Talking Point: MXGP rookies – fearless!
As we head into round four of the MXGP world championship, one of the biggest positives of the series has been the performances and speed of the rookies in MXGP.
Jed Beaton, Ruben Fernandez and Maxime Renaux have all shone this season with Renaux now a bonfide MXGP title contender in his first season.
The trio have been a slight contrast to last year’s rookies Ben Watson and Thomas Kjer Olsen who were solid and steady in their rookie season. They progressed as the year went on and positioned themselves in and around the top ten in the series – but maybe didn’t possess the instant wow factor of the current MX2 rookies.
MX2 world champ, Renaux, carried that confidence over to 2022 and started in fearless form, winning the first heat race of the year in a one-on-one duel against Tim Gajser and that set the tone for everyone. Both Beaton and Fernandez, still on a high after his wild card performances at the end of 2021, showed they also had the speed to contend in the top 5/6.
Fernandez showed it again in Argentina with that last lap pass on Prado in race two as Renaux held off Gajser impressively to win the opening moto in South America and work his way into second in race two. These guys have raised the bar and highlighted the level of MX2 last season which surely must give Geerts and Vialle a lot of confidence as they eye MXGP in 2023 – they know now they have the pace and talent to instantly perform in the premier class.
The intensity they have brought in from riding a 250 is also evident and yes, we don’t have Cairoli, Herlings or Febvre in 2022 at the minute, something that certainly made last season tougher for Olsen and Watson (even if Fernandez speed as a wildcard stills showed what he could do) but, if anything, the speed of Renaux, Fernandez and Beaton this year seem to have brought Olsen to a new level, he was, certainly until that unfortunate crash with Seewer in Argentina, riding with an intensity and an, ‘I belong,’ attitude that we didn’t really see in 2021.
Three rounds in and the rookies have made their mark, they fear no-one and believe they should be up front. After Renaux’s slightly suprising move to the 450 when he could have defended his MX2 title, he is proving why he made the jump that ousted the unlucky Ben Watson from Yamaha. Renaux is demonstrating exactly why he backed himself to go into the premier class. He has the speed, the confidence and the mentality to contend for the title and he’s inspiring the rest of his MXGP rookie class too.
Article: Jonathan McCready
Renaux image: Yamaha