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2024 MXGP World Championship Preview: Coming in under the radar

2024 MXGP World Championship Preview: Coming in under the radar

Ruben Fernandez came out swinging in Argentina last year and you can expect Ruben to do that on any track again this season. They guy is fast and can run the elite speed, yes a few mistakes may get him here and there, but overall, that was to be expected. The key part is the speed and Ruben has it. He has also show he can lead the team in the absence of Gajser, and this year, he should have less pressure with Gajser back added to more experience within the team and in the 450 class. Ruben is very close to being one of the big dogs every week. It might happen.

Image: Shot by Bavo

Pauls Jonass, I still believe, has the talent to be in the elite group of MXGP contender and to win GPs but injuries just keep halting the momentum he needs to get there. When fit, as we saw again at Hawkstone Park a couple of weeks ago, Jonass has lots of raw speed still sitting there ready to use. Hopefully he can get some decent early results, stay healthy and build from there and really show what he can do in MXGP in 2024.

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Glenn Coldenhoff could easily be in the big dog group. While he is riding for Fantic, nothing is really changing, same team, similar bike, same boss, same rider. Coldenhoff is just an all-rounder. Fast everywhere, he sometimes starts the seasons a bit slow and builds into the year before coming on strong. But his aggression at Hawkstone suggested he ready to attack from the off this season. GP podiums and wins are not out of the question this year for Coldenhoff, but starts and being comfortable on the bike, and also avoiding the arm pump that sometimes plagues him will be key. We all know what a confident and flowing Glenn can do!

Image: Shot by Bavo

Calvin Vlaanderen has more than earned this factory Yamaha ride with his efforts over the previous seasons in MXGP including that special GP win on the Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha as a privateer. There will be more pressure with a factory ride but Calvin rode for HRC Honda in MX2 so he knows what that is all about. Vlaanderen is usually decent everywhere around the GP calendar but the expectation will be higher this year can the factory team bring Vlaanderen to the level he needs to be every week to challenge for a GP podium? That has to be the goal and expectation for the Dutch South African, who sacrificed his whole life for this opportunity, a factory ride in the toughest series of motorcycle racing. Vlaanderen will be giving this all he has to inch his way to the next level and with Renaux and Geerts as teammates, it’s going to be a fast pace at the practice track to bring each other along.

Alberto Forato made big strides last year and will be expecting to do the same again in 2024. The Italian is so talented and the more he gets good starts, the more you sense he believes he really can be one of the best riders in the world. The technique is there, the speed is getting there but those starts will be key to learn repeatedly the speed at the front, and it doesn’t take him long to catch on! The Italian is rapidly rising in popularity, not just because of his character but because people are realising he has world class talent! He could be MXGP’s answer to Aaron Plessinger and with Standing Construct Honda, he has a team that always gets the best out of their riders.

Mattia Guadagnini will unfortunately miss the opener in Argentina but in terms of an exciting talent on a bike, this kid is one to watch. Great style with a fun, relaxed attitude until the great drops – then he’s all heart and desire along with bags of natural talent! Guadagnini was looking good on the Husky until his injury. It feels like once it clicks for Guadagnini he will go to the next level, the ability is all there to do it – but injury won’t help achieve that goal! Last year he looked on the cusp of something special until injury as well, hopefully the injury bug wont follow him around all year because the potential is absolutely huge, you wonder if even he realises just how good he could become.

Ben Watson had some decent showings last season on the Beta, and with Benny Bloss recently getting a top ten at Daytona, in a huge achievement for the manufacturer, Watson in year two of his Beta career could be one to keep an eye on. Again starts are essential for Ben just to see the sharp end of the pack and get in that groove. That talent hasn’t gone anyway and with time Watson usually rises to the occasion. Let’s see if Beta and Watson are a package that can launch regularly into the top ten of MXGP and more.

Article: Jonathan McCready