MXGP: Who’s searching for a ride in 2018?
With only four MXGP rounds left of the 2017 season there’s been a lot of wheeling and dealing in the paddock.
We take a look at riders that are still looking rides for the 2018 season, you might be quite surprised to see a lot of quality riders on the list!
Kevin Strijbos: It’s been confirmed for a while that Kevin Strijbos will depart from the World Suzuki MXGP outfit at the end of the season. It hasn’t been a great year for the Belgian mostly down to injuries. He has missed five rounds of the series this year and has picked up no points at two GP’s. Despite all that there’s no doubting the talent Strijbos has and if he can keep himself fit he can be a top ten rider.
The problem he might find in getting a ride is the teams in the paddock could opt for younger riders that have more potential. It’s worth remembering how impressive Strijbos was the last time he moved away from Suzuki though as he was impressive with the Hitachi KTM outfit.
Max Nagl: It’s been rumoured for a while that the ICE ONE Husqvarna setup in MXGP will be reduced to two riders in 2018. This means that Max Nagl won’t be with the team for 2018. It hasn’t been a great season for the German as he was sensational in 2015 and 2016. However, he does still sit a solid seventh in the World Championship.
You’d think Nagl would have no problems landing a ride but all the factory rides are thought to be full up meaning that might not be an option. There have been rumours he could head to World Enduro but hopefully that isn’t the case as it wouldn’t be good for the MXGP series if a rider of Nagl’s calibre can’t land a ride.
Evgeny Bobryshev: After the MXGP of Lommel it was revealed that ‘Bobby’ won’t be with the HRC Honda outfit in 2018. In all honesty that’s pretty surprising as Roger Harvey rates him highly and the Russian is a perfect second rider for a factory team.
You would think it would make sense for a team like 24MX Honda to go for Bobby, that would almost make too much sense as he wouldn’t need to adapt to a new bike and the team would have a great rider.
Jordi Tixier: A former MX2 World Champion but believe it or not he still isn’t officially sorted for the 2018 season. Since making the move to the MXGP World Championship the French rider just hasn’t been able to stay fit which is a shame as he has a lot of potential on the 450cc.
However, it’s thought he will land a ride in MXGP for next year. Kawasaki rate him highly and even though they decided he won’t be under the factory awning next year they could place him in a support team. Though rumours were going around the MXGP paddock in Switzerland that HRC Honda have decided to sign the French rider to replace Bobryshev.
Benoit Paturel: Kawasaki were interested in the Kemea Yamaha rider but decided to draft in Julien Lieber instead. With all the factory rides thought to be full up it doesn’t leave the MXGP rider many options.
Paturel did just win his first GP in Switzerland which comes at a good time, it should help him land an MXGP ride in 2018 which will be his rookie season in the class.
Tommy Searle: The talented Brit has only just made his MXGP return in Switzerland. Despite it being his first GP of the year he showed he had top ten speed at moments. He ended up finishing fifteenth overall which is pretty impressive.
Searle will hope to build on this results during the last four MXGP rounds. Stephen Guttridge at Kawasaki is thought to rate him very highly so even though his DRT Kawasaki deals runs out at the end of the year it’s thought he could end up staying there for 2018.
Valentin Guillod: The Swiss rider signed a two year deal with the Assomotor Honda team at the beginning of last year so that deal will run into 2018. However, the reason is included in this article is that it was thought that earlier in the year they could go their separate ways.
However, it’s thought they are on speaking teams again so it’s still possible we will see Guillod under the Assomotor Honda awning next year. If he were to leave it could be difficult for the Swiss rider to land a ride even though we haven’t saw the best of what he has to offer in the MXGP class.
As you can see there are a lot of top quality riders not totally sorted for the 2018 season yet. However, hopefully they can all land rides as the quality of field will be even more impressive.
Pic: Nigel McKinstry