The 4th round of the FIM Motocross World Championship is about to take to the dirt at the MXGP of Leon-Mexico this weekend. This will be the only time this year that the riders of the MXGP and MX2 world championships are in Central America under the Mexican heat. Hosting MXGP and MX2 for the 4th year in a row, Leon is set for another year of bar to bar racing.
Perfect weekends are hard to come by but Team HRC’s Tim Gajser figured it out at the MXGP of Patagonia – Argentina. Gajser won the Qualifying Race, Race 1, and Race 2, he accomplished all of which in a cool and precise manner. The Slovenian won in Leon last year and he will need to keep his cool once again if he expects to have the same success under the bright sun and 30 degree Celsius temperatures predicted for Leon.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek had his best races of the year in Patagonia Argentina finishing second overall. Momentum and confidence are often the keys to win, keys that Jeremy holds coming into Leon.
Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev is impressing week after week with Patagonia Argentina being the pinnacle thus far. The Russian fought through sickness up to and during the GP eventually coming away with his first podium of the season and a second place finish in race 2. In 2015 he placed third in Leon and last year was one spot shy of the podium. Assuming Bobryshev has recovered, he is likely to be competing for his second podium this year and maybe even the victory in Leon.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli came into Patagonia with the points but saw himself slip into second in the championship after a testing weekend. The Italian showed some serious speed on his way through the pack though and will look to better his 2016 MXGP of Leon 6th place finish.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle sits 6 points behind Cairoli in the championship. The MXGP of Patagonia Argentina was a mixed bag for Desalle as he placed 3rd in race 1 and lead laps in race 2 before losing rhythm and dropping to a 10th place finish for 6th overall. If Desalle can keep his focus it’s clear he has the speed to challenge for a win in Mexico. Desalle’s teammate Jordi Tixier will miss the MXGP in Leon due to a surgery, leaving Clement as the only MXGP rider in Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre was about to win the Overall last year going 1-2 to Gajser’s 2-1 in Leon. Febvre has spent the week training in the US and now looks to conquer this year’s MXGP of Leon.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl rode at podium level during the last MXGP of Leon placing 3rd and after an 8th in Neuquen he is undoubtedly hungry for a result closer to last years, if not better.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings won in Leon last year in MX2 and after a difficult start on his 450cc rookie season, Herlings’ frustration is evident. With signs of improvement in Patagonia Argentina’s race 2 he is heading to the right direction and he is always a potential top finisher.
2016 MXGP of Leon, Mexico MXGP Top 3
2017 MXGP Championship Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 106 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 96 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 91 p.; 4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 84 p.; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 82 p.; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 72 p.; 7. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 65 p.; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 56 p.; 9. Shaun Simpson (GBR, YAM), 55 p.; 10. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 49 p.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass was the other rider to figure out the recipe for a perfect weekend in Patagonia Argentina and it was the second time this season but after struggles in Indonesia he sits second in the championship. Jonass finished fourth in last year’s Leon GP but with speed that seems unmatchable at times he is a favorite for this weekend.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado Garcia battled for wins against his teammate Jonass during both races in Argentina ending up 2nd overall. The 16 year old Spaniard now looks to come out on the top step of podium in Mexico.
Team Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer rode consistent in Neuquen finishing top 5 in race 1 and second in race 2. His results give him the red plate coming to Mexico, where last year he finished 2nd behind the previous MX2 rider Jeffrey Herlings.
Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team’s Benoit Paturel made some good moves in race 1 at last round finishing 2nd but a mishap in race 2 resulting in a ninth place, cost him the red plate. Benoit now sits 3rd in the championship standings and is searching for his first race win of the year in Leon.
Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Darian Sanayei heads to Leon confident after his best MX2 showing in Argentina with 6-4 finishes for 5th overall. The American has spent time back stateside and with a refreshed mindset and improving results he is looking to turn heads in Mexico and grasp his first career MX2 podium.
Russian Vsevolod Brylyakov, Sanayei’s Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki teammate has shown speed and been atop practice times but has yet to put all the pieces together come race day. Brylyakov was on the Leon podium last year and with the right combination may be a dark horse this time around.
LRT KTM’s Julien Lieber has had strong performance to start the season but after issues in Patagonia he now looks to rebound for the last race before heading back to Europe.
2016 MXGP of Leon, Mexico MX2 Top 3
2017 MX2 Championship Top Ten: 1. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 110 points; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 107 p.; 3. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 104 p.; 4. Julien Lieber (BEL, KTM), 99 p.; 5. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 99 p.; 6. Brent Van doninck (BEL, YAM), 73 p.; 7. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), 70 p.; 8. Jorge Prado Garcia (ESP, KTM), 67 p.; 9. Michele Cervellin (ITA, HON), 62 p.; 10. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, KAW), 59 p