By Chase Stallo and Aaron Hansel
With the 2016 season of Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship, fast approaching, it’s time for an initial take at what the paddock will look like next year. There haven’t been as many changes this season as we’ve seen in the past, but there have still been a few. Check them out in the list below.
Notes: Jordon Smith, RJ Hampshire, and Malcolm Stewart all return for a second year with the team. After coming out of retirement early in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, Christian Craig signed a deal to stay with the team in July. Craig hasn’t competed in Monster Energy Supercross since 2013.
A lot of rumors surrounded Justin Bogle this off-season, but it appears he is headed back to the team he’s spent his entire pro career with. Bogle was linked to the Monster/Yamaha deal with Chad Reed, but that looks to be dead in the water. While the team has yet to make the announcement official, Racer X has heard that, like Eli Tomac last year, Bogle will be pitting out of the HRC Honda rig and racing a 450.
Notes: Cole Seely enters year two of what the team called a "multi-year contract" in 2014. Seely won 2015 SX Rookie of the Year honors during a season that included one win and four additional podium finishes. He finished third overall in 450SX in 2015.
Canard signed a two-year extension with the team in 2014. Last season, Canard had seven podiums and two wins prior to breaking his arm at the Detroit Supercross and missing the remainder of the supercross season.
Notes: Things have yet to be finalized with this team. We spoke with team manager Guy Cooper earlier in the week and were told four letters of intent have been signed and the team is waiting to wrap up some additional details before making any official announcements. Last year, Kyle Peters, Colt Nichols, Fredrik Noren, and Tommy Hahn rode for the team. It’s not yet certain if any of those riders will return. As noted below, Hahn will not return, as he has a deal with Team ROCKWELL.
Notes: Suzuki stuck behind James Stewart during his sixteen-month suspension, signing the future Hall-of-Famer to a multi-year deal in June that will likely see Stewart be on the brand until he retires. Stewart returned to racing this off-season, winning Red Bull Straight Rhythm. He injured his wrist during the Monster Energy Cup, but is not expected to miss any time.
Blake Baggett was a pleasant surprise in Monster Energy Supercross during his rookie season, grabbing one podium and finishing fifth in points. Baggett will have a teammate for the first time in his 450 career, and admitted after the MEC that it was a bit different: “It was kind of weird at first. But, to be honest, he does his own thing and I do my own thing. We both ride yellow bikes out of the same tent, but other than that we do our own thing.”
RCH/Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John's Suzuki
Notes: Following a turbulent first year with the team, Ken Roczen began to pull things together late in the season—winning a moto at the final round of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and winning the Monster Energy Cup. The big change for Roczen, who underwent back surgery following the season, is the switch from Showa to KYB suspension. "Yeah, it was a little bit of a battle in general," he said. "But I want to win, so I want what's going to make me win and what's best for me. Sometimes you've just got to be a little selfish, and I knew what I was looking for."
Broc Tickle is expected to return for a third year with the team, but nothing official has been announced. After missing the majority of the 2014 season with injury, Tickle was a consistent second rider behind Roczen last year, finishing eighth in Monster Energy Supercross and seventh in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross.
Yoshimura/Dirt Candy Suzuki
Notes: Daniel Baker confirmed to Pulpmx.com that he has signed a two-year deal with the team. Baker turned pro at this year's Hangtown National and spent his first season with KTM's Orange Brigade.
After two seasons with GEICO Honda, Bisceglia is expected to sign with the new 250 Suzuki team. At this time, it has not been made official.
Notes: The team is working on strengthening its efforts after forming this year during the short break between Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross.
Red Bull KTM
Notes: Ryan Dungey's locked in with KTM through the 2017 season. The soon-to-be 26-year-old is coming off a season in which he won both 450 AMA Supercross and Motocross titles for the second time in his career—his first double since 2010.
Dean Wilson returns for the second year of a two-year deal. In his first year, Wilson sustained a torn ACL/MCL at the KTM test track in January and missed the majority of the season.
Marvin Musquin signed a two-year deal with KTM to begin his 450SX career in April. The 2015 250SX East Region Champion underwent wrist surgery following the Motocross of Nations but is expected to be ready for the season opener.
Notes: Andrew Short has re-signed for 2016 with the team, and Justin Brayton returns for the final year of a two-year deal. Brayton missed nine rounds of Monster Energy Supercross due to injury..
After being released from his contract with Monster Energy Kawasaki, Millsaps missed all of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross before inking an SX-only (at this time) deal with the team in August. Millsaps made his debut at the USGP at Glen Helen and also raced the Monster Energy Cup, where he finished fifth overall.
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Red Bull KTM
Notes: Justin Hill was not let go from Red Bull KTM. The TLD/Lucas Oil/Red Bull KTM squad is now KTM’s official factory 250 effort.
Jessy Nelson and Shane McElrath both return and will be joined by new additions Mitchell Oldenburg, who signed with the team prior to the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, and rookie Alex Frye, who made his pro debut at Budds Creek with Orange Brigade KTM. Like Hill moving over from the factory team, Frye’s deal with the Orange Brigade was taken over by TLD.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
Notes: In August, Bobby Hewitt locked in his two 450 stars to long-term deals. Jason Anderson and the team agreed to an extension through the 2018 season. Anderson has spent his entire career with the team.
Christophe Pourcel, who signed with the team prior to the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, agreed to a deal through the 2017 season. Pourcel hasn't raced supercross in America since winning the 2010 250SX East Region title, and he has never raced it on a 450.
Zach Osborne and Martin Davalos both return for a second year.
Notes: JGR has its man of the future, having locked up Justin Barcia through the 2018 season. This deal stamps the commitment of Joe Gibbs Racing to this sport for the long-term. Barcia finished third overall in 450MX in 2015, tying a career high.
Weston Peick and JGR agreed to a deal last May that will see the long-time privateer back on factory equipment through 2016. In his first year with the team, Peick finished tenth in 450SX and ninth in 450MX.
Although nothing is official, Phil Nicoletti’s deal is expected to remain the same as last year—fill-in rider for supercross, full-time rider for motocross.
The team is also expected to add Monster Energy in some capacity. It’s not yet known if the energy drink giant will serve as title sponsor.
CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha
Notes: While the team hopes to have all three riders under the tent next year, they were quick to let us know that at this point, no contracts have been signed. They’re also looking at adding a fourth, undisclosed rider.
Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha
Notes: Star Racing is set for this year and beyond. Two-time 250 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Champion Jeremy Martin and 2015 250SX West Region Champion Cooper Webb both return for 2016. They will be joined by 2015 SX and MX Rookie of the Year Aaron Plessinger.
After two-plus seasons with CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha, Alex Martin joins his younger brother Jeremy on Star Racing. Rookie Mitchell Harrison will be the fifth member of the team. Anthony Rodriguez, who spent the first two years of his professional career on the team, is not expected to return.
Blue Buffalo/Slater Skins
Notes: The team told Racer X they’ll be fielding a team for 2016, but is unable to announce details at this time.
51FIFTY Energy Drink Yamaha
|#72||Hayden Mellross||250SX West Region|
Notes: The team may sign another rider to contest the 250SX West Region.
Notes: The former Team Green rider will make his pro debut for the team at the Monster Energy Supercross 250SX West Region opener. The team is currently in talks with another rider as well.
Barn Pros/Home Depot Yamaha
|#68||Cole Martinez||250SX West|
|#87||Austin Politelli||250SX West|
|#76||Scott Champion||250SX West|
Notes: In its second season, the Washington-based team has brought on three riders familiar with the Yamaha brand for 2016. Austin Politelli, who spent last year with 51Fifty Energy Yamaha joins Cole Martinez and Scott Champion on the team. Both Champion and Martinez rode for Strikt-Slaton Yamaha in 2015.
|#85||Michael Leib||250SX West Region|
Notes: We’ve heard that Andrew Silverstein will join Leib in 250SX, while Nick Schmidt and Kyle Cunningham will ride a full 450SX season. At this time only Leib has been confirmed.
Notes: The team is also in negotiations with three additional 250SX riders. A bike brand has not been announced yet.
Monster Energy Kawasaki
Notes: In a rather slow silly season, Eli Tomac was one of the few big names on the board. His deal with Monster Energy Kawasaki was announced on October 15. Tomac, who finished runner-up to Ryan Dungey in Monster Energy Supercross and won five straight motos to begin Lucas Oil Pro Motocross, is back on the bike after undergoing surgery on both shoulders following a crash at Thunder Valley. Tomac joins Kawasaki after spending his entire pro career with GEICO Honda.
Wil Hahn, who missed all of Monster Energy Supercross due to injury, returns for a second year with the team. Sources told Racer X that Hahn sustained a broken ankle preparing for the Monster Energy Cup but is expected to be ready for the opener.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki
Notes: Mitch Payton's Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team will go unchanged in 2016. Adam Cianciarulo, Chris Alldredge, Tyler Bowers, Arnaud Tonus, and Joey Savatgy will all return for next season. Amateur sensation Austin Forkner is expected to make his pro debut at the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross opener, but the team details for that deal will be locked in at a later date.
Team Tedder/Monster Energy Racing
|#TBA||Dakota Tedder||250SX West Region, 450SX East Region|
|#57||Josh Hansen||250SX West Region, 450 SX East Region|
Traders Racing Kawasaki
Notes: Nick Gaines, Tony Archer, and Justin Starling rode for the team in 2015. At this time, it’s not known if all three riders will return.
Notes: Vince Friese is expected to move up to the 450 in 2016. The team has yet to announce its plans for outdoors, but is expected to contest the entire 2016 Monster Energy Supercross season. Friese and Mike Alessi will both be on Hondas.
#84 Jimmy Albertson – Albertson has something in the works for 2016, but at time of posting, he was unable to reveal the details. Matt Goerke, who won the Canadian MX1 Championship in 2015, is expected to be on this team as well for Monster Energy Supercross. Goerke will return to Canada this summer with Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha.
#24 Brett Metcalfe – Metcalfe will once again spend his summer in Canada, having signed with the Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha team. At this time, it’s unknown if Metcalfe will race Monster Energy Supercross in 2016. He raced the first six rounds in 2015.
#11 Kyle Chisholm – One way or another Chisholm says he’ll be racing in 2016. He’s in the process of putting together everything yet again for Team Chiz, this time with better support, but has also drawn the attention of a few teams. He has yet to decide which option is best for him.
#22 Chad Reed – Reed has been working with Yamaha to try to build a factory-backed effort, probably with support from Monster Energy and Discount Tire. He rode a Yamaha at the Monster Energy Cup, but nothing regarding the 2016 season has been finalized.
#33 Josh Grant – One of the big players still on the market, Grant spent last year with Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsports, before filling in at Monster Energy Kawasaki after TwoTwo folded. At this time, it’s not known what Grant will do next year.
#27 Nick Wey – Will Wey race one more season? If he does, expect it to be a supercross-only deal like 2015.
#52 Ben LaMay – We haven’t heard what LaMay’s plans are for 2016. He started 2015 with CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha, and ended it on a Munn Racing Husqvarna.
#60 Matt Lemoine – Lemoine raced for JAB Motorsports Kawasaki in 2015, but halfway through the Nationals the team went off the road due to lack of funding. We’ll see where he ends up for 2016.
#75 Josh Hill – Josh Hill announced his retirement from professional racing this off-season. He has taken on a role with Monster Energy. We will have more with Hill early next week.