With the MX2 World Championship agonisingly close to getting underway this weekend we take a look at some riders where it’s hard to know how they’ll perform in 2019.
Back in 2014 things were looking really good for Brian Hsu as he clinched the EMX125 Championship title on his Suzuki. Since moving up into the MX2 World Championship things just haven’t gone according to plan. Between injuries and perhaps a few bad decisions – he was set to go to America but his deal fell through which meant he had no ride left at Suzuki.
Hsu was able to secure a ride with the BUD Kawasaki team for 2018 but after a serious shoulder injury was ruled out for the season. The team clearly believe in his abilities as they’ve kept him for 2019 and he has bags of talent. However, after a full season out it can often be hard to come back strong. Not getting any younger and with lots of new blood in the MX2 class, the 2019 will be a huge season for Hsu’s career and could be a huge indication if we’ll ever see his full potential.
In a similar situation to Hsu is young Dutch talent, Davy Pootjes. Pootjes was actually odds on to win the EMX125 title back in 2014 before an injury cost him his title. Fast forward four season’s later and Pootjes has struggled to put a full season together due to injuries.
Pootjes has so much ability and tonnes of talent but it’s really important for him to get a full season under his belt in 2019. The Dutch rider has inked a deal with DIGA-Procross Husqvarna who will be hoping to get the very best out of Davy Pootjes, something we haven’t really saw since he moved up to the MX2 World Championship. With a lot of new blood in the class in 2019, it’s important for Pootjes to put in good results and not fall behind the younger generation.
So far in his career, Adam Sterry hasn’t had a bad career in the MX2 World Championship but heading into 2019, it’ll be his last year racing the series due to the under 23 age rule. The Brit had his injury problems in 2018 which can always affect the confidence of a rider but having a full winter working with Marc de Reuver should have only benefited him. There’s no doubt Sterry will put in some good results and have high moments but just how good will he be, can he get on the podium?
Sterry looked really really good at Hawkstone International and perhaps that was one of the best races he’s looked in his career in terms of speed so he’ll go into the season feeling good. In order to secure an MXGP ride in 2020 he simply has to produce the goods this year and he believes being 100% will help with that. “Marc and living in Holland has helped a lot, we have a better bike as well so thanks to the team for that and I’m healthy, that’s the main point. Last year and the year before I rode with so many injuries and it’s just hindered me, I couldn’t do my training in the week so it’s a downward spiral. But now I’m all healthy, we need to keep it that way and it should be good”.
Heading into the season as a factory KTM rider is Tom Vialle. The young French talent moves up from the EMX250 championship and some eye brows were raised when Factory KTM announced the young French rider. There’s no doubt, Vialle has a lot of talent but there’s big pressure being under the Factory KTM awning.
Fortunately, for Vialle it’s his team mate, Jorge Prado who has the pressure of winning the championship after clinching it in 2018 so Vialle can afford a learning year. However, with Prado perhaps out of the class next year, Vialle will have to get good results so KTM believe in him for a title challenge in 2020. It might be an up and down season for Vialle in his rookie year but personally I think he’ll surprise quite a few people who were initially surprised by the signing.
It’s the second year as a team for the 114 Motorsports Honda team and they’ve a new rider line up in the form of Zach Pichon and Mitchell Evans. As for Pichon it’s his second year in the class so he’ll be expecting better results and being with a team also adds more pressure. It doesn’t help having the “Pichon” name at the back of his shirt either. It’s going to be a very interesting year for the young French talent and it’s honestly hard to know how he’ll perform in a deep MX2 class.
With Hunter Lawrence heading to America, the 114 Motorsports Honda team have turned to another Aussie to replace him, Mitchell Evans who has big boots to fill. So far in pre-season he’s been impressive but the MX2 World Championship will be a different challenge and he’ll have to adapt to lots of different kinds of tracks. For some Aussie’s such as Jed Beaton and the Lawrence brothers it wasn’t a problem but for the likes of Luke Styke and Caleb Ward it wasn’t an easy adjustment. Having rode in a competitive MX1 class in Australia last year against a tough competitor and ex GP rider in Dean Ferris might help Evans.
Article: Andy McKinstry
Pics: BUD Kawasaki & Scott Dunne