MXGP continues the 2020 FIM Motocross World Championship season with a trip across Europe to the beautiful Italian area of Faenza, for a trio of races in Italy for the MXGP of Italy, MXGP of Città di Faenza and the MXGP of Emilia Romagna.
Following the success of the Latvian Grand Prix’s, including the new racing format and the mid-week races, which offered a 10-day full of incredible actions, MXGP carries the momentum with more triple-headers to come this season!
Located in the Emilia Romagna region, known for its passion for motorsports, the hard-pack circuit of Faenza first hosted the FIM Motocross World Championship back in 1979, with the 500cc Championship which that weekend was won by the four-time World Champion Heikki Mikkola.
Over the years, numerous MXGP events have taken place in Faenza, with past winners including the likes of Eric Geboers, Max Nagl, Gautier Paulin and Antonio Cairoli.
2012 was the last time that the Italian circuit saw a world championship race and that time around it was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli who was the overall winner in MXGP (then known as MX1) with Christophe Pourcel and Clement Desalle of Monster Energy Kawasaki MXGP joining Cairoli on the podium in second and third.
Meanwhile, in MX2, it was Jeffrey Herlings from Red Bull KTM Factory who was victorious, followed by Tommy Searle in second and Jeremy Van Horebeek on the third step of the podium that weekend.
Though a lot has changed since then and following an eight-year break from the MXGP calendar, Faenza will welcome back the MXGP and MX2 riders, with the added bonus of the EMX125 and EMX2t Championships Presented by FMF Racing running alongside, for an even more action-packed week in Italy.
The Italian races have always been among the top favorites for the teams, riders and fans and with such fierce competition this season in MXGP and MX2, Faenza will be no exception as fans will be treated to three times the fun, as the world’s top riders battled it out for top positions.
The EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing riders will take to the track in Faenza for round two of the championship and championship leader, Liam Everts of KTM Liamski will be looking to extend his Championship lead over Kevin Brumann of iXs MXGP Team.
While it has been a while since the opening round of the 125 European Championship, Everts has had plenty of race practice, having competed in the EMX250 division at the Latvia tripleheader. With some solid results under his belt, he will be feeling confident and ready to go to Faenza as he chases more race wins and podiums.
Brumann has also been training hard during the last 5 months with the help of Max Nagl, who has kept the youngster fit and made sure he’s ready to challenge for the title.
KTM DIGA Junior Racing’s Florian Miot is currently third in the championship and another rider to look out for in Faenza. He had a strong ride in Matterley Basin with a 6-3 result, proving himself as a strong competitor in harder conditions.
Though a rider like Meico Vettik could get in the mix of things at the Italian round. Following his podium finish in Latvia a couple of weeks earlier in the higher 250cc class, Vettik will be feeling confident and hoping to impress in the EMX125 class in order to move up the ranks in the championship.
Haakon Osterhagen from Creymert Racing is another rider who could make things interesting this weekend. He finished 4th overall at round one, just a few points off the podium, and had some good battles within the top 10 and even scoring a 4th in race two.
Meanwhile, in EMX2t Presented by FMF Racing the championship is going to see a new winner with Mike Kras not there to defend his title. And with Kras out of the picture the door will be open for a new contender to battle with Brad Anderson of Verde Substance KTM for the golden plate.
Anderson will be the favorite going into this round, following a close battle for the championship last year, which he missed out on by just a mere point. This season he will be determined to seal the deal and there is no doubt that he will be charging in Faenza this weekend.
Andero Lusbo could also be a strong contender this season, as he has already had some race practice in, having competed in the EMX Open class in Latvia. During the first round in Kegums he finished 3rd on the podium, which has undoubtedly given him the confidence to challenge at the front.
Another rider to look out for is Gianluca Deghi. The Italian rider will begin the series at home in Italy and having competed in the series last season, where he finished 7th, he sure will be keen to put on a good performance and score some valuable points for the championship.
Johannes Klein is a rider who had a solid 9-8 result in Lombardia last season in the group, so it will be exciting to see whether he can push for some more top 10 results this time around in Faenza.
Though with some fresh faces to the group, it will be good to see who the real challengers for the championship this season really are, as we kick off the EMX2t championship.
As we head into the first Italian event of the 2020 season, there is no doubt that Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli will be looking to impress at his home Grand Prix. Having won his first GP of the year in Latvia at the previous event, the 9-time world champion will for sure be hoping to add a few more race wins while at home.
While his team-mates, Jeffrey Herlings and Jorge Prado will be looking for their own success on Italian soil, as Herlings will continue to push in order to extend his championship lead in MXGP and make up for lost ground in Latvia, while Prado will be aiming for more strong starts and races in order to get back on the podium, following a tough start to the season.
Team HRC’s Tim Gajser will be looking for redemption following a tough time in Latvia. Crashes and technical issues cost the Slovenian vital championship points, as he enters round six of the series. Though having proven to be strong on hard-pack throughout his career, for Gajser it will be a case of getting out of the gate and staying on his bike through the race, in order to get back on top.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Arminas Jasikonis will be able to carry on strong as he did previously in Latvia, as he claimed his first race win and his best podium finish of second overall at the MXGP of Kegums. Though known to be strong in the sand, the different track conditions in Faenza could be a test for the Lithuanian, who is currently third in the championship, just four points off the defending world champion, Gajser.
It will also be interesting to see whether Clement Desalle of Monster Energy Kawasaki MXGP will be able to excel in Faenza, having previously placed on the podium back in 2012. Desalle has always been strong on hard-pack and was looking really strong in Latvia, so the MXGP of Italy this year could be the GP we see Desalle back on the MXGP podium.
The Kawasaki MXGP squad has a strong line-up for the upcoming events in Faenza, as Romain Febvre is also another promising rider. His season debut in Latvia was a good one, with a podium and some top-five results in the races. Being from France, Febvre is also no stranger to the hard-pack circuits and could see him perform well in Italy this time around.
It will be interesting to see whether Jeremy Seewer, Arnaud Tonus, and Gautier Paulin, of the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing squad, could get up in the mix and finally get their opportunity to lead the field.
Both Tonus and Paulin have placed well at Faenza in previous years, with Paulin winning a GP in his MX2 days back in 2009. Though for him it will all depend on whether his recent broken finger will play a part in the races.
In 2012 Tonus placed 5th overall in Faenza and despite some mistakes at the previous round this year in Latvia, he showed some potential. Though his team-mate Seewer has also been pushing this season, as he chased for the race win several times in Kegums, so it could be a matter of time before we see another factory Yamaha on the podium.
Local riders Alessandro Lupino of Gebben Van Venrooy Racing, Samuele Bernardini of Racing S.S.D S.R.L, Michele Cervellin from SDM Corse Yamaha, and Standing Construct GasGas MXGP’s Ivo Monticelli will be looking for their own success as they aim to impress at home. For Monticelli, he will be keen to keep his momentum going after his achievements in Latvia, with two FOX Holeshots and some strong battles in the top 5.
Fellow Standing Construct GasGas MXGP rider Glenn Coldenhoff could be another threat for the podium during the first Italian triple-header. Coming off the back of his first GP victory of 2020 in Latvia, Coldenhoff is looking strong for the rest of the season, despite having a moment in Kegums that saw him pull out of a race.
Last season he also performed well on hardpack going on to take a double race victory and the overall in Imola and then again in Sweden the following round, with a 1-2 result which also handed him another GP win. Having proven that he can perform well on the hard surface as well as sand, it will be interesting to see what he can do in Italy this year.
2012 MXGP of Europe (Faenza) MXGP Top 3:
MXGP – World Championship Classification: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 213 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 167 p.; 3. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, HUS), 163 p.; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 163 p.; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, GAS), 146 p.; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 134 p.; 7. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 131 p.; 8. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 129 p.; 9. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 120 p.; 10. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 104 p.
Meanwhile, in MX2, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Tom Vialle will aim for more race wins as he takes to the hard-pack circuit, familiar terrain for the Frenchman. Though Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts will sure put up the challenge as he will aim to close down that 8-point gap between him and Vialle who currently leads the championship. Despite growing up in the sand, Geerts’ strong performance in Matterley Basin was enough to show that he can be a threat on the harder surfaces too, and going into the Italian trio of races with two GP victories in his pocket from Latvia, he sure will be feeling confident and be pushing for those race wins.
All eyes will also be on Roan Van de Moosdijk and Mathys Boisrame of F&H Kawasaki Racing to see whether the pair can respond and return to the podium following their string of podium appearances in Kegums. Over the winter Boisrame has put in the hours on the sand to improve his sand riding, as he has always been known to be a good hardpack rider. So, for him, Faenza should be a good suit.
The third rider of the Kawasaki squad, Mikkel Haarup, has had a tough time during the recent trip in Latvia. Though having shown good speed in Matterley Basin earlier this season, where he took 3rd overall, hopefully, these last few weeks off have given the Dane enough time to re-group and come back strong in Faenza.
Another rider who can make things interesting and get in the mix is Maxime Renaux of SM Action M.C Migliorini Yamaha J1 Racing. Last season the Yamaha rider claimed his maiden GP podium, finishing 3rd overall in Imola and has been on the podium once already this year and has comfortably been battling in the top 5 during the last few races as well.
For the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing duo of Jed Beaton and Thomas Kjer Olsen the next few races will be a time to make up for lost ground in Latvia. Beaton showed speed in the Time Practice sessions, though in the races it seemed like luck wasn’t on his side. And it was the same for Olsen, who has found himself injured once again. Though with these past few races in the rear-view mirror, it will be good to see the team move forward towards some more positive results this weekend.
Then there’s the SDM Corse Yamaha rider Ruben Fernandez, who without a doubt was the hard charger in Latvia. He clearly had the speed in Kegums and coming from a country known for its hard surface tracks (Spain) for Fernandez it will be the case of whether he can tie it all together in Italy and have some solid races.
Meanwhile, Alberto Forato from Team Maddii Racing Husqvarna will also be pushing for top results on home soil, following some top 10 results in Latvia. This season he has shown some promising moments and had some strong battles with the top runners of the championship. The closest hardpack race that we’ve had this season has been at the MXGP of Great Britain, where Forato had two solid races, finishing 6th overall.
Though if the last few races in both MXGP and MX2 have taught us anything, is that predicting an outcome for the races is really hard and anything can happen.
2012 MXGP of Europe (Faenza) MX2 Top 3:
3.Jeremy Van Horebeek
MX2 – World Championship Classification: 1. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 217 points; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 209 p.; 3. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, KAW), 153 p.; 4. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 149 p.; 5. Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 148 p.; 6. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, KAW), 128 p.; 7. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 127 p.; 8. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, KAW), 101 p.; 9. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 95 p.; 10. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, YAM), 92 p.
Main Photo: MX2 Start
Bottom Photos: 1. Tom Vialle; 2. Jago Geerts
Don’t forget to tune in to MXGP-TV.com this weekend and find out who will finish on top at the MXGP of Italy!
TIMETABLE (Local Timing CEST/GMT+2)
SATURDAY: 09:00 EMX 2T Free Practice, 09:30 EMX 125 Group 1 Free Practice, 10:00 EMX 125 Group 2 Free Practice, 10:35 EMX 2T Qualifying Practice, 11:10 EMX 125 Group 1 Qualifying Practice, 11:45 EMX 125 Group 2 Qualifying Practice, 13:00 EMX 2T Race 1, 13:50 EMX 125 Race 1, 15:00 EMX 2T Race 2, 15:55 EMX 125 Race 2.
SUNDAY: 09:15 MX2 Free/Time Practice, 10:15 MXGP Free/Time Practice, 12:05 MX2 Race 1, 13:05 MXGP Race 1, 15:00 MX2 Race 2, 16:00 MXGP Race 2.