With the first round of the EMX125 championship taking place at Valkenswaard this weekend, we take a look at a number of riders expected to mount a challenge during the season.

We have an article coming up tomorrow of the rookies who will enter the class.

The one rider that needs little introduction after a superb pre-season is Mattia Guadagnini. The Italian even battled with Jorge Prado in the pre-season Italian races. It’s quite odd for him to stay down in the EMX125 series but they’ve decided to make the decision based on the fact he’s still focusing on school and it will take priority for 2019. The Italian is definitely favourite for the title in 2019 heading into the season.

“We decided to stay on the 125cc to help gain experience and try to win the title. I will also be going to school so it wouldn’t be easy for me with my training and it wouldn’t be enough for the 250cc”, Guadagnini commented on decision to stay in the EMX125 class.

Another rider that’s decided to stay down in the EMX125 class for one more season is talented French rider, Tom Guyon. He finished fifth last year which was very impressive as a rookie but now he has the experience there’s no doubt he’ll want to clinch that title in 2019.

A very fast British prospect is Eddie Jay Wade and he’s made the switch to the F4E KTM team for the season ahead. The Brit picked up a few injuries last season which hampered his championship hopes but if he can stay fit this year he should be right at the sharp end.

Jay Wade isn’t the only British rider with potential to run at the front as Joel Rizzi looks a new rider in 2019. Rizzi banged bars with Kay de Wolf at Hawkstone and looks incredibly comfortable on the KTM.

Joel Rizzi turning on the style during his 2019 photoshoot! Pic: Elliot Spencer

Rizzi is looking for some top five results this season. “I will just take each race as it comes. It would be good to get top fives. Last year I had aimed to get some points and I got a couple which I was happy with. Last year my mental game was bad so hopefully this year we will be mentally strong and ride like I know I can ride, we’ll be alright.”

During his rookie season in 2018, Kjell Verbruggen showed some great speed and he even won a moto in Assen. An injury at the start of the season meant he could only race the final three rounds of the series but he showed speed isn’t a problem. With another winter behind him he should be even stronger this season, he could surprise everyone if it clicks for him.

Verbruggen’s setup for 2019! Pic: Niek Kamper

Young German rider, Simon Längenfelder has a lot of talent and rides with a lot of style on the bike. During last year consistency was something he struggled with but he had really good days. If he can improve his consistency then he should be right at the front. He’s also signed with the professional WZ KTM team for the new season.

Andrea Bonacorsi showed flashes of what he could do in 2018 especially in the deep sand of Lommel where he was superb. The Italian seems to favour the sandy conditions which isn’t always typical of the Italian’s. Bonacorsi has made the switch to the Celestini KTM and will be hoping to be a regular at the front in 2019.

It was a really good season for Mike Gwerder in 2018 as the year before he struggled to qualify. He clearly worked his socks off coming into last season as he finished fourteenth in the championship and had some strong riders – a remarkable improvement. The Swiss talent will be looking for even more this year and if he’s had another off-season like this time last year he might just produce the goods.

Rejoining the series after a year out of the GP paddock is Matias Vesterinen after he focused on his domestic championships last year. However, he did race the final two rounds of the EMX125 series last year and had some pretty good results so he clearly thinks he can do damage in 2019.

Young French rider, Florian Miot has made the switch from KTM to the professional MJC Yamaha team for 2019. Miot is a rider with lots of potential and with the new team behind him he could improve lots over the course of the new season.

Joining Miot under the MJC Yamaha awning is Magnus Smith who secured the ride thanks to the YZ125 bLU cRU Cup. The young rider from Denmark has some EMX125 experience as a privateer but will be looking to step up now he’s backed by good support.

Heading to Europe for another season is South African, Cameron Durow who has a lot of potential. It’s not been easy for him contesting the EMX125 series so far but at the end of last year he looked to have really improved. His team mate, Rob Vd Veerdonk will also be looking to step up in 2019.

Last year, Oriol Olivier always seemed to put in quick qualifying laps but would never be able to replicate the same speed during the moto’s. If the Spaniard has been working on that then he could surprise in 2019.

One rider that seems to always need a year in a class before we see the best of them is Adam Kovacs. Now that the I-Fly JK Yamaha rider has his rookie year behind him he should be much more improved in 2019 as he has lots of talent.

Last year, Jörgen-Matthias Talviku was under the MJC Yamaha awning after gaining the ride through the YZ125 bLU cRU Cup but for 2019 he’s made the switch to Husqvarna. He’s joined the A1M Motorsport Husqvarna team after being snapped up by team manager, Tanel Leok who clearly sees the potential in him for the future.

Last but by no means least, Alessandro Facca goes into another season in the EMX125 class. The Italian is still with the Marchetti KTM team and will be doing his best to make sure this is his best season in the class yet.

Article: Andy McKinstry

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