The work is done, the gun is loaded, the table is set. The 2018 MXGP season is waiting on the drop of a gate. Tomorrow every team, rider, sponsor or fan will see who has done their homework this winter and can come off the mesh with an early advantage.

This will be my fifteenth year in the FIM Motocross World Championship so by now you’d expect I’d trust my game, stick to the plan and execute each training session in the lead up to the new season with a matter of formality. Wrong. MXGP has evolved so much over the last decade and the drive to raise the bar each season presents new challenges, from bike set-up, engine performance, mental toughness and sheer physical conditioning. It’s this change in the game that keeps me extremely motivated about the sport and to work harder each season. The willingness to improve yourself is a powerful tool and if tapped-in to correctly can be extremely useful.

Coming off the back of a seriously disappointing year in 2017 not only with regard to the injuries my overall game wasn’t ever really on-point. The highlight of the season was certainly winning the GP of Indonesia but even then I felt like I underperformed personally, I know what I’m capable of and I feel I’ve been struggling to show it on track now for a couple seasons.

This was the main motivation I used during winter training to fuel my 2018 assault. I’ve been in a position before where I’ve finished the season well and you relax knowing your game is strong, but somehow everyone else works that little bit harder during the winter and you get left behind. This season however the focus wasn’t on anyone or anything other than raising my own standard, making sure I was performing at 100% in every aspect of my training, riding, sleeping, diet, recovery and this has gave me such a great sense of self confidence that I’m sure will show out on track.

Just knowing your personal numbers is confirmation enough as you enter the first race. Track your progress. Look back on your notes, laps done, fuel burned, hours in the gym, kilometres cycled, lengths swam… the list goes on. Knowing what you’ve put in fills you with strength, strangely not so much in a physical way but mentally reassuring yourself that the numbers don’t lie, you are ready for battle.

Aside from this quite deep, hard hitting bravado I feel full of life at the moment. I’m enjoying what I do on a day-to-day basis, whether that be hitting the gym early morning or going for an evening walk with my wife Rachel. I’m a believer in ‘having fun with what your doing’ always brings the best results, whether that be baking a cake or starting a MXGP Moto. I’m bringing the fun back this year but make no mistake, the work’s been done to back it up. It’s a long season, there will be plenty tough days to overcome but if it was easy… everyone would be having a go.

Neuquen is a circuit that most MXGP regulars know well. It’s a fantastic venue for the first GP not just because of the setting, overall organisation and superb track, it will be the atmosphere in my opinion that will make this one of the most memorable MXGP opening rounds for some years. The buzz and enthusiasm of the crowd will light the place up and remind everyone what Motocross is all about. Make sure you are following the race however you can. Be sure that the number 24 will be giving it plenty of elbow out there.

I’d just like to sign of by saying a massive thanks to the members of the Simpson Army and my fans in general for their support, you guys are mega, it wouldn’t be the same without you.

Remember- Hard work, works.