Everything is ready for the FIM Motocross World Championship comeback this Easter weekend in Valkenswaard, the Netherlands. The Dutch track will not only host the first Grand Prix out of sixteen of the MX1 and MX2 classes, but also the first round of the FIM MX3 World Championship and the first round of the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship.
MX1 defending Champion Antonio Cairoli is fully fit to dispute the first GP of the season and start the year with the red plate on his KTM. But there is a long list of MX1 Title contender that will not leave things easy for the Italian. Steven Frossard, Clement Desalle, Evgeny Bobryshev, Christophe Pourcel, David Philippaerts or even the rookie Gautier Paulin are some of the names among the bets.
In the MX2 class, instead, there is a clear favourite, Jeffrey Herlings, as last year he was the only one to be able to stop Roczen’s hegemony. However, everything can happen this season and it could be the year of British Tommy Searle, American Zach Osborne or the young Swiss talent Arnaud Tonus.
In his third year on his revolutionary KTM 350cc, Antonio Cairoli faces this 2012 season with the same motivation as always, regain the MX1 Title. Last year the Italian did not have a good beginning, but after a great pre-season campaign, Cairoli feels really confident to start the Championship with a victory. Besides, the five times World Champion has 4 GP wins in Valkenswaard under his belt, which proves how much comfortable he feels on the sandy and demanding track of Valkenswaard.
Monster Energy Yamaha’s Frossard enters his second year in the MX1 class as one of the strongest rivals for the multiple champion Cairoli. The French was the big surprise in 2011 after being the runner up of the championship in his first year in the MX1 class, but the French will start the new season with the same goal as last year, which was to have fun on his Yamaha and try to be as much consistent as possible to be at the top at the end of the season.
For Clement Desalle the 2011 campaign finished sooner than expected due to several injuries on his shoulders and ended third in the MX1 standings. But the Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 rider is more motivated than ever to stop the Italian Champion to win another MX1 Title. Valkenswaard is not one of Desalle’s favourite tracks, but he will give his best to get the red plate on his Suzuki machine after this first GP as he did last year in Bulgaria. This year the Belgian rider counts with one of the most experienced riders in his team, the Estonian Tanel Leok, who has adapted himself really fast on the new Suzuki and he is determined to improve his 2011 12th position in the Championship.
Another revelation in 2011 was Russian Evgeny Bobryshev, who claimed his maiden GP in Germany, he was six times on the podium and he finished fourth in the point standings. Having full support from Honda Japan, Honda World Motocross’ Bobryshev and his teammate Rui GonÃ§alves are determined to be among the top five MX1 riders.
2008 FIM MX1 World Champion David Philippaerts will make his comeback in the FIM Motocross World Championship this weekend after his long absence due to a serious injury on both wrists, which made him b away from the tracks for several months. Philippaerts is fully fit again and is looking forward to be back at the track measuring his talent with the best motocross riders in the world.
Christophe Pourcel, who took part in some GP last year, will race for the Title this 2012 season together with his brother Sebastien Pourcel in the CP377 Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit team.
The Kawasaki Racing Team will count one more year with the French rider Xavier Boog and for this 2012 season they have a very strong incorporation to the team who can even bring the MX1 title to the green squad, the French rider Gautier Paulin. During the last two years he has been showing his great potential in the MX2 class, but when he was really shining was on the MX1 bike obtaining his maiden MX1 GP win at his first try last year in Fermo, Italy, and performing really well in the MXoN on the 450cc bike. Undoubtedly, his name is among the MX1 Title contenders this 2012 season.
Spanish Jonathan BarragÃƒÂ¡n has joined the LS Honda Racing Team and Ken De Dycker, who was originally his teammate, will race the first five Grand Prix of the season in the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team replacing Max Nagl, who is still recovering from his back injury. At the same time, Shaun Simpson has moved to the Monster Energy Yamaha squad and Davide Guarneri will wear the colours of the KTM Silver Action team.
2011 MX1 Podium in Valkenswaard
1. Antonio Cairoli
2. Max Nagl
3. David Philippaerts
2011 MX1 POLEMAN: Max Nagl
Red Bull KTM Factory’s Jeffrey Herlings enters the 2012 season as the clear favourite to claim the MX2 Title. In fact, the season could not start better for the young Dutch rider, as this new campaign begins at his home track of Valkenswaard and he will be able to race in front of his crowd and place the red plate on his KTM already after the first GP. His teammate Jeremy Van Horebeek did not have a very fortunate season last year due to several injuries, but the Belgian is very motivated to do well this season and so is his new teammate Jordi Tixier.
Another strong contender for the MX2 Title will be the Brit Tommy Searle, who finished in a solid third position last year in his comeback to the FIM MX2 World Championship. Searle, who will ride for team Floride Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit, only missed the podium in four occasions and he obtained two GP wins, results that prove his potential to be fighting for the MX2 Title this season. Belgian Joel Roelants will join the British rider in the Kawasaki team.
Max Ansite has joined the new Honda Gariboldi ESTA team and he will try to improve his 2011 sixth position in the point standings. His teammate will be the young Russian Aleksandr Tonkov.
The Monster Energy Yamaha structure counts with three of the strongest riders in the MX2 class, Arnaud Tonus, Zach Osborne and Christophe Charlier, but all of them got injured right before the start of the season and they are all likely to miss the first GP of the year.
On the other hand, the Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe team has been completely renovated and for this 2012 season Finnish Harri Kullas and Bulgarian Petar Petrov will wear the Suzuki colours and will race to be among the top ten riders in the MX2 class.
Italian Alessandro Lupino will ride his second year in a row for the Husqvarna Ricci Racing Team and he is very motivated to do well this 2012 specially after having had such a successful preseason. This year his teammate will be Belgian Nick Triest, but he will not take part in the first GP because he is recuperating from a crash he suffered some days ago.
Another team full of potential and young talents in the MX2 paddock is the Nestaan JM Racing KTM, with Glenn Coldenhoff, who will make his debut in the team on his home soil, Pascal Rauchenecker and Jake Nicholls.
UEM EMX-125 Champion Simone Zecchina and the UEM EXM-2 Champion Romain Fevre will make their debut in the MX2 class this weekend in Valkenswaard after having achived the European Titles last year.
2011 MX2 Podium in Valkenswaard
1. Jeffrey Herlings
2. Ken Roczen
3. Tommy Searle
2011 MX2 POLEMAN: Jeffrey Herlings
Sunday: WMX Free Practice 7:30; MX3 Free Practice 1 Group A 8:10; MX3 Free Practice 1 Group B 8:40; MX2 Free Practice 9:30; MX1 Free Practice 10:15; WMX Pre-Qualifying Practice 11:00; MX3 Free Practice 2 Group A 12:15; MX3 Free Practice 2 Group B 12:45; MX2 Pre-Qualifying Practice 13:15; MX1-Pre Qualifying Practice 14:00; WMX Qualifying Race 15:30; MX2 Qualifying Race 16:10; MX1 Qualifying Race 17:00; MX3 Qualifying Practice Group A 17:40; MX3 Qualifying Practice Group B 18:10; WMX Race 1 18:50.
Monday: MX3 Start Test Session Group 1 7:45; MX3 Start Test Session Group 2 7:55; MX3 Warm up 8:00; WMX Warm up 8:30; MX2 Warm up 9:00; MX1 Warm up 9:30; WMX Race 2 10:10; MX3 Race 1 11:10; MX2 Grand Prix Race 1 12:10; MX1 Grand Prix Race 1 13:10; MX2 Grand Prix Race 2 15:03; MX1 Grand Prix race 2 16:03; MX3 Race 2 18:00.