Dylan Ferrandis entered the supercross season as an unknown: would he find success in America, or would he be another injury-prone foreign rider? Ferrandis made the move from his native country of France to the U.S. earlier this year in order to pursue his racing career on Star Racing Yamaha. After struggling with crashes early in the series, Ferrandis has really turned it around lately, getting a career best 2nd place finish this past weekend in East Rutherford.
Here’s what he had to say about the race, his career in the U.S., and the difficulty of adjusting to supercross:
Moto Now: How was your day?
Dylan Ferrandis: I came here really confident because I knew that I had the speed in the last couple of rounds. We had a break and I had a small injury with my back, so I had time for recovery and to be back working really hard. We also had time to work on outdoors, which is much easier for me than supercross. So yeah, came in with a lot of confidence. Had a good lap in practice, which wasn’t easy because we only had two practices and it was the first time for me only having two practices instead of three. So I had to deal with that, but I was happy about making a good lap. The track was really difficult today with big ruts. In the beginning of my heat I struggled a bit; I made a big mistake and almost went over the bars. But it was good, I ended up 2nd. Then in the main, I got a good start, made a small mistake on the first lap but ended up in the top 5. I had to fight through the guys, but people were making mistakes in front of me, and I just kept my rhythm and finished 2nd overall. It’s my best career finish, so it’s good. One step better than my 3rd in Daytona, so now just one more step.
After the start you were doing 2-3-3. Tell us about that line.
Yeah I tried this, but it eventually wasn’t faster than doing 1-2-2-2. I was doing 2-3-3, but I saw that I wasn’t gaining time on the guy behind me by doing this. So I got back to the normal rhythm.
What was the hardest part about the track tonight?
The landing of the first big triple was really, really sketchy and scary. Also, the rhythm before the finish, we normally went 2-3-3-1, but the ruts were so deep. The problem wasn’t really the ruts, but the dirt was soft still, so it was really dangerous. That’s where I almost went over the bars. It was the most difficult part.
This is your first year racing supercross. What was the hardest challenge?
English. Speaking English was the hardest part (laughs). But for supercross, it was learning to deal with the stiffer suspension, so that was hard.
How did you make the decision to move from the GPs in Europe to America?
It was on my mind since I was a kid. Since I started understanding motocross, I always watched supercross on TV. I always watched the French riders leave Europe to ride supercross, so it has been in my mind for the last 15 years maybe. So I just waited for a good time to move. A good time was when I had a little bit of money, a little bit of experience, and to be strong enough to leave the family and the country to come here. I was ready this year, so I thought this was the time.
Did you have a French supercross idol growing up?
I can’t say idol, but I was always a big fan of a guy like Tortelli, Vuillemin, Pourcel. Those guys who left everything to come here. They weren’t idols, but they were good examples.
You’re transitioning now to familiar territory when you start racing outdoors. What are your goals with that, and are you excited to be back on a motocross track?
Yeah for sure. Like I said, supercross was really new. Riding in a stadium was new, riding with a stiffer suspension was new, so everything was new for me. But outdoors is like what I’ve done the past couple of years in the GPs. It’s not quite the same, but it’s what I know most. Long motos, 30 minutes plus 2 laps, with rough tracks and big downhills. It’s what I’m used to, I’ve ridden this a lot. So I for sure expect a lot this summer for the outdoors. I think it will be easier for me.
How long do you predict yourself staying in the U.S. Are you planning on going back to Europe?
For sure I will go back to Europe to retire. But for my career, my plan is to stay in America. Supercross and motocross here is so much more popular than in Europe, especially in France. If you spoke with the general public in France about motocross or supercross, they don’t know the sport. It’s a little bit sad, but it’s a lot bigger in the states.
Photo from Racer X Online by Rich Shepherd