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2020 MX2 GP Preview: The Underdogs

2020 MX2 GP Preview: The Underdogs
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Heading into the 2020 MX2 World Championship which gets underway at Matterley Basin this weekend, we take a look at some of the underdogs and who could turn a few heads in 2020.

Perhaps the biggest underdog going into the season is Maxime Renaux, people forget just how talented he really is. Moving up to the 250cc, the first two years he was injured and spent more time on the sofa than racing. Mentally it can be hard for a rider and it can be hard to come back but Renaux last year had a strong season in what was his rookie year in the MX2 World Championship finishing seventh in the series. The SM-Action team are believed to be running factory engines in 2020 which will help Renaux, don’t be surprised if he’s right at the front in 2020.

There’s no doubt, Conrad Mewse has a lot of talent on the bike but since moving up to the MX2 World Championship, consistency has been his issue. One week he’s capable of riding with the best in the world and one week later he could be battling for tenth. If the Brit can work on his consistency then he might just turn heads in 2020. Also, when he gets bad starts at times he can struggle to come through the pack so hopefully that’s something he’s worked on. Stephen Sword has started working with the Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee team so could have a positive impact on the Brit.

Last year, Mewse’ team mate Bas Vaessen was having a good season until Indonesia when he picked up a scary injury and even lost the feeling from his neck down for four minutes. Thankfully he made a full recovery and has put in a solid off season. Battling for the title might be a stretch for Vaessen after such a big injury but he’s certainly capable of running at the front.

Under the Rockstar Husqvarna awning, Thomas Kjer Olsen has the pressure of being one of the favourites for the title but what about his team mate, Jed Beaton? The Aussie had a season ending injury last season but he’s had a good winter and results in the pre-season races running with the likes of Vialle and Geerts. Beaton also has a smooth style and looks comfortable at the front, the Aussie is certainly capable of surprising in 2020.

The F&H Racing team have a really strong rider line up for 2020. Even though it’s his rookie year, Van De Moosdijk has the attributes to contend for the title and his two team mates aren’t bad either. Mathys Boisrame finished ninth in the MX2 World Championship last year during his rookie season – pretty impressive. Considering the Honda isn’t the best bike in the MX2 class, the French talent should be even better in 2020. Unfortunately, he picked up an injury in the off season which means he won’t have had much bike time coming into Matterley Basin so it’ll be a case of getting through the first GP and then improving from there. Boisrame was on the box in Germany last year where he was super impressive, he’ll be hoping for plenty of podiums during the upcoming season.

Pic: Redsand MX Track

As for Mikkel Haarup, there’s no denying the guys talent. Perhaps he’s even one of the more talented riders in the class. Last year was his rookie season in the class and despite wanting more he learnt a lot. Working with Marc de Reuver during the off season should have had a good impact on Haarup as well, de Reuver has been a superb coach for the riders he’s worked with over the past couple of years.

The young Dane admits he put too much pressure on himself last year and despite last year not going the way he wanted, he learnt a lot from it. “Last year I was a rookie in MX2 and I learned a lot. Of course I’m young so I’m pumped to race so I try to do the best I can every weekend. Last year I put a lot of pressure on myself even though I was a rookie. I’ve learned a lot from that year and I’m not going to go out for the win first round if it’s not coming to me. I’m not stressing so I definitely learned a lot from last season even though the last year was tough, I can use the stuff I learned for this season”, Haarup told GateDrop.com.

Last year, Stephen Rubini just lost out of the EMX250 championship to Roan Van De Moosdijk but he’s moving up to the MX2 World Championship this year and has a lot of speed. At the hard pack tracks, the French talent excels and can certainly run at the front. The Assomotor Honda rider also put in a lot of work in the sand last year which was his weak area so he should be more accomplished in the sand compared to the past, he’ll certainly need to be in MX2. Rubini’s team mate, Alvin Ostlund is getting ready for his last year in the MX2 World Championship as he’ll age out at the end of the year. The Swede has a lovely style but perhaps lacks the aggression to run with the very best. He has got the potential to be a top rider if everything clicks into place.

During the pre-season races, Alberto Forato has been racing a 450cc and had some very good results battling with top GP riders in the International Italian Championship. The Italian will be a rookie in the MX2 World Championship this year and there’s no doubt he’s fast and has a lot of speed but being such a big guy, how good will his starts be? That’s certainly his weak area but it would be a surprise if he didn’t come through the pack and quickly – he’s certainly been doing that lots in the EMX250 series.

Pic: Alex Piantanida

Last year Mitchell Harrison was drafted into the BUD Kawasaki Racing awning after another Brian Hsu injury and had some solid results. Coming into the season, Harrison will now know exactly what to expect from the MX2 World Championship, the different cultures in each country and the versatility needed.  The American has spent most of the 0ff-season in his home country putting in the laps. Whilst America is good for plenty of bike time the conditions are quite different to the tracks on the MX2 World Championship so we’ll have to wait and see what his off-season was like. However, in terms of raw speed, Harrison shouldn’t be too far away from the front.

The Aussie rookies! There’s three of them. The 114 Honda Motorsport team have Bailey Malkiewicz and Nathan Crawford under the awning.  Malkiewicz won the 125cc Junior World Championship in 2018 in his home country so clearly has a lot of talent. The MX2 World Championship is a big jump up though so it’ll be intriguing to see how he adapts. As for Crawford, being 23 years old this will be the only shot he gets at racing the MX2 World Championship and has experience racing both the 250cc and 450cc in Australia so will be looking to impress this year to secure an MXGP ride in 2020. Steve Dixon has signed up Wilson Todd for DRT Kawasaki in 2020 and the Aussie is highly rated and had some good results in the AMA Nationals.

Article: Andy McKinstry

 

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