Jake Dixon opens up on the chal­lenge of Moto2

BSB star re­veals his se­crets to speed as he steps up to Moto2

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Content - By Oli Rushby BSB RE­PORTER

Leon Haslam dom­i­nated the 2018 Ben­netts British Su­per­bike cham­pi­onship, but there was one man that kept him on his toes through­out.

Jake Dixon fin­ished on the ros­trum just five times fewer than Haslam this year, beat­ing the even­tual cham­pion on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions, which is all the more re­mark­able when you con­sider that he’s just 22.

Against a man 13 years his se­nior with far more ex­pe­ri­ence, Dixon’s achieve­ments are al­ready im­pres­sive; not least be­cause 2018 was only his sec­ond full-time sea­son on a su­per­bike.

In his short time in the class, Dixon has ma­tured from some­one known for be­ing a bit of a crasher into the se­ries’ youngest-ever Show­down con­tender in 2017 and then a gen­uine threat for the ti­tle just one year later.

Had Dixon beaten Haslam to the crown, he’d have been the se­ries’ youngest cham­pion to date.

“We had a great end to 2017 and that led us into 2018 on a high,” Dixon said. “How­ever, a lot changed ahead of this sea­son. It had to for us to fight at the front, both from a team per­spec­tive and I had to change, too.

“Last year I was still quite rash with my de­ci­sion-mak­ing. I would al­ways push to the limit, even if I was un­com­fort­able and the bike wasn’t right. Some­times that would lead to crashes.

“Ev­ery year you race you learn more, and if you don’t learn from mis­takes you make you won’t get any­where. If you keep smash­ing your­self up, the team are only ever re-build­ing the bike and you’re not go­ing for­wards. You need to stay on the bike, learn when to set­tle and your con­fi­dence will build and build.

“You have to be more ma­ture than your years in this game. I may be 22 but on track I feel like I’m 42 with the way that I’m think­ing, the way that I try to process the way a week­end works to move for­ward. My crew chief Glen Richards has been a mas­sive help in how I work on a week­end, he’s made me re­alise that I don’t need to be fastest in ev­ery ses­sion, the ses­sions you need to be fastest in are qual­i­fy­ing and the race.”

Still at an early stage of his ca­reer, Dixon ex­plored nu­mer­ous av­enues to be­come the con­tender we saw dur­ing the 2018 sea­son.

“It might sound strange, but I worked hard on my mind this year. There were a few things I used to strug­gle with so I started see­ing a sports psy­chi­a­trist, who worked on these ar­eas with me and it al­lowed me to open up a whole new per­spec­tive on rac­ing. It’s quite a com­plex thing.

“Your brain and the way you use it are key to be­ing con­sis­tently fast. You could be un­fit but still be su­per, su­per fast if your brain is in the right place, it would just mean you’d tire more quickly in a race.”

Next sea­son, Dixon turns his at­ten­tion to be­com­ing Bri­tain’s next Grand Prix star in Moto2, but it’s a task he knows won’t be easy.

“I’m not go­ing to be at the front straight away; I’m go­ing to have to work away at it and un­der­stand what I’ve got un­der­neath me. Too many peo­ple go into that class and try to make an im­pres­sion right from the start and then they just crash a lot.

“At the end of the day I’d rather be the per­son who turns up and doesn’t do too much to start with, but when I do have the feel­ing I need to have then I’ll make my im­pact. Noth­ing comes overnight, you’ve got to work for it.”

And Dixon is al­ready work­ing to­wards 2019 as he looks to shed some of the weight he’d put on with mus­cle to con­trol his Kawasaki in BSB.

“It might be the off-sea­son but I think I’ve only had two days off train­ing, I’m work­ing hard to get down to a bet­ter weight for the Moto2 bike.

“But it’s not all about train­ing and eat­ing the right things. Sev­eral times this year I found my­self get­ting ill from over­train­ing, so it’s im­por­tant to have time off too. A few weeks be­fore my first test I have my stag do and in De­cem­ber I’m get­ting mar­ried, so there will be plenty of ‘off’ time this win­ter as well as hard work and prepa­ra­tion for the long sea­son ahead.”

‘You have to ma­ture in this game’

Dixon proved a se­ri­ous ri­val to Haslam in BSB

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