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MXGP MAG Chief Editor: Marionna Leiva Photos: MXGP INFRONT MOTO RACING MEDIA World Trade Center II Rte de Pré-Bois 29 1215 Geneva 15 Airport Switzerland MXGP Mag #89 January 2021
� P.7 � � � � The articles published in this � � � ���� � � magazine do not necessarily reflect � � � � � � the official position of Infront Moto �������� � � � ��� P.8 � � � � Racing. � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Then content of this publication is IAL �������� � R � � � P.16 O � � � � � T based on the best knowledge and � � I � � � � � � � D � � � � � E � � � � information available at the time � S � � OT ������ the articles were written. � H 8 � � S � 2 � . � P L � P � � O � U � � � CO The copying of articles and TCH �������� � � A � � � C � photos even partially is � � 0 � � G 3 � . � � N P � I � � forbidden unless permission � � � C � � � � RA has ben requested from �������� �������� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Infront Moto Racing in � � � � � � � L � � � A � I � advance and reference is � C 4 SO made to the source (©MXGP). RLS 3 I . P G H �������������� ER T T N E S O N O AM M ������������� F M E F H O T ����� � F � � � � O � v � � R ��� vino P.54 RIDEer Paulin � � � � � � � ti Gau E ���������������� R U � T FEA ��������������� L A CI ������������ P.64 � E � � � P � � S P-TV �������� E � � G R X N U M EAT CHAMPIO F L .76 CIA WORLD P � � E � � � P � � S X �������� WM � � 0 � � 2 � � 0 � 2 AME��������������� F F ��P.82 O inov �� � � � � L � � � L HA mir Kav �������� � � � � � � i � � Vlad S ���� K L P.84 TA � � � � K � � � C �� DO RE 125��������� U PAD T EA 00 KTM � P.94 � F � � � � L OR ’s 20 CIA T I D SPE t Langston HE E T O Gran ST N O I ST QUE
L A I R O T I D E
David Luongo CEO of Infront Moto Racing
Dear MXGP Friends, First of all, on behalf of all the Infront Moto racing team, I would like to wish you all the best for 2021 and most importantly, good health. We are in the middle of the off-season and despite the winter break, many activities are still going on. The most important is probably the evolution of the pandemic and the research on the vaccine which is progressing very fast with the beginning of the first campaigns of vaccination in many countries. It gives us a lot of hope and confidence that 2021 will bring us to a much better situation than last year. We are monitoring weekly the worldwide situation and are prepared to take all the necessary measures to guarantee the running of the full season, safely for all the participants and stakeholders. This could include the vaccination for everyone in the paddock.
WE ANNOUNCED THE ARRIVAL OF BETA MOTOR AS AN OFFICIAL MANUFACTURER IN THE MXGP CATEGORY. In the last few days, we announced the arrival of Beta Motor as an Official Manufacturer in the MXGP category. This historical brand will be added to the 6 other official manufacturers (KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Husqvarna, GasGas) that compete in the most prestigious championship in the world. Another big achievement of the last month was the launch of the new MXGP-TV.com platform. Infront Moto Racing team developed a bright new On Demand channel that will continue to provide all the
races LIVE to the MXGP fans all around the world. The new layout and users experience have been brought to new highs! I invite you all to visit MXGP-TV.com as the 2021 season packages are already online with a special offer. MXGP 2020 â€“ The Official Videogame has been released just before Christmas and is available worldwide for all the fans that cannot wait until April for the start of the new season! Finally, during 2021, the season will lead us to Italy for the comeback of the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations on the 26th of September. We all missed the most popular off-road event in the world last year and we cannot wait to be there again and to celebrate motocross all together!
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P U G H N ATC I C A C R
L A N O I S I V O R P 1 2 20 ENDAR L A C
WHILE SOME ARE ENJOYING THAT WELL-DESERVED ‘OFFSEASON’ BREAK, OTHERS (THAT IS US, HERE AT MXGP) ALREADY HAVE THEIR SIGHTS SET ON THE 2021 SEASON. NOT TOO LONG AGO, A PROVISIONAL CALENDAR OF THE FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WAS RELEASED FEATURING 21 VENUES, 5 OF WHICH ARE NEW TO THE SERIES!
With the 2020 championship season concluding so late in the year, due to COVID-19 and the numerous changes that the racing calendar endured, the racing will kick-off later than usual next year, as the first gate drop is scheduled for the 2nd – 3rd of April. This year’s campaign was a difficult one, with several triple-header events introduced in order to present a viable championship and allow for as much racing as possible, which made things much more fast-paced and demanding not only from a physical standpoint for the riders, but also from a logistics point of view for everyone involved. And having succeeded in pulling
LLC, working hard to put on a fantastic season opener. off one of the most exciting championships in the history of the FIM Motocross World Championship, in the toughest conditions possible, a little bit of time is needed to get prepped for another epic year ahead – hence why the later start. The series will kick start in Muscat for the MXGP of Oman, as MXGP will head to the Middle Eastern country for the very first time. It’s an exciting addition to the calendar, showing the continued growth of motocross worldwide! Muscat is the capital city of Oman, surrounded by mountains and the desert, sitting on the Gulf of Oman which leads to the Arabian Sea. The OAA Oman Automobile Association circuit, located close by the Muscat International Airport, will host the event, with the local organiser, TRADE8 International
The OAA circuit is well known within the motorsport community in the area, featuring a large facility for motocross, karting, rally, drifting and various other events and will be the perfect place to hold the first round of the FIM Motocross World Championship in 2021. After the trip to the Arabian Peninsula, MXGP will head back to Europe for the MXGP of Italy, with the venue yet to be confirmed, followed by a trip to the red sand of Agueda for the MXGP of Portugal. Agueda first hosted the FIM Motocross World Championship back in 1985, with former 125cc World Champion Dave Strijbos winning in the 125cc class, while two years later, Eric Geboers was the winner of the 250cc category. Last time MXGP visited the Portuguese venue was back in 2019, that saw Tim Gajser and Jorge Prado victorious in MXGP and MX2,
but now with both riders racing in the same category, it will be interesting to see who will be able to repeat their success in 2021. The fourth round of the series will be hosted in the Netherlands, as the Dutch circuit, Oss, will welcome back the FIM Motocross World Championship since its last event back in the late 90’s. The venue, located in the south of the country in the province of North Brabant, first welcomed the FIM Motocross World Championship back in 1985, with Dave Strijbos taking the win in the 125cc class that time around. Other winners at the circuit also include the likes of Mike Healy, who won in 1989 and Alessio Chiodi who was victorious in 1998. Now Oss will make its return in 2021, with the venue confirmed as part of the MXGP racing calendar for the next 5 years and will become the regular home of the Dutch Grand Prix! Teutschenthal will then be the next stop as the 2021 19
championship will see the return of the German Grand Prix, after it was missed off the calendar in 2020, due to COVID-19, before heading to Orlyonok, for the first of two GP’s taking place in Russia. Latvia will be the next stop on the calendar before the FIM Motocross World Championship takes a trip to Asia for two instalments in Indonesia, the first MXGP of Jakarta, with Beach MX Park Jakarta as another new circuit added to the calendar for 2021. The second GP will return to Semarang for the MXGP of Indonesia, as the clay-based track will host its third MXGP event since the first race in 2018. MXGP is extremely popular in Indonesia and as a result the Indonesian trip in July has become somewhat of a tradition over the past few years, with the entire paddock eager to return each year, to meet all the awesome fans and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere during the race weekends and all best that the Indonesian culture has to offer! The MXGP of Czech Republic will be home to the 10th round of the championship, as Loket will welcome its 24th FIM Motocross World Championship event, after missing out on the milestone during the 2020 season. What’s even better, that the hard-pack venue has been confirmed as the home of the Czech Grand Prix for the next 5 seasons which is even better news for fans in the region. Then things will go from hard pack to the deep sand, as MXGP travels to Lommel, Belgium. As always, Belgium is a favourite among the whole paddock, with everyone more determined than ever to show their strengths on the circuit considered to be one of the toughest sand tracks in the world. Following the success of the Belgian triple-headers in 2020, Lommel is also among the numerous venues that have signed-up to have MXGP back for the next 5 years, which
means the Lommel sandpit will continue to test the most skilled sand riders for years to come! The MXGP of Sweden is also back for 2021, with Uddevalla making a comeback after missing out on a Grand Prix last year. Then a couple of weeks later, MXGP will move to Sweden’s neighbouring country – Finland! 2021 will see the muchanticipated return of the Finnish Grand Prix, after the comeback was postponed in 2020. Finland has a rich history when it comes to motorsports and the last time that the MXGP stars raced in the Northern European country, was back in 2014, with Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings victorious in the MXGP and MX2 categories. To make things even more exciting, the Grand Prix of Finland will take place at completely new venue - IittiKymiRing. The Iitti-KymiRing track is predominately a roadracing circuit, which will be completely transformed for the MXGP event, with a sand-based track being designed and built, in co-operation between the local organiser, Lahti Events Ltd. and Infront Moto Racing, to ensure the venue is in top shape and ready to host the fastest riders in the world. The 2021 MXGP of Finland is set to be pretty special, offering riders and fans the chance to enjoy a unique weekend of racing with the best elements that the Finnish culture has to offer. Moving from one new venue to another, the FIM Motocross World Championship will travel back to Russia – this time for the MXGP of Igora Drive – which will introduce the 5th and final new venue of the series! Igora Drive is a popular motorsports facility, located just 54km from Saint Petersburg. The complex boats an FIA Grade 1 circuit along with a karting, motocross, rally, ring and winter driving courses that has the potential to completely
transform motorsports in the surrounding area. This will no doubt be another exciting addition to the series! From Russia, MXGP will make the trip to Turkey for the 15th round of the 2021 campaign. The Grand Prix will take place in Afyonkarahisar, as the hardpack track will welcome the FIM Motocross World Championship for the third time in its history. Over the years the Turkish circuit has showcased some epic racing and seen the crowning of European and World Champions, with Courtney Duncan securing her maiden Women’s World Championship title there in 2019. After Turkey, MXGP will head back to Asia for the MXGP of China – though we’re still working to confirm the venue that will host this prestigious Grand Prix. Then the action will be back in Europe with the MXGP of France in Saint Jean d’Angely, another historic MXGP venue. Saint Jean d’Angely hosted its first FIM Motocross World Championship race in 1984, with Dave Thorpe and Heinz Kinigadner victorious in the 500cc and 250cc categories. More recent winners include the likes of Jeffrey Herlings, Clement Desalle, Antonio Cairoli and Tim Gajser who won the French GP in 2019. After 17 rounds, the FIM Motocross World Championship season will take a little ‘break’ as all focus will be on the 2021 edition of the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations. For this upcoming season, the year’s most celebrated event will take place in Imola, Italy, as the circuit will once again be transformed into a dirt track, ready to welcome the best riders from all over the world. The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari is one of the most famous circuits in Italy, with many top motorsport races held there every year, including Formula 1, MotoGP, World Superbike and more.
The first motocross race to ever take place in Imola was back in 1948 before making a return in 2018, 70 years later! As Imola made its return to the world stage, it was Jeffrey Herlings (MXGP) and Jorge Prado (MX2) who were victorious on that occasion. The following season Prado was able to repeat his success in the 250cc category, while in the premier class it was Glenn Coldenhoff who took to the top step of the podium, all while Tim Gajser celebrated his second MXGP World title. Due to COVID-19, MXoN did not take place last season, originally scheduled at the iconic Ernée venue in France, though it will be exciting to see the return of this legendary event in 2021! Compared to previous years, the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations will not be the last event of the season, as the FIM Motocross will resume with the MXGP of Spain at the newly introduced intu Xanadú – Arroyomolinos circuit. Last season the Spanish Grand Prix showcased one of the most successful race weekends of 2020. There is also another GP to take place on Halloween weekend (30th - 31st of October), with a venue to be announced, before the season finisher in Neuquén with the MXGP of Patagonia Argentina. Neuquén is a favourite among everyone in the paddock not only for its picturesque setting, but also for its fast and technical aspects of the track itself which features a dark soil base. During the last several years, the GP in Argentina usually took place at the beginning of the year, though for 2021 it will host the season finale, which will no doubt be more exciting than ever. Overall, it’s looking like 2021 is going to be another busy year for us all with some new exciting venues featured on the MXGP racing calendar, alongside the return of old favourites, one thing is for sure – we cannot wait to get the season underway!
FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
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L A I C O S P G X M Merry Christmas video: Merry Christmas and happy 2021 from all the MXGP riders and Paddock Family!
@jkracingmx Very excited to announce that Swedish talent @ AlvinOstlund161 will join the team for his Rookie season in MXGP World Championship onboard the yz450f Thanks to @yamahamotorit
@marceldean10 Tim Gajser @tiga243 #timgajser #243 #mx #mxgp #mxlife #champion #honda #hrc #fox #foxracing #motocross #motocrossrider #motocrosslife #supercross #mydesign
@artemguryev Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone! Wish you all the best! Stay healthy #mxgp
EP.4 26 Minutes Behind the Gate: Our MXGP Friday only means one thing... Another episode of our Behindthe-Gate series, as we look back on some of the best moments from the 2020 season of the FIM Motocross World Championship! In Episode 4 we head to Latvia for the MXGP of Riga, the second of three races that took place in Kegums. Check it out, to see exactly what went down.
@ixsmx_ Really excited to share this news with you! The 2021 season we are entering the @mxgp scene with these 4 riders đ&#x;”Ľ @arnaudtonus @valentinguillod92 @ petrpolak313 @joelelsener_
@franksbizz_15 GOOD CHRISTMASâ€™ EVE
@antoniocairoli Tagliando al ginocchio malconcio âœ… Adesso Ă¨ tempo di recuperare!
@smactionracingteam MERRY CHRISTMAS @albyforato303 @andreaadamo80 @kevinhorgmo24
@sevenonepictures #reflections at the #mxgpfaenza #2020.
Happy Moments with Santero 958: Re-live some of the most incredible moments worth celebrating and the best way to celebrate is with Santero Wines showers. Episode 4:
P G X M # D OF ORL W HE IN T
@__mrpixel__ Tried a different angle this time_ @kaydewolf Got this miniature in air
R E S T L S R I N G MO
R E S T L S R I N G MO
H T N RE MO E D I RF TH O
: N I L U A P S R D E I R T E O U L T A I G T OWN W S I H IN 35
In the last 14 years, Paulin has racked up a total of 59 podiums, 30 race wins and 12 Grand Prix victories, not to mention those 5 consecutive Motocross of Nations titles with Team France!
WATCH THE VIDEO
THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT GAUTIER PAULIN HAS EARNED HIMSELF A SPOT AMONG SOME OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL RACERS IN THE FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SINCE HE FIRST MADE HIS DEBUT IN 2007. WHILE HIS FIRST TWO SEASONS WERE A LEARNING CURVE, SINCE THEN THE FRENCHMAN HAS CONSISTENTLY SECURED HIMSELF AS ONE OF THE MAIN CHAMPIONSHIP PROTAGONISTS, WITH SUCCESS IN BOTH MX2 AND MXGP.
But much like anything in life, all good things must come to an end eventually and it was towards the end of the 2020 season, that Paulin announced his decision to take a step back from racing. Looking back on his career, the 30-year-old has had quite the journey, that saw him consistently challenging at the top end of the field and become known as royalty at the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations. Having represented Team France for 11 years, those 5 consecutive wins
the top – here is Gautier Paulin in his own words… MXGP: What got you into BMX? between 2014 and 2018 are a standout for the Frenchman, who always seemed to be on a whole another level when it came to the annual team event. But unlike the majority of the riders in the FIM Motocross World Championship, Gautier Paulin’s journey in motocross started a little bit later than what is ‘usual’ for many of the other athletes. A young Paulin started out in BMX before making the switch to motocross at 12 years-old which some would consider to be pretty late, though none the less what he has managed to achieve since then has been nothing short of astonishing, proving that hard work prevails. MXGP sat down with the Frenchman at the end of the 2020 season, to re-live some of his best moments of his racing career and to learn more about his journey to
GP21: BMX came first in my career. I had a bicycle from the family and I always liked to make jumps. We had a little house in the neighbourhood and my dad used to have tonnes of material in the garage and I used to put some little things together to make jumps and it was always nice. I kind of brought up on the bicycle, I mean I was little, I was already on the bicycle at two and a half years old. I was always moving, never inside. I was born in the south of France and we have one day per year, before you start school, the day of sports. Everyone was there with installations to show and there was a BMX club there and I was like “mummy I want to do this!” and I was lucky that my parents could buy me a BMX and I started to ride BMX at six years old. Directly after this I wanted to do a race and that’s how I started racing. But you know, as a kid
when you want it and you start really early, by myself, I was always at the top, French Championship, local Championship, European and World Championship. I then was like a factory rider, of course no salary but being under the tent of a team, I put a lot of pressure on myself and then I became World Champion. MXGP: At what age did you make the switch to motocross and why? GP21: My dream was always to race motocross. I was around ten when I really believed that I wanted to do motocross because at the time, in my town, they just rebuilt a motocross track, some riders were there riding and I always went to watch. Then many of dad’s friends told him “hey buy him a bike”. And there was no expectation to race, because as a kid at twelve years old, my wish was just to stop racing and go to another world where there was no pressure, and I could enjoy it. I got my first bike at 12 years old in 2002 and then I started to ride a bit, just to learn how to use the clutch and I was having so much fun and I 37
was always thinking about it, that corner, that corner and no racing no pressure, but finally Gautier wanted to race. I was lucky that my dad could take me to some regional races, and I went to my first race, took the holeshot and won it. And then from that, in 2003 I started to race the regional championship, then moved to the under 14’s the following year, then over 14 years old. Then I went to 125cc and then I signed pro to go to do the European Championship. So, every year I was making a step forward to then finally four years later to sign professionally. Everything clicked because it was really my dream and I really put everything into it. I was always at the top in BMX, but in motocross I started from zero. MXGP: How important was the European Championship title in 2007? GP21: Winning the European Championship was a really big deal. Obviously as a kid riding in the 85’s and 125’s, I was an amateur and when I say amateur, I mean I was training one, maybe two times a week, not even training, I mean riding for fun and then I started to try to ride a bit more, but it was difficult, so maximum two or three times a week. Going into the 125cc class you need to work hard, I couldn’t do more because my dad was working. Then I signed a contract with Honda Martin. Being a half factory rider in the European Championship, I had the bikes, the mechanic, started to work with a trainer and I was so determined to make myself better that I just had such a big jump forward and became fast and strong. In any case, I could see my body was really strong and on the 250cc, that was heavy, I could really do what I wanted, and I finally got to the European Championships with that much will that I was able to crash and finish 19th in the beginning of the season and get a win in the second race, 20 seconds in front. People in the team had to calm me down, to tell me “ok take it step by step” and then I started to win. By the end
of the season, I won everything, I won the title with six wins and it was a big achievement for me to win that European Championship. It was an awesome year, especially when you show up and the media and the public don’t know you, so you’re totally out of the schedule. I had no pressure that year, it was easy going. I remember going from the team truck to the gate, there was a little mini moto track, which I used to go to with my minibike before going to the startline. It was such a nice year to achieve that title, nice for everyone and for myself especially. MXGP: What was the 2008 season like for you? GP21: In 2008, I signed professionally, like a factory racer, with a contract, I was having a value, and this added pressure because I had really high expectations for myself to be up front and to be potentially winning races and stuff. I put that much pressure to go quicker than it was possible to do and I injured myself a lot. I broke my hands, my collar bone, my tibias, so it was just an unlucky year for me. And then I just decided to calm down and when I had my tibia in a cast, it was clear how quickly people forget you, because you are just coming up, you are not there. I fought myself hard, because my team was factory, but they were closing so it was tough and I put everything together myself to get around me the best people to be racing where I wanted and I came back from the injury, I got my bike ready for the 2009 MX2 World Championship races and got my first GP win. MXGP: Tell us more about your first Grand Prix win in the Motocross World Championship… GP21: In Faenza, 2009, I got to the first round and it was apocalyptic, with the rain. Already on the Saturday, I remember I had a crash on the start, and I came back with the best lap time in qualifying, then won the GP and left the first 39
round with the red plate, leading the championship. So, I put everything back together from the tough year in 2008 to make my 2009 beautiful. MXGP: In 2009 you finished the year third in the MX2 World Championship standings, was the result what you were expecting? GP21: You know I was expecting more. I wanted to win this championship in 2009. We had some bike issues and honestly going away from a team that was closing, we had to manage new things and we had a few issues with a long series of 18 rounds, I had three DNF’s that took me away from the title contender but the main thing, I was feeling really good. I had some good starts, winning races, winning a few GP’s and fighting to stay in contention for the title and finishing third in the championship, it was an achievement. Being on the top step, fighting up front and fighting for the title was the target and I did it and it was a nice feeling and definitely a good performance.
MXGP: Two years later, your final year in MX2, you skipped the last GP and decided to ride in MX1 as a wildcard, you won the GP, what were your thoughts after winning in the premier class for the first time? GP21: I’m 187cm, long legs. Being in MX2 I was around 76-77 kg, so I was light for my height but not light enough because when you want to perform out of the start, it’s always better to be lighter. 2011 was my last year in MX2 and at the last round I asked to race with the 450cc, because my teammate Steven Frossard was injured and I had the option to race the Motocross of Nations in the 450cc class, but the Team France Manager was not sure about having me on the team or not. I asked Michele Rinaldi, “please can I race the 450cc” and it was 50/50, if I did good, I would get the chance to race the Motocross of Nations. And Michele said “no”, and I told Michele, Frossard is injured and I can get some good points for 42
the championship also for him. Michele was a really nice person, he told me “let’s check” and then 20 minutes later he told me “YES”. So, I raced in MX1 at the last round in Fermo, I went 1-2 and won the GP. It was unbelievably nice, that feeling of hearing the French National Anthem with the fans and friends down at the podium, it was a really nice memory. Over the years, Gautier Paulin has been part of some of the top factory teams in the paddock signing for Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing for 2010 and 2011, finishing 10th and 4th in the MX2 World Championship standings on those two occasions, before starting his MX1 career with Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing in 2012, where he remained until the end of 2014. During his time with Kawasaki, Paulin claimed six Grand Prix victories, one in 2012 (Bulgaria), three in 2013 (Bulgaria, Portugal, Italy) and two in 2014 (Qatar and Mexico), as well as 15 podium finishes. The Frenchman placed 3rd in the MX1 World Championship standings during his first season with Monster Energy Kawasaki and the 5th and 8th in 2013 and 2014. Though his last season with the team had a very memorable end, as Team France stormed to an epic victory at the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations in Latvia, where Paulin went 1-1 in the races. For the 2015 season, Paulin made the switch to red as he joined Team HRC, signing a two-year deal which confirmed him as a Honda rider for the ’15 and ’16 seasons. Despite only one GP victory and 5 podium appearances, Paulin placed as the MXGP Vice World Champion that year, 143 points behind fellow Frenchman, Romain Febvre, who claimed the crown that year. In 2016, Paulin only race 12 rounds of the FIM Motocross World Championship and placed 13th in the standings, after missing several rounds due to an injury sustained in training which
resulted in a fractured vertebrate and a broken rib. During his time with Honda, Paulin added two more Motocross of Nations victories, as Team France added two more consecutive victories in 2015 and 2016. For the following season, the Frenchman made another switch, this time signing for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing. He was with the team for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, where he finished 3rd and 5th in the MXGP World Championship standings, adding 7 podiums, including an overall, to his growing tally in ’17 and 4 more podiums in ’18. Of course, during those two years, Team France were victorious once again at the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations, making it 5 consecutive victories. Then eventually, Gautier Paulin made a return to Yamaha, joining the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory squad. In 2019, Paulin finished the season 4th in the championship, with 4 more podiums under his belt. As we started the 2020 season, nobody could have expected that this would be the season the Frenchman would make the decision to take a step back from professional racing. The announcement came not long after his incredible race win and podium performance at the Monster Energy MXGP of Flanders in Lommel. During the first race event of the Belgian triple-header, Paulin also made a shocking confession during an emotional post-race press conference that he had suffered a serious back injury at the beginning of the year. Paulin gave it his all for the final three races in Italy, to stand tall on the 3rd step of the podium, at the final round of Garda Trentino, which helped him secure 5th in the championship. MXGP: Over the years you’ve been on the podium many times, but do you have a favourite Grand Prix moment? Is there a GP that stands out in your mind? 45
GP21: There has been many, but one GP that stands out in my mind I would say is Maggiora. I was racing the French GP in Ernée, I won the first race but Antonio [Cairoli] won the second race, so he took my GP. I was like “damn, he just stole my GP” and I went to the next round in Maggiora and I won. It was not a win by 20 seconds, no, we were fighting until the last corner. And I never gave up, I was really strong. That moment, I remember I was on the podium, I remember that day, everything about the corners and still see the picture. I don’t know if it was the greatest, because I don’t have one greatest victory, but when you fight until the last moment and get it, it’s a good feeling. With 5 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations titles to his name, Gautier Paulin has placed himself among some of the most successful MXoN riders in the history of the sport, joining the likes of Jeff Smith, who helped Team Great Britain to 7 victories in the late 50’s and the 60’s, along with American Jeff Ward, who was part of Team USA in the 80’s. Paulin matches the record of David Bailey (USA) and Stefan Everts, who also has 5 MXoN victories for Team Belgium to his name. MXGP: What is your favourite Motocross of Nations moment? GP21: Motocross of Nation is a team deal, and it is not individual win. From the beginning I’ve been strong as a French racer and the French motocross world has so many strong riders. Being 11 years in a row at the Motocross of Nations was something, but winning five times in a row from 2014, it was just ‘WOW’. I would say 2014 was the best win because individually I had won all the races and I was that strong that year that no one could beat me and when you have that feeling, it’s just extraordinary. I always had exceptional teammates and a federation that over the years has been putting in a lot of effort to make things better on the rider professional side and how to get to the MXoN as the best: How to be at the race, how to go from an individual sport and sharing that 48
energy together and it’s not a win alone. We put everything together for the first time in Latvia and it was great because the year before in Teutschental we finished like sixth. I sat with the French federation after because I was frustrated and disappointed but then we put everything together for the race the following year in Latvia and we won it. It is important to be always fair and true and don’t lie in the sport to have the right attitude and be in the real zone. It didn’t work out in Teutschental, but Latvia was like a ‘BOOM’, Dylan Ferrandis also did an extraordinary job, and Steven Frossard won in his class, we were just flying, and it was such a good time. MXGP: Looking back on your career, what are some of your favourite moments? GP21: Looking back at my career, I think of all the winter training I have had in the past. Because I know for me, being ready is a big word, what’s being ready? All the other riders say “I’m ready” and as an athlete you just analyse and you are like “woah, is he really ready”, in some aspects, I know more the others than I know myself. From my side what means to be ready is from day one that I decide to train until the first GP, doing the most I can do and in the best way without getting sick, eating healthy, sleeping well, training hard, getting the bike to its best on the engine side, the start side, suspension side, and when you put everything together until day one, this is what I call to be ready. It’s not only about the physical side, it is about everything. The MXGP series gets you strong because the schedule is tough, and that makes you stronger. But when you are alone in the wintertime, it’s hard. I love sport, pushing myself to the limit and maybe sometimes trying to understand too much. I would say I enjoy every minute, but all the winter training, although I don’t like the bad weather, but I was always happy knowing that I was putting the work in, I can tell you that I never missed one training session, this was in my blood, I’ve always done it for myself. Working alone with my mechanic in the rain, putting laps in, cycling on
his way to a strong finish at the MXGP of Garda Trentino.
the road bike, running – basically everything – it was just a nice puzzle to put together. MXGP: Who would you say is your most respected rival? GP21: My most respected rival… I’ve had a few. I’ve raced some of the best riders in the world. I would mention Ken Roczen, that kid was fast and young. When you see his age and the fact that he was winning the world series at such a young age, he was very skilled, and I liked that. Antonio Cairoli, also, I respect people like him. He is 9-time world champ, still there at 35 years-old, he is the Valentino Rossi of MXGP! I really respect what he brings, he brings a lot of positive to the sport, like Kenny [Roczen] also. 52
And then I would say I enjoyed racing with Jeffrey Herlings, too. He is very strong. I have respect for all the riders. When I’m behind the gate, I never thought in my mind that I don’t have respect or that I am faster than him, I have always had respect for them all. If we are all behind the MXGP series, it’s because we are strong. Now, it’s time for Gautier Paulin to take a step back from the racing world and enjoy the life he has built with his wife Clementine and their young daughter. The last several Grand Prix’s were the perfect end to what has been an incredible career for the 9-time Grand Prix winner, who added two more GP wins in Belgium and Italy this season, alongside a Fox Holeshot that helped him on
His final podium celebration was an emotional one, as he was met by his wife and daughter straight after the finish, with the Yamaha crew also greeting him onto the podium with a banner which simply read “Merci Gautier!”. MXGP: Do you have any regrets? GP21: I don’t have any regrets. I’ve done all I’ve wanted in my career. I’ve been giving everything since day one and I will give everything until the last day. NO REGRETS. I put everything on my career since the beginning and I knew I wanted to keep going until I was 30 years old. I’m really happy right now. I have my wife, my family, I have a little girl that’s growing and is starting to talk, so it’s just awesome and I really want to say thank you to everybody for the love, I love you all, too. Thank you.
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! A R E W E N ! : G V N T I H P T G Y X R M E V E W E N
EVERY YEAR, MXGP IS LOOKING TO STEP THINGS UP A GEAR AND CONTINUE TO MAKE PROGRESS WHEN IT COMES TO MAKING THE FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BETTER AS THE SEASONS PROGRESS. THIS TIME AROUND IT WAS TIME FOR MXGPTV.COM TO UNDERGO A COMPLETE OVERHAUL, WITH THE STUNNING MAKEOVER UNVEILED EARLIER IN DECEMBER, WHICH INTRODUCED THE BRANDNEW MXGP-TV PLATFORM!
What is MXGP-TV? MXGP-TV.com is the home of all the exclusive video content from the FIM Motocross World Championship, including LIVE race coverage, replays, highlights, GoPro laps, Fox Holeshot clips, best racing actions, Behind the Gate episodes, Studio Show and much more. Not to mention that it’s the only place where true motocross fans can access endless archive videos! Of course, the platform also provides LIVE action of the Women’s Motocross World Championship, the European Championships, as well as the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations, all in one place!
fans, who can easily browse the homepage to find all the categories at their fingertips, including race replays, GoPro Laps, Highlights, Action Battles, Track Previews, Studio Show replays, Behind-the-Gate and more. To deliver this highquality viewing experience worldwide, MXGP has joined forces with StreamAMG, who are providing the video-first website on the StreamPlay framework as part of an end-to-end solution. MXGP will take advantage of their MediaPlatform to orchestrate live delivery and the awardwinning CloudMatrix system to automate on demand content curation and distribution during each race weekend.
MXGP-TV History: In 2011, Infront Moto Racing (previously Youthstream), the promotor of the FIM Motocross World championship was one of the first, in the world of motorsport, to introduce their very own streaming service MX-Life.tv, offering live and on-demand coverage of the entire series. In 2014, the FIM Motocross World Championship was given a whole new look, with MX-Life.tv becoming MXGPTV.com, continuing to offer MXGP fans worldwide, all the best HD LIVE and on-demand coverage of each Grand Prix on the MXGP racing calendar. New era, new look! Now the relaunched MXGPTV.com OTT platform has undergone a complete revamp, with everything on the site brand-new, offering MXGP fans a whole new experience to enjoy their favourite mx riders in action! Everything about the new site is video-focused and things have been simplified for 56
More about StreamAMG: StreamAMG enables organisations across sports, media and betting to deliver live and on demand video content at scale and offer exceptional streaming experiences. Recognised as a leader in video technology, live streaming and sports OTT, StreamAMG delivers over 30 million hours of live content and more than 10,000 events per year to audiences worldwide. StreamAMG is a full service end-to-end OTT agency based, providing technology, operations services and expertise to some of the biggest players in sport, media and betting industries. The company has established itself as a leader in sports OTT, working with the likes of The English FA, Matchroom Sport, AS Roma and the vast majority of Premier League clubs. Alongside StreamAMG, MXGP has welcomed another new partner for this project, that is Cleeng. Cleeng will manage the e-commence activities on MXGP-TV and will also provide customer support, with
anything MXGP-TV related. This is great news for fans, who can easily get support for any issues that they may be having. More about Cleeng: Cleeng is the Subscriber Retention Management (SRM™) company. Cleeng’s tech stack is deeply connected with the full subscriber journey, right from the initial registration and transaction, and helps Media and Entertainment companies create exceptional identity management, recurring billing, and customer care experiences. Cleeng supports marketleading brands like Sinclair Broadcast Group, Optus Sport, BroadwayHD, Hearst, McFit and more to be successful with their Direct-to-Consumer strategy With the launch of the brandnew OTT platform, MXGP is now fully geared up for the 2021 season of the FIM Motocross World Championship, as the series reaches new heights, not only introducing a better viewing experience for fans enjoying MXGP from home, but also presenting the official racing calendar with completely new venues in Oman, Netherlands, Indonesia, Russia and Finland as the 20-round series returns in April 2021. MXGP-TV Official Tour: As you land on the brand-new MXGP-TV.com site, the first thing you’ll notice is a whole new look! MXGP-TV has been completely transformed, with the homepage now organised by all the various video categories – Most Popular, Behind the Gate, Fox Holeshot, Categories, GoPro Lap, Highlights and all the other collections. All the video content is categorised in three pillars: Free, MXGP-TV Registration and Premium! The first is pretty selfexplanatory. There are videos that can be enjoyed for free, meaning a subscription is not required and then there are videos that are still 59
free but fans require MXGP-TV credentials to gain access to them, meaning an MXGP-TV account is needed. Most of the videos already mentioned are exclusive to the platform. And last but not least, we have the MXGP-TV Premium content for which an active MXGP-TV pass is required in order to enjoy LIVE race coverage, race replays (on-demand), Behind-the-Gate episodes and more! The homepage is super easy to navigate, with all the stunning content all at your fingertips – just a tad of browsing is needed, and you can easily find some awesome videos to enjoy! While the landing page virtually features everything you may need, a further navigation bar at the top of the site allows the opportunity to further explore the site, including the latest MXGP Racing Calendar, more about all of the categories (MXGP, MX2, EMX, WMX, VMX, Junior, MXoN, SNX and more). Next, the ‘Videos’ section is the perfect place for a more specified search if you have a certain race, clip or video in mind. With plenty of filters and settings, a more advanced search couldn’t be any easier to find that specific content you may be after. Last but not least is the Support page, which features all the FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) about your account, content, payments and T&C’s. In addition to our FAQ’s, the page also provides fans a much easier way to get in touch with the ‘Submit a Request’ form at the top of the page, in order to get the support needed as quickly as possible, with the dedicated team on hand to help! 2021 SEASON PASS! And now is a better time than ever to also launch the 2021 MXGP-TV Season Pass early-bird promo and get set for another epic season ofthe FIM Motocross 60
Enjoy all 20 GP’s of the FIM Motocross World Championship, the Women’s Motocross World Championship, European Championships and the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations – Get yours today!
World Championship will head to new tracks in Oman, Netherlands, Indonesia, Igora Drive, (Russia) and Finland for next season. With new additions to the calendar, as well as the return of some old favourites, including MXGP of Patagonia Argentina, Italy, Germany, Sweden and Czech Republic, among many others, this will no doubt make things even more interesting as Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle look to defend their MXGP and MX2 titles.
In 2021, we will be treated to 5 new venues on the MXGP calendar, as the FIM Motocross
Though of course the likes of Jeremy Seewer and Antonio Cairoli, who finished second
World Championship with MXGP-TV. Fans have the opportunity to get ahead of the first gate drop at the MXGP of Oman and purchase their annual MXGP pass ahead of time for an even better price!
and third in the championship standings, won’t make it so easy for the Slovenian. Meanwhile in MX2, new teammates Jago Geerts, Maxime Renaux and Thibault Benistant will no doubt shake things up in the class as Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle goes after his second world championship crown, following his dominant success in 2020. Of course, we will have to wait and see how the championships really unfold and the best way to do just that will be with MXGP-TV.com!
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2020 WMX WORLD CHAMPION AS TITLE CHASES GO, THEY DO NOT COME MUCH TIGHTER THAN WHAT WE WITNESSED IN THE 2020 FIM WMX WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WHERE NO LESS THAN FOUR RIDERS STILL HAD A CHANCE OF BECOMING WORLD CHAMPION GOING INTO THE FINAL RACE OF THE SEASON. OKAY, WE THOUGHT THE 2017 FIGHT WAS TIGHT, BUT EVEN THIS ONE ECLIPSED THAT AS TWO RIDERS ENDED THE YEAR TIED ON POINTS AT THE TOP OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS.
During the off-season, the now two-time WMX world champion Courtney Duncan flew back home to her native New Zealand for a well-earned rest after what was, on reflection at least, a mentally and physically demanding 2020 campaign. MXGP Magazine caught up with her just before Christmas to get her thoughts on how the season panned out, a season which threw up everything from preseason injuries, Covid-19, huge crashes and come from behind victories. MXGP: How was the race in New Zealand at the weekend? CD: It was pretty cool, the races were shorter than what I’m used to in the world championship, 12 minutes as opposed to 20 minutes + 2 Laps, but yeah, it was all cool. MXGP: Was it good to just be riding and racing again; did you take it seriously or was it more of an exhibition thing, because you did a bunch of Kawasaki stuff before the race, didn’t you? CD: Yeah, because I haven’t ridden since Arco but obviously, I wanted to ride before the event; I rode maybe 40 minutes on the Thursday and then an hour or so on the Friday, and then I raced on Saturday. It was cool and a lot of fun. MXGP: Let’s talk about your season then. At the first round of WMX this year, you seemed a little bit rusty coming in, but you still went 1-1. Dixon mentioned at the time in his post-race report that you’d been suffering with headaches leading into the event. What was the situation from your side? CD: Yeah, I had a small headknock at the start of January; it wasn’t even that bad, but I just had some pretty bad headaches for a while afterwards, maybe six weeks or so, and it was just restricting my bike time and
training in general. So, no, it wasn’t an ideal way to start the championship, especially with limited bike time. I think I had 20 minutes on my race bike in England before that first GP at Matterley Basin, so definitely not the way you want to start the championship, that’s for sure! But we made do with what we had and we probably got lucky with the weather and the mud in a way that it probably slowed the speed down a little bit. I got a couple of good starts which really helped in those conditions and I was just pleased to bring it home to win both races. MXGP: You obviously don’t mind riding the mud it seems … CD: Riding mud is fine for me; growing up in New Zealand we ride a lot of mud. We have heaps of races over the winter and pretty much every weekend it’s raining so with that being said, I’m used to those conditions and I always seem to go well when it’s muddy. It must be a Kiwi thing! MXGP: How difficult is it for you, coming back to Europe from New Zealand, flying from what is your summer into the European winter for the first GP in February March, and going from dry, hard pack conditions over there to wet mud and sand over here? CD: I think it has both its positives and negatives; in New Zealand in the off season I’m usually able to get in a lot of bike time because it’s summer over here so I can build some intensity into my riding. There are also races during that time as well so I’m able to do those, but then on the other hand, it is dry and hard pack versus what you get in Europe at that time, which is mud, deep conditions and cold weather; it literally goes from one extreme to the other and you have to be able to adapt and I guess, be well-rounded in all conditions, and make the best of the situation, I guess.
MXGP: Round Two at Valkenswaard was always going to be a tough one for you, more so for the reasons you just pointed out where the weather at home meant dry tracks versus the wet, deep sand of The Netherlands and therefore not much ridetime in those kinds of conditions. You went 4-2 and looked pretty nervous and rode as if something was missing. Would that be a fair assessment of how it went down? CD: Yeah, definitely! I was far from my best and I think it showed. I didn’t feel comfortable at all. It was just a combination of things I guess; I struggled with the wet sand, having not grown up in those conditions. It takes me a while to build my confidence up when it’s like that, but just bike-time in general, when you haven’t been on the bike in so long, you’re kind of a little bit rusty, and in conditions like that it shows! So yeah, I struggled but I was proud of the way I was able to fight to 2nd in the second race which was a good change from the first one (where Courtney placed a distant 4th). I still walked away from there with the Red Plate, I rode smart, didn’t do anything stupid or ride over my head; I guess it’s just one of those things where you take the best out of the situation at the time. MXGP: Then lockdown happened. You’d already returned home the day after Valkenswaard but instead of returning to Europe a few weeks later, it ended up being seven months between rounds for you. How frustrating was that? CD: It was longer than our offseason; it was crazy and we’ve never experienced anything like that before. Having said that, I think it was probably a blessing in disguise for me because I was able to use that extra time to get my general fitness back as well as a lot of time on the bike. That was the biggest thing for me, getting that time on the bike over here, so from that side, the whole waiting game wasn’t too tough. I just enjoy riding my bike no matter where or when it is, so from that side it was all good
for whenever we were able to get back to racing. MXGP: Mantova was the first race back for you since lockdown. You won the first race comfortably but then Race Two ended rather abruptly after ‘that crash’. Talk us through the first couple of laps or so where you were sat in 2nd, and then the crash itself. CD: Actually, I think despite the crash, Mantova was pretty good; we’d made a lot of improvements since the start of the season. We also made the switch to the 2021 KX250 as well which was really good. I was able to win the first race, so that went well and then the second race I was feeling good until I had that huge crash which kind of came out of nowhere; I still watch the footage and kind of wonder what the hell happened or what could I have done differently? It was a freak thing and it did put me on the back foot because it was 25 points lost; 22 or 25, whatever it was gonna be, they were big points in that race and in a five rounds series, that’s a little bit like pushing water uphill. That one was tough to suck up at the time but we were able to rebound at Mantova 2 with a 2nd and a 1st which was needed. MXGP: Going back to the crash, fortunately you were somehow able to get back up only to find you couldn’t re-join the race because of a broken handlebar; and from your side, there was a serious amount of airtime before you hit the ground which somehow ended up being in soft sand. CD: Yeah, it was crazy! I don’t know how I walked out of that one to be fair; that was a huge crash and I still remember the feeling as I was flying through the air and thinking, ‘man, I’m so high right now, how’s this gonna end …?’ but as you say, I was able to land in a little bit of soft stuff and walk away. I was on my feet quickly actually, but when I got to the bike, I saw the ‘bars were broken which stopped
me competing, but otherwise I would have been chasing back as many points as possible. MXGP: When you got back to the truck and did the maths, and saw that you were 14 points off the lead and had dropped from 1st to 4th in the standings with two rounds and four races to go … how did you process that information, especially with the next round three days later? CD: I think at the time I was like ‘that’s the championship done … it’s gotta be done, I’ve just lost 25 points!’ but then to get back to the truck and find that we were 14 points behind …? It wasn’t the end of the world, obviously it still puts a huge amount of pressure on to the point you can’t afford any more mistakes from here on in; you’ve only got four races left so you pretty much need to go out and win almost all of them. It put me under a bit of pressure, but I think I thrive on those situations so going to the line two days later, knowing that I needed to wake up and deliver that day was probably a good thing. MXGP: At Mantova 2, you bounced back with a 2-1, and suddenly you’re up to 2nd in the championship and just 4 points off the leader, which was Nancy van de Ven, so going into the final round at Trentino, it was all to play for, but to say that first race started badly is probably a bit of an understatement. CD: Yeah, the goal was to execute the start and I definitely failed on that front, after crashing going down the start straight, and that put a huge amount of pressure on in that race as well; just going down and knowing that I needed to pretty much win that race to win the championship, so I just continued to charge all the way to the end and managed to come through and get the win which was crazy. I still don’t really know how that happened, but it was cool to make it happen, for sure!
MXGP: Did you like the tracks at Trentino and Mantova by the way? CD: Yeah, I think they were both fun but obviously they are both quite a bit different; Mantova being quite sandy which is usually not my forté but we did the best we could. And then also Arco is a pretty amazing place for sure, just the track and the mountains and I always enjoy going to that race; it’s probably one of my favourite circuits on the calendar. Both are difficult tracks, both have their good and bad points as well as their different challenges, but you make do with what you’ve got and try to take the best out of the track, I guess. MXGP: Just describe the moment from Race One in Trentino; you said you wanted to execute the start, that was your ‘Plan A’ … but when you found yourself going down 20-25m along the start straight, what was your thought process, especially as you were going for the title and needed a good result from that race? Were you calm or fired up when you remounted? CD: I would say there was a bunch of mixed emotions; the first thing that went through my mind was ‘aaah sh**! You’ve got to be kidding me right now’ but at the same time I was aware that I needed to make it happen, so from that side I was fired up to come through from the back of the field. But, I was also kind of calm and composed as far as, I’ll do the best I can and wherever I end up, I end up. So, instead of putting too much pressure on myself I was more kinda like, just charge through! I will always fight to the end no matter what; no matter the situation I will always give it everything I’ve got, so that summed up that race. I fought for every single position, for every second right to the checkers and yeah, I was able to make it happen. MXGP: What did you think when you saw Larissa Papenmeier just in front of you with just over a
lap to go – she was leading, you were in 2nd and all of a sudden, a race win looked like it was on the cards? CD: Actually, I didn’t see her crash; I didn’t know that she’d crashed because I couldn’t see her in front of me, but then a couple of corners later I saw her right there in front of me. I kind of couldn’t believe it to be honest. I did wonder if something had happened, but I wasn’t quite sure, but as soon as I saw her, I think it was the second to last lap, I thought ‘man, I’ve got to get her!’ Fortunately, I was able to make that happen but at the end of the day, even if I’d have finished 2nd in that race I still would have been pumped with the way I was able to come through. Finishing 2nd also wouldn’t have been the end of the world, I still would have been able to make it happen if I’d have won the last race, but yeah, just try and take advantage of every position and if it’s there, it’s there. And that one was there! MXGP: The final race you were running in 2nd but settled for 3rd which was enough for you to clinch the championship; you obviously knew the maths and the various scenarios going into that final race in order to clinch the title. With that being said, was it a nervy final race or few laps, or not? CD: Yeah, a little bit but I would say I was maybe a little more composed going into that second race than the first race maybe; I’d gone out, had a race, knew the track and was pretty comfortable. And to be able to fight back to the lead after crashing at the start in the first race also gave me confidence as well, but obviously I still needed to finish in the top three if Nancy was to win. I knew the points; I’d worked that out after the first race. Obviously, I wanted to do the best I could but worst case, I knew what I needed to do if I was going to win the title. Third was good enough; I probably would have liked to have won that final race but at the same time and given the circumstances, I settled for third. 73
I did, and to win was a pretty cool feeling.
MXGP: When you said you were more composed going into race two, was that also helped by the fact you were leading the championship going into the final race of the series, therefore putting the pressure on other riders perhaps? CD: Maybe a little, but I think more so because of my performance in the first race. I felt comfortable out there, I felt like I had pretty good speed. Obviously, things can happen that aren’t in your control like what happened at the start in the first race for instance, so I was aware of that, but I still felt pretty confident that I would be able to handle whatever was thrown at me in the last race. 74
MXGP: They say it’s harder to defend the title than it is to win it; that was certainly the case with you this year, wasn’t it? CD: Yeah, for sure! For sure! It was just different; different years, you know? It took me a long time to win a championship but when I won it last year (2019), the year itself was one of those years where I couldn’t really put a foot wrong, whereas this year was just the complete opposite. I came into the season rusty and on the backfoot, which is never good, and then having that huge crash at Mantova and the start crash in Trentino … I felt like I got dealt a lot (of problems) this year but yeah, to still be able to fight and handle the pressure the way
MXGP: You touched on it briefly there, but you’ve pretty much experienced all scenarios in terms of going for a championship. You’ve lost by small margins, you’ve lost due to injury, you’ve won a championship with a race to go and now you have won with your back against the wall. How do you think that will help you in future championship fights? CD: I think it always helps the more experience you have in those situations, and so with that said, I think it’s gonna be good for me to sort of have that knowledge behind me moving into next year. But that’s not to say it’s going to be easy; the competition was hard and they definitely showed up again this year, but that’s cool. It forces me to constantly find ways to be better and to keep improving so hopefully we can have another good year and yeah, I’m excited for it.
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VLADIMIR KAVINOV THE 70’S WERE FOR SURE THE BEST DECADE FOR RUSSIAN MOTOCROSS, AS VLADIMIR KAVINOV AND GUENNADY MOISSEEV WERE THE BEST PAIR IN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP DURING THE MID 70’S, SCORING MANY GP WINS, CLAIMING TWO WORLD TITLES AND THREE OTHER FINAL PODIUMS. BEHIND HIS LEADER MOISSEEV, VLADIMIR KAVINOV WAS ONE OF THE BEST POSSIBLE TEAM MATES EVEN IF HE NEVER CLAIMED AN INDIVIDUAL GOLD MEDAL HIMSELF. Born in Ukraine on 25th January 1949, Vladimir Kavinov made his first appearance in the World Championship during the 1969 campaign. At that time there was no other choice for Russian athletes than to be member of the Auto and Moto sports club, who was the official team supported by the communist government. Of course, the riders had to ride the CZ or Jawa built in the Eastern block, but as those bikes were dominant at that period, that was not really a problem for the riders. Scoring his first point in Yugoslavia during the third round of the 1969 campaign, a few weeks after celebrating his 20th birthday, Kavinov had three other opportunities to get top ten results before the last round of the season in his native Russia. On 17th August the best riders joined Leningrad for the final round, and there was no real
suspense as Joel Robert had already secured his World title with a total of six GP wins; nobody that season was able to beat the Belgian rider, but at that last stage Vladimir did it and surprised everyone as he triumphed in front of the CZ factory rider! Best Russian athlete that season with a ninth overall, Vladimir repeated that performance in 1970 with another top ten result; no win for him that season, but again a strong Russian round in Lvov with a second position behind Sylvain Geboers. For the first time in his career Vladimir had the opportunity to race almost all the GP’s in 1971 and he was very consistent, scoring points during eight of the twelve rounds of the series; eighth overall, he was for the third year in a row stronger than his leader Moisseev. Forced to do the 1972 season on a CZ while Moisseev had the opportunity to use a KTM from midseason, Kavinov claimed two podium results with a win in Czechoslovakia and a second position in Germany. Twelfth 77
of the series, he then missed the three following campaigns due to personal issues. When he came back to the GP’s in 1976 Moisseev was ‘the man to beat’ and Vladimir had to be a model teammate; back in the winners’ circle with a win in Germany, Kavinov ended the series in third behind Mikkola and Moiseev. 1977 was the best year in the history of Russian motocross, as Moisseev and Kavinov finished champion and vice champion, winning seven rounds of the championship! The “red team” nearly repeated that performance in ‘78; once more Moisseev claimed the gold medal – for the third time in his career – but Kavinov missed the silver medal by three points after twelve rounds and twenty-four races! He took his revenge in ‘79 with a silver medal, one rank ahead of his leader. The Russian team did not enter a full GP season anymore, but during one of his last appearances, Vladimir didn’t miss the opportunity to dominate all his rivals at his home GP in Kichinev! He was back on a CZ, made a few appearances in the GP’s during two more seasons, and then focused on the national championship where he claimed a total of 13 titles between 1974 and 1991. Last but not least, Vladimir had eleven opportunities to represent his country at the Motocross of Nations, where he claimed two wins (Motocross of Nations 1978 and Trophy of Nations 1979) and a second position (Trophy of Nations 1976) with his team mates. Text & Photos: Pascal Haudiquert
1969: 9th in the 250 World Championship (CZ). Winner of 1 GP 1970:
10th in the 250 World Championship (CZ)
8th in the 250 World Championship (CZ)
12th in the 250 World Championship (CZ/KTM). Winner of 1 GP
1976: 3rd in the 250 World Championship (KTM). Winner of 1 GP 2nd at the Trophy of Nations (class 250) with team URSS 1977:
2nd in the 250 World Championship (KTM). Winner of 1 GP
1978: 4th in the 250 World Championship (KTM). Winner of 1 GP
Winner at the Motocross of Nations (class 500) with team URSS
3rd in the 250 World Championship (KTM)
Winner at the Trophy of Nations (class 250) with team URSS 1980: 12th in the 250 World Championship (CZ). Winner of 1 GP 1981:
37th in the 250 World Championship (CZ)
36th in the 250 World Championship (KTM)
S K L A T K C O D PAD
Hostettler Yamaha Racing enters MXGP with Arnaud Tonus and Valentin Guillod!
2 Merry Christmas from Italy! Cairoli family pictured for their family Christmas card. 3 Kiara Fontanesi and family looking good in red for their Christmas card! 4 Tom Vialle enjoying a snow day at home. 5 Merry Christmas from Romain Febvre and family!
6 Jordi Tixier and Benoit Paturel pictured after completing their 1,200km charity cycle ride to Nice! 7 Thumbs up from Glenn Coldenhoff, who enjoyed a rather chilly day on the bike! 8 Jorge Prado enjoying the sunshine in Spain during the winter breakâ€Ś 9 Courtney Duncan spotted her twin at the local gas station in New Zealand!
10 Mattia Guadagnini and the team ready to take on 2021!
E L R A U I T C A E E SP F
GRANT LANGSTONâ€™S 2000 KTM125 84
GRANT LANGSTON QUALIFIED FOR HIS FIRST GP AT THE END OF THE 1998 SEASON AND TWO YEARS LATER HE WAS CROWNED FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPION IN THE 125CC CLASS ON A CHAMP KTM, TO JOIN A VERY ELITE LIST OF SOUTH AFRICAN WORLD CHAMPIONS WHICH AT THE TIME, CONSISTED OF JUST ONE OTHER RIDER; GREG ALBERTYN.
Photo: Ray Archer What we didn’t know then was that this world title would spawn the start of a very impressive win-streak for the Austrian marque, and it’s Langston’s 125cc Champ KTM that will feature in this issue of MXGP Magazine. In 1998 Grant Langston showed up in Europe to try his hand in the 125cc world championship at just 15-years old, racing for a Harry Everts led Kawasaki team, and as you would expect, he found the going pretty tough right off the bat. Over the course of the twelveround series, he struggled to qualify for the main races, and
when he did, scoring points also proved problematic. That was until the final two rounds when he placed 9th in the second race in France at the penultimate round, and 13th in the final race of the year in Germany. Having picked up a top ten finish, Langston found himself in the spotlight and he was picked up by Champ KTM, a Dutch-based team led by former GP winner Kees van der Ven. At the time, KTM was looking to re-establish itself after years in the wilderness and with just one world title in the 125cc division since the inception of the class in 1975 – that title being won by America’s Trampas Parker in 1989 – it was time to re-boot
the system and make a real push towards another world crown. Langston grew up racing Japanese bikes, but he was impressed with the KTM as soon as he threw a leg over it: ‘Jumping on that KTM for the first time I remember thinking this thing is fast; ‘WOW! This feels quite a bit different to a Japanese bike,’ so getting on the KTM, everything looked and felt a little different. It took a little getting used to, but as we were doing so much testing, it only took about a month or so before I really enjoyed the bike.’ The other thing that impressed Grant was KTM’s commitment to the cause, and in particular the testing programme that 85
Photo: Ray Archer
was nothing like he had ever experienced before: ‘In ’99 KTM were developing in leaps and bounds at that point in time and they were testing non-stop, even in between GP’s. They’d say ‘hey, we are meeting here and we are testing swingarms or whatever …’ and so they were developing pretty quickly to the point that the bike changed a fair bit throughout ’99. A lot of it was stuff that came from the factory, but it was all arriving in pieces, and then built at Champ.’ However, with such a hectic schedule and a willingness to get to the top quickly, there were more than a fair share of reliability issues along the way: ‘During testing I do remember blowing up a few bikes but once the season got going, we had some things go wrong during practice or on Saturday, but when it really mattered during moto’s, we didn’t really have much go wrong; I think we had a couple of gearbox issues in the first year, we had a hydraulic clutch issue and a couple of seizing issues early on in the year, but giving credit where it’s due, KTM really improved the reliability a lot in a short amount of time.’ Langston ended the year as best KTM in 10th overall and found himself on the podium twice; the first was in Slovenia where he placed 3rd in the second race – his first ever top three finish – a result which also netted him 3rd overall. The cherry on the cake came at the penultimate round in Germany where he cruised to an emphatic 1-1 for his first GP win and he had well and truly arrived. For 2000, KTM signed James Dobb and Patrick Caps as the official factory riders in a brandnew team which meant despite his efforts, Langston had been overlooked but ‘GL’ took it on the chin and saw the bigger picture for what it was:
‘I think KTM came into 2000 deciding that they were gonna win this world title and from what I remember is that they thought I could be a very outsider/dark horse rider, maybe win a few rounds and get them some attention, so they wanted me to stay at Champ. I’d had a year on the bike, I was still living in Holland, riding for the same team and just improving the bike that was truthfully good. But there were some areas that needed some help! Especially the rear shock, the PDS system, but it was a rocket ship! Going into 2000, I don’t know if I truly believed in myself enough, but I knew I was gonna win some races and I also knew there were tracks where I could win overall.’ After picking up 4th overall at the opening round in Spain, he landed on the podium with 2nd at round two in France before dominating the Dutch GP at Valkenswaard, and suddenly he was leading the world championship standings. One of the highlights of the season was winning four races in a row in Slovenia and Austria – rounds 10 and 11 – and by the time the series arrived in Finland for round 15 of 16, Langston was 74 points clear of his closest rival, James Dobb. Langston wrapped up the title with a win in race one and won again in race two: ‘I really enjoyed that track in Finland at Heinola; a nice little shallow sand track. I just think that between me and the bike and maybe the confidence, when I showed up to those places, I was like ‘yep! This is mine!’ It felt good, you know?’ Despite one or two technical issues, the bike did not suffer any DNF’s, underlining the fact that KTM was not only a world beater once again, but it also proved to be pretty bulletproof. In fact, the only DNF of the season came at the final round at a muddy Gaildorf, and that was when Langston ejected himself into oblivion off a tabletop jump, and the impact of 88
Photo: Pascal Haudiquert
Photo: Ray Archer
the bike hitting the ground broke the fuel tank. So, what changed between 1999 and 2000? ‘KTM were pushing the envelope; they’d say, ‘okay, we’ve got some ideas on frames, try these! Do you like it more? No? Okay, then we will stick with what you’ve got!’ And we even changed things for different tracks. I remember running different swingarms, for like say on a hardpack track as opposed to a sand track; the swingarm was not only a different length but where the knuckle placement was for the shock, it was different, so it gave the shock a different angle and so I think we definitely customised the bike probably a lot more than most other riders or teams. KTM gave us an opportunity to make the bike our own and I’ve never experienced that since then, even in the US where they had the production bike rule. When I moved to The States and got on a production KTM in ’01 it was like taking a big step back, which is another reminder of just how good that 2000 bike was.’ The bike itself was pretty much full-factory, given that Champ KTM was considered as a satellite team. The chassis, the swingarms were constantly being modified and so to were the WP units. The front forks originally started out as the 49mm SXS units but by 2000 these were already 52mm, with the rear shock body being quite a bit bigger than either the stock or the SXS version. The cylinder and cylinder head were also supplied directly from the factory, but as Champ was not the official team, chief mechanic Harry Nolte was able to make improvements if he thought that further gains could be made. The crank, crankshaft and cases were also factory, with the cases being sand cast items. The piston and ignition were also factory whilst the carburettor was a factory 38mm unit supplied by Kehin. The 6-speed gearbox was also
Photo: Pascal Haudiquert
Photo: factory, and so too was the hydraulic clutch. As for the exhaust and silencer, Doma produced whatever was needed and they would spend countless hours on the Dyno as well as going out testing to constantly improve the overall package. As for BHP numbers … ‘I wanna say mid 40’s? But here’s the thing though; a lot of the time if you Dyno’d different guys bikes, I remember Patrick Caps bike always Dyno’d with more peak horsepower. His powerband was mid-top, I always loved bottom-mid. My curve was not always the most impressive, but it was really 92
wide, so I could lug it out of the corner and leave it in the same gear, all the way down the straightaway.’ Wheels were provided by Talon and were married to Excel rims whilst all the other external hardware, such as nuts and bolts, were Titanium. However, when it came to foot pegs, Langston preferred standard items over the grippy Titanium ones. There was also an option to move the pegs back 5mm or so when racing in the sand. After experiencing some problems with overheating in the early stages of development, KTM opted for larger units which were also
re-enforced for strength purposes. When Grant Langston crossed the line as world champion, it was only KTM’s second ever success in the 125cc class, and surely it had to be a nice feeling beating the factory team, right? ‘The only reason it felt good was I knew what we had was the best; we had everything we needed without the corporate hype of being the factory team. Yeah, it was like ‘you guys are more the underdogs’ so there is definitely a little part of it that felt good from that side, but at no point did I feel that we were ever the underdogs, if that makes sense!’
S N R O O I T T I S E ED E U QO TH T ❝
Where can I buy tickets for MXGP? Marco
Hi Marco , for the moment, you can only purchase one of our epic VIP GOLD SKYBOX passes. Visit www.mxgp.com and pick the GP you would like to purchase the VIP pass for, to learn more! Regards MXGP
Hi, how can I get more info on the MXGP game? James
Hi James , for details on how you can get your hands on the MXGP 2020 videogame, visit the official website HERE: https:// mxgpvideogame.com/ Regards MXGP
Hello MXGP, when does the MXGP-TV early bird offer end?
Dear Mandy , our early bird offer ends on the 15th of January Best Regards MXGP
Hey MXGP, where can I find the latest issue of the magazine? Alec
Hello Alec you can check out the latest issue of MXGP Magazine HERE: https://issuu.com/mxgpmag Thanks MXGP
When will the MXGP2020 game be ready for PS5? Julius
Hi David the MXGP 2020 Video Game will be available for PlayStation 5 on the 14th of January. Find more details HERE: https:// mxgpvideogame.com/ Thanks MXGP
Infront Moto Racing is thrilled to share that the 89th issue of the MXGP Magazine is now online! The January 2021 issue of the monthly onl...