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2024 MXGP World Championship Preview: The rookies

2024 MXGP World Championship Preview: The rookies

Jago Geerts is the biggest name moving up, expectations will be high and they should be! Jago Geerts has the talent and ability to be up with the title contenders, don’t forget he was usually the only rider to have the pace of Prado in MX2, but he didn’t often get the start with Prado back then.

To have success in his rookie year those starts will need to be on point because coming  through pack on MXGP is no easy task. But as we saw at RedBud when he was on the speed level of Eli Tomac, Geerts suits the 450, if he believes in himself stays away from those small crashes, with good starts he should be up with the main men in MXGP. Geerts is an elite talent and without some bad luck, Vialle and Osterhagen crashing in front of him the last two seasons, Geerts could have easily been a two time 2x world champ.

An MXGP title will be his goal in the future, this year is a learning year and the pressure will be off and that might suit the Belgian.

Kevin Horgmo always has speed! Yes, he can be a little rash at times but he was really good in his last couple of years in MX2. It might take him time to find his feet in MXGP but if people believe in him and give him time to adapt to the bikes, get the rhythm of the races and the intensity of the pack, Horgmo has the substance and talent to figure it out. He just needs to avoid going the big injuries and learn step by step. You might see some flashes of speed from Horgmo this season especially if he gets a start up front!

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Cool, calm, smooth and talented, Roan Van de Moosdijk has a style  an size that should be ideal for the bigger bike. A knee injury at Hawkstone wasn’t ideal but Road just looks at ease on a 450, it fits him perfectly. The biggest question against Roan isn’t his talent or his speed, it’s his confidence and aggression. To run with the big dogs in MXGP you need to be very confident and have teh aggression in those early laps, Herlings, Febvre, Gajser, Seewer and the rest ain’t messing around out there even if they get a bad start. But Roan has the talent, he has seen how fast the likes of Fernandez and Guadagnini have been and Roan can certainly do the same on the big bike. Hopefully good results come quickly because a Roan Van de Moosdijk that trusts his ability could be a force to be reckoned with on a 450!

Jan Pancar is very underrated, racing a privateer the Slovenian worked his way into being a top ten regular in MX2 with appearance s battling in the top five. He’s had a great career grinding his way up the GP ladder so far and that work ethic combined with the speed he has got too at GP level, means Pancar shouldn’t be a forgotten man in MXGP. Of course with the depth in the toughest class in the motorcycling world, it won’t be easy but Pancar isn’t scared of anything being difficult, he will keep going until he figures it out.

Isak Gifting has had some great rides already on the 450 and although he still has an aggressive style, not only is it exciting to watch, he has speed along with it! Gifting could ruffle a few feathers this year if he gets a start and at Hawkstone Park he wasn’t intimidated at all by the big names. Gifting is slightly reminiscent of Ruben Fernandez, very aggressive on a 250 making you wonder how it would work on a 450 but Ruben has been a revelation and Isak has impressed already on the 450 Yamaha – keep your eye on him this year, there will be excitement and speed! JK Yamaha will also have Anton Nagy under the awning and he’ll be an MXGP rookie this year albeit only the European rounds.

Josh Gilbert has done GPs before and also some AMA Nationals with success in both, but this year he is all in for the first time on a full GP season and he has earned his stripes. Improving every year of his career, the relaxed Gilbert is always Kevin Windham like smooth and deceptively fast. He has a great opportunity at Gabriel KTM and the perfect team manager with Shaun Simpson who will no doubt be a massive help with all his experience across many years of GP action himself from highs to lows, winning GPs and being a factory rider to being a full privateer, Shaun is in the perfect position to guide Josh.

Gilbert has been strong already this pre-season and with his top tens in AMA and some decent GP outings before in his career, Gilbert should hopefully come in with the confidence that he belongs at this level. Another British rider in MXGP is great to see and very much needed, Gilbert has earned this opportunity and should get faster and faster as the season goes on and he gets used to the highest level and the weekend routines, week-in, week-out.

Article: Jonathan McCready