Red Bull KTM Factory rider Jorge Prado dominated last year, adding his second MX2 championship to his name, with him now moving up to the MXGP class, it leaves the door open for a bunch of young riders to pick up a World title.
Red Bull KTM Factory team manager Dirk Gruebel, like many, can see Tom Vialle as a little bit of a dark horse, possible of actually taking over the reins of last year’s MX2 champion Prado. Gruebel also wouldn’t be surprised to see their other rider Rene Hofer make a statement in 2020.
“Tom is looking good” Greubel said. “He needed to improve his starts and he felt he could beat Prado, but Jorge always beat him at the start and he analyses videos. I think again, he will surprise a lot of people again in 2020, I am sure about that. As for Rene Hofer, same thing, he will surprise people.
“Riding in practice now, 20 or 25 minutes, he has the same speed as Tom, which is very good, and he looks good on the bike. He needs to improve his starts and at his first Grand Prix for sure he will be nervous and that was his problem last year, training and racing are two different things. He will overcome this, and we will help him with that, but the confidence is there”.
Rasmus Jorgensen, the team manager of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team is excited for his riders Thomas Kjer Olsen and Australian Jed Beaton (pictured here) in 2020. With MX2 champion Jorge Prado out of the picture, the second man in line is Olsen, and Jorgensen feels his man can go on with the job.
“I think Prado was the better man last year, that is no secret. Anyone else, was in the shadow of that and at one point we tried to beat him every single weekend and we succeeded once or twice. You are absolutely correct, Thomas just cruises along, doesn’t get that much attention, but people forget he was third in his rookie season, third in his second year and now second in 2019.
“He has been very consistent. He has been on the podium a lot of times and you cannot take that away from him. With Prado gone that opens up a lot of opportunities for Thomas, but it also opens up opportunities for a lot of the young guns coming up. Thomas is aware he might be the title favourite coming in, but he also knows he can’t go to sleep. He needs to give his all, because there are also Vialle, Geerts, (Tom) Watson and all these guys. It is what it is, he has been ready every single season, ready when we got to the first round and we won’t change the formula, because he has the good formula. If we can improve in some small areas of course”.
British legend Dave Thorpe hopes that a British rider can win in 2020 of course, and he feels Ben Watson has all the tools to become World champion. It won’t be easy, but Thorpe, who himself has three World 500cc motocross championships knows that anything is possible in that very tough MX2 class.
“Ben is definitely in with a chance,” Thorpe said. “He is in a difficult class, and he is in a brilliant team, which is important, and he has the potential to do it. With the age restrictions it is difficult, with a lot of pressure when they get to around 22, but he has potential to do it, and he has the right team, and that makes a difference.”
So now we move onto the opening round at Matterley Basin in a little over a week’s time, and who will stand on top of the podium in England will have a pack of wolves chasing him down.
© Words by Geoff Meyer
Photo by Bavo Swijgers
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