Wheelies 2017 – MX Top 10

The 2017 season in motocross has reached the finish line and we decided to make a top10 from MXGP and AMA.

10) Jeremy Seewer

After a successful 2016 season, where he finished as runner-up, behind Jeffrey Herlings, the Swiss rider remained in MX2 with Suzuki to fight for this season’s title.

Credited as the main favourite of 2017, Jeremy was the championship leader after the Indonesian GP and managed to stay there until the Latvian round. Although he didn’t gain back anymore the 1st position in the standings, he managed to bring the fight until the last round with pretty consistent results.

Another runner-up finish in MX2 was supposed to bring Seewer a seat in the MXGP category for Stefan Everts team, but the unexpected withdrawal of Suzuki makes both Jeremy and Jasikonis revalue their offers.

9) Adam Cianciarulo

After a lot of seasons cursed by injuries, Adam finally had an entire season to show his full potential. And he did: he fought for both 250 title in AMA and 250SX East in Supercross, maintaining the thrill for the last one until the Las Vegas finale.

He finished in top3 in both competitions and if he’ll keep himself away from injuries, we’ll see Adam very soon in the upper category.

8) Pauls Jonass

After missing the world title in MX2 in 2015, Jonass took his revenge this season, becoming the first ever Latvian world champion in MXGP. Sure, he had a difficult year, with strong opponents like Seewer, Paturel or Convington, but his experience didn’t let him down.

Pauls will remain in MX2 in 2018 with KTM Factory Racing to defend the crown, but it’s very possible to see him in the MXGP class from 2019.

7) Blake Baggett

2017 will be an unforgettable year for Blake, not only for his performance in Supercross, where he gained a podium in Atlanta and finished the season in 6th place, but especially for the results in AMA.

2 round wins and many other podiums kept Baggett in the title battle until the Ironman finale, completing the top3 of the category, behind the champion Eli Tomac and runner-up Marvin Musquin.

Considering the fact that Baggett didn’t have a factory bike and Ryan Dungey surprisingly decided to end his career, this season could be the beginning of a very nice career for the Grand Terrace-borned rider.

6) Zach Osborne

The Husqvarna factory rider had a hard season, especially with a fired-up Adam Cianciarulo as opponent. However, Osborne was able to beat him in the same 2 competitions and win the 2 titles, repeating Cooper Webb’s performance from last year.

The former Junior Motocross world champion will stay in 250SX East in Supercross next year, but he’ll promote to 450 class in AMA with the swedish manufacturer and who knows, he might become a star in the future.

5) Marvin Musquin

At his second season at the upper category in both american competitions, Musquin has shown another face and became a serious championship contender. At Arlington, he became the fourth frenchman to win a round in Supercross, finishing 3rd in the general classification.

After his teammate Dungey retired, Marvin had a bigger pressure in AMA, but he kept the title hopes until the Ironman finale and he was quite close to make the surprise in front of Eli Tomac.

Well, it’s more than likely that these 2 will be the men to watch in 2018, and if Ken Roczen manages to get back to his shape, the show will be granted.

4) Eli Tomac

After a very good 2016 campaign, the expectations for Tomac were pretty high. In Supercross he managed to win 9 out of 17 rounds and he also got the red plate, but the lack of consistency costed him the tile in the Las Vegas title.

Even with Dungey’s retirement, he had a tough season in AMA, with Marvin Musquin and the surprising Blake Baggett as main rivals. However, the Kawasaki factory rider clinched the title and has the main chance in 2018 in both AMA and Supercross championships.

3) Jeffrey Herlings

“The Bullet” has finally promoted to MXGP, and the expectations were high, especially after Febvre and Gajser’s performances from 2015 and 2016 respectively. But a hand injury created a lot of difficulties for Herlings in the first 5 rounds.

Everything changed after the first home round from Valkenswaard: 6 GP victories and many other podiums made him the championship runner-up, behind teammate Tony Cairoli.
The Dutch rider has also ridden in the final round of AMA 450, where he clinched a double win at his debut and not only that he’s now a big championship challenger for the 2018 MXGP title, but we’ll probably see Jeffrey moving to AMA soon.

2) Ryan Dungey

After a 2016 season that started with a Supercross title and finished with a serious injury, nobody knew what to expect from Dungey. He hasn’t got back on a MX bike for like 6 months and even he said that in the first rounds of Supercross he’ll try to find back his pace.

After Ken Roczen’s horrible crash, Dungey became surprisingly leader in the standings, but the hard was about to begin. A lot of start problems and a fired-up Eli Tomac were some of the difficulties that Dungey had to face.

But the unbelievable comebacks and especially: the consistence, brought the last title of the KTM’s career, Ryan deciding to retire in glory a few days later. But considering what he’s been through last year, it’s understandable.

1) Tony Cairoli

At his age or even earlier, most of the riders would retire, and after 2 seasons where he felt the pain of a seriuos injury and a very hard pack of opponents from 2017, Tony was very close to this point.

But the sicilian rider overcame all the odds and became world champion in motocross for the 9th time in his career. Indeed, Gajser and Herlings had some injuries this season and Febvre had problems with the pace, but once again, the consistence is probably the most important in motorcycling.

If Cairoli keeps it like that or even better, it’s not excluded to hear: Tony Cairoli, the 10 or maybe 11 times motocross world champion, at maybe 35 years old, the same age for Stefan Everts at his retirement. Who knows, Antonio might give an advice for his friend, Valentino Rossi. 🙂

 

photo – Ray Archer/KTM Media Library

Suzuki Factory Team retires from MXGP

In a press statement issued today, Suzuki Motor Corporation has announced the MXGP effort will be suspended for 2018. The Japanese factory team had four riders signed for the upcoming season.

In the same statement, Suzuki announced that it will deliver the bikes for the privateers. For 2018, Suzuki had signed Arminas Jasikonis and Jeremy Seewer for the MXGP class, while Zachary Pichon and Bas Vaessen were supposed to ride in the MX2.

We will keep you updated with the transfer market.

 

Photo – www.suzuki-racing.com

Eli Tomac wins Race 1 at Jacksonville

The USGP started yesterday with the free practice session and the qualifying race. Jeffrey Herlings and Tony Cairoli dominated the first day at Jacksonville, while Eli Tomac, the recently crowned AMA champion finished far behind them.

Race 1 started with Tomac determined to win. From start to finish, Tomac had an easy job and managed to get the chequered flag. Nearly half a minute later, Jeffrey Herlings came in second place, while the championship leader, Tony Cairoli managed to finish third ahead of Tim Gajser and Max Nagl.

If Tony Cairoli wins or scores a better result than Jeffrey Herlings in Race 2, the italian will win his ninth world championship. Race 2 will start at 4 PM EST.

 

photo – Monster Energy

Julien Lieber signs with Kawasaki in MXGP

The belgian rider has a one year rider with Kawasaki. Lieber, aged 23, currently races in MX2 with KTM. He will replace Jordi Tixier. The 2014 MX2 World Champion has underperformed in his two years as a Kawasaki rider and was prone to injuries.
Lieber made his debut in 2010 and participated in the 2014 MXoN. Once again, he was selected this year to represent Belgium in the MXoN, alongside Clement Desalle and Jeremy van Horebeek. Julien Lieber made a brief statement on his move to Kawasaki.

Coming back to racing this season, one of my goals was to get a top ride for the MXGP class, and I’m so happy to have achieved that. Joining the main class with such a professional team is like a dream, and for sure I will do my best to get strong results. There’s a lot of top riders in the MXGP but I already trained and raced on a 450 a couple of years ago and I think that this class will suit my riding style; I’ve ridden a 250 for seven years now, so it really is the right moment to move up and you can’t do it in a more professional team than the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team. I’m also happy to be teammate with Clément; we already have a good relationship and I’m sure we’ll work closely together.

Julien Lieber will race alongside Clement Desalle next year. He is currently fifth in the MX2 standings with 412 points.

 

photo – Vital MX

Jeremy Van Horebeek extends his deal with Yamaha

 

Jeremy Van Horebeek has signed a contract extension with Yamaha Factory Team for 2018. The belgian, aged 27, will race for the japanese factory team for another year. This season, Van Horebeek is currently eight in the MXGP class, with 294 points scored in the first 13 GP’s of the season.

His career started in 2007, when he made his debut in MX2. His best performance so far in the world championship came in 2014. In that season, he finished runner up to Tony Cairoli, who won his eight world championship. His last GP win came in Loket in 2014.

The announcement comes two days before his home grand prix, which is to be held on Sunday at Lommel.

 

photo – Yamaha Racing

Tony Cairoli wins the qualifying race at Loket

Tony Cairoli continues his domination with an outstanding win at Loket.

The qualifying race at Loket was a one man show. Tony Cairoli dominate from start to finish as he went on for another easy win under his belt. The italian started well and soon, the gap between and his nearest rival, Tim Gajser, was already up to five seconds.

He maintained the gap throughout the race and took a fairly easy win. Tim Gajser managed to finish second, in what was his best result since Kegums. The podium was completed by Max Nagl, who scored another great result for his team, Husqvarna. Jeffrey Herlings and Glenn Coldenhoff brought all the three KTM’s inside the top five.

Gautier Paulin, Romain Febvre, Clement Desalle, Arnaud Tonus and Kevin Strijbos finished inside the top ten. The two race of the MXGP category will be held tomorrow afternoon.

 

photo – Ray Archer/ KTM Media Library

Clement Desalle extends his deal with Kawasaki for two more years

Clement Desalle will race for Monster Energy Kawasaki Factory until 2020.

Clement Desalle signed with Kawasaki at the end of 2015, ending a frustrating relationship with Suzuki. The belgian rider already won three MXGPs with Kawasaki and is currently second in the championship, with 378 points.

Desalle won this year two GP’s, in France and Russia and made three other appearances on podium. Desalle, aged 28, is currently in his 12th MX season. He was runner-up in the championship three times, in 2010, 2012 and 2013, each time behind Tony Cairoli.

The next GP will be held in Loket, the host of the MXGP of Czech Republic, in 22-23 July.

 

photo – Motocross.it

MotoInterview – Stefan Everts

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, once again the great Stefan Everts is with us.

Hi,Stefan. First of all many congratulations for the great results your team had in Portugal.

Thank you, we are very happy with these results. Jeremy Seewer has been doing well this year and I think that for him it is a big statement to win back to back GP’s (Ottobiano and Agueda). He had a nice big battle, specially in Race 2 with his big rival Pauls Jonass. On top of that, Arminas Jasikonis made his first podium ever. It was a big surprise. He’s been doing good so far this season and every time he’s coming better and better but personally I didn’t expect him to be on podium in Portugal. Already on Saturday, he showed good speed and felt very good and he won the qualifying race. After that, I started to think that it could be possible for him to be on the podium. He did two great races on Sunday. Everyone at Suzuki is very happy for his achievement.

I suppose you are very satisfied with Arminas Jasikonis performances throughout the first half of the season? After all, he had great results even before Agueda.

The one which stands out is Lommel, from last year. In the first race, he was only five-six seconds behind P1. It’s something amazing to see. We know that Aja, as we call him, is very fast in the sand and he just needed the confidence to do well in a hard pack track. Portugal is not a very sandy track and that was an important factor for his podium. He is improving, in the first GP’s he wasn’t racing so well, but he’s working really hard. We have pushed him very hard during the winter and during the season to keep up the hard work. Eventually the results came.

You are the Suzuki Factory MXGP Team Manager from 2016. The first year had a lots of ups and downs. What about the second part of this season. Are you satisfied with your results in the MXGP and MX2?

Not a hundred percent. I have a bit of mixed feelings. First of all, with Arminas, he started off with the VISA problem in Qatar. In the first moto from Indonesia, he messed up. He had a tough start of the season, but the things are now starting to go better. Kevin Strijbos was injured from Valkenswaard till Agueda. In MX2, Jeremy has performed good, but to win the title he has to be more consistent. The first half was OK, but it could have been better. I have expected to be a little bit better, but the season is not over yet. Everything is still open for the last half of the season.

What are your main objectives for the second part of the season?

In MXGP the main objective is to get Kevin back to get a lot of speed. He needs good results. He won last year at Lommel. I really hope he can improve his form. Lommel is his home track and together with Aja, I really believe we can make a fantastic weekend there. Also, for the rest of the season, I hope we can make some top five finishes and maybe some extra podiums.

In MX2, we want to go for the championship with Jeremy. After Portugal is all clear. He needs to go out and win races. After Agueda, I think he gained a lot of confidence. Hunter Lawrence was injured at the ADAC race, he missed Italy and Portugal, but he will be back at Loket. For him, it will be enough to rebuild his fitness and speed. The same goes for Bas Vaessen. All the eyes are mainly on Jeremy.

You spoke earlier about Kevin Strijbos. Do you expect another win like the one he took last year at Lommel? If not from him, maybe from Jasikonis?

It would be amazing for us to take a win, but Cairoli and Herlings are going really fast and are in a good form at the moment. It’s not gonna be that easy. Another podium finish would already be fantastic, which I think it is possible for both of them. To win? We have to see.

What is Kevin Strijbos current status with Suzuki? Will he stay with Suzuki? Will he go to another team. Will he retire?

We have not yet renewed the contract. We will see in a few weeks.

So it’s nothing yet decided?

It’s more or less decided which way we will go, but I cannot say officially yet.

I want to ask a more personal questions as you are a father of a GP race. How is your son, Liam, doing? Will he race at Loket? I suppose there’s a race in his category there?

Yes, there will be a race, but he has not qualified for the race. He missed a few of the pre-qualifying race. He needed to be inside the top ten, so he will not be there. We are on stand by. Usually, in the last moment, riders get injured, so we are on the stand by list. The first ten of each european region in the pre-qualifying races can go. Liam is not there. If Friday is a free spot, he will be there. On the other hand, he will race in the world championship race in Estonia.

We are approaching the end of the interview. In the last weeks, rumours had it that Justin Barcia and Malcolm Stewart will race for the Suzuki Factory Team in MXGP. Can you tell us more about these rumours?

Nothing more than just a rumour. We haven’t spoken to anybody. I had a talk last year with Stewart and Barcia for this season, but it never really came close. We have only space for two riders and that’s it. As well for the future, and we already have the riders, and it’s not Barcia or Stewart.

A former Suzuki rider retired in May. I’m talking about Ryan Dungey. He decided to retire at only 27, like Ricky Carmichael did ten years ago. What do you think about Ryan Dungey’s decision to retire so early?

That’s a personal decision and I think it’s not a physical thing, it’s usually more the mental part. It was my case, for instance. I still like to ride my bike even today and l still love to do the trainings. I think Ryan Dungey was inspired to retire at his peak with a championship. In this way, it’s one of the nicest thing to do. A lot of athletes continue to race after they reached their peak, and I think it’s not cool. If you are a champion you should try to walk away as a champion and that’s how the people will remember you.

That’s what you did in 2006 after you won the tenth and last world championship.

Exactly. For me it was the most important thing to do.

In the end, I want to ask you what is your opinion on Ricky Carmichael’s return to race in the Aus X-Open?

I don’t know, is he really serious with the announcement? If he does that. He has no reason to prove anything to anybody. Still, it’s his decision.

It’s an one event only.

I don’t know. I would not do it. It’s hard for me to make decisions for someone else. It’s his choice.

Have you ever thought on returning to race on events like Aus X-Open?

No. I have only did two or three races after my retirement. Besides that, no other race.

Stefan, I would kindly ask you to send a message to the motocross fans?

Thank you for reading. Hope to see you soon in the GP track. Come to see the Suzuki squad. I want to wish everyone a good summer and good holidays.

Hopefully, we will meet at Loket.

We will be there, who knows, maybe we will meet there.

Stefan, thank you very much for your time.

Thank you, no problem.

 

foto: www.suzuki-racing.com

Cairoli and Seewer triumph in Portugal

Tony Cairoli won the MXGP of Portugal. Jeremy won the MX2 GP of Portugal.

MXGP

The second race of the day was dominated by Tony Cairoli. The italian started very well and took immediately the holeshot and a commanding lead. He was followed by Max Nagl, Arminas Jasikonis, Tim Gajser and Jeffrey Herlings.

The Bullet won Race 1 but he had to fight through the field in order to get up to second place. As soon as he was second, he pushed very hard in order to catch up with Tony Cairoli, but he failed to do so.

Tony Cairoli won Race 2 and the GP even though he finished with the same number of points with Jeffrey Herlings. Arminas Jasikonis scored his first career podium in the MXGP category. The lithuanian scored 40 points in the MXGP of Portugal.

Romain Febvre and Max Nagl finished Race 2 fourth and fifth, while Tim Gajser managed only sixth. The world champion finished the GP in sixth, with 28 points, 19 fewer than Cairoli and Herlings.

In the standings, Tony Cairoli continues to lead the series. The italian rider has 478 points. Clement Desalle and Gautier Paulin are now following him, with 387 points and 383.

MX2

The MX2 race was once again a battle between Pauls Jonass and Jeremy Seewer. This time, Seewer won and he also took the GP win. Jonass finished in the second place while the podium was completed by Thomas Covington, who doubled his third place effort from Race 1.

Benoit Paturel finished Race 2 in fourth place, while the top five was completed by Thomas Kjaer Olsen. In the GP, the order was reversed, with Olsen fourth and Paturel fifth.

MXGP will take a short three week break before returning to action at Loket, for the MXGP of Czech Republic in 22-23 July.

 

foto – Ray Archer/ KTM Media Library

Herlings and Jonass bring KTM on top in Race 1 in Agueda

Jeffrey Herlings and Pauls Jonass won the first races of the day at the MXGP of Portugal.

MXGP

Arminas Jasikonis was the main star of the qualifying. The young lithuanian rider won the qualifying race in a convincing manner. Could he be the big surprise today?

From the start, Jeffrey Herlings and Tony Cairoli set the pace and they fought against each other. In the end, Herlings won, Cairoli finished second, and the joy in the KTM team was big.

Arminas Jasikonis managed to finish third, but nearly half a minute behind the KTM duo. Max Nagl and Romain Febvre completed the top five, while Tim Gajser, the current MXGP world champion finished in disbelief, only in 8th place.

Gautier Paulin was probably the biggest disappointment of Race 1. The Frenchman finished only 12th and lost once again precious points in the championship standings.

After Race 1, Tony Cairoli leads the championship with 475 points. Clement Desalle is second, with 391 points and Jeffrey Herlings is now up in third place, with 385 points.

Race 2 will start at 18 CET.

MX2

The MX2 race was a two men battle. Pauls Jonass and Jeremy Seewer battled hard for the race. The championship leader won and extended his points lead. Seewer finished second and pole man, Thomas Covington, completed the podium with a superb run for the third place.

Thomas Kjaer Olsen and Julien Lieber completed the top five, while the biggest disappointment was Jorge Prado. The spaniard didn’t finish the race, but he was classified as he managed to complete more than 75% of the race.

In the championship standings, Pauls Jonass leads with 504 points. Jeremy Seewer follows him, with 460 points. The GC podium is completed by Thomas Kjaer Olsen, with 373 points.

Race 2 will start at 17 CET.

foto – Ray Archer/ KTM Media Library