After a long winter the world motocross championship finally gets underway this weekend at a superb track in front of a big crowd in Patagonia, Argentina.
Herlings is fit this time and is ready to take on Cairoli for the title but unfortunately Tim Gajser will miss the event with a broken jaw after his big crash in Italy. With Brian Bogers missing too it means HRC Honda will have no representation at round one of the MXGP series after a big investment by HSF Logistics and Honda themselves, it’s a huge blow.
In contrast, Romain Febvre looks to be back to the form that took him to the 2015 MXGP title and he will be looking to ruffle a few KTM feathers this weekend by getting amongst the expected Cairoli and Herlings battle, you also can’t discount Max Anstie or Gautier Paulin, who on their day can win races as can Kawasaki’s Clément Desalle. With everyone confident and track that all the rider enthuse about, the racing should be superb!
MX2 is perhaps even more wide open, yes defending champion Pauls Jonass is a heavy favourite but defending a title brings it’s own pressures and youngster Jorge Prado and Hunter Lawrence are no respecter of reputations. With Hunter looking good on the 250 Honda already he could well start the season with a bang. Prado hasn’t had any races so far but should be good to go this weekend.
Then you have the Rockstar Husqvarna duo of Thomas Kjer Olsen and Thomas Covington. The latter is trying to win the world title for America for the first time since 1994, while Olsen, third in the world last year in his rookie season, is vowing to go for the world title this year, and his consistency could well have him right there in the mix.
With 19 rounds ahead of the them, it will be a long season but there should be many brilliant battles in 2018 along with some surprises and Argentina will start the season off in the style it deserves!
Meanwhile over in America , the supercross series will have three main events for the second time this season but the first two main events will got from 6 to 8 minutes and the second main from 8 to 10 minutes, according to Steve Matthes, as Feld search for the right ingredients in the new system. But it should be a win for the fans as then get more racing with more battles on the track.
Justin Hill was the big story of last weekend, so how will he cope with the three-main events on the 450? Hill feels the bike and the style of racing suits him far better in the premier class and JGR Suzuki will now be feeling rather smug with their two-year deal with Hill after some difficult times at the start of the year.
Three starts and some short sprint races will increase the risk for Jason Anderson who is already counting down the weeks until the supercross season is over as he tries to ride aggressive while also managing the championship. Getting out of Atlanta with no issues will be a big relief for Anderson who will be keeping his fingers crossed he doesn’t get caught up in a first turn pile-up.
The 250 class is intriguing, Zach Osborne is leading the championship but Austin Forkner is only five points back after his win in Tampa. Forkner was superb in his rookie season outdoors but he didn’t kick on last year but now, in his second season in supercross, Forkner looks back to his best and the confidence he gets will be huge from that win I; Tampa.
It was similar for Dylan Ferrandis who now seems to be at the level he was in MX2 GPs, riding aggressive with a lot speed, and working with David Vuilleman seems to have helped in supercross and it all means Osborne will have has hands full again this weekend, but Zach is smart and that experience could well pay off at the end. And with three main events, it could make things even more unpredictable his weekend in Atlanta.
So, it’s another epic weekend for motocross fans with supercross providing the perfect warm up on Saturday night/Sunday morning for the highly anticipated first round of MXGP races on Sunday!