Expect a lot of silly season rumours to start appearing as the season progresses as there’s a lot of riders in the last year of their contracts.
Let’s start with Yamaha. Jeremy Van Horebeek signed a one year deal last season to stay with the Factory Yamaha team which means he’ll need to make another decision about his future soon. The Belgian has been heavily linked with Factory Suzuki in the past but has stayed loyal to Yamaha. As Suzuki are now out of the paddock, the Belgian might be happy to stay at Yamaha for yet another season if he gets offered another deal with them. Romain Febvre still has one year on his Yamaha deal.
There’s a possibility of change at Wilvo Yamaha as Shaun Simpson’s deal expires at the end of the season. Simpson has been been out injured but made a return in Matterley Basin where he finished seventeenth overall. It’s also thought that the Wilvo Yamaha team will go back to a two rider line up. Simpson’s team mate, Arnaud Tonus who’s been injured for the entire season so far does have a contract for 2019. With regards to Jeremy Seewer, he has a Yamaha contract, if Van Horebeek was to move on it’s not impossible that Seewer could be a factory rider next year – perhaps the pair could even swap teams, it’s not completely out of the question.
MXGP rookie, Julien Lieber signed a one year deal with the Factory Kawasaki team. Lieber has been impressive during his rookie year so you’d think Kawasaki will do all they can to keep him for another year at least. Clement Desalle still has one year left on his Kawasaki deal as it expires at the end of the 2019 season.
Over at Ice One Husqvarna, Max Anstie’s deal runs out at the end of the season. It’s thought he might be on the move too but there’s still plenty of time for him to turn his season around and get offered a new Husqvarna deal.
At Factory KTM, Glenn Coldenhoff is in his last year of his contract. With Herlings and Cairoli also KTM and Pauls Jonass expected to move up to the MXGP class, it could spell bad news for the Dutch rider.
HRC Honda have both Tim Gajser and Brian Bogers locked down for 2019 so they’re expected to retain the same line up and also with Calvin Vlaanderen under the awning too.
The Standing Construct KTM team made a welcome return to the MXGP paddock this year signing Valentin Guillod and Kevin Strijbos. Unfortunately, Guillod broke his leg in pre season but made a return to racing in Matterley basin. The Swiss talent will have the rest of the season to show us what he can do and earn another deal. Strijbos has been at the races but not fully fit for the majority of the season as he deals with a wrist injury. It’ll be intriguing to see what the Standing Construct team decide to do for the 2019 season.
The Assomotor Honda team have a new rider line up for this year in the form of Arminas Jasikonis and Petar Petrov as both signed one year deals. It would be a surprise to see Jasikonis stay beyond the 2018 season and has already been rumoured to sign a deal with a factory team but Petrov has showed signs of improvements after coming into the season injured.
He didn’t even have a ride at the start of the season after parting company with the BOS Suspension team but Benoit Paturel signed with Marchetti KTM for round four meaning he only missed the first three rounds. Paturel signed with the team for the remaining rounds of the 2018 season so it remains to be seen if he’ll stay there for 2019 as well.
Russian, Evgeny Bobryshev just about got a deal in time for the first round of the series. When Paturel left the BOS Suspension team then it paved the way for Bobryshev to end up under the awning but on a Suzuki. It’s thought the team have been happy with him and rightly so, they’ll want to keep him for 2019.
The Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki Racing team have Alessandro Lupino and Maxime Desprey under the awning. Lupino only signed a one year deal with the team but things have been going well so don’t be surprised to see him staying in 2019. Also, Desprey has showed major signs of improvement so he could also get another contract offer from the team, it could of course depend on who else might become available for the team.
It’s worth stressing that even though all the riders mentioned are chasing a contract for the 2019 season, some of them will end of staying with the teams they are currently with! But there’s still set to be some rumours regarding the riders that will end up changing teams.
Pic: Nigel McKinstry
Article: Andy McKinstry