2022 MX2 Preview: The new blood and dark horses

With the 2022 MX2 World Championship getting underway at Matterley Basin this weekend we will take a look at the new blood in the class as well as some of the dark horses to look out for heading into the season.

Let’s start with the dark horses… 

One rider that knows what it feels like to stand on the MX2 podium is Mikkel Haarup as he actually stood on the podium at Matterley Basin in 2020. Since then things haven’t gone exactly according to plan for the young Dane as injures hindered his 2020 season. Whilst the results might have been what he wanted in 2021 the one positive is he stayed injury free and he showed what he could do towards the end of the season. Steve Dixon has snapped up the young Dane and it could be a good combination – there’s no doubt that Haarup has the talent to run at the sharp end.

He might have lost his factory status for the 2022 season but Isak Gifting is one to look out for. The 2021 season didn’t start well whatsoever as he picked up a knee injury which really set him back but like Haarup towards the end of the season he started to show what he could really do. A team like Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee could be the perfect fit for the young Swede as he won’t have the pressure of being on a factory team. It’s important for Gifting to stay injury free as that’s what stopped him stepping up a level so far in his career. The Swede had a good start to the season at Hawkstone International taking a moto win so will be heading into the season with confidence.

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Last year was a good season for Norwegian talent, Kevin Horgmo after finishing second in the EMX250 series. Coming into the season he’d have wanted to win the title but there was no shame in losing the title to Nicholas Lapucci and his two-stroke. Everything is changing for Horgmo in 2022 after inking a deal with the F&H Kawasaki Racing team – it’s his first time with a Japanese bike. Working with Marc de Reuver it will be interesting if he can take his riding to the next level and consistency run at the front of the MX2 World Championship.

He might be coming into the season after a tough year but don’t underestimate Stephen Rubini – he’s fast! Last year was a struggle mostly down to injury issues but he comes into this season off the back of a strong winter working with Yves Demaria. The French rider has also signed with the SR Honda team who have done a good job in the GP paddock up until this point and will now look to leave their mark in the MX2 World Championship. It’s Rubini’s last year in the class so motivation for results certainly won’t be an issue.

Last year was Bastian Boegh Damm’s rookie season in the class and he’ll be a much better rider going into the 2022 season. The young Dane has a lot of speed and talent – it wasn’t long ago he was battling for an EMX250 title but hasn’t got the benefit of a factory bike in MX2. Having said that, the WZ KTM team do a good job developing younger riders and will want to take Boegh Damm to the top of MX2.

Britain’s biggest hope in the MX2 series comes down to Conrad Mewse who’s entering his final year racing the series. It hasn’t been the ideal winter for the Brit after parting ways with Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee but perhaps running his own setup could be the best thing for him. The Brit also took the win in the MX2 class at Hawkstone International – he’ll be looking to bring that speed and form to the GP’s. There’s no two ways about it, it’s a huge year for the Brit and one that could define his future – will he do enough to secure an MXGP ride? Time will tell!

The new blood in the class…

The rookie with the biggest name on their back is undoubtedly, Liam Everts as he tries to follow in his Granda and Father’s footsteps of trying to become world champion. The Belgian had a good season racing the EMX250 series last year as he was fourth with two rounds to go but unfortunately injury meant he missed the final two rounds dropping him down to seventh. The DIGA-Procross team have snapped up Everts which will see him with factory bikes but 2022 is all about learning and improving for the future.

Starts might be an issue for Håkon Fredriksen but speed most likely won’t be. The Norwegian has big boots to fill at the 114 Motorsports Honda team but there’s no doubting the speed he has. If he can get out of the gate he could do great things but that might be his Achilles heel in MX2 – Fredriksen should have a very bright future in the sport though as he’ll suit the bigger bike. 

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The past few years Tim Edberg has focused on the EMX250 series but there’s no doubt he’s been chasing an MX2 World Championship ride and he’s finally landed one. The Riley Yamaha Racing team has signed up the Swede who spent the 2020 season with the team so knows exactly what to expect. Starts are important in MX2 but if he can get good starts there’s no reason why he can’t run in the top ten.

The opportunity to race MX2 all happened very quickly for Kay Karssemakers after inking a deal with the Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee just a few weeks ago but it’s a big opportunity for the Dutch talent. Going straight from the EMX125 class to MX2 isn’t easy but it’s all about the learning and development process. The Dutch talent was incredible on a 65cc and 85cc but has since struggled with injuries – 2021 was his first full season since being part of the GP paddock. If he can stay injury free and learn from the best riders of the world, don’t be surprised if Karssemakers has a bright future.

Pic: Hitachi KTM/Ray Archer

Despite missing three rounds of the EMX250 series last year due to injury, it was a strong one for Emil Weckman as he still managed to finish ninth in the championship. The Finn has inked a deal with the SR Honda team for the 2022 season and will look to grab the opportunity with both hands. A full winter putting in the laps with Stephen Rubini and working with Yves Demaria could do the trick heading into the upcoming season.

Once a very promising rider in the EMX125 class, Filip Olsson has decided to make the move up to the MX2 World Championship with the backing of Swedish team – PowerByJJ Racing Team who are a new team in the paddock. The Swede hasn’t had the results he’d have wanted in the EMX250 series the past few years but will look to score as many points in MX2 as possible – riding the GP’s can also really help with his riding.

It’s a big opportunity Samuel Nilsson to race the MX2 World Championship after being picked up by Racestore KTM. It’s been a good start to the season for Nilsson in the Spanish Championship as has the red plate so he’ll look to bring that speed to the GP’s.

One rider that is out for the opening round is Tom Guyon but the French rider has a lovely style and has a lot of talent – he could be a surprise package when he makes his return to racing. 

Podcast! Jonathan McCready and Andy McKinstry look ahead to the new MXGP world championship season and discuss the contenders, the injuries and the rookies plus much more ahead of an exciting new MXGP season. 

Listen here on iTunes, or Spotify/YouTube below:

Article: Andy McKinstry

Main pic: Ray Archer