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MXGP 2019 – The surprise packages

MXGP 2019 – The surprise packages
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It’s been an eventful season in the FIM Motocross World Championship and as always there’s a few riders that catch your eye during the season. We take a look at some riders that have surprised this season.

Jeremy Seewer:  There’s been a high number of injuries in the MXGP class this year but even still who’d have thought Seewer would be sitting second in the championship standings with two rounds to go? There’s no doubt that the Swiss talent has really stepped up his riding with year.

Even though the likes of Cairoli and Herlings have been injured, it’s still very impressive for Seewer to be beating more experienced guys like Paulin, Coldenhoff and Tonus to name a few. Considering it’s only Seewer’s second season in MXGP if he shows the same improvement for 2020 there’s no reason why he can’t have a similar season – there’s always going to be injuries. Seewer still hasn’t won an MXGP overall but will look to do that in Turkey or China before heading to represent Switzerland in Assen at the Motocross Des Nations.

“I didn’t expect it. Especially not at this stage in the championship because I struggled at the beginning. As everyone knows, I had a lung infection which cost me a lot. I lost basically three weeks of training and bike time and started from less than zero with muscle building. I started with a tenth and eleventh in Argentina, I mean that’s where I came from. Now after half way I am in third which is amazing of course. I don’t care too much yet, it’s a long season still and many races to come with big trips like Indonesia, China and stuff. I will focus every race and try to keep my goal alive which is just the top five”, Seewer told us back in June – he’s now one spot better off in the championship.

Tom Vialle: Eyebrows were raised when Factory KTM announced they signed for Vialle for the 2019 season to compete in the MX2 World Championship. For Vialle it was superb opportunity, from a privateer EMX250 rider to Factory KTM and having the best bike in the MX2 class.

Vialle hasn’t disappointed whatsoever, in fact he’s exceeded expectations. At the second round in Matterley Basin, Vialle already got on the podium and with two rounds to go is in the battle for third in the championship standings. Seven points separate the French talent and Jago Geerts. Either way, Vialle has been superb during his rookie MX2 season. With two rounds to go, Vialle is the only rider to beat Jorge Prado to an MX2 overall as he won in Sweden – impressive!

Vialle standing on top of the box for the first time! Pic: Youthstream

People might be reluctant to give the kid praise due to having the best bike in the class but Davy Pootjes has had a factory KTM in the past and Conrad Mewse a factory Husqvarna. They’re both very talented but haven’t had a season as good as Vialle’s rookie season yet – give credit where it’s due.

It also goes to show the talent in the GP paddock, sometimes a rider like Vialle is well worth the risk, especially when Joel Smets is such a good coach and has clearly really helped Vialle with his riding. The next thing for Vialle to deal with is pressure and pressure really is a strange thing. In 2020, Vialle will have tonnes of it heading into the season as he’ll be KTM hopes for the World title in 2020. If he doesn’t let pressure get the better off him he’ll certainly challenge for the title.

Smets has been really happy with Vialle’s rookie season. “Yeah, he’s very un-French (laughs). He’s not as stubborn as some of those Frenchies are. He really understood when we signed him and that was also important in the negotiations It was important he clearly expressed his wish to step out of his comfort zone and to make a jump out in the dark, let’s say. I think it’s actually not so often seen in Motocross that a kid makes so much progress in such a short time”, Smets told

Mitchell Evans: Whenever Aussie’s come to race the World Championship there’s always a bit of uncertainty. How will they adapt to different cultures, the weather and most importantly a stacked MX2 World Championship? Luke Styke came over a few years ago and didn’t have the best of times but the more recent top Aussie talents seem to be doing much better.

Evans had big foots to fill as he joined 114 Motorsports Honda replacing Hunter Lawrence but he never looked fazed by the challenge. On his MX2 World Championship debut in Argentina, Evans got on the box! That’s very impressive to do on your MX2 debut.

Evans with his 114 Honda team and Gordon Crockard Pic: 114 Motorsports

Unfortunately, Evans season has been hit with injuries which has halted his championship standings a bit as he’s currently only eleventh. Most likely he’d have been battling for a top six spot without all the injuries.

Even though Evans has showed good pace this year and a possible future MX2 World Champion contender, rumours suggest he’s making the jump up to MXGP in 2020. There’s no doubt he’s a good 450cc rider but is it really fair on Evans to push him up to MXGP so early? The level in MXGP is unbelievable and if he doesn’t produce the results, he could end up like Bogers – looking for a ride. Another year or two learning the tracks and how everything works in GP’s whilst running at the front in MX2, would be the best thing for his career but we’ll see how he gets on in MXGP if it ends up being the case.

Henry Jacobi: After showing glimpses of what he could do in 2018, Henry Jacobi signed a deal with the F&H Kawasaki team for this season. Could he really step up his riding and become a top five guy? The answer is definitely yes!

Signing with F&H Kawasaki meant he could work with Marc de Reuver and there’s no question, he’s doing a great job coaching the younger riders. Pretty much every rider de Reuver has worked with he’s improved them all – Jed Beaton, Adam Sterry and Jacobi to name just a few.

Jacobi with his F&H Kawasaki. Pic: Shot by Bavo

Jacobi currently sits fifth in the MX2 World Championship standings but after picking up an knee injury in Sweden is out for the rest of the season. It’s a shame because the German’s bike has broke a few times on him and now missing the last two rounds means he has no chance of breaking into the top three which was a real possibility.

The German’s time in MX2 has now come to an end and he’ll make the move up to MXGP in 2020. Jacobi is quite an aggressive rider so it’ll be interesting to see how he adapts to the bigger bike – he’ll need to smooth out a bit but he’s got the talent for good results. Jacobi is expected to join the SM-Action team for his rookie MXGP season.

Maxime Renaux: There’s no doubting Renaux’s talent. The young French rider was on the brink of an EMX125 title in 2015 before picking up an injury ruling him out of final two rounds. It meant Jorge Prado secured the title but that’s the kind of talent Renaux was battling with and beating. He might have been older but he had a lot of speed.

Since then it’s been injury after injury for the young French rider and it was looking like he’d never get back to that level. However, after staying fit for the majority of last year, despite not a great season on paper finishing twelfth in EMX250, it give him a platform to build on.

Renaux made the jump up to the MX2 World Championship this year and is finally showing us the potential he once had. With two rounds to go he’s seventh in the championship which shows just what a good season he’s had.

Twice in Indonesia, Renaux was super close to a podium but he finally secured his first podium in Imola which he thoroughly deserved. Heading into 2020, keep your eye on him as with another strong winter he could really surprise.

Renaux on his way to a podium in Imola. Pic: Youthstream

Despite having it difficult with a number of injuries, they’ll have made him a stronger person mentally and he’s showed how determined he is to always bounce back from tough times.

Alberto Forato: In the space of two season’s Forato went from having his worst season in the EMX250 series to having his best! Much was expected of Forato in 2018 but he didn’t have the season he wanted and only finished fourteenth in the championship. He was being hampered with injuries but still – expectations were much higher.

Coming into 2019 was all change for Forato as he left the Assomotor Honda team to join the Maddii Husqvarna team. Credit to Marco Maddii as he does a really good job working and improving young riders.

Forato had a great season finishing third in the EMX250 championship – only eleven points shy off clinching the title. Speeds certainly wasn’t his issue but starts were – being such a big guy he struggled to get out of the gate and usually left him with lots of work to do.

Forato on top of the box! Pic: Alex Piantanida

The Italian will now travel to Turkey and China to contest the last two rounds of the MX2 World Championship to prepare for 2020. At the end of the month he’ll also represent Italy at the Motocross Des nations in Assen – not too many people would have predicted that happening twelve months ago.

With Forato being so big, starts could prove to be a problem for him in MX2 but MXGP team managers should be keeping a watchful eye on him because he could have a great future on the 450cc.

Simon Laengenfelder: In the EMX125 class it’s always fun watching to see who can step up the most and this year it was definitely the young German rider. In 2018, Laengenfelder struggled with consistency, he had speed but just couldn’t seem to put two good moto’s together. In the end he ended up twentieth in the championship.

The WZ KTM Racing team spotted potential in Laengenfelder and signed him coming into this season, it’s been a good match.

Längenfelder on top of the box in Lommel. Pic: Youthstream

The young German has been getting stronger as the season progressed as he got more comfortable running at the front. He certainly likes the tough conditions as he won his first EMX125 round in the deep, rough sand of Lommel.

In the end, Laengenfelder secured third in the championship which is the best he could really do.  Guadagnini and Guyon even though are young themselves, have a lot more experience than Laengenfelder but the German has showed he could catch them if he continues to put in the hard work.

Jörgen-Matthias Talviku: The young Estonian actually secured an EMX125 through the YZ bLU cRU Cup which saw him under the MJC Yamaha awning in 2018. Talviku had some good rides last year, his best being a fifth spot during moto one in Lativa. The consistency wasn’t there though and he left the MJC Yamaha team.

Talviku on his A1M Husqvarna Pic: Youthstream

Tanel Leok who runs the A1M Husqvarna team spotted potential in Talviku and signed him coming into this season and Leok’s faith has been repaid. Talviku had a great season finishing fourth in the EMX125 series and looked comfortable running at the front.

In 2020, the Estonian will make the jump up to the 250cc, a bike he says he feels more comfortable on. He actually contested a round of the EMX250 series this year and finished twelfth overall despite fading towards the end in both moto’s which is to be expected.

With a full winter on the 250cc, don’t be surprised to see Talviku post some good results in 2020.

Article: Andy McKinstry

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