2023 EMX125 Preview: Young blood ready for season opener

With the EMX125 championship getting underway this Easter weekend, we’ll take a close look at the new generation looking to make a new for themselves and challenge for the EMX125 title.

The MJC Yamaha team always have a strong rider line up to contest the EMX125 series and this year is no exception. They have snapped up the extremely talented, Janis Martins Reisulis who was only a rookie in the class last year but you wouldn’t have thought so with his riding. The Latvian finished third in the championship, was a regular visitor to the podium and won three moto’s over the course of the season. There is no doubt he is overwhelming favourite going into the season – he should have a very bright future in the sport if he can stay injury free.

The MJC Yamaha team were hit with a blow after Czech talent, Julius Mikula broke his leg but the team have signed up young Spaniard, Salvador Perez as a fill in rider. For Perez it is a big opportunity and one he wouldn’t have expected a couple of weeks ago so this is his chance to shine.

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Like MJC Yamaha, the Fantic team always focus on having the best young talents in the EMX125 class and they’ve signed up Elias Escandell for 2023. Escandell was expected to be a top runner last year and he was exactly that until an injury meant he missed half of the season. The Spaniard now has a chance with Fantic to challenge for the title and during the International Italian championship was looking in good form – he’s enjoyable to watch with a lovely flowing style.

Joining Escandell under the Fantic awning will be Maximilian Werner who ended the 2022 season with DIGA-Procross KTM but with that team closing their doors he needed to search for another ride and he couldn’t have got a better one. It’s Werner’s last year in the EMX125 series so he’ll be eager to go out at the top to secure a good ride in the EMX250 class. In 2023, Niccolo Mannini will be a rookie but he is a very exciting talent and will be one to keep an eye on. At the moment, Mannini isn’t expected to race the entire championship but if he starts the season well things can change.

A former EMX85 and 85cc Junior World Champion, Vitezslav Marek will be hoping this year it clicks for him in the EMX125 class. During his rookie season in 2022 he showed some glimpses of what he could do by finishing eleventh in the championship. A few too many DNF’s cost him a top ten position in the championship standings as his pace was closer to the top five – this year he’ll hope to be even stronger.

One rider to keep an eye on is Spaniard, Francisco Garcia who had actually inked a deal to race the EMX250 championship with SR KTM. However, he has parted ways with that team and has decided to stay in the EMX125 series. After finishing tenth in the series last year, it’s a good decision – there’s no reason why he can’t be a top five rider.

Towards the end of the 2022 season, things started to go much better for the talented, Mads Fredsoe. The young Dane who is a former EMX65 championship has plenty of natural talent and will be hoping it all clicks for him in the competitive EMX125 series. He has signed a deal with the Sturm STC team for 2023 and while he excels in sandy conditions he’ll be hoping to improve in his hard pack riding.

A bit of an unknown rider outside Italy is Alfio Samuele Pulvirenti who is already 16 years old but hasn’t had much EMX experience. However, it looks like he’s going to focus on the EMX125 series this year which is good news when you seen how he was riding at the International Italian championship. The question will be if he can translate that speed to other conditions and tracks outside his home country.

Image: Motocross Addiction

Hungarian rider, Noel Zanocz didn’t contest the entire EMX125 series last year but towards the end of the series started to do more rounds to learn for the 2023 season. His best race result was an eleventh in the second moto in Sweden. Zanocz could have a bright future in the sport as he has bags of talent.

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The JK Yamaha team have Nicola Salvini back for 2023, unfortunately he picked up an injury last year but he’ll be hoping to stay fully fit this year and show his true potential.  Joining him under the awning is Nicolai Skovbjerg who had some good rides last year as a privateer and especially at Lommel finishing seventh overall. He’ll be hoping now he has a team behind him he can go from strength to strength.

Young Austrian, Maximilian Ernecker inked a deal with the F4E GasGas team during the 2022 season and now he’s had a full off-season with the team he should be stronger in 2023. He was looking strong at the one round of the International Italian Championship he contested and there’s no reason why he can’t be a top five rider.

One rider that has a very exciting future in the sport Gyan Doensen who might just be one of the most talented riders in the class. Last year he won the Junior World Championship after beating a more experienced Vitezslav Marek. Doensen has signed with the WZ KTM team who are very good at developing young talent and in Doensen they have a future star of the sport.

It’s not easy as a privateer rider but one rider that will be looking to impress is young Swede, Laban Alm who didn’t contest all the rounds last year but he is very fast in the sand and ran in the top five at times. If he can get his hard pack riding to the same standard he could be a surprise.

French talent, Mathis Valin had a strong rookie season finishing twelfth in the series last year but with another full winter behind him he’ll be looking for much much more in 2023. Riding for the 737 Performance GasGas team he has Valentin Teillet in his corner who knows what it takes to become a GP rider so will be hoping to do help develop Valin into exactly that.

Young Irish rider, Cole McCullough got his feet wet in the EMX125 series last year and despite somehow not scoring points, speed wasn’t the issue. It was a brilliant years experience for McCullough to figure out how the EMX system works, the track conditions and racing at the highest level for his age group. Now he has that experience behind him there’s no reason why he can’t regularly score points in 2023 – he just needs to cut out the crashes and it should be a good year.

Image: Scott Dunne

Young Swede, August Frisk with another years experience racing the EMX125 class will hope to be stronger and more consistent. Frisk seems to favour the hard pack conditions but will be hoping to improve in the gnarly sand.

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Young Brit, Freddie Bartlett will be a rookie in the EMX125 class this year and it’s all about learning for him and picking up as much experience as possible. The Kosak KTM team in Germany have spotted the potential in Bartlett so have signed him up for 2023 which could be a good fit.

Another rookie to keep an eye on is Filippo Mantovani who finished third in the EMX85 championship but he is still very small – he could have stayed on the 85cc another year but has decided to take on the bigger challenge of racing the 125cc. He’ll continue to get better as he grows and gains more strength required to race the 125cc.

Last but not least, Tom Brunet who spent the 2022 season with the VHR KTM has inked a deal with the Jezyk Racing Team based in Spain and during his second season in the class he’ll be hoping to show what he can really do. Unfortunately, he just broke his collarbone at the weekend so will miss the start of the season.

Article: Andy McKinstry

Main image: Shot by Bavo