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MXGP MAG Chief Editor: Marionna Leiva Photos: Youthstream YOUTHSTREAM Media World Trade Center II Rte de Pré-Bois 29 1215 Geneva 15 Airport Switzerland MXGP Mag #67 March 2019 The articles published in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the official position of Youthstream. Then content of this publication is based on the best knowledge and information available at the time the articles were written.

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DEAR MXGP FRIENDS Giuseppe Luongo President of Youthstream Group

WE ARE DELIGHTED TO BE COMING BACK TO ARGENTINA FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER 2 YEARS, BUT BOTH PARTIES ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING MUCH LONGER TOGETHER.

Dear MXGP Friends, The first MXGP event for the 2019 season in Argentina was outstanding, each year the organizer improves their already excellent organization, infrastructure and welcome, and the organizer together with the government, Youthstream and FIM has brought this MXGP event to a very high level, it is without a doubt one of the best events of the series. We are delighted to be coming back to Argentina for at least another 2 years, but both parties are looking forward to working much longer together. The racing was exciting with Cairoli being a highlight in the MXGP class, he made a perfect performance, similar to that of when he was in his prime moment and he showed from the beginning that he’s going to be working hard all year for his 10th title (8th in the major class) which would bring him to be the best Motocross rider in the history of Motocross. Considering his 34 years he really looks as fresh and motivated as a 25-year-old youngman who is fighting for his first title.

Gajser also made an excellent performance showing, together with Febvre to be the next contenders to Tony, while waiting for the return of Herlings to see whether it will be possible for him to compete for the title. But a great tribute goes to Jeremy Van Horebeek, because as a privateer at the first event he went on the podium of the major class, and this show 2 important points, 1st that Jeremy is still very competitive and he still deserves a factory bike, and 2nd that our sport is still (and we do everything so that it remains) the only Motorsport where it is ‘the man and the machine’; sure the machine is important but the man is still more important than the machine, and this is what makes Motocross so special, and for this reason we must pay a big tribute to all the riders because they make our sport great. In the MX2 class we saw the expected confirmation of Jorge Prado who made the perfect race; he started in front and very well controlled both heats. Olsen made his confirmation of being the best contender with Prado for the title,

then we also had the confirmation of Vlaanderen, Jacobi and Watson. But the nice surprise came from Evans and Vialle who both showed their unbelievable potential and great possibilities of rapid growth. Now, as usual in MXGP, we return to Europe with another 3 circuits which are masterpieces of the series with totally different types of race tracks, ground and conditions, and this will be very interesting because we will see if the riders who excelled in Argentina are able to shine on all these different terrains or if we will have other surprises. Frankly speaking I believe the experienced riders will confirm their capabilities because they are used to and are trained for these changes, but the curiosity will be for the young to see if they will be ready and wellprepared for these changes or if they need some more time to learn. But this is one of the things which makes the FIM Motocross World Championships so great because we will never have 2 tracks similar. See you in Matterley Basin on the weekend of the 23 and 24 March or on MXGP-TV.com.

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MXGP is back in action for the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship after months of preparation and the first race of the year has just wrapped up at the jaw dropping venue of Neuquen in Patagonia, Argentina. The most competitive motocross championship in the world took to Patagonia for the 5th consecutive year and the second year as the opening round. With the return of MXGP the season’s Fox Holeshot standings are also up for grabs in the both the premier MXGP

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MXGP class and the talented MX2 category. With the competition for the race wins as strong as ever getting a good start can be the difference between winning or being outside the top 10. The year Fox has again stepped up to sponsor the holeshot competition which is tallied at each of the 19 rounds in 2019. The Fox Holeshot black plate is awarded to the first rider who crosses the chalk line in turn 1 after gate drop during each weekend’s 4 championship races. The 2 riders with the most Fox Holeshot black plates at the end of the season earn not only the early advantage in racing but also a hefty bonus check from Fox Europe at the annual MXGP Awards.

2017 and 2018 were strong for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing in MXGP with Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings taking their respective world titles. 2017 MXGP Champion Antonio Cairoli dominated the Fox Holeshot standings in 2018 with 19 to his name. However, for 2019 the standings have been returned to zero and Cairoli’s 28th gate pick set made the task of taking a holeshot nearly impossible. With the first gate drop of MXGP of 2019 it was the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing team rider Julien Lieber who had his timing and starting technique perfect. Lieber crossed the line over a bike length ahead of both Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki Racing’s Alessandro Lupino and Monster Energy Yamaha

Factory MXGP’s Romain Febvre. Lieber backed up his first black of the season by taking the second race holeshot along with it on the volcanic soil of Neuquen. Lieber and the new 2019 KX450F-SR have powered their way to a perfect record of 2 for 2 before the series heads to Matterley Basin at the end of the month for round 2, the MXGP of Great Britain.

MX2 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s MX2 riders have also seen the same success as the their MXGP compatriots in the Fox Holeshot standings the past 2 seasons with 2018 MX2 Champion Jorge Prado scoring 26 of the 40 available last year. In Patagonia the MX2 race 1 Fox Holeshot was again taken by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing but it wasn’t by the red plated #61 of Prado it was 15


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instead by the rookie debutant Tom Vialle. Literally started his rookie the best way possible, Vialle led the reigning champ by more than a bike length and a half across the Fox holeshot line. For MX2 Race 2 Prado returned to his prior holeshotting form taking the black plate while Vialle was wheel to wheel with Honda 114 Motorsports’ MX2 rookie Mitch Evans just behind Prado. The next stop of the Fox Holeshot competition and the FIM Motocross World Champion is the MXGP of Great Britain at the well know circuit of Matterley Basin which hosts another long

left sweeping first turn but with the addition of slightly downhill starting

WATCH THE VIDEO

MX2 TABLE Tom Viale

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Well, when the final week of February came around, time was almost up for the riders of MXGP as the countdown to the first round of 2019 drew ever closer, and if you weren’t prepared for it then one vital question needed to be asked: ‘Do I ride or do I hide?’ The problem is that in MXGP there is no place to hide. HAVE YOU EVER WATCHED ONE OF THOSE ESPIONAGE MOVIES LIKE ‘MISSION IMPOSSIBLE’ FOR INSTANCE WHERE THE LEAD CHARACTER ETHAN HUNT RECEIVES A MESSAGE RELAYING THE DETAILS OF HIS NEXT MISSION, AND ONCE HE HAS LISTENED TO IT, HE RECEIVES THE COMMENT THAT ‘THIS MESSAGE OR DEVICE WILL SELF DESTRUCT IN FIVE SECONDS?’ 20

But to shed more light on how everything played out for the first GP of the year, here’s a little insight in to how the teams went about getting to the season opener in Argentina and how it all played out after the gates


dropped for the first time of the new season. HEADING OUT Our trip began on Tuesday morning with a drive to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, and it was no surprise to see riders and team’s arriving around the same time as us, namely those from Hitachi KTM Fuelled by Milwaukee (Conrad Mewse, Bas Vaessen), REVO Husqvarna (Dylan Walsh, Alvin Ostlund), Arnaud Tonus and Gautier Paulin from Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha and the mechanics and manager from Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team. After the short haul flight to Madrid, we were then joined by Honda 114 Motorsports team manager Livi Lancelot

and Mitch Evans and by the time we arrived in Buenos Aires, the departure lounge for the final flight to Bariloche had also welcomed Red Bull KTM’s Antonio Cairoli and Jorge Prado, HRC’s Tim Gajser as well as members from the FIM and Youthstream. Throw in a few mechanics, media staff, girlfriends, wives and team manager’s, it was clear that the next ‘plane out of ‘BA’ would be fully represented by the MXGP family. Now, for some people who travel on a regular basis there is no better feeling than the participation of that well-known sport of ‘people watching’ and with an airport full of riders, team’s and other personnel, it was ‘prime time’ to do just that. The Fly Away GP’s offer a different insight into how we all get to the race and a quick glimpse around

the lounge and cafeteria revealed that whilst there are rivalries within the Paddock and on the track, the offer of a few polite hello’s and handshakes puts everyone at relative ease in a way you wouldn’t usually see or expect. Following on from that, everyone referred back to default, sat together as a team, mingled in their own circles and quietly went back about their business once more. One thing was clear though; this was just the beginning, and the dawn of a new season was just three days away. When we touched down in Bariloche and our gear bags were gathered in, the time for being polite was over, shuttles and hire cars were collected and in the blink of an eye, the arrivals lounge was empty. It was time to move on. If you’re into your history, then it’s worth mentioning that when you turn right out of the airport, you find yourself connected to the most historic 21


road in South America, ‘Ruta 40’ which just happens to be the longest road in Argentina and one of the longest roads in the world, covering a distance of 5194km (3246 miles), starting at Punta Loyola in the south, extending to La Quiaca in the north of the country whilst running parallel with the Andes mountains to the west of the infamous road. EUROPEAN INFLUENCE As for Bariloche, the city itself forms part of Argentina’s Lake District, made up of a series of seven lakes that continue north past the MXGP racetrack. It really is one of the most attractive cities in Argentina and is a very popular holiday destination in the south west of the country, close to the border of Chile. If you have time to look around Bariloche you will be pleasantly surprised. Known as ‘Little Switzerland’ due to the weather, climate and architectural influences of the early inhabitants in the early 1930’s, climbing and mountaineering are commonplace thanks to a man by the name of Otto Meiling, a German-born mountaineer who was the first person to climb many of the ascents in the Nahuel Huapi National Park and surrounding areas. He, along with Emilio Frey and others, formed a climbing club to assist climbers and skiers who were keen to explore the local scenery, of which there is plenty. If you fancy something a little more sedate then there is always the town itself, but you better have a sweet tooth as chocolate is very much the main dish on the menu. In fact, it is the chocolate capital of Argentina and a whole street is dedicated to its trade and craft with an abundance of chocolatiers and chocolate shops. If you think you have the sweetest teeth in town then it goes without 24

saying that you need to look no further than Mitre Avenue, otherwise known as ‘The Avenue of Chocolate Dreams’ and hopefully you will have had your fix. To get to Villa La Angostura you continue north-west along Ruta 40 where you have unrestricted views of the lakes all the way to the town and the scenery is quite breathtaking. Time to drop in a little editorial note here: how do we actually pronounce the word ‘Villa’ in Villa La Angostura? It seems that if you are of nonHispanic origin then the most common way is to turn the double ‘L’ in the middle into a ‘Y’ to say Viya! However, we learned that if you are Spanish, it will be pronounced ‘Biya’ but even more confusing is the local dialect where it is pronounced ‘Bisha’. Glad we cleared that up for you! Dwarfed by the Andes mountains to the west of the lake shores, it is easy to understand why the MXGP of Patagonia Argentina holds such a special place in our hearts, but unfortunately we are not here for a holiday; we are here to work, but there is still no harm in being ‘wowed’ by the surrounding beauty on display. Villa La Angostura is a quaint little touristy town full of Alpine-style chalets and because of its geographical landscape means there are no shortage of things to do. Walking, climbing, hiking, skiing and mountain biking are all popular with the visitors who pass through here but in a similar way to Bariloche, the shopping streets are a popular attraction as well. And don’t even get us started on the restaurants, especially if you are a meat-eater. Argentine steak is considered to be some of the finest in the world and there are plenty of places to eat at to decide for yourself, and coupled with some of the finest red wine


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that the world has to offer as well, then dining out never tasted so good.

BACK TO BUSINESS For the riders who arrived on Wednesday, that afternoon and Thursday was more of a rest day, although you can be sure that a run or a swim would have been high on the ‘to do list’ to get rid of any ‘travel-lag’ in the legs. For the mechanics it was a trip to the circuit to see if the ‘bikemerch’ had arrived, which by Wednesday they had, so all that was left for them to do was build ‘em up ready for Technical Control on Friday. As it turns out, Friday is a very busy day at the first GP of the season; first up, the riders need to report to the TV department in full race kit in order to have their GoPro TV Graphics video’d. Following on from that they headed to MXGP’s in-house photographers to have their head and shoulders ‘mug shot’ taken for our TV graphics, the ones you see when the riders appear on screen during the broadcast. The riders also make the team track walk before working with the mechanics to finalise their race set-up – making sure their handlebars and levers are all in the correct position for instance or setting the ‘sag’ on the suspension, things like that. At 15:00 the traditional season-opening Press Conference took place where the FIM, members of Youthstream, riders and teams are all in attendance to hear of any new changes ahead of the new season. The pre-season riders briefing with the FIM Race Director also takes place where they announce any new rule changes that riders need to be aware of, or any infringements that will carry

penalties or disqualifications from any sessions throughout the weekend. A couple of hours later was the first Media Opportunity where on this occasion a select group of riders, representing all manufacturers, ventured into the town centre to be unveiled in front of thousands of fans on a huge elevated stage. A rock band and an FMX display also took place to WOW the crowds even more. After signing autographs and posing for a multitude of selfie’s with the fans, it was time to call it a night and find a place to eat in what was now a very busy town centre before turning in for the night for some much-needed shuteye. The eve of the first GP had finally arrived, excitement was at fever pitch and some of those pre-season questions were about to be answered out on the racetrack. NERVOUS TIMES On Saturday Thomas Olsen set the benchmarks as he laid down the fastest times in both the Free and Timed Practice sessions but as the gate dropped for MX2 Qualifying, the defending champ Jorge Prado was quickly out front. However, he looked tight, uncomfortable and nervous and struggled to pull clear of Henry Jacobi and Olsen. Jacobi even managed to edge his F&H Racing Kawasaki ahead for three laps to take over the lead, and he took Olsen with him. With three laps to go Olsen took the lead and went on to win the first MX2 Qualifying Race of the season, his first since Latvia 2017, from Prado who dispatched of Jacobi on the final lap to take second. Ben Watson and Calvin Vlaanderen rounded out the top five. In the MXGP Qualifying Race it was Tim Gajser who took control from Julien Lieber 27


THE FIRST FOX HOLESHOT WENT TO A RED BULL KTM, BUT NOT THE ONE THAT STOLE THE SHOW LAST YEAR; INSTEAD IT WAS TOM VIALLE, THE MX2 ROOKIE

and Romain Febvre. Last year’s vice world champion Antonio Cairoli emerged in fourteenth at the end of the first lap but two laps later, the Sicilian was out of the race as his KTM decided to quit on him. He would be forced to start the main races from twenty-eighth on the grid. As Gajser led he was shadowed by Febvre who capitalised on the Slovenian’s slip on lap nine and although GT243 managed to remain in second position, it was short-lived; the Honda rider hit the eject button at the end of the wave

section and was lucky to re-mount to finish in ninth, albeit with a few bruises and minus some skin! Febvre went on to win comfortably as he showed a return to the kind of form that took him to the top of the world in 2015, Julien Lieber claimed second from satellite/privateer Honda rider Jeremy Van Horebeek who took a ‘surprise’ third. Clement Desalle and Max Anstie rounded out the top five.

AS YOU WERE … With the first ‘race’ out of the way almost twenty-four hours


earlier, all eyes were trained on the first real gate drop of the season and as the MX2 riders left the mesh for Race One, it was Olsen who blinked first as his Rockstar Energy Husqvarna spun-up as he dropped the clutch, leaving him outside the top twenty as he rounded out turn one. The first Fox Holeshot went to a Red Bull KTM, but not the one that stole the show last year; instead it was Tom Vialle, the MX2 rookie who blitzed the line ahead of Prado in his first ever MX2 start, and although he led briefly it would be a moment he will surely never forget. Prado made his move before they’d covered the first half lap and this time, JP61 looked more assured as he went on to cruise to his first victory of the season. Vialle eventually faded to seventh in

what was an impressive debut for the young Frenchman. The battle for the top three places mirrored the Qualifying Race as Jacobi and Olsen continued their on track ‘conversation’ but it was the Dane who eventually had the final say to secure second position, with Jacobi a fine third. Calvin Vlaanderen was the lead rider for Honda in fourth, but the HRC pilot was shadowed by another Honda and MX2 newcomer and rookie, in the form of Mitch Evans of Australia; the Honda 114 Motorsports import showed that he deserves his place in MX2 and his fifth place was pretty impressive. MX2 Race Two saw Prado take his first Fox Holeshot of the season, so just twentyfive more to go then if he is to emulate his Black Plate achievement of last year! His teammate, Vialle, once again proved his starting credentials

as he tucked in behind the ‘61’ but this time he was overpowered immediately by Evans, Olsen, Ben Watson and Vlaanderen as he was demoted to sixth before the end of the first official lap. It was an up and down day for the Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha’s of Watson and Jago Geerts; sixth and eleventh respectively in Race One after the Belgian fell from seventh with six laps to go was bettered slightly in Race Two. This time Geerts got the better of his teammate as they crossed the line sixth and seventh. Up front, Prado checked out as he settled in to his usual race pace and behind him, it took Olsen five laps to find his way past Mitch Evans who was clearly enjoying his time in second. When TKO eased by the Aussie to take over the number two spot, it was a matter of the ‘43’ managing his own race as he chased down his first top

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three in the class. Not bad as far as debut’s go! In fact, it got better as third was enough to secure the third step of the podium as well and his result mirrored that of fellow Aussie and ex Honda 114 rider Hunter Lawrence, who secured Livi Lancelot’s team its maiden podium twelve months earlier. Maybe there is something in the Patagonian water that resonates with the antipodean types. For Prado it was the perfect start of his title defence; for Olsen his 2-2 was marginally better than his 3-2 of last year but still good enough for second overall. As for Evans, well, he was looking forward to finally sinking his teeth into some good ol’ Argentine steak to celebrate his first MX2 podium. THE FIELD OF DREAMS Before the first gate drop in MXGP, a quick look down the winners list revealed that Antonio Cairoli had yet to win in Argentina in the four previous visits to Neuquen; in fact, his best opportunity was pulled from underneath him by his teammate Jeffrey Herlings on the final lap of the GP twelve months earlier, a defeat that stung. Big time! So, when he lined up behind the gate with his twenty-eighth pick, it was clear he needed to dig deep for some ‘Cairoli Magic’ at the start, just to give himself at least half-a-chance of getting on equal terms with those who completed the Qualifying Race on Saturday. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Julien Lieber collected the first Fox Holeshot of the season as Cairoli majestically guided his Red Bull KTM around the outside, utilising the banked turn to perfect effect, to come out in fifth. However, by the end of the opening lap TC222 had scalped Tim Gajser, Clement Desalle, Romain Febvre and Lieber to lead over the Monster Energy finish line at the first time 34

of asking. Monster Energy Yamaha’s Febvre followed the nine-time champ into second where he was kept honest by Desalle for the first seven laps before Team HRC’s Tim Gajser muscled his way past the Belgian at the second attempt, a move which saw the Honda ace choose a different option through one of the rhythm sections towards the end of the lap. The Slovenian then capitalised on back-to-back mistakes from Febvre who suddenly found his second place was under threat, and with five laps to go and his rhythm hitting a decline, Gajser eased past with little response from the Frenchman. Cairoli crossed the line to win the first race by six seconds over Gajser and Febvre with Desalle ‘content’ to settle for fourth, one place ahead of Gautier Paulin’s Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha. One rider who was lucky to walk away without serious injury was Paulin’s teammate Arnaud Tonus who survived a highspeed get off through the first series of jumps between turns two and three whilst in eleventh. Even more astonishing was the fact he was cleared to line up for Race Two. Lieber once again proved his starting credentials as he collected the second Fox Holeshot of the day, but his teammate Desalle was not so lucky. The Belgian lost the front-end midway through the first turn and was highsided from his machine to sample the Argentinian dirt. Also caught up in the fall were Paulin and Jeremy Seewer in what was an explosive start to the race. By the end of the first official lap Febvre was in control and looked as cool as he did during the Qualifying Race but by the fifth lap his lead was under


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threat. Cairoli took another good start and put it to good use once more and was rapidly into third behind Gajser, but that all changed on lap six when the Sicilian scythed inside Gajser on the entry to the wave section to take over second before passing Febvre by the end of the following straight to the delight of the enthusiastic crowd. Gajser followed TC222 through into second and was never more than a couple of seconds behind the race one winner, as both riders pulled clear of Febvre who looked settled in third. That was until the ‘461’ caught an edge in the wave section and was flung backwards from his Yamaha, resulting in a heavy impact landing with his right foot taking the full force. After returning to Europe for a full medical check up on Wednesday morning after the GP, the news that he received was not good and as we went to press, it was reported that the 2015 MXGP World Champion had broken the talus bone in his ankle in two places, an injury that will require surgery on March 12th. We wish him a full and speedy recovery and hope to see him on track again soon. The DNF cost him third overall in the GP and crucial championship points, but that is the least of his worries as he looks certain for a spell on the sidelines. Speaking of which, who did take third? Well, after picking up sixth in Race One, Jeremy Van Horebeek suddenly found himself in third position in the race at the expense of his former teammate Febvre and as he crossed the line on lap nineteen, it was also good enough to secure him his first podium since Valkenswaard 2017, which was round six of the championship. For a team like Honda SR Motoblouz it was a fantastic achievement and one that meant a lot to the ‘Jerry Man’ as he clearly

showed moments after he’d passed the flag. It was a dream start for the Belgian. Other notable performances came from Max Anstie who raced his Standing Construct KTM to fourth after a DNF in Race One where a crash early on damaged his exhaust pipe. Gautier Paulin followed Desalle through the pack after their first turn crash but nudged the Belgian aside with five laps to go to take sixth. Two laps later he passed a rejuvenated Tommy Searle for fifth; the Brit clearly enjoyed his time on the BOS GP Kawasaki, but was pushed back to seventh on the final lap by Desalle. With the first round in the books, KTM will take two Red Plates to Matterley Basin for round two, whilst Honda will celebrate its first doublepodium finish since Argentina 2017 when Bobryshev and Gajser made it to the podium in the premier class. This time it was Gajser and Van Horebeek. With Evans third and Vlaanderen fourth in MX2, it was a solid start for Honda in 2019. Next stop will be Matterley Basin on March 24th where hopefully the warm weather from February will continue. Until then, we can look forward to an airport packed to the rafters of riders, teams, wives, girlfriends and officials as we make our way back to Europe after an all too brief stop in South America. However, we will be heading back for the next two years, so until then it’s Adios.

WATCH THE VIDEO

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FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

STANDINGS MXGP CHAMP. STANDINGS 1 A.Cairoli (ITA, KTM)  2 T. Gajser (SLO, HON) 3 J. VanHorebeek (BEL,HON) 4 C. Desalle (BEL, KAW)  5 G. Paulin (FRA, YAM) 6 A. Jasikonis (LTU, HUS) 7 T. Searle (GBR, KAW) 8 S. Simpson (GBR, KTM) 9 J. Seewer (SUI, YAM)  10 P. Jonass (LAT, HUS)

MX2 CHAMP. STANDINGS 50 p. 44 p. 35 p. 33 p. 32 p. 26 p. 22 p. 22 p. 21 p. 21 p.

1 J. Prado (ESP, KTM) 2 T. Olsen (DEN, HUS) 3 M. Evans (AUS, HON) 4 C. Vlaanderen (NED, HON) 5 H. Jacobi (GER. KAW) 6 B. Watson (GBR, YAM) 7 T. Vialle (FRA, YAM) 8 J. Geerts (BEL, YAM) 9 A. Sterry (GBR, KAW) 10 D. Pootjes (NED, HUS)

MXGP MANUFACTURERS

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KTM Honda Yamaha  Kawasaki Husqvarna 

50 p. 44 p. 36 p. 33 p. 26 p.

KTM Husqvarna  Honda Kawasaki Yamaha

50 p. 639 p. 601 p. 551 p. 366 p.

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MXGP-TV

50 p. 44 p. 36 p. 36 p. 36 p. 29 p. 27 p. 25 p. 25. p 22 p.

Users

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L A I C O S P G X M Pauls Jonass took the MXGP GoPro out for the first lap around the MXGP of Patagonia Argentina in Free Practice!

@Jeremyvanhorebeek: Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some storms clear your path. Thanks dad @ brunovanhorebeek to get me out if that black hole! And @josse_sallefranque and @chicken611 to make this the #DREAMTEAM

@GautierPaulin Fifth with 5/5 for the first MXGP of the season. Came back from dead last to 5 in second moto after getting caught in the first turn crash. Overall the result is not the one I wanted but the speed is there and my physical condition is where it must be! @ yamaharacingcom

@JAPANDGERMAN Wow 33 years old and still schooling the young guns Cairoli is a true legend. Will be fun when Jeff returns to action #mxgp

@antoniocairoli: Nice kayak ride with the boys here in Villa La Angostura #gofastaeatpasta #racrfamily @gopro

@paulsjonass41: Some happy faces under @ iceone_racing tent. Enjoyed every minute of racing and being back as t the @mxgp paddock. Let’s keep building P.S. What you guys think about my hat game? - @ mxgp

@jorgeprado61: Back in Argentina! Amazing place to start the Championship 40


@DunlopMoto Holeshot @FoxHeadEurope for Julien Lieber #MXGP #MXGPPatagoniaArgentina

@jlieber33: #argentina #patagonia #fans #mxgp #motocross

The first stop if the MXGP World Championship was absolutely epic! Who else thinks this looks like the dream planet? #MXGP #Motocross #TinyPlanet #MX #MX2 #MXGPatagonia #Patagonia #Argentina #photography #VR #MXGPgoHome

@henrymx19: The star pilot of @ yamaharacingcomofficial @ romainfebvre Quick recovery! #mxgpargentina #mxon #mxgp #yamaha #yzf450 #monster #villalaangostura

@lisaleylandTV Round 1 of @mxgp done and dusted in Argentina 19 to go..

@pabloosanchez3: One more year living this madness of MXGP .... #mxgp #villalaangostura @ pri_anabel @eminievas_ ...... #jorgeprado #antoniocairoli

P G X M # D OF ORL W HE IN T

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R E S T L S R I N G MO

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H T N O M A M E E T F TH O

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E H N T O I G T N I I C I MPET CO 47


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The team is the personification of professionalism and with Formula 1 racer Kimi Raikkönen as team owner the squad operates at the level of teams in the biggest of motorsports. Taking the MXGP Mag cover as this month’s featured team we met up with ICE1’s newest riders Pauls Jonass, Arminas Jasikonis and Mikkel Haarup to get a look at what it’s like inside Factory Husqvarna’s MXGP set up. THE MXGP PADDOCK IS ALWAYS EVOLVING AND AFTER A BUSY OFF SEASON OF MUSICAL CHAIRS THE MANY TEAMS AND RIDERS OF THE FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP HAVE SETTLED IN FOR 2019. ONE OF THE BIGGEST AND WELL-KNOWN TEAMS IN THE MXGP CLASS IS THAT OF ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING ICE1.

Husqvarna is known for its heritage and the racing team is no exception with former GP rider Antti Pyrhönen at the helm as manager. The team is composed of 49


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numerous technical, physio and support staff all to make the riders job of racing that much easier.

“THOSE MONTHS WHEN EVERYONE WAS RIDING, I COULDN’T DO IT SO WHEN I STOPPED BY LOMMEL AND SAW THEM RIDING IT WAS REALLY PAINFUL BUT NOW IT’S JUST MORE MOTIVATION TO GO RIDING AGAIN.”

While the 2018 season was fought by motocross veterans Gautier Paulin and Max Anstie new blood is leading the charge for 2019. The biggest news came at the end of 2018 when it was announced that the 2017 MX2 World Champion, Pauls Jonass, was making the switch from his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing ride in MX2 to ICE1’s MXGP program for 2019. Though Jonass’ 2018 MX2 title fight ended prematurely due to an ACL injury, the Latvian has made the best of the situation and already made the first trip to the opening round in Patagonia Argentina. “With the ACL surgery, it is never easy to come back and afterwards was pretty difficult. We did a lot of work with

physio, I had the surgery on 26th September and since October went to the physio five times a week, for two, three, or even four hours, a day until the end of January. It was three months of just full gas physio work to make the knee stronger. It was tough to see the other guys riding while I was just doing some boring exercises to get to make my knee stronger, but I think that it will really help me in the future.” The positive outlook of Jonass, the injury, and the realization of what will be challenging transition to the MXGP class has given him the motivation needed to train harder and with more passion than ever before. “It’s tough to come into the MXGP class with an injury especially because it is my rookie year. I don’t have the full preparation, like we 51


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should have if I had been riding in November, but I think everything happens for a reason. Now I’m enjoying every training much more than I did before, even the long cycling for three of four hours on the bicycle, which I didn’t like at all before. Those months when everyone was riding, I couldn’t do it so when I stopped by Lommel and saw them riding it was really painful but now it’s just more motivation to go riding again.” Joining Jonass on the FC450 for 2019 is the even younger but notably taller Arminas Jasikonis. The pair have known each other since their youth racing in the Baltics but haven’t had the chance to race one another in many years as each explained. “Overall with the team it’s been pretty good because now everything is new for me, new team, new bike, new class, so it will be a fun season. We have a really good atmosphere in the team and Arminas I’ve known since racing on 50cc together already from seven or eight years old.” – Jonass “The atmosphere is great with Pauls, we have also been racing together but I went quicker to the MXGP class. It’s a pity that we couldn’t ride in the off season because we could have pushed each other quite a lot. He was a bit unlucky with his injury but so far, we are getting along good. I’m really excited to actually work with him because then we can push each other in trainings, it’s really good motivation for me and for him.” - Jasikonis Jasikonis also comes from a challenging 2018 season after losing his factory Suzuki ride at the end of 2017 while still healing from a femur injury the 21-year-old 197cm tall Lithuanian joined the privateer Honda RedMoto

Assomotor squad scoring 19th in the championship. The decision of choosing of the relatively untested Jonass and Jasikonis for the MXGP class is one that Pyrhönen stands behind, “I know both Pauls and AJ are capable of delivering great results. At the moment we have a very young and a very hungry team, so it is really exciting.” Jasikonis for one couldn’t be happier in his return to a factory effort with ICE1 for 2019, “It’s been really great so far to work with them. I have everything that I need in the team. What the team offers inside is as professional as it looks from the outside. We have our own trainers and everyone is working 24/7 for us to have the best results.” Aside from its new MXGP riders the ICE1 team has also made changes with some new sponsors with most notable being motorcycle gear manufacturer YOKO. The look of the new gear and the story behind also meshes perfectly within the Husqvarna team as Pyrhönen explains: “We are very excited about our new fresh look, YOKO fits very well to us at ICE1 and very well to Husqvarna. Husqvarna has a strong heritage and so does YOKO, it is a brand that has been very famous in motocross, since the 70’s and 80’s and is now making a comeback.” The new squad have made their 2019 debut in impressive fashion just days ago at the MXGP of Patagonia-Argentina. For Jonass the race was last minute decision and something he felt he needed so he could get back into racing if against his doctor’s objection, “When I talked with the doctor then he was not so happy that I decided to go to Argentina. I’m feeling pretty well on a bike for sure but 53


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I’m not even close to 100%. I’m not focusing too much on the set up because if I do too much setup now for the bike, then when I’m racing full speed again, I’ll need to change it anyway. At the moment I’m really focused just on getting to one hundred percent fitness and taking it step by step. I haven’t put that any goals for the end of the season or whatever, I just want to improve race by race. Hopefully in the end of the year when I am 100% I can show some good results and prove myself a bit in the MXGP class.”

In addition to the lastminute decision for Jonass to race his MXGP debut the call was also made to bring ICE1’s Mikkel Haarup to race inaugural MX2 event. Haarup, who was originally slated to run the EMX250 Championship, managed an impressive preseason performance to be promoted to the MX2 spot. However, Haarup struggled in Patagonia with both the speed of the track and multiple mistakes which in the end only earned him 23rd overall, “It wasn’t a good start to the championship for 55


me, but I will keep working hard, hoping for some better results in the coming races. I struggled to find a good pace and I also made a lot of mistakes during the two races. In the opening race I didn’t get a good start but kept fighting. Halfway through the race I had a small crash and that made things harder. In the second race my start was better, but I wasn’t able to find good speed. Some riders passed me, and I had another crash, which cost me a lot of time. This is not where I wanted to be at the season opener, but the season is long, and I feel there is still a lot for me to learn.” Both Jonass and Jasikonis where impressive though and 56

the pair even battled with each other just inside the top 10, lap after lap, in Sunday’s MXGP racing. The first MXGP race of 2019 was a success for the team with both MXGP riders inside the top ten including Jasikonis’ 6th overall while Jonass took 10th.

“It was a good beginning to the season for me,” Jasikonis said, “I did my best and sixth place in the overall standings shows we are on the right track. It’s good to start the long season with this result. I’m also really happy with the way my bike worked, it perfectly suits my riding style. The season has just started and there is still a lot of room for small but important improvements in my riding and my approach to racing.”

Jonass admitted: “I am really happy with my results in Argentina, I had two decent races made no mistakes and learned a lot. Everything was new for me, I have to take this experience and continue working to become a better 450cc rider. The racing in this class is a lot more intense and the starts are massively important for each race. I’m happy we made the decision to come to Argentina and I’m motivated to get back to work.” With Jonass scoring a top 10 in his first ever MXGP race on a new bike and little seat time due to injury plus Jasikonis’ fast but consistent performance, the ICE1 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team will surely be contesting for podiums if not wins shortly!


L L A H

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E M A F F O


DONNIE ‘HOLESHOT’ HANSEN AMERICAN DONNIE HANSEN HAD A SUCCESSFUL BUT VERY BRIEF CAREER, AS HE COULD ONLY SHOW HIS REAL POTENTIAL DURING TWO SEASONS. REVOLUTIONARY OF THE 1981 AMERICAN TEAM INVOLVED AT THE MOTOCROSS NATIONS, THE CALIFORNIAN RIDER WON EVERYTHING THE FOLLOWING YEAR BUT HAD TO STOP HIS CAREER AFTER A TERRIBLE ACCIDENT.

Born on 10th March 1959 in Simi Valley, a famous location for motocross fans as Honda America had his private training track in that area, Donnie Hansen had a first interest in motorcycle racing when he was a student at the Royal High School. He discovered TT and motocross on a Maico and later on he moved to the pro series on a Can Am.

Moving in 1980 from the Canadian bike to a Honda, Donnie got his first top ten result in both the Trans USA and the US Supercross championships. Very fast starter, smooth rider with a technically advanced style, he joined the factory team and improved his results with a final podium in the 250cc Motocross championship and a top six in the Supercross series. When Roger De Coster convinced Honda America, with the support of sponsors, to send a Team USA at the Motocross and Trophy of Nations, Donnie was of course selected alongside his team mates Danny Laporte, Chuck Sun and Johnny O’Mara to fly to Europe for an historical trip.

Team USA had sat out of the event in 1979 and 1980, but thanks to Roger De Coster, who became the team manager after his retirement, they finally came back stronger for this 1981 assault. No one gave them a chance to win in Lommel (for the Trophy, class 250cc) or Bielstein (Motocross, class 500cc), as the team didn’t bring the best American riders all contracted with other brands not interested in flying overseas.

When he landed with the team in Belgium, Donnie Hansen had no win to his credit in Motocross or Supercross, compared to his prestigious team mates. However, all of them did the job in Lommel, scoring a second (Johnny), a third (Danny) and a fourth (Donnie) position in the first race, and another top six with Danny, Johnny and Chuck in the second moto. Even if Andre Vromans won both races, the Belgian Team had to be happy with a second position behind the Americans, who travelled to Germany one week later for another ‘hold up’.

For his first ride on a 500cc Donnie had an impressive ride in the first heat, scoring a second position behind Hakan Carlqvist; forced to ride safely the second moto as Chuck Sun couldn’t enter this one, he secured a thirteenth position just enough for the US Team to beat the Brits by a single point! It is hard to affirm that these performances changed Donnie Hansen’s life, but we must say that the following season he was the man to beat in the US!

Hansen won both the Motocross and Supercross titles and was of course called by Roger de Coster to join again the team to defend their victories at the Motocross of Nations. He flew to Sweden to enter the final 250cc GP which Donnie won easily, but a few days later while practicing in Germany he had a horrible crash and suffered a severe concussion that forced him to retire from racing. Donnie Hansen is still involved in the sport with the Donnie Hansen Motocross Academy and he was also the coach of his son Josh, who also had a pro career in the US. Text and Photos: Pascal Haudiquert

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1979

33rd in the 250 US Supercross Championship (Can-am)

1980 8th in the 250 US Supercross Championship (Honda)

8th in the Trans USA

1981 6th in the 250 US Supercross Championship (Honda)

3rd in the 250 US Motocross Championship

6th in the Trans USA

19th in the 250 Motocross World Championship

Winner at the Trophee of Nations with Team USA

Winner at the Motocross of Nations with Team USA 1982 250 US Supercross Champion (Honda)

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250 US Motocross Champion

11 in the 250 Motocross World Championship. Winner of 1 GP


S K L A T K C O D PAD

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1

The MXGP and MX2 riders were welcomed by thousands of fans that gathered together in the centre of Villa La Angostura.

2 The crow was also entertained by an FMX show by local riders. 3 2019 official MXGP and MX2 group photo. 4 Recently nominated FIM CEO Mr Tony Skillington with Youthstream’s CEO Mr David Luongo met up in Argentina. 5 Season-opening press conference was hosted on Friday of the MXGP of Patagonia-Argentina. 6 The MXGP of China delegation visited the MXGP of Patagonia-Argentina. 7 Customized helmet of Gautier Paulin for the Argentinean round. 8 Have you already signed up on www. mxgp-tv.com?

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E L R A U I T C A E E SP F

ANDRE MALHERBE’S 1973/1974 ZUNDAPP MC125


He took delivery of his first bike aged ten and had his first race shortly afterwards but his racing activities were restricted to his native Belgium until 1973 when he collected his license to race the European 125cc Championship, which he won, first time out before repeating the feat the following year in 1974. Ironically, it is this Zundapp MC125 that we will feature in this issue of MXGP Magazine.

ANDRE MALHERBE IS A THREETIME FIM 500CC MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPION AND ONE OF BELGIUM’S FINEST ATHLETES TO HAVE EVER THROWN A LEG OVER A MOTOCROSS BIKE.

In 1972 whilst competing in Belgium, Malherbe was racing production CZ machinery but when he entered the 125cc European Championship the following year, he did so armed with factory bikes from Zundapp, which were produced in Munich, Germany. His teammate was Fritz Schneider and both riders had identical machinery.

In 1973, the championship was run as an eight-round qualifying series; the riders were split into two groups, A and B, raced on different tracks on different weekends and the title was decided in a winner-takes-all, one-race final at the end of the year which featured the top twenty riders from both groups. Tarao Suzuki from Japan won Group A; Malherbe won Group B. At the final in Yugoslavia, Malherbe was victorious with a 1-2 to claim his first European title with Tarao Suzuki taking second ahead of Fritz Schneider. Rule changes in 1974 though meant that the two-group system was replaced with a one-group format, with riders competing over fifteen rounds, in a title chase that could not have been closer. Malherbe was victorious to claim back-to-back titles, only this time it was his teammate Fritz Schneider who placed 65


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shock absorbers were made by Koni of The Netherlands.

second, by a single point. Third went to Gilbert de Roover of Belgium, just two points further back. Hello Moto …

THE ZUNDAPP BIKE WAS MUCH FASTER, THE ENGINE MUCH STRONGER, THE HANDLING WAS ALSO BETTER EVEN THOUGH THE FORK WAS NOT SO GOOD.’

When Malherbe switched from CZ to Zundapp in 1973 he immediately noticed the benefits, remembering that ‘it was a big difference. The Zundapp bike was much faster, the engine much stronger, the handling was also better even though the fork was not so good.’ The conventional forks were made in-house by Zundapp but as Malherbe has already pointed out, ‘it was the worst part of the bike; too soft and always bottoming.’ The rear twin-

Everything about the bike was different compared to the production version, and in actual fact, the only changes between the ’73 and ’74 models was a slight revision to the rear shock, but the troublesome front end remained the same. The MC125 came with a 5-speed gearbox and renowned Bing carburettor from Germany with fellow German-brand Magura providing handlebars and controls – namely the throttle housing, brake and clutch levers. Everything else was produced in-house, including the low-boy side-pipe exhaust. The tyres however were Metzeler. As for testing, there was none of that, as Malherbe recalls. ‘We didn’t have a lot of testing to make the setting; instead we made the tests at the race. The team was based in Germany but I was living in 67


Belgium and travelled to the races by car. I would meet my mechanic ‘Schmiddy’ at the track on Friday, practice Saturday, start testing and race on Sunday. ‘The power was good everywhere and the bike was easy to ride except for the front fork. Cornering was good and I could also start in 2nd gear. Overall, the Zundapp was very reliable. With Fritz as Malherbe’s teammate it was clear that from the very first gate drop of the 1974 season that the two Zundapp riders were the guys to beat and between 68

them they won the first eight rounds of the season, taking fifteen out of sixteen race wins. When the championship was decided at the final round at Lady’s Mile in Portsmouth, England, Malherbe clinched the title by a single point over Schneider, despite not scoring and Schneider going 1-1, and had nothing but praise for his German teammate. ‘It was a very long championship, I always battled with Fritz; He was very fast, consistent and a very strong driver. He was very strong in the first heat and in the second heat he was less consistent and it was easy for me to beat him in the second heat and to win the

overall because my fitness was better.’ Between 1973 and 1974 the Zundapp’s of Malherbe and Schneider took 36 race wins, with Malherbe taking 21 of those. And in the 1974 European championship, Zundapp picked up an impressive 11 out of 15 overall victories with these two riders at the helm, with Malherbe collecting 6 in total! With 20 race wins during the season, Zundapp completely dominated the last ever 125cc European Championship season before it was upgraded to world championship status in 1975.


S N R O O I T T I S E ED E U QO TH T ❝

Hello. I am interested in marshalling at the MXGP round on 23 and 24th March. I sent a message via the webpage but haven’t heard anything back. Do you still need people? Thanks! Luke 

Hi MXGP, I’ve bought a camping ticket for Matterley Basin, do I need to buy a separate ticket for the race? Thanks, Josh  

Hi Luke, thanks for the message try reaching out to the national federation or local organizer and if they need any help they can let you know! Each of the mentioned contacts information can be found on MXGP.com if you click corresponding event on the calendar. Regards MXGP

Hi MXGP, I would like to ask information about the MXGP of Trentino and where I can purchase the tickets?, Daniele 

Hi Daniela, thanks for the message! Tickets for the MXGP of Trentino are available online, for more information visit www.mxgp. com Regards MXGP

Dear MXGP, Could you tell me if any TV channels here in Brazil the will broadcast MXGP? Thallysson  

Dear Thallysson, thanks for the question! Our TV Coverage for each weekend is released on MXGP.com and shared on our social media pages by the Friday before racing. The 2019 MXGP season TV Broadcast partner for Brazil is BANDSPORTS but info on all of our partners world-wide is also available on MXGP.com! Best Regards MXGP

Hi MXGP, If I buy a weekend ticket and on Saturday I cannot attend the event, can I access the event on Sunday with the same weekend ticket? Thanks, Michael 

Hi Michael Yes, no problem, you can access the venue with your weekend ticket even if you are only attending the event on Sunday. Thanks MXGP

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Hi Josh Thanks for the message, yes admission tickets to the race are separate from the camping tickets and need to be purchased as well. Thanks MXGP


Profile for MXGP MAG

MXGP #67 March 2019  

Youthstream is proud to announce that the sixty-sixth issue of MXGP Mag is online now and in an all new design! The new issue of MXGP Mag fe...

MXGP #67 March 2019  

Youthstream is proud to announce that the sixty-sixth issue of MXGP Mag is online now and in an all new design! The new issue of MXGP Mag fe...

Profile for mxgpmag