Quick thoughts: International Italian Championship RD1

We take a look at the opening round of the International Italian series which took place at Pont A Egola and produced some brilliant racing.

  • Motocross returns: It was September when the 2022 Motocross season ended at RedBud MXoN event but the 2023 season is finally back. Plenty of MXGP, MX2 and EMX riders took to the line at Ponte A Egola to prepare for the upcoming season. There is now racing every weekend until the MXGP World Championship kicks off in Argentina on the 11th and 12th of March to wet our appetite for main racing to get underway.
  • Tricky conditions: It might not have been as brutal and rough as Riola which usually opens up the International Italian Championship but the riders faced a frozen track when they turned up at Ponte A Egola. It created plenty of ruts, nasty edges and a very hard base which meant throttle control was paramount. It was a good test for the riders to get back to the races.
  • The winners: In MX1, Jeremy Seewer looks good on the new factory Yamaha machinery and went 2-1 to take the overall. The Swiss talent was as stylish as ever and took no prisoners in the second moto passing Gajser and Guadagini to take the win. In truth, in terms of speed there wasn’t much to split Gajser, Seewer and Renaux all day and the speed was high. Throw in the likes of Herlings, Febvre, Coldenhoff and Prado to name just a few and the racing could be electric in 2023. In MX2, Simon Laengenfelder went 1-3 for the overall and looked good – especially in the first moto dominating despite some late race arm pump problems. In the second moto he was looking good until a rock hit him up the face but he started the season well. After finishing third in the MX2 World Championship in 2022 he will go for the title in 2023 so will be hoping for plenty more race wins. He has the speed but will he have the mentality and belief to mount a series title challenge? A question that will be answered later in the year.

    Image: Off Road Pro Racing
  • Andrea Adamo: Perhaps the surprise of the day was the young Italian talent making his Factory KTM debut. Things didn’t go according to plan in race one getting caught up on the first lap but he came from dead last to ninth. Race two he got the holeshot and for the first half of the race set a red hot pace at the front – he was pulling away. It might have been his Factory KTM debut but it didn’t look like it. Thibault Benistant asked him a question towards the end of the moto but the Italian, who isn’t exactly used to winning, showed his determination and took a very impressive win. Adamo secured his first podium in 2022 and already looks to have stepped up this year. A full winter with factory material, having the likes of Joel Smets and Antonio Cairoli in his corner could work wonders! At the start of last year, KTM had a new bike and Vialle was pretty open about not having it the way he wanted but at the start of this year the bike looks great as Everts also rode really well. Things are looking very positive for the Austrian brand going into the season which could be dangerous for the other manufactures.

    Image: KTM Images/S.Taglioni
  • Fantic 250cc four-stroke debut: For the 2023 season, Fantic have decided to switch their attention to the MX2 World Championship with signing of Tom Guyon. After running a 250cc two stroke in EMX250, it means they’ve had to focus on the 250cc four stroke (the two-stroke isn’t permitted in MX2). Guyon’s debut with the Fantic was solid, nothing special but certainly could have been worse and they should continue to develop and improve the bike as the season progresses. 14-9 for twelfth overall is something to build on. Cas Valk was also racing the bike as the EMX125 moves up to the EMX250 series this year and ended up sixteenth in race two. He’ll continue as he adapts to the bigger bike.
  • Ben Watson’s Beta debut: Making the switch from Factory Kawasaki to Factory Beta for the 2023, the young Brit has now had his first race with the Italian brand. The first race was solid, it was a bad start but Watson was following his team mate, Lupino through the pack for the first couple of laps. He quickly got into ninth but then couldn’t make a move stick on Benoit Paturel so had to settle for the position but a rock to the face saw him head to the hospital and sit out race two. Elio Marchetti offered Lorenzo Resta an update during moto two and got the all clear from the hospital so no damage done – he’ll be racing at Arco for round two.

    Image: Off Road Pro Racing
  • Benoit Paturel returns to racing: The French rider often gets forgotten about in this brutal sport. These days one bad year and you can be left without a ride and injuries keep following Paturel around. Qualifying didn’t go well for him making his debut with De Beats Yamaha, a new team in the paddock. The good news is the races went much better as he finished 8-8 and it looks like his machinery is good with Yamaha Europe support. This year is all about staying injury free for the French talent and hopefully get back to his real level.

Next up, the International Italian series continues and will conclude at Arco Di Trento on Sunday the 19th of February. Even more GP riders are expected to contest as it’s a track on the GP calendar so perfect preparation – we already know Jorge Prado and Calvin Vlaanderen will already add to an exciting line up!

Article: Andy McKinstry

Images: Off Road Pro Racing