Talking Point: Game on for RV!
With a brand new country and brand new track for round three of MXGP, it will be a new experience for everyone this weekend. Happily, it looks like the track will be the best so far, and suit all the leading contenders perfectly – and they all have point to prove!
While it’s a bit sandy it doesn’t seem like a Lommel-type sand so Ryan Villopoto should be comfortable after riding sand tracks for the last week and a half, he also prefers fast, loamy tracks like they have in the USA such as Red Bud. The circuit should suit him perfectly, he will have plenty of dirt to let the back wheel feed off with his aggressive, throttle-happy riding style!
VIllopoto won last time out in Thailand but was not happy at getting beat in the second moto, even though everyone said the track looked like it had been made for him. Villopoto also didn’t like that assertion and in a recent interview bizarrely claimed that any European who tried to race SX or outdoors in the USA would end up in hospital.
Unfortunately for RV plenty of GP riders have went over and won outdoor and supercross races at their first attempt and Ken Roczen won the 450 outdoor title last year! It underlines Villopoto’s frustration at the first two rounds that he even brought a completely irrelevant point of how GP riders would do in the USA.
RV is out of his comfort zone because he is riding outside his own country (but that’s what everyone else on the GP circuit have always had to do) and he is not happy with his results right now and it is showing.
It has been a tough season so far, Qatar didn’t go to plan at all, and Thailand seemed a certainty for a dominant 1-1 but Cairoli and Desalle had other ideas leaving Villopoto shocked and a bit lost for words at the end of moto two. It may even have been a tougher loss to swallow (even though he won the GP) than the losing the first two motos in Qatar! And even when he won the GP people said it was only because the track was more like a supercross!
He followed that up with Herlings showing him the fast way round the sand tracks for the last week and it all means Villopoto is frustrated and knows he is in a big battle for this world title – and not just against Cairoli.
But credit to RV, the guy is one of the best American riders ever, if not arguably the best ever alongside RC. Adversity just makes him more determined, he isn’t fazed, is very mentally strong and he will just work even harder to win this World title.
So, when you add all that up Villopoto will be desperate to go 1-1 before the series heads back to Europe with a tricky, slippy track Italy for round four and then the sand of Holland at round five. Those circuits will be much rougher than the first three events thanks to the EMX series that will join in with the European GPs and it will be Ryan’s first experience of a full-on European GP weekend, which won’t be easy.
As a consequence this may be Ryan Villopoto’s best chance to put a marker down and close the 18 points gap to championship leader Desalle! He has no excuses with it being a new track and country for everyone and I believe he will be going all out to get the double victory – like he felt he should have done in Thailand!
But Antonio Cairoli will love it too! The Italian loves the sand and loamy track and will be excited to get on a track that he feels will allow him to show his potential. Despite his moto win in Thailand, Cairoli has not been happy with the tracks or his form. Ironically this event may suit him better than his home GP at Arco Di Trento in Italy for round four.
Jeremy Van Horebeek will have a lot of motivation too, he was pissed off at his two DNF’s in Thailand and hasn’t lost a race since! The Belgian did the double in the Dutch championship two weeks ago and won all three in Belgium last weekend. He, like Villopoto, has a point to prove and I believe will go all out to win the races.
Then we have Gautier Paulin. Like Cairoli, Paulin hasn’t shown his potential but he has been fast. Paulin will want to starting clicking off some wins as he is behind all the main contenders in the championship.
You never quite know what you are going to get with Max Nagl, he is a safety first type of rider but if he wants to win this championship he will want to be on the podium in Argentina after slipping from first to third in the championship in Thailand. Nagl was battling with RV in Holland over the weekend, so he knows Villopoto isn’t to be feared but can the German beat them all again in Argentina?
The only guy who will be happy and content at Argentina is championship leader Desalle. The Belgian has been brilliant so far and he doesn’t need to win the races, just get on the box and keep his championship lead. But you can bet the Belgian won’t want Villopoto or Cairoli t start gaining points on him either so he will be giving it all he has to keep his points’ lead intact!
The third round of the championship is even more exciting that the first two! Villopoto is coming across as frustrated, Cairoli isn’t happy with his riding, Van Horebeek is angry and Paulin needs to race at the front without the crashes! Desalle won’t want his rivals to close the gap while riders like Shaun Simpson, Glenn Coldehoff, Ken De Dycker and Filip Bengtsson could also run amongst the top five in the sandier conditions.
If you saw the podium in Thailand the relationship with the Villopoto, Cairoli and Desalle could best be described as frosty, these guys aren’t here to be friends. This is the biggest year of MXGP in history and they all want to win it –badly!
Argentina has all the makings of an epic race, it could be the perfect storm of factors to create the best race of the season so far. And there may be a little rain on the circuit to add to the suspense on Sunday!
It’s game on in MXGP!
Article: Jonathan McCready