2023 MX2 World Championship Preview: New blood

As usual and due to the pyramid system implemented by Infront Moto Racing which focuses heavily on youth development in the EMX championships, there’s plenty of rookies in the MX2 World Championship for the 2023 season.

There’s no better place to start than the reigning EMX250 champion, Rick Elzinga who had a great year in 2022 clinching the prestigious title but he can’t rest on his laurels. For 2023, he’ll be racing the entire MX2 World Championship which means more races during the weekend and more rounds. It’s going to be a long season and it’s important to peak at the right time in order to avoid burn out.

Elzinga has also signed with the Factory Yamaha team as the third rider under the awning. He will get to learn from his very fast team mates – Benistant and Geerts without too much pressure as he won’t be expected to challenge for the title. This year is all about learning to race the MX2 World Championship on a weekly basis and build for the future. Back in 2021, Elzinga told us he’d be prepared to walk away from the sport if he didn’t get a ride that would earn him a salary so since then it’s been nice to see him make huge strides and become a full factory rider.

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One rider that started the 2022 season with a bang was Cornelius Toendel who was then a Fantic rider. Towards the end of the season he had some issues to deal with including Covid which seen him dip but finishing third in the EMX250 series was still a good year. For 2023, he has inked a deal with SM-Action KTM team – a team that is brilliant at developing young talents. They’ve helped Renaux and Adamo become full factory riders and Toendel will be hoping they can have the same effect on him.

Perhaps the two most exciting riders to move up to the EMX250 series are the Coenen twins from Belgium who both have bags of talent. They both actually only moved into the EMX250 series last year and despite it not going to plan at the opening round with Lucas not picking up a point – the end of the season was the polar opposite. At the end of the season Lucas was on fire as he won six of the last seven moto’s.  He was particularly impressive at Lommel absolutely dominating his competitors.  For 2023, Lucas has signed with Nestaan Husqvarna and looks in great form in pre-season – if you aren’t expecting him to run at the front of MX2 you might be in for a surprise.

Sacha has a lot of talent as well and has been signed up by the Factory KTM team for 2023 but hasn’t got the strength of his twin just yet. He does, however, get good starts which would be a big helping hand in MX2 so he’d be able to learn the pace quickly, but it’ll be important he keeps it on two wheels to learn from the best riders in the world. Once he gains a bit more strength and learns the pace, he should have a very bright future. Unfortunately he picked up a shoulder injury at the weekend so he will miss out the opening round but hopefully he will return to action soon.

It hasn’t been the ideal off-season for Camden Mc Lellan because visa issues meant he’s been in South Africa but thankfully he was able to get back to Europe at the start of February to be closer to his new JM Honda team and be able to prepare for the season ahead. It was a very solid 2022 season finishing fourth in the EMX250 championship on the TBS KTM. Now he has a professional MX2 team behind him and as well as Jacky Martens will be working with Joel Roelants as his rider coach so should have everything he needs to perform.

Another rider moving up from the EMX250 series is Spanish rider, David Braceras who has moved from VRT KTM to F&H Kawasaki team. The Spaniard hasn’t had a great pre-season so far but with Marc de Reuver behind him and having Kevin Horgmo as a team mate there’s plenty of time to improve and it’s believed that Braceras is a very hard worker so he’ll give it everything he has for good results in the MX2 World Championship.

Another Spaniard moving up to MX2 is Yago Martinez who started the 2022 season with the Ghidinelli Fantic Racing on a two-stroke before quickly leaving the team. The SB KTM quickly pounced to sign Martinez and it didn’t take him long to show his true level and even won a moto in France! He was one of the older riders in the EMX250 series so needed to find an MX2 ride and has signed with Racestore KTM in what should be a good move.

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Aging out of the EMX250 class due to the age rule is Lorenzo Ciabatti. The Italian was then on the look out for an MX2 GP ride and has secured a good ride with the SM-Action KTM team where he’ll look to learn off his team mates, Forato and Toendel – he’ll race the rounds that take place in Europe.

The WZ KTM team have decided to promote their EMX250 riders for 2022 so both will now race the MX2 World Championship rounds that take place in Europe. Oriol Oliver is a very smooth rider and is lovely to watch and it if it wasn’t for injury could have been in the top five of the EMX250 series last year so he clearly has good speed. His team mate, Mike Gwerder seemed to have one of those years were nothing went right and had a lot of bad luck, if there was a first corner crash he’d have been in it! The Swiss talent has showed in the past he has a lot of speed so will now look to show what he can do in the MX2 World Championship. Gwerder has just announced that he’s been dealing with a knee injury and had surgery two months ago so won’t race the first European GP in Riola – he is hoping to return at his home GP in Switzerland for round three.

One rider that has had his fair share of injuries is Raf Meuwissen. Last year was going quite well for the young Dutch talent racing the EMX250 series and EMX Open races that didn’t collide before a knee injury. Having one eye on 2023, he decided to have an operation and forget about the 2022 season, but he has been back on the bike for a while so will be fully prepared for his rookie MX2 season after signing with the Young Motion powered by Resa Yamaha team.

Muhammad Delvintor Alfarizi is the first rider ever from Indonesia that will race GP’s outside their home country as he’s signed with the JM Astra Honda team for the 2023 season in what will be an experience for him to say the least. He will race ten of the rounds that take place in Europe.

Article: Andy McKinstry

Main image: Shot by Bavo