The penultimate round of the FIM Motocross World Championship, the Monster Energy MXGP of Americas, will take place at The Dirt Track, at Charlotte Motor Speedway, this Friday, and Saturday night.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac, Autotrade Monster Energy Yamaha JGR Racing’s Justin Barcia, Monster Energy 360 Fly Chapparal Yamaha’s Chad Reed, Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Webb, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s trio of Adam Cianciarulo, Joey Savatgy, and Austin Forkner are bound to be super spoilers at this round where Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings are hoping to wrap up the titles so they can race with clear minds next weekend at Glen Helen Raceway.
The coolest thing about having a race on a one-off man-made track in Charlotte is that it’s an equalizer. The Americans don’t know the circuit and nor do the Europeans, so it will come down to who can adapt the quickest. The track is surrounded by grand stands that guarantee amazing views of the track, which will be sick for the fans that come out and offer their full-throated support for the fastest riders in the world.
If everything goes to plan, Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser should clinch the MXGP title this weekend, which will make him the first rider to take back-to-back titles in different classes since Greg Albertyn when he won the 125cc title in ’92 and the 250cc title in ’93. Gajser didn’t just push the boundaries this year; he leapt right over them and left them in the dust. The Slovenian is nothing short of incredible and it’s going to be exciting to see how his raw speed stacks up against the stars of America this weekend.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli tends to like these new venues, and has recently been on the pace. Last year he came back from injury and tried to race Glen Helen where he randomly set the fastest lap times in the races, but pulled out because ‘he wasn’t fit enough’, in his words. This time round, he’s fit, and he’s fast, he will be a podium threat.
There’s a good chance that Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre is already thinking about 2017, when he can have another shot at the title. The same can be said for fellow Frenchman Team HRC’s Gautier Paulin, who spent the winter in the United States training with the most famous trainer in the industry, Aldon Baker. While both Frenchies are frustrated with how their year has panned out, they are hard-core racers and will be in it to win it here at The Dirt Track.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle finally watered his grass after a two-year drought when he topped the box at the MXGP of The Netherlands last weekend. Desalle has been through the wringer this year with injury and at the same time, he has been trying to adapt to a new bike. He mentioned in the press conference last weekend that it has taken longer than he expected to feel comfortable on the bike, but they’ve finally found a set-up that works for him. We’ll give him a ‘watch this space’ label for this round.
Arguably one of the most anticipated riders to race MXGP this weekend is Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac who has never raced a round of the FIM Motocross World Championship before, although he has raced the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations in 2013 and 2014.
It’s always exciting to see Autotrade Monster Energy Yamaha JGR Racing’s Justin Barcia on the entry list and the same can be said for Monster Energy 360 Fly Chapparal Yamaha’s Chad Reed who will be back to try his hand at MXGP, except this time it will be on American soil.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Dean Wilson is likely going to be out to prove a point this weekend since he was not picked to represent Team Great Britain at the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations. So that could make for an interesting race between he and his fellow Brits Wilvo Virus Performance KTM’s Shaun Simpson and Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle.
“Those guys are going to be fast,” Jeffrey Herlings said about the American’s entering MX2 this weekend, “I just want to get the championship, that’s the most important thing, but of course I want to win as well,” he took a deep breath, “I don’t know, we will see how it goes, I just want the title, that’s the main thing.” Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings’ has one thing on his mind, and he won’t be able to relax until that title is in hand. It can’t come soon enough for the Flying Dutchman who has been to hell and back over the last two years.
Out to beat ‘The Bullet’ will be Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Webb and Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s duo of Adam Ciancarulo and Joey Savatgy. Webb is a familiar face, he’s been over to Europe a couple of times, while Ciancarulo and Savatgy will be racing the FIM Motocross World Championship for the first time.
There is a new wave of young talent coming through. In Europe the hottest prospect following his epic MX2 debut last weekend is Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado, while stateside, it would appear it’s Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner. Both of these kids know how to rip and are in the process of setting the world on fire.
Also making his MX2 debut this weekend will be Bud Racing Monster Energy Kawasaki’s American EMX250 vice champion Darian Sanayei who will be on the Studio Show on Friday night with fellow American Cooper Webb, and Spanish talent Jorge Prado.
Team Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer had a weekend to forget in The Netherlands, so there’s no doubt he can’t wait to get on the line and put that weekend to bed.
Back to home soil for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Covington, the new hero on the block after he won race one in Herlings’ back yard last weekend. Covington tends to ride better at the fly-aways, so it’s easy to count on him for an impressive ride this weekend, while his teammate Max Anstie will also be looking to make shapes this weekend.
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