2022 MXGP Preview: The rookies and potential surprise packages

Maxime Renaux is the headline act here as the MX2 World champion steps up into the Premier class with momentum behind him, confidence and ambition driving him and a factory Yamaha team behind him. It could be a deadly combination.

Renaux won his one and only pre-season races in France against Jeremy Seewer and us reportedly flying in practice – even Stefan Everts is impressed. Renaux clearly suits the bike can he even be a title contender in his first season?

Ruben Fernandez impressed last year on the 250 and 450 and he has shown great speed once again in pre-season when on two wheels. Fast, fearless and aggressive, the Spainiard will be one to keep an eye on all year. He could be the Justin Barcia of MXGP!

Jed Beaton was Mr Consistent in MX2 but how will he go on a 450? He will be on the F&H Kawasaki team, a team he has already ridden for so the familiarity should help. Beaton’s style should suit the 450 and, with a start, should be capable of some strong performances.

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Pic: Shot by Bavo

Mitch Evans is back after a year of injury torment. His rookie season was, until the injury, mighty impressive and if his wrist is okay and he can find the race intensity I expect Evans to become a contender for the top ten and top five again. He is the real deal when on form, and has Gajser to learn from. Let’s hope that wrist is good enough to allow him into back contention.

Brian Bogers has been quietly impressive this off-season and should come into the year confident. He’s had a good winter and already showed some good moments last year – he might just take the next step this year.

Ben Watson hasn’t had long on the factory Kawasaki but is already showing good speed and will be the only rider under the tent for the first couple of rounds ot seems, with Febvre’s injury. A year’s experience under his belt, Watson is more than capable of taking a step forward this year and getting closer to that front group, he’s shown glimpses of speed already.

Thomas Kjer Olsen is also in his second year of MXGP but maybe didn’t show as much raw speed as Watson last year but he was very consistent. With Stefan Everts in his corner now, look for Olsen to take a big step this year – if he can get the starts!

The Beta duo will also be worth keeping an eye on with the bike having a year under it’s belt and both Van Horebeek and Lupino capable of top tens.

Alberto Forato has a lot of talent and if he stays healthy and can get out of the gate, I think the Italian could make his presence felt amongst the top ten.

Article: Jonathan McCready


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. 

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