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MXGP Preview: Valkenswaard

MXGP Preview: Valkenswaard
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VALKENSWAARD (The Netherlands), 24 March 2016 – Touch down! We’re back on European soil for the third round of the FIM Motocross World Championship, which will take place in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands this Easter weekend, Sunday 27th and Monday 28th of March.

The racing this weekend is expected to be off the hook for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious reason is, it is the first round of MXGP that will take place on European soil and with it being in Valkenswaard, only 20 kilometers from the border of Belgium and the world renowned circuit of Lommel, a location known to many as the motocross mecca of the world, it should be rammed with motocross mad fans.

Orange will undoubtedly be the color of choice as it is the national color of The Netherlands and ironically three of the countries fastest motocross riders, Jeffrey Herlings, Glenn Coldenhoff and Davy Pootjes are all racing for the orange army, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing.

In addition, the sugar buzz from all that Easter inspired chocolate will have the always animated and enthusiastic crowd of Valkenswaard pumped up to support the second round of the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship where the Kiwi who shook the world at round one with a double moto victory on her WMX debut, Courtney Duncan mentored and supported by the Lizzard, former FIM Motocross vice World Champion Josh Coppins, will be back to see if she can do the same again. Also the first round of the European Championships EMX250 will take place as well as the first of the two-stroke series’ European Championship EMX300 presented by FMF.

There is never any guarantee who is going to top the box in MXGP these days. Once upon a time Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli was the steady bet for the win, especially in the sand, but last year it was his undoing after he crashed during race one and broke his hand. The dominator of the grand prix thereafter was Team HRC’s Gautier Paulin who was on rails all weekend long and rode to an easy double victory for his first and only MXGP win of the year. Devastatingly, Paulin’s dream of another MXGP of Europe victory has gone up in smoke after a training accident in Lommel a couple of weeks ago has forced him out with a back injury.

On a more positive note, Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle should be back on the pace this weekend if all has gone to plan, and also the eight time FIM Motocross World Champ, Cairoli, should be a little further down the road in terms of his return to 100% fitness and strength. We will be able to ask him directly as he will be LIVE on the Studio Show with Paul Malin and Lisa Leyland on Sunday 27th March on at 11:30 CET.

Meanwhile, the defending champ Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre hasn’t wasted anytime reclaiming the red plate and if we include the results of last years championship, the fiery Frenchman hasn’t missed the podium in the last fifteen rounds of MXGP. Last year though, the MXGP of Europe in Valkenswaard was his worst result of the year where he finished seventh, but to counter that, the year before he finished second in MX2 behind none other than Jeffrey Herlings. This weekend he will head in with a six point lead over the new rookie sensation, Tim Gajser.

As for the flashy teenage wunderkind Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser, he also had a shocker at Valkenswaard last year where he had one of the most horrific crashes of the season in Qualifying, and then ended up in the pond during race one and had a few other drama’s in race two. This year, a few people questioned how Gajser would gel with the 450, and at the tender age of 19 probably thought it was a dramatic move to jump up to the premier class. Regardless of what the bench racers were revving up about, Gajser has already proven he can handle the bigger bike with his dominating performance at the season opener in Qatar where he went 1 – 1 for the overall, and then again in Thailand where he rode a mature race for 3 – 4 and second overall.

Meanwhile, in 2014 a podium finish at the MXGP of Thailand sent Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek on a podium streak where he racked up eleven podium finishes on the bounce. Can he do it again? We are about to find out.

Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev is another rider who has curbed back his bull-dog natured riding style and now takes a calmer and more methodical approach to his racing. After trying to conserve energy in the stifling heat of Thailand, Bobby will be over the moon to be back in cooler temperatures and on the sand where he finished fourth last year.

As for the local speedster, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff has entered his second full season in the MXGP class. The kid known to his fans as ‘The Hoff’ has already proven he’s capable of winning grand prix’ as he won the MXGP of Latvia fair and square last year. The circuit here in Valkenswaard is very familiar territory for the young gun on orange and he will definitely be looking to do something special for his fans here this weekend.

MXGP Championship Top Ten: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 92 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 86 p.; 3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 74 p.; 4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 68 p.; 5. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 64 p.; 6. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 57 p.; 7. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 48 p.; 8. Tommy Searle (GBR, KAW), 47 p.; 9. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 44 p.; 10. Ben Townley (NZL, SUZ), 42 p.

2015 MXGP of Europe MXGP Top 3

1. Gautier Paulin

2. Max Nagl

3. Clement Desalle


Pressure is no stranger to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings who will line up this weekend with arguably the entire crowd behind him as he tries to win his 50th grand prix for both himself and his devoted fans. Valkenswaard is his back yard and since he was old enough to race MX2, 15 years old, he is yet to be beaten on this circuit. This exact track and location was also his first ever grand prix victory, back in 2010, and if he wins again this year it will not only be his 50th overall win of his career, it will be his seventh consecutive grand prix win at the circuit of Valkenswaard.

One of the most down to earth kids in the paddock has had a fantastic start to the season despite being ill at round one. Team Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer will line up this weekend fresh off of his career best finish, second place at the MXGP of Thailand. Seewer doesn’t have the hottest track record around Valkenswaard but you can bet your boots that since the legend Stefan Everts has taken the reigns at factory Suzuki that he has taught his MX2 racing Swiss superstar a thing or two about how to be quick in the sand.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass is no stranger to sand circuits and has gone on record to say he prefers the softer terrain to the harder packed tracks. Last year Jonass fell to bits in Holland after his impressive start to the season, but he did manage to bounce back and ended up finishing second overall in the championship. Surely if all goes to plan, the number 41 of Jonass will be on fire.

Meanwhile the Yamaha boys of MX2, Wilvo Standing Construct Yamaha Official MX2 Team’s Aleksandr Tonkov and Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team’s Benoit Paturel were on the cable in Thailand. Tonkov in particular could be a key player this weekend as it was his best race of the year last season. Another rider to look out for in the sand is Team Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Petar Petrov who is currently fifth in the championship standings.

As for the other Dutchman, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Davy Pootjes, he put on quite a show for his fans at the MXGP of The Netherlands in Assen last year when he pulled a FOX holeshot and led a couple of laps. The young star on the rise has a promising future ahead of him and clearly loves riding with the crowd behind him. This weekend will be his first race back since breaking his collarbone at the season opener in Qatar, but he should be on form and excited to put in some super fast laps.

MX2 Championship Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 100 points; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 74 p.; 3. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, YAM), 70 p.; 4. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 68 p.; 5. Petar Petrov (BUL, KAW), 56 p.; 6. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), 47 p.; 7. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 46 p.; 8. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 44 p.; 9. Brent Van doninck (BEL, YAM), 44 p.; 10. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, KAW), 38 p.

2015 MXGP of Europe MX2 Top 3

1. Jeffrey Herlings

2. Jordi Tixier

3. Aleksandr Tonkov

Author: Youthsteam

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