on the grid to be able to progress and develop into one of the top riders and hopefully be a regular winner soon.”

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