2022 MXGP World Championship Previewby Jack Gaffney February 18, 2022 0 comments
This year’s MXGP class season will begin in a very odd fashion. The top two points finishers from a year ago, Jeffrey Herlings and Romain Febvre are both set to miss time to begin the year. Does this leave things wide open for Tim Gasjer and Jorge Prado? Or will someone else fill the void in the power vacuum to open up 2022? With Matterley Basin just two days away, let’s see how the field stacks up.
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Kawasaki KRT Team
No. 3 Romain Febvre
2021 Stats: 1 Grand Prix Win, 6 Moto Wins, 10 Grand Prix Podiums, Average Grand Prix Finish of 3.3, 2nd in Points
Febvre, who is confirmed out for this weekend, has still yet to begin riding after his Paris Supercross crash. However, according to Lewis Phillips of MXVice, the 2015 Champion should only miss the first couple of rounds of this season. Last season Febvre was as consistent as it gets, going 18-for-18 in top 5 Grand Prix finishes. If it wasn’t for Herlings being, well Herlings, he’s your 2021 Champion. One quick note for Febvre, he still will be sporting a Monster Energy Helmet despite them no longer sponsoring Kawasaki. In addition, he will be sporting Just1 gear and ditching Alpinestars as a part of the new team gear deal.
No. 919 Ben Watson
2021 Stats: 0 Grand Prix Wins, 0 Moto Wins, 0 Grand Prix Podiums, Average Grand Prix Finish of 12.3, 11th in Points
Watson leaves Monster Energy Yamaha to become the Ivo Monticelli replacement for Kawasaki. He was very hit or miss in 2021, but his best outing of the year came at Des Nations in September. Watson finished at the top of the MXGP class, going 3-4. Granted it wasn’t the most stacked group in the event, but an impressive set of Moto scores regardless. Watson also had a solid outing at a tuneup event at Hawkstone Park recently. He finished fifth overall in the MX1 category, and second in the ‘Superfinal’ event, to former teammate Glenn Coldenhoff. Watson, now in his second year on a 450, should heavily improve on his 2021 results.
No. 14 Jed Beaton
2021 Stats (MX2): 0 Grand Prix Wins, 0 Moto Wins, 3 Grand Prix Podiums, Average Grand Prix Finish of 5.7, 5th in Points
The Australian jumps to the big leagues after five years in MX2. No factory ride, but the F&H squad is far from a terrible landing spot. Despite no career MX2 wins, Beaton gets the call up coming off of two straight seasons with top-five points finishes. On top of frequent consistency, Beaton should be fine in his first season on a 450, just not at the level we’ve seen him in MX2.
DIGA Procross KTM
No. 19 Thomas Kjer Olson
2021 Stats: 0 Grand Prix Wins, 0 Moto Wins, 0 Grand Prix Podiums, Average Grand Prix Finish of 11.3, 9th in Points
TKO’s 2021 started out strong with a sixth in Russia, but there wasn’t much else to speak of. Now the Denmark native finds himself on the DIGA Procross team as its lone 450 rider. Just like Watson as well, TKO only got a year with his original team on the 450 side of things, which feels rough but that’s the business sometimes.
Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing
No. 61 Jorge Prado
2021 Stats: 1 Grand Prix Win, 2 Moto Wins, 5 Grand Prix Podiums, Average Grand Prix Finish of 6.1, 5th in Points
Prado is now the lead guy out of the De Carli camp with the retirement of Antonio Cairoli. Last year could fall into the frustrating category for Prado. He had well over a dozen holeshots on the year and started out front with regularity. The gigantic problem was that Prado couldn’t seal the deal. Whether it be Herlings, Gajser, or Cairoli, the Spaniard didn’t have enough in the tank to hold off late runs. So much to the point where it was a matter of when not if. If Prado can start to put together full Motos, he will be a title contender, but that is a big if.
Monster Energy Yamaha MXGP Factory Team
No. 91 Jeremy Seewer
2021 Stats: 1 Grand Prix Win, 1 Moto Win, 2 Grand Prix Podiums, Average Grand Prix Finish of 5.6, 4th in Points
It was another silky smooth season a year ago for Yamaha’s Switzerland native. Seewer managed to pull off his lone Grand Prix win right as the season was nearing its conclusion in the Italian Alps. These last three seasons, Seewer has points finishes of second, second, and fourth. He isn’t the dominating presence that Herlings or Gajser is, but Seewer can go with the best of them. Expect another strong year from the No. 91.
No. 259 Glenn Coldenhoff
2021 Stats: 0 Grand Prix Win, 0 Moto Wins, 2 Grand Prix Podiums, Average Grand Prix Finish of 8.6, 7th in Points
Coldenhoff had some shaky outings in his first year with Yamaha but finished one spot better in points than in 2020. He also had a very rough outing at Des Nations, likely costing the Dutch a back-to-back bid. An off performance considering Coldenhoff had been 4-0 in his last four Des Nations Motos. Getting back to winning Grand Prix’s should be his expectation in 2022. Coldenhoff’s win total has dropped the last three years from two to one, to none.
No. 959 Maxime Renaux
2021 Stats (MX2): 5 Grand Prix Wins, 10 Moto Wins, 14 Grand Prix Podiums, Average Grand Prix Finish of 2.6, MX2 World Champion
There was a kicker in Renaux’s deal with Yamaha to where if he won the MX2 title he would get promoted, and here we are. The MX2 Champion’s 2022 is off to a good start as well, going 1-1 in a tuneup event in France that included his teammate Seewer. As for what you can expect from Renaux on the big bike, consistency. He only was off the podium four times a year ago and averaged a finish under three. Renaux should be fun to watch in his rookie year.
Beta SDM Corse MX Team
No. 77 Alessandro Lupino
2021 Stats: 0 Grand Prix Win, 0 Moto Wins, 0 Grand Prix Podiums, Average Grand Prix Finish of 11.8, 10th in Points, Motocross Des Nations Champion
Lupino makes the jump to the second-year Beta team. After he won Motocross Des Nations with the Italian team, his results took a nosedive. With the MRT KTM Squad, he had just two top 10s for the eight rounds afterward. Now on a new team and bike, how much will Lupino improve? That remains to be seen, but he is coming off his best year ever in MXGP so keep an eye out.
No. 89 Jeremy Van Horebeek
2021 Stats: 0 Grand Prix Win, 0 Moto Wins, 0 Grand Prix Podiums, Average Grand Prix Finish of 15.3, 13th in Points
Van Horebeek returns to the Beta outfit for a second year. Last year he only had two finishes all year better than 10th and is approaching a decade since his last win. That said, there are far worse riders to have to set a foundation for your entry into Motocross. Expect Van Horebeek to be around the same from last year to this year, but hopefully, he can get some better results.
No. 43 Mitch Evans
Missed all of last season
The Australian missed the entirety of his second year due to complications from a wrist injury. Evans suffered the initial injury at the ‘GP of Spain in 2020, and there were complications in the recovery process. That much of a layoff entering this weekend is concerning, but Evans was rather good in his rookie 450 season. He picked up six top 10s and a pair of top-fives over the course of 2020. However, this year should be more of getting Evans back into the swing of things.
No. 243 Tim Gajser
2021 Stats: 4 Grand Prix Wins, 7 Moto Wins, 13 Grand Prix Podiums, Average Grand Prix Finish of 3.3, 3rd in Points
Gajser put up a valiant title defense a year ago but fell 21 points short of successfully three-peating as MXGP Champion. A 19-8 result in Sardegna is what ultimately did him in. Especially factoring in a Herlings 1-1, and a Febvre 3-3. Save for not winning the title, it was another world-class year for the 243. Injuries, which had been an issue with Gajser in years past, have not been these last few years, hence the two World Championships. With Herlings and Febvre on the mend, and Cairoli retired, this could be wide open for Gajser to go 3-for-4.
Standing Construct Husqvarna Factory Racing
No. 41 Pauls Jonass
2021 Stats: 0 Grand Prix Wins, 0 Moto Wins, 1 Grand Prix Podium, Average Grand Prix Finish of 11.4, 8th in Points
Jonass ended up missing the last two rounds of the year, but the former MX2 Champion put together a solid 2021. He picked up career MXGP podium No. 5, and finished eight in points despite outright missing the final two rounds, and scoring 15 combined points in the previous two. Jonass could realistically be a rider who could help his cause early with the injuries in the class. He could conceivably win a Grand Prix if everything goes right, Jonass has come close before.
No. 189 Brian Bogers
2021 Stats: 0 Grand Prix Win, 0 Moto Wins, 0 Grand Prix Podiums, Average Grand Prix Finish of 11.8, 12th in Points
Bogers, just like his teammate Jonass, also missed a pair of rounds, but still managed to have a respectable season. The Dutchman is entering year five in the class, and second with the Standing Construct team. Although this is his first riding aboard a Husqvarna. If he can best his career-best points finish of 10th in the class, that should go down as a good season.
Red Bull KTM
No. 1 Jeffery Herlings
2021 Stats: 9 Grand Prix Wins, 14 Moto Wins, 14 Grand Prix Podiums, Average Grand Prix Finish of 2.6, MXGP World Champion
Despite missing multiple rounds a year ago, Herlings still pulled off his second MXGP World Championship. Granted it was by a margin of literally one point over Febvre. Instead of the middle of the year, Herlings will miss the opening bit of the season with his recent foot injury. Although he did win the title in the fashion he did, that may not be possible this year. Especially if one of Gajser, Prado, or someone else gets on a roll early.
Preseason MXGP Top 10 Power Rankings
*- Jeffery Herlings and Romain Febvre not included
10. Thomas Kjer Olson
9. Alessandro Lupino
8. Brian Bogers
7. Ben Watson
6. Maxime Renaux
5. Glenn Coldenhoff
4. Pauls Jonass
3. Jeremy Seewer
2. Jorge Prado
1. Tim Gajser
2022 MXGP World Championship Pick: Tim Gajser
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images