The Pre-Entry list for the MXoN in Ernee, France has been released. I'm breaking down each team as much as I can, and giving an analysis on how they should stack up this year.
MX Open-Romain Febvre
With France taking the victory last year with what was considered a “B” team, this year looks like the FFM has it right. Romain Febvre is in the drivers seat right now to take home the MXGP World Championship. As long as he doesn’t lose 2 points this weekend at the GP of Netherlands to his countryman Gautier Paulin, he’ll wrap up the title. With the World Championships being a French 1-2 affair and Musquin just missing out on the 250 AMA title, France might have the strongest team at their home race.
MX Open-Jeremy van Horbeek
Belgium may struggle this year in Ernee, as both Strijbos and van Horbeek have missed races in the World Championship due to injuries. We know they have the speed to run up front and win races, but if they can’t get off the gate well, it’s going to be a long weekend coming from behind. Lieber is the wild card for the team. He has shown he has the speed this year, even beating Jeffrey Herlings straight up. His inconsistency however has derailed his title hopes for 2015. A strong jump off the gate and we could see the Yamaha rider take a class win and possibly the overall.
MX Open-Cooper Webb
With Ryan Dungey taking this year off (he’s earned it), Justin Barcia becomes Captain America for 2015. His strong showing in this year’s outdoor season, plus his experience at this race before, makes him a strong rider to run up front as we know his Yamaha has a ton of horsepower. I’m not sure if he’ll get a win, but consistent finishes will definitely help the United States take back the Chamberlain Trophy. Martin is coming off his second straight 250 title, and now that there is no sand, hopefully he can keep from crashing and hurting himself in the qualifier. He’s really quick on the hard pack. Webb raced a 450 in Japan last year and has been testing the last couple weeks at tracks in California. With his small stature, he should be able to rip holeshots on everyone, including his teammate Barcia in the final MXGP/MX Open moto.
MX Open-Dean Wilson
Simpson is the dark horse of the year over in Europe, as he smoked everyone in the sands of Lommel a month ago on a privateer bike compared to the Red Bull factory bikes of Cairoli and Tommy Searle. Under the right conditions I wouldn’t count out Simpson to take a moto win and possibly the MXGP class overall win. Anstie is clawing his way back into the MX2 title fight. A missed race and four motos scoring zero points has put him at a 38 point deficit with three rounds remaining. By the time the series reaches the finale in Glen Helen though, we could see the Kawasaki pilot even closer to the title. Wilson is the wild card here as he has only raced 3 times since January. He looked strong at the remaining outdoors, but still a question mark in France.
MX Open-Dennis Ullrich
Oh what could have been for Nagl, who opened the World Championships with three overall victories and the points lead until an injury took him out until this past weekend in Lombardia. It won’t surprise me a bit if Nagl goes out and wins both of his races in France. I don’t know anything about Jacobi, and Ullrich is on the backside of a long career. With no Roczen, Germany is at best a 7th or 8th place team.
MX Open-Samuel Bernardini
With no Antonio Cairolli, no Alessandro Lupino, and no Davide Guarneri, Italy is already a top 10 team at best. Bernardini has led laps in qualifiers and motos in the World Championship, but he hasn’t been able to stay up front for an entire race.
MX Open-Valentin Guillod
Tonus is a question mark after missing the end of Supercross and most of the outdoors due to Epstein Barr and injuries. He’s the rider with the least amount of race time under his belt. Seewer sits 6th in the MX2 points right now, and has the speed to run up front, but the young sophomore still has some inconsistency issues to figure out. I like Guillod on the 450. He’s in the title fight in the MX2 class, just 4 points out of the lead. He’s a small rider but his riding style should do well on a 450. This is definitely a strong Swiss team.
MX Open-Ivan Baranov
Russian Bob has been mixing it up lately at the front of the pack, and on the right day could steal a win from his Honda teammate Paulin and Yamaha’s Febvre. He’s another dark horse for a strong overall finish this year. Brylyakov has been quietly getting better as the MX2 season draws to an end. A strong top 10 finish in a moto would be great for him. Don’t have any info on Baranov. Russia should be inside the top 10 after ass is said and done.
MX Open-Gert Krestinov
Leok and Krestinov were once solid contenders in the World Championship, but haven’t done much in the last couple of years. Leok always likes to show up at the MXoN however mixing it up for a top 5 moto finish. I haven’t seen much of Kullas this year. I’m not sure where to place Estonia in this one.
MX Open-Glenn Coldenhoff
Bogers gets the bump from MX2 in the World Championship up to MXGP for Ernee. Not the strongest rider as he has only been in the top 5 in one moto this year and that was at Valkenswaard back in April. Pootjes has only been racing the MX2 class since June after winning the EMX 250 title last year. The KTM rookie has logged a 3rd place finish in a moto since his return. Coldenhoff has had a strong rookie year aboard his Suzuki machine, taking a win at Kegums, Latvia. He should be a strong top 5 finisher this year.
MX Open-Jesper Jonsson
Bengtsson is the only rider I know about, and he rode really well last year at Kegums before a crash took him back in his finish. The young Swede has speed for sure.
MX Open-Matiss Karro
These next three weeks are going to be very stressful for the rookie KTM rider of Jonass. This year was supposed to be a learning year for him, but with the exit of Jeffrey Herlings from the MX2 title chase (again), Jonass now leads the World Championships, and he hasn’t even won a race! That’s a lot of pressure from Pit Beirer and the Red Bull KTM team. It’ll be interesting to see how he matches up against the likes of Martin, and Musquin in France.
MX Open-Dean Ferris
Waters and Ferris have been GP regulars for years now, and are solid finishers. I wish we could’ve seen Ferris in the states another year to see what he could do.
MX Open-Juan Reyes
MX Open-Jason Astudillo
The Puerto Rican team always fields a home rider that no one knows anything about, and then two Americans. Leib raced in Europe for a few seasons before coming back to home soil. He could definitely mix it up with Jeremy, Marvin, and the rest, if his fitness is up to par. The foot injury suffered in supercross has taken longer than expected. I don’t have any info on Astudillo, so maybe he’ll be a surprise this year.
We’ll see what happens in just a few weeks time in Ernee, France.