The List: MXGP Preview

The List MXGP Preview

MXGP

After years of titles from Antonio Cairoli, MXGP has taken on a youth movement of sorts recently, with rookie Romain Febvre winning the title in 2015, and another rookie, Tim Gajser, winning the 2016 championship.

This year, an even higher-profile rookie digs in for the MXGP title run in Jeffrey Herlings, who won the 2016 MX2 Championship after several injury-plagued seasons.

Gajser and Febvre will be there to slug it out again this year, and Herlings will join the gang, but warhorses like Cairoli, Clement Desalle, Max Nagl, Gautier Paulin, Jeremy Van Horebeek and more have won races before and want to do it again this season. Here’s your guide to the riders, teams, and numbers for the 2017 season, which begins this weekend in Qatar.


Team HRC Honda

243 – Tim Gajser
Country: Slovenia
2016 Finish: MXGP world champion
2016 Moto Wins: 15
2016 Additional Moto Podiums: 9

Notes: Like Romain Febvre the year prior, the 2015 MX2 world champion burst onto the MXGP scene in 2016, capturing the world championship in his rookie season. He won twice as many motos (15) as the next closest competitor (Febvre, six). The Gariboldi outfit, which Gajser has raced for since his MX2 days, now runs the Honda HRC operation, so this is the same team Gajser rode for a season ago.

777 – Evgeny Bobryshev
Country: Russia
2016 Finish: 5th
2016 Moto Podiums: 5

Notes: Another solid season for Russian Bob in 2016 with five moto podiums—all of which came in the first 10 rounds. Bobryshev finished third at the opener a year ago.

Courtesy Team HRC Honda

Red Bull KTM

84 – Jeffrey Herlings
Country: Netherlands
2016 Finish: MX2 world champion
2016 Moto Wins: 27 (MX2)
2016 Additional Moto Podiums: 3 (MX2)

Notes: The hype surrounding the three-time MX2 world champion’s move to MXGP has been stifled by a recent hand injury. Herlings underwent surgery on February 16 to repair a fractured fourth metacarpal—one of the five bones between the wrist and the fingers—sustained at the final round of the Italian Championship. Herlings recently told MX Large: "Qatar is going to be tough. I broke my hand 10 days ago, so to come here it’s going to be difficult, probably a lot of pain."

222 – Antonio Cairoli
Country: Italy
2016 Finish: 2nd
2016 Moto Wins: 5
2016 Additional Moto Podiums: 13

Notes: By many accounts, Cairoli had a “down year” in 2016, despite winning five motos and finishing second in points. Such is life as an eight-time world champion. AC was great during the pre-season, easily capturing the Italian Championship over GP regulars like Gajser and more.

259 – Glenn Coldenhoff
Country: Netherlands
2016 Finish: 7th
2016 Moto Podiums: 4

Notes: You know Coldenhoff will be good in the sand.

Team Suzuki World MXGP

22 – Kevin Strijbos
Country: Belgium
2016 Finish: 11th
2016 Moto Podiums: 3

Notes: The veteran has been hampered by injuries the last two years, missing nine rounds in 2015 and three rounds a year ago.

27 – Arminas Jasikonis
Country: Lithuania
2016 Finish: 24th
2016 Moto Podiums: 0

Notes: Jasikonis was brought on last year to replace the retiring Ben Townley.

Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing

25 – Clement Desalle
Country: Belgium
2016 Finish: 8th
2016 Moto Podiums: 5

Notes: Desalle entered last year nursing an arm injury and never got going in his first year with Kawasaki. After winning 13 motos in 2015, he won zero a year ago.

911 – Jordi Tixier
Country: France
2016 Finish: 14th
2016 Moto Podiums: 0

Notes: Tixier missed the first seven rounds of his rookie MXGP season a year ago. This year will be more telling as he’s had time to adjust to the 450.

Monster Energy Media

Monster Energy Factory Yamaha

89 – Jeremy Van Horebeek
Country: Belgium
2016 Finish: 6th
2016 Moto Podiums: 3

Notes: After a podium-filled runner-up finish to Antonio Cairoli in 2014, Van Horebeek hasn’t been the same the last two years, with just seven moto podiums combined.

461 – Romain Febvre
Country: France
2016 Finish: 4th
2016 Moto Wins: 6
2016 Additional Moto Podiums: 9

Notes: Febvre won six motos in his MXGP world championship title defense. He missed two rounds late in the season, which really hurt his championship cause.

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing

12 – Max Nagl
Country: Germany
2016 Finish: 3rd
2016 Moto Wins: 3
2016 Additional Moto Podiums: 11

Notes: Another steady year from the MXGP veteran in 2016. Aside from a few moto, Nagl was challenging for podiums at every round.

21 – Gautier Paulin
Country: France
2016 Finish: 13th
2016 Moto Podiums: 5

Notes: After two disappointing years with Honda, Paulin hopes to revitalize his career with Husqvarna. After three motos wins in 2015, he failed to win once last year.

99 – Max Anstie
Country: Great Britain
2016 Finish: 4th MX2
2016 Moto Wins: 4
2016 Additional Moto Podiums: 8

Notes: Anstie makes the move up from MX2 (due to the 23-year-old age rule) to round out the three-rider team.

Wilvo Yamaha

4 – Arnaud Tonus
Country: Switzerland
2016 Finish: Raced in US

Notes: After two years stateside with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki, Tonus returns to MXGP with Wilvo Yamaha. Tonus’ career in the U.S. never had the chance to blossom due to illness and injury. This will be his first full season on a 450.

24 – Shaun Simpson
Country: Scotland
2016 Finish: 10th
2016 Moto Wins: 1
2016 Additional Moto Podiums: 1

Notes: The fan-favorite privateer makes the switch from KTM to Yamaha.

Yamaha Racing

Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki

100 – Tommy Searle
Country: Great Britain
2016 Finish: 12th
2016 Moto Podiums: 0

Notes: Searle will miss the first four rounds of the championship due to a knee injury sustained this off-season.

Monster Energy Media

Team Honda Redmoto Assomotor

77   Alessandro Lupino
Country: Italy
2016 Finish: 20th
2016 Moto Podiums: 0


92   Valentin Guillod
Country: Switzerland
2016 Finish: 9th
2016 Moto Podiums: 1

Notes: Guillod captured one podium in his rookie MXGP season. According to MX Vice, Guillod has a “one-year deal with the Honda Red Moto team, but there is an option for a second year with Honda and it is also written into his deal that he is allowed to step over to the factory awning if one of their riders gets injured.” He is also making the switch from Yamaha.

Hitachi KTM UK

45 – Jake Nicholls
Country: Great Britain
2016 Finish: 21st
2016 Moto Podiums: 0


Husqvarna 8Biano Racing

7 – Tanel Leok
Country: Estonia
2016 Finish: 17th
2016 Moto Podiums: 0


999 – Rui Goncalves
Country: Portugal
2016 Finish: 25th
2016 Moto Podiums: 0


Marchetti Racing KTM

17 – Jose Butron
Country: Spain
2016 Finish: 15th
2016 Moto Podiums: 0

Marchetti Racing KTM

JTech Suzuki Valenti

9 – Ken de Dycker
Country: Belgium
2016 Finish: Injured

Notes: De Dycker missed all of last season due to injury.


MX2

With Herlings moving up, the door is open in MX2. How wide open is this door? Only one rider in this class enters the season with a 2016 moto win or a career MX2 overall win under his belt, American Thomas Covington (Max Anstie has also done some winning and also moves to MXGP this year).

Those numbers are about to change as a huge crop of talent will get to breakthrough for moto and overall victories in 2017. Who will hold the red plate at the end of the season though? Here are the names.

Here are some of the names.


Team Suzuki World MX2

91 – Jeremy Seewer
Country: Switzerland
2016 Finish: 2nd
2016 Moto Podiums: 16

Notes: Seewer played second fiddle to Herlings a year ago, but he enters his final year in MX2 (due to 23-year-old age rule) as a title favorite. He had the most podiums of anyone (besides Herlings) in the class last year. He’s signed with Suzuki through 2019, so he already has a deal in place for MXGP next year.

96 – Hunter Lawrence
Country: Australia
2016 Finish: 9th in EMX250

Notes: Suzuki has a plan in place for the departure of Seewer next year. One piece is Australia youngster Hunter Lawrence. Prior to a knee injury, Lawrence was second in EMX250 last year. This will be his first full season in MX2.

98 – Bas Vaessen
Country: Netherlands
2016 Finish: 3rd in EMX250 | 31st in MX2
2016 Moto Podiums: 0

Notes: Another young talent, 19, to emerge from the Netherlands. Vaessen raced a few rounds of MX2 last year and finished third in EMX250.

Red Bull KTM

41 – Pauls Jonass
Country: Latvia
2016 Finish: 5th
2016 Moto Podiums: 11

Notes: The 2015 runner-up to Tim Gajser in MX2, Jonass is expected to fill the shoes of the departing Herlings. Jonass did suffer a concussion at the final round of the Italian Championship, but is expected to race this weekend. He, along with Seewer, is on many people’s list of title favorites.

61 – Jorge Prado Garcia
Country: Spain
2016 Finish: 7th in EMX250 | 33rd in MX2
2016 Moto Podiums: 1 (MX2)

Notes: Tons of hype surrounding the Spanish teen. He battled with Herlings—for a moto anyway—at the GP of Netherlands last year before finishing second, during his brief stint in MX2 (he raced just three rounds). The rest of the races where much quieter. This year will mark his first full-time season in MX2.

Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki

18 – Vsevolod Brylyakov
Country: Russia
2016 Finish: 14th
2016 Moto Podiums: 1

Notes: The Russian missed seven of the final eight rounds a year ago due injury.

57 – Darian Sanayei
Country: United States
2016 Finish: 2nd EMX250 | 39th in MX2

Notes: The Washington state native moves up from EMX250 to MX2 for 2017. After some adjustment, he was super fast with Bud Racing Kawasaki last year. Can he challenge for wins in his rookie year?

Monster Energy Media

Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing

118 – Stephen Rubini
Country: France
2016 Finish: 2nd in EMX125

Notes: The young French rider is bypassing EMX250 and heading straight to MX2 after racing in EMX125 last year.

152 – Petar Petrov
Country: Bulgaria
2016 Finish: 9th
2016 Moto Podiums: 2

Notes: He missed the final two rounds in the U.S. a year ago, but did land two moto podiums.

811 – Adam Sterry
Country: Great Britain
2016 Finish: 24th
2016 Moto Podiums: 0

Notes: The Brit missed nine rounds due to injury in 2016.

Monster Energy Media

Kema Yamaha Yamalube

6 – Benoit Paturel
Country: France
2016 Finish: 3rd
2016 Moto Podiums: 6

Notes: You probably remember this name from the Motocross of Nations, where Paturel was part of the winning French team. Like Seewer, he couldn’t match Herlings last year (not many could), but should be a title threat this year.

161 – Alvin Ostlund
Country: Sweden
2016 Finish: 13th
2016 Moto Podiums: 0

Notes: Ostlund took over for the injured Julien Lieber last year and returns for a second year in 2017.

172 – Brent Van doninck
Country: Belgium
2016 Finish: 15th
2016 Moto Podiums: 0

Notes: Missed five rounds due to injury last year, but came close to the podium a few times.

Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna

19 – Thomas Kjer Olsen
Country: Denmark
2016 Finish: EMX250 world champion | 29th in MX2
2016 Moto Podiums: 0

Notes: The 2016 EMX250 world champion moves up to MX2 full-time in 2017. He competed in two rounds last year and had good results—eighth and fifth overall.

64 – Thomas Covington
Country: United States
2016 Finish: 11th
2016 Moto Wins: 1
2016 Additional Moto Podiums: 0

Notes: How wide open is MX2 without Herlings? Covington is the only rider to have won a moto last year that is competing in 2017. This is the American’s second year with Husqvarna.

426 – Conard Mewse
Country: Great Britain
2016 Finish: 26th in EMX250 | 19th in MX2
2016 Moto Podiums: 0

Notes: Another young rider moving up from EMX250. Mewse did compete in 11 MX2 rounds in 2016, so he does have some experience.

Husqvarna Images

Team HRC Honda

20 – Chihiro Notsuka
Country: Japan
2016 Finish: DNC

Notes: If the name sounds familiar it should. He’s the rider that landed on Jason Anderson at last year’s Motocross of Nations. This is his first full year in MX2.

747 – Michele Cervellin
Country: Italy
2016 Finish: 16th
2016 Moto Podiums: 0

Notes: The Italian missed seven rounds last year.

Courtesy Team HRC Honda

LRT KTM

33 – Julien Lieber
Country: Belgium
2016 Finish: DNC

Notes: Injuries have sidelined the former moto winner for the past 17 months. Prior to injury, he was a podium threat at most rounds. He’ll be on his own team this year.


HSF Logistics Motorsport

10 – Calvin Vlaanderen
Country: Netherlands
2016 Finish: 12th
2016 Moto Podiums: 0

Notes: Missed five rounds in 2016.

46 – Davy Pootjes
Country: Netherlands
2016 Finish: 22nd
2016 Moto Podiums: 0

Notes: The Dutch teen once billed as the replacement for Herlings at Red Bull KTM will switch to the Dutch-based HSF Logistics KTM team for the 2017. Pootjes has a deal with KTM factory until 2019. He missed most of last year due to injury.

189 – Brian Bogers
Country: Netherlands
2016 Finish: 6th
2016 Moto Podiums: 4

Notes: Keep an eye out on Bogers heading into this year. A lot of people are high on him as a title contender.

TM Factory Racing

321 – Samuele Bernardini
Country: Italy
2016 Finish: 8th
2016 Moto Podiums: 0

Notes: The lone factory TM rider, the Italian could contend for podiums on occasion.


Hitachi KTM UK

919 – Ben Watson
Country: Great Britain
2016 Finish: 38th
2016 Moto Podiums: 0

Notes: Raced just three rounds last year due to injury.

Excited for tomorrow, all set here in Qatar thanks to everyone who is helping!

A post shared by Ben Watson (@benwatsonmx) on


Husqvarna Maurer Racing Team

81 – Brian Hsu
Country: Germany
2016 Finish: 37th
2016 Moto Podiums: 0

Notes: The Suzuki prospect, once thought to be headed to the U.S., has switched to Husqvarna for this year.

Looking good #husqvarnamaurer

A post shared by Brian Hsu *EightyOne* (@brianhsu_81) on

iFly JK Racing

48 – Jay Wilson
Country: Australia
2016 Finish: DNC

iFly JK Racing

Husqvarna 8Biano Racing

66 – Iker Larranaga Olano
Country: Spain
2016 Finish: 17th
2016 Moto Podiums: 0


142 – Ivan Petrov
Country: Bulgaria
2016 Finish: DNC