2023 MXGP World Championship Preview: Title threats

With that frustrating injury to Tim Gajser that robs us yet again of the duel between the last two would champions, Gajser and Herlings, and takes out of defending champ for being title contender, it is easy to feel slightly deflated going into round one but you can bet that Tim will be back at the sharp end when he is fully fit and be able to show his speed with the pressure off that going for a world title creates.

However, that still leaves five riders who will all be going into 2023 with world title dream, we a look at the contenders for the most prestgious motocross series in the world, MXGP.

Jeffrey Herlings: It’s hard to look past the five-time world champion as the title favourite despite not raicng last year. Herlings, as we saw in Hawkstone, isn’t back to top form but by all accounts he is flying on the practice track, so you would imagine that Herlings will soon be able to replicate that speed on the race track. The big question is will Herlings have the in race patience to accept a top five in the first couple of races, while feeling internally he should be at the front. If he can find the patience in the first couple of GPs, expect to see his real speed a few rounds in, then it will be a question of who can match his pace and if he can stay healthly. So, far when it really matters, Herlings has speed no-one else can match.

Romain Febvre: The Frenchman ticks all of the boxes as a world title threat. He knows how to win a world title, he is good in all conditions and has improved his sand speed. Febvre, as nice as he is off the track, is a fighting warrior on it. All in all the time, Febvre refuses to give in whatever the circumstances and when the track has no grip, he is awesome to watch as he finds traction and corner speed no-one else can find. Febvre should be a huge threat to the title this year and it’s great to have him fit and healhty for round one.

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Jeremy Seewer: Every year he gets a little bit better. Seewer’s focus and ability to improve year on year is impressive. He ended last year very strong with wins becoming more regular. This year he is a true title contender. His starts have been good on the new Yamaha, he knows how to win now and he has always been consistent, Seewer has worked his way, year by year, into a postion to be a world title contender, don’t count him out in 2023, it’s very possible the diminutive Swiss rider could be a world champ at the end of the season.

Maxime Renaux: Renaux is just so impressive. World champ in 2021, then straight on the MXGP race winning pace in 2022, that’s talent. Barring his injury last year and the odd tough GP, Renaux showed everything he needed last year to make me believe he will be real title contender in 2023. Along with the speed and ability in every condition, Renaux, mentally, is so strong. He doesn’t feel pressure and with everything he learnt last year and a more nimble bike in 2023, he could be the guy that is Herlings biggest competition – if he can start up front regularly.

Jorge Prado: This is a big year for Jorge Prado, we all know how talented he is, he has the best technique in the class and a joy to watch ride but it’s been three years now in the class and although he has shown he can win races and hover around as a title contender, illness, injury and last a new bike to deal with have all contributed ro Jorge not being able to, I believe, show his true potential. This year he seems to have got a healthy winter, let’s hope he is comfortable on the bike and gets through the start of the season unscathed because Prado is a special talent on a bike, but we haven’t seen the best of him on a 450 yet, he has to deliver and 2023 might be the year he does.

Image: Shot by Bavo

Glenn Coldenhoff: Watching Glenn at Hawksone Park a couple of weeks ago, he looked as good as he ever has on a Yamaha. In fact, this smaller blue machine, evokes memories of Glenn in his prime on the KTM while at Standing Construct KTM when he was winning GP motos and enjoying MXON domination. Coldenhoff looks so comfortable on the bike and at the front. He had Herlings and Febvre on his back wheel and not once did he make a mistake or look stressed at Hawkstone. He is a new dad now as well, and all this positivity shouuld show in the results. Coldenhoff is in a great place going into this season and should be a title challenger in 2023 if he can find the consistency and speed from the start of the year.

Image: Bavo/JPA/Leigh Wootton

Article: Jonathan McCready

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