RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING'S MXGP SEASON PREVIEW
The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team goes into the MXGP/MX2 season with a very strong lineup of factory riders who are fit, motivated and ‘READY TO RACE’ in the 2015 season.
February 25, 2015
Mattighofen, Austria - KTM Sportmotorcycle GmbH
The Red Bull KTM factory team has been a powerful force in the paddock in past seasons and has taken successive world titles in MX1/MXGP since 2010, and in MX2 since 2008. This makes them natural targets as other teams and riders turn up the heat, hoping to be able to put the brakes on the ‘Orange Army’.
Cairoli heads strong MXGP lineup
Heading the MXGP lineup is eight-times world champion Tony Cairoli, World Champion in the senior class since 2009 (and with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing since 2010). Cairoli, who is known and admired for his riding style, race craft, tactics and consistency has kicked off his season well by securing both the MX1 and Elite class title at the Italian International MX Championship, the popular and very competitive 3-race pre-season series.
In 2015, Cairoli, a Red Bull athlete, is again on the light and nimble KTM 350 SX-F and naturally has his sights set on securing another title. “I will try to do as good as I can and to be on the podium every weekend. I love my KTM 350 SX-F and I am looking forward to the Qatar race. I like the conditions there under lights. As always there are a lot of guys that are going to fight for the title this season but I am very motivated. Riding my bike is my life. The fun I have when riding keeps me motivated,” Cairoli said heading into the 2015 season.
Meanwhile the talk around the track in the pre-season has been about the upcoming battle between Cairoli and the American Ryan Villopoto, who is racing MXGP this season after being the dominant rider in the US in recent years. The faceoff between these two great riders is not only highly anticipated; it will also certainly inject more thrills and excitement into the 2015 season.
Returning to racing MXGP after a 2014 that was marred by injury is Belgium’s Ken de Dycker who was looking powerful and very confident, especially at the final round of the Italian International Championship in Ottobiano. Following corrective surgery at the end of 2014, de Dycker, also a Red Bull athlete has had a successful preparation for the 2015 season and is happy to be putting his injury problems behind him. He is committed to go for top MXGP results and will continue to ride the KTM 450 SX-F.
Britain’s Tommy Searle completes the MXGP factory lineup. He raced in the MX2 factory team in 2007-08, finishing second in the championship each time, so his return is a welcome ‘homecoming’. Searle has been impressive in pre-season preparation according to MXGP factory team boss Claudio de Carli who says he has ‘matured as a rider and as a person’. He finished second to Cairoli in the Elite class of the Italian International Championship and is very excited about riding with KTM and on the KTM 350 SX-F. “I have made a few good races and I have a good feeling with the team and the bike,”Searle said. “With this bike I have now it gives me everything I need to be upfront.”
De Carli says he has good expectations for all of his three MXGP riders. Cairoli’s long time personal manager is confident that he will be fighting for his ninth world title in 2015. “Every year we must fight against many riders, especially this year there is a big starting gate with many good riders. But ours are among the best and we have a very good and very competitive bike,” De Carli said.
While team expectations for Cairoli are a given, De Carli said Searle has done a great job with the team so far. “For sure he can be top five this season and we can already see how much he has improved. In Italy he was able to stay with Tony. He got the best out of all of his races and he was fighting all the way. Of course he can be even better than top five. The more he develops the better he is.”
De Carli said he also expected de Dycker to be up front this season. “Ken can do a lot if he is in the right condition. The last race in Italy he was very reactive and very focused. He could have easily won if he didn’t have a technical problem. We will see Ken in the podium many times this year.”
Herlings and Jonass contesting MX2 World Championship
Competing for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing in MX2 in 2015 are double World Champion Jeffrey Herlings and the talented young Latvian rider Pauls Jonass, who moves up from the junior squad. Both ride the KTM 250 SX-F factory bike.
The headline news in MX2 is about Herlings’ return to the track after a broken leg cut short his spectacular 2014 season. Jeffrey has had recent surgery to remove the metal from his leg and will have only had several weeks on the bike before the opening MX2 Grand Prix.
The Dutch rider’s skill on the track and his bravery are already well documented and he has been looking good in training. Speaking ahead of the season Herlings said: “After the surgery they gave me the green light for riding. It feels good to be back on the bike and we are just working on progressing every day. For sure at the start of the season I won’t be as strong as I have been in past years but I will try to improve from the first GP and every one after that, and I will try to get better results.”
Jonass has already attracted attention in pre-season races with some spectacular riding on the 2015 KTM 250-SX-F. The young Latvian is taking a cautious approach saying his main goal for 2015 is to just “get experience and build up speed for the next years.”
Jonass: “I’m feeling really good now. I am on the best bike in the paddock and I am very thankful for this opportunity. I am satisfied with my pre-season and I’ve been working hard in the winter with my trainers.”
MX2 Team Manager Dirk Gruebel is confident that his two riders will be delivering the required results. Gruebel: “Our goal is clearly to defend the title that we won last year with Jordi Tixier. Hopefully we can get it back again with Jeffrey Herlings this year. He lost by only a couple of points due to injury last season, so yes, our main goal is to secure the MX2 title.”
Speaking of the new team member Pauls Jonass, Gruebel said at the beginning of the season he is hoping for a top eight position for the Latvian rider. “Maybe even top five, so let’s say by half way through the season he should be a solid top five finisher and if everything goes really well, maybe he will even be on the podium.”
Taking care of the next generation with KTM Juniors
This year the KTM Juniors being developed and trained by 10-times World Champion Stefan Everts to be the next generation of KTM factory riders are Davy Pootjes (NED), Jorge Prado (ESP), Conrad Mewes (GBR) and Josiah Natzke (NZL). Pootjes, who will race selected MX2 GPs this season, went with Pauls Jonass and Mewes to the pre-season LaCapella Marival International MX in France last weekend and all impressed Everts. “I did not expect them all to be in such good shape so early in the season,” Everts said. Natzke, at present still competing at home in the New Zealand Nationals will join Evert’s KTM Juniors group in early spring to prepare for the European Championships.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MXGP Team
Manager: Claudio de Carli
- Tony Cairoli (ITA), KTM 350 SX-F
- Ken de Dycker (BEL), KTM 450 SX-F
- Tommy Searle (GBR), KTM 350 SX-F
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MX2 Team
Manager: Dirk Gruebel
- Jeffrey Herlings (NED), KTM 250 SX-F
- Pauls Jonass (LAT), KTM 250 SX-F
Note: KTM Junior Davy Pootjes (NED) will ride in selected MX2 GPs
KTM Juniors (EMX – European Championship riders)
Manager: Stefan Everts
- Jorge Prado (ESP)
- Conrad Mewes (GBR)
- Josiah Natzke (NZL)
KTM MX World Championship titles since 2008
- 2008: MX2 World Champion Tyla Rattray
- 2009-2010: MX2 World Champion Marvin Musquin
- 2010-2014: MX1/MXGP World Champion Tony Cairoli
- 2011: MX2 World Champion Ken Roczen
- 2012-2013: MX2 World Champion Jeffrey Herlings
- 2014: MX2 World Champion Jordi Tixier
2015 MXGP/MX2 Calendar
- 28.2.2015 – Round 1: GP of Qatar at Losail
- 08.3.2015 – Round 2: GP of Thailand at Nakhonchaisri
- 29.3.2015 – Round 3: GP of Argentina at Neuquen
- 19.4.2015 – Round 4: GP of Trentino at Arco di Trentino
- 19.4.2015 – Round 4: GP of Trentino at Arco di Trentino
- 10.5.2015 – Round 6: GP of Spain at Talavera de la Reina
- 24.5.2015 – Round 7: GP of Great Britain at Matterley Basin
- 31.5.2015 – Round 8: GP of France at Villars sous Écot
- 14.6.2015 – Round 9: GP of Italy at Maggiora
- 21.6.2015 – Round 10: GP of Germany at Teutschenthal
- 05.7.2015 – Round 11: GP of Sweden at Uddevalla
- 12.7.2015 – Round 12: GP of Latvia at Kegums
- 26.7.2015 – Round 13: GP of Czech Republic at Loket
- 02.8.2015 – Round 14: GP of Belgium at Lommel
- 16.8.2015 – Round 15: GP of Brazil, Trindade
- 30.8.2015 – Round 16: GP of The Netherlands at Assen
- 13.9.2015 – Round 17: GP of Mexico at Leon
- 20.9.2015 – Round 18: GP of USA at Glen Helen
- 27.9.2015 - FIM Motocross of Nations at Ernée, France
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