Suzuki World MXGP’s Kevin Strijbos is eagerly awaiting news from medical staff to begin riding his 2016 works RM-Z450 once more after making good progress in his rehabilitation from right thumb surgery.
“At this stage things cannot be any better and everything is going well with the recovery,” the 30 year old former double world championship runner-up commented. “On the 17th of November I hope to get confirmation from the doctor that I can get back on the bike.
“I feel like I could probably ride now,” he continued “but I’m still having physio three times a week and there is no great rush. I miss riding and it has been a long time. I’ve been mountain biking already and I’m very close to being able to do some Trial and Enduro but I want the doctor to give the ‘OK’ first.”
2015 was a trying season for the Belgian after finishing third in the premier class of the FIM Motocross World Championship in 2014. The ‘# 22’ struggled with a wrist injury and infection and then finally broken thumb ligaments sustained during the Grand Prix of Belgium in August that curtailed his campaign with three rounds remaining. There were flashes of brilliance on the RM-Z450 among the periods of adversity and his victory in the wet of Maggiora for the Grand Prix of Italy was one of the most exciting motos of the year. Strijbos celebrated three podiums and one pole position in total.
With the departure of Joel Smets from the Lommel-based factory team Strijbos is now embracing a new training regime. “I’ve changed trainer and have started working with Willy Linden already and we’ve been building that relationship,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of cycling and been working for around two weeks. I’ve had between four-and-five weeks ‘holiday’ while I was recovering from surgery.”
A Suzuki stalwart - and one of the brand’s best racers since the start of the millennium (Strijbos was the first to give the RM-Z450 a Grand Prix victory 10 years ago), he starts 2016 preparation in earnest when he is able to indulge in 2016 tests, but the veteran has already provided feedback. “We spoke during the year about changes we could make to the bikes for next year and it was mainly about the character of the bike and the power delivery,” he reveals. “I went to Lommel recently when Steve [Ramon] was trying some things and it seems like the team has found good settings and I’m keen to try.”
After clearance to begin carving a racetrack again in mid-November Strijbos is anticipating being part of the Suzuki group when the riding and management crew decamp for an Enduro trip to France and Italy at the end of the month.