Suzuki confirm MX2 GP rider line-up for 2016
Suzuki World MXGP Grand Prix teams’ renewed structure and management changes have led to a continued and elevated priority towards developing Suzuki’s next off-road racing talent. For 2016 the Suzuki Europe MXGP crew will again count on the burgeoning skills and promise of Jeremy Seewer, Brian Hsu and Bas Vaessen; the latter recently signing a two year agreement to steer the RM-Z250 and represent the crew in the popular EMX250 European Championship, widely regarded as the final stepping stone to the FIM Motocross World Championship.
Work has already begun on the new RM-Z250L6 with testing and shakedown ‘motos’ in the hands of Seewer who will spearhead Suzuki’s presence in the MX2 class of the 2016 Grand Prix campaign. Seewer, a Suzuki stalwart at the age of 21, will enter his third term at the highest level and after securing 10th and fifth positions in 2014 and 2015. The Swiss toasted his first podium finishes in 2015 (Argentina, Italy and Sweden) and was in contention for a top-three championship result entering the manic and exciting final moments of the season. Seewer has progressed with his pace in the sand and has also become a fitter and more ‘complete’ competitor in 2015. There are high hopes for yet more silverware in the 19-round calendar to come.
Hsu made his Grand Prix debut in August at the Lombardia round at Mantova and immediately caught the eye with speed that elevated him into the top 10. After winning European and World Championships on his RM125 in 2014 Hsu jumped on the RM-Z250 in 2015 and celebrated two EMX250 podiums (Germany and Sweden) before tasting an impressive moto victory in Latvia. Diminutive but strong and stylish on the bike, Hsu has been groomed by Suzuki for the last half a decade and now is prepped for his first year as part of the MX2 field. The teenager is still in full-time education thus he is provisionally scheduled to kick off his Grand Prix year from round six and the first European meeting on the ’16 slate.
Vaessen showed exciting potential in his first year as a Pro and competing on the European stage. The 17 year old needed to build speed and confidence as well as recover from injury but his capability to challenge for podium results in the sand was undoubted, as proved by his seventh place overall at round two at Valkenswaard and thrilling charge to the front at a wet Kegums in Latvia for the seventh fixture of nine in EMX250. “I’m super-excited about next year,” the Dutchman said. “The team is changing and also the bike and there is a lot to look forward to.”
Suzuki has tied Vaessen to an agreement until the end of 2017 and should see him eventually ready for Grand Prix action. The ‘#98’ actually made his first GP appearance at the 2015 season-closer at Glen Helen in the United States and came away with a clutch of points. “I’m super-stoked that the whole team has the confidence to give me two more years and the space to develop my riding and racing,” he added.
Suzuki announced a host of new features on the 2016 RM-Z250 back in June, many of which have evolved from the machines raced in Grand Prix competition. Details such as the Suzuki Holeshot Assistance Control and modifications to the engine (more than 80 internal part have been redesigned and revised) for a wider range of power delivery, reduced engine braking, improved starting and increased durability and reliability, while handling is improved and overall weight reduced. Items such as a new KYB rear shock, frame, clutch cover, front brake calliper and Dunlop tyres only increase the potency of Suzuki’s MX2 and European Championship-derived motorcycle.