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“Taking a podium with the new Gas Gas bike in its first world championships would be incredible, but it’s no easy task”

10/08/2017

We’re taking advantage of the enduro summer break on the national and international level to have a chat with Jonathan Barragán, and look back at the Gas Gas Enduro Factory Team’s season so far.

- 2017 is proving to be a year full of firsts for Gas Gas: new bikes, new category, restructuring of the racing team...

- “The start of this season was a bit complicated up until the first national race in Oliana. We were barely even able to ride our new Gas Gas EC bikes. We had only done a few short tests and weren’t very familiar with it. However, rather than seeing it as a setback, it gave all of us extra motivation. The one thing we do know is the that new bike is good. We ignored the little time we had to familiarise ourselves, and focused on our desire to hop on and race.”

- It was a race against the clock that was quick to pay dividends—victory in Oliana, the dream debut for any team debuting a new motorbike.

- “Yes, we won the first race and we were very happy about it at the time, though you always must keep in mind that the season is very long and there are lots of races. At the beginning, it was a bit difficult getting used to the 250, since I was coming from the 300. Unfortunately, Antoine Basset injured himself at the start of the season and I was alone as the only athlete for the Gas Gas Enduro Factory Team. It has been a very weird feeling, since it’s always better to have a teammate to train and share opinions with. You feel more protected that way, like there’s less pressure.”

Why did you decide to opt for the Gas Gas EC 250 instead of the 300?

- “The truth is that, at the start of the season, when Antoine and I were trying out the new bike, Miki Arpa asked us which one we wanted to compete with... and we both said the 250! (laughs) It was an instinctive decision on our part, since I feel that the performance between a 250 2T and 250 4T are much more equal than a between a 450 4T and a 300 2T, even though lots of races are won on 300s.” Finally, since there were two of us on the team and we couldn’t be in the same category, it was decided that Basset would compete in the EnduroGP category, and I in the Enduro2. However, I must say that, as an athlete, I personally prefer the performance of the 300.”

- Let’s go over the national race results. You were the envy of everyone for having won on the new Gas Gas EC on its weekend debut, and then Valdecabelleros and Lalín took podiums with a “very young,” recently debuted bike.

“Yes, it’s true that the Spanish Enduro Championship didn’t go too bad at all for us. Just like at the world’s, the second days have always been better for me than the first. Aside from some insignificant problems, which are totally normal in any type of race, we have always been on the podium and we’ve won in Oliana and also in Lalín.”

- The task at hand is to improve the first day?

- “You have to keep working on everything, also on improving the bike, since this year, the time got away from us. We haven’t been able to try everything that we wanted to try. Regarding our training, we have to work on the extremes and sections. There are always things to improve on.”

- Does the competition in the world championships, and especially in Enduro2, make the results a lot more difficult to obtain?

- “Yes, though I think that we’ve been at the forefront in many good races, with great second days. That’s excluding the Gran Premio in Portugal, which was, for me, my worst race of the year. In the rest of the races, we’ve been fourth, fifth, and sixth, fighting to get on the podium. Looking past the first days, I think that we have always improved our results on the second days.”

- The goal of obtaining a podium result is easier said than done in a category like Enrudo2, with such a high level and such good athletes.

- “Of course, the world championships is the world championships! And it’s true that, although it may be hard to get a top five in EnduroGP since everything is very close, in Enduro2, it’s even closer. There are more athletes capable of getting those results.”

- Is this year’s goal to get a podium placing?

- “Yes; the focus is to get a podium or be as close as possible to it. Taking a podium with the new Gas Gas EC in its first world championships would be incredible, but it’s no easy task.”

- The world and national championships are now taking a summer holiday—almost two months long for the majority of the athletes. The only race during that time is the ISDE in France for invited racers. Would you have like to be racing in Brive?

- “Yes, it’s a shame because I’ve always been proud to represent my country in this team-based international race. However, I’m going to take advantage of the break to continue training, since I don’t like to do nothing and lose momentum. I will be doing motocross with my brother and will do a race or two, like MX in Sariego in mid-August. I will continue training and come back to the world championships stronger than ever.”

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