Arnaud Tonus will return to the FIM World Motocross Championship after signing a two-year deal with Wilvo Yamaha. The deal will see Tonus paired with Scotland’s Shaun Simpson. Yamaha Motor Europe announced the deal today.
Tonus enjoyed a successful career in MX2 before signing with Mitch Payton’s Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki outfit prior to the 2015 season. During his first year in supercross, Tonus enjoyed success early, finishing in the top-10 at the first three rounds of the 2015 250SX East Region. Following Round 4 at Daytona, Tonus pulled out of the remainder of the series due to an illness. He raced just one round of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross that season, finding the podium in the first moto at Washougal.
The Swiss native returned for a second year with Pro Circuit in 2016, but sustained a broken collarbone just four rounds into the 250SX season. Tonus stayed healthy in Pro Motocross, competing in all 12 rounds. He collected two top-fives en route to ninth in points.
Tonus now heads back to the GPs, where he’ll compete in the MXGP Class for the first time in his career.
“It’s a different class for me and even a different championship now with 20 GPs,” said Tonus in a team statement. “I’m happy to be back and of course I have my base over here so things are easier from that side. It will be a long season with a lot of competition on the 450 and so a big challenge but I’m really pleased to be with Yamaha again and Louis was very motivated to make this deal happen. I hope we can have good preparation and a decent winter of work. I’ll be based between Belgium and Switzerland where I have a nice facility for practice. We’re talking at the moment but I think the Geneva Supercross will be my first race on the Yamaha so we’ve got that to look forward to and I hope to get on the bike in the next two weeks.”
Simpson said he’s happy to return to Yamaha for the first time since 2012.
“The last time I rode a Yamaha was pretty memorable for me and I still think it was one of the best bikes I’ve ridden in terms of feeling and comfort,” said Simpson. “I can only look at the next two years with optimism: I’m happy. Louis has built a good team and support structure and knows the importance of the rider in the whole set-up. Arnaud is a great guy and we’ve worked together before: I’m sure the atmosphere of the team and the way to work will be on-point. Yamaha have more than proved their competitiveness in the last couple of years and it has been impressive to see how they have grown and invested back into MXGP; it feels like a good time to be 'Blue' again.”