MXGP swoops in on Switzerland
The last two rounds of the FIM Motocross World Championship, rounds thirteen and fourteen, took place at two very iconic tracks, both known for their strong heritage and rich history. While it’s always nice to return to those venues that have provided a massive amount of riders with moments they’ll never forget, it’s also nice to switch things up every now and again with a new track and location that no one knows. This weekend we’ll enter the land of the unknown with the fifteenth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship set to take place at Frauenfeld-Gachnang, in Switzerland.
The first ever motocross grand prix in Switzerland was held in Geneva back in 1957, while the last Swiss grand prix, for the 125cc, 250cc and 500cc, took place in 2001 at Roggenburg. James Dobb, Claudio Federici and Marnicq Bevoerts were the victors in their respective classes on that day.
Almost sixteen years on and the FIM Motocross World Championship will return to Switzerland, a country that seems to have a thriving moto-demographic right now as a result of the success of MXGP’s Swiss sensation,Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team’s Valentin Guillod, and the kid closest to Jeffrey Herlings in MX2, Team Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer. This will add to the atmosphere in and around the paddock.
The MXGP of Switzerland presented by iXS will also host the sixth round of the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship, as well as the final rounds of the European Championships EMX125 and EMX250 and the penultimate round of the Honda European EMX150 Championship.
Just when you thought it was out with the old and in with the new, three of the most seasoned and accomplished riders go and top the box. Last weekend Team Suzuki World MXGP’s Kevin Strijbos floored everybody when he topped the box at his home grand prix, the Fiat Professional MXGP of Belgium. Don’t take anything away from Kevin, he is easily one of the best riders in the world, it’s just that he hadn’t won a grand prix in 9 years. And then… at the age of thirty-years-old, he goes and does it. So, with that said, who is game enough to put money on a pick for the podium for this weekend?
If you are, there is a good chance Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl will be one of your picks. The German has just moved up to third in the championship standings and has looked better than ever at the last two rounds of MXGP. Last weekend an uncharacteristic crash in race two cost him the overall, but he still made the second step of the podium, which was impressive given the contrast of terrain in Loket, where he won with a double moto victory over Gajser, and in Lommel.
Despite not making the podium last weekend, for the first time this year, chances are Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser is at the top of your list for the win. The track this weekend is man-made, and has never been raced on before. It’s about as new-school as you can get, which is likely to suit the new school riding style of our championship leader.
Another rider with a super flamboyant new-school style is Switzerland’s own Valentin Guillod. Guillod loves his fans too, so there is no doubt that the number 92 onboard the Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team will be absolutely buzzing around the track.
Meanwhile, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli is still in the process of channeling frustration and turning it into race wins, as is Team HRC’s duo of Gautier Paulin and Evgeny Bobryshev. Paulin in particular since he was completely off the ball last weekend. He’ll want to prove he’s still got the goods take a chunk of that HRC bonus money that seems to be funneling into Gajser’s bank.
Fifteenth overall at the last round of the series, in Belgium, doesn’t even come close to reflecting Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre’s speed. The defending champ was actually on the cable all weekend, in fact, he set the fastest lap of the day and was awarded 1 point in the Tag Heuer Fastest Lap competition. This weekend his main goal will be to keep the bike rubber side down.
Last but not least, keep an eye on the Belgian’s Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek. Both are more than capable of landing on the box when things go their way.
MXGP Championship Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 607 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 504 p.; 3. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 490 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 464 p.; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 445 p.; 6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 417 p.; 7. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 292 p.; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 277 p.; 9. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 273 p.; 10. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 264 p
There is a possibility Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings is back this weekend, but don’t hold your breath, The Bullet will be back when he’s 100%, fit and ready to win. If he’s not lining up once again, there is bound to be another influx of riders with itchy trigger fingers.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Anstie, Team Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer and Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Dylan Ferrandis are the three most likely candidates for the win. Ferrandis was the first rider to break Herlings thirteen round win streak, but missed the box completely at the last round.
Anstie will be surfing a wave of confidence after topping the box for the first time this year last weekend, but has a habit of tipping over at the wrong time. With that said, it could be the Swiss native, Seewer, who is next in line for a round win?
It is hard to choose a winner. All we know is that Ferrandis and Anstie are two throttle happy riders who tend to get a little happier when the number 84 doesn’t come to the waiting zone. And in saying that, it is worth a mention that Jeff is not the only Red Bull KTM Factory rider capable of lighting the candles. Pauls Jonass could also be back this weekend and ready to put some serious points on the board.
There are also a few underdogs worthy of a mention: Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team’s Benoit Paturel has been chipping away and is now only 10 points shy of Jonass in third, while HSF Logistics Motorsports Brian Bogers has started pulling some killer laps out of the bag. He set the fastest lap time of the day, in MX2, last weekend, which proves he’s got some magic hidden away.
And to wrap up our preview, keep an eye on Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Petar Petrov. The Bulgarian is after another bottle of bubbles. One bottle a year is not enough for the big kid who is determined to prove he can ride hard-pack as well.
MX2 Championship Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 597 points; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 510 p.; 3. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 403 p.; 4. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 393 p.; 5. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 378 p.; 6. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 366 p.; 7. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, YAM), 320 p.; 8. Petar Petrov (BUL, KAW), 319 p.; 9. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), 294 p.; 10. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 280 p.