The 18th and penultimate round of the campaign could well see two new champions crowned in both the MXGP and MX2 categories.
The old-school circuit of Maggiora has a rich history and has been the theatre of many spectacular races since its first event in 1966.
Showing its importance in motocross, the magnificent Italian track hosted three Motocross of Nations including the legendary MXoN of 1986 with team USA achieving perfect 1-2 scores in all three of the main races (courtesy David Bailey, Ricky Johnson and Johnny O’Mara).
Over the last editions in Maggiora, the most successful rider was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings with three Grand Prix victories (2013, 2014 in MX2 and 2021 in MXGP).
However, with Herlings not taking part over this weekend’s Grand Prix due to injury, Team HRC’s Tim Gajser is the second most successful rider in Maggiora with two wins.
One in MX2 in 2015 and one last season in MXGP while Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre also won there in 2015 in MXGP.
In the MXGP class, Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado could be crowned as the championship leader boasts a 67-point gap on his only contender for the title, Febvre.
Prado would become the 2023 MXGP world champion if, after race one, he ends up 85 points ahead of Febvre or, if at the end of the entire Grand Prix, he winds up 61 points in front of the Frenchman.
In MX2, there are technically still four riders in contention with Leader Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Andrea Adamo, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Liam Everts, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team’s Jago Geerts and Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Simon Laengenfelder although the two KTM team-mates Adamo and Everts are the ones with the most chance to achieve the mighty win.
The 2022 MXGP of Italy was held in Maggiora and marked the seventh round of the season and saw Gajser win the overall with a perfect score in front Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Jeremy Seewer and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Maxime Renaux.
Prado has a golden opportunity to bury the competition in Maggiora if the leaders’ red plate holder keeps on doing what he knows best; getting great starts, win races and stays consistent.
The last Grand Prix in Turkiye was not the dreamed scenario for Prado who made an uncharacteristically mistake on the second corner of Race 1 and fell which hindered his chances of winning.
The second race was another twist of fate for Prado as he stalled in the same corner to finish 10th overall, his lowest result of the season. He will want to be back on top to secure the title as soon as possible.
Febvre keeps on performing at his best with another race win in Turkiye and finishing 2nd overall. On the form of his life Febvre, does not have his destiny in his own hands but can certainly put pressure on Prado as he has done brilliantly over the second part of the championship.
Freshly resigned to Kawasaki, Febvre will give everything he has to get as close as possible and not giving the title to Prado easily.
Seewer had, like Prado an unexcepted dip in form in Turkiye with an 8th overall. If the Swiss cannot reach the MXGP title any more, he can certainly secure the third place in the championship.
He also secured his spot for next season in Kawasaki Racing Team alongside Febvre which will free him over the final two Grand Prix and could bounce back in Maggiora.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Glenn Coldenhoff is fourth in the championship and will arrive in Maggiora on the back of a 7th place overall. The Dutch rider is 48 points behind his team-mate Seewer and can still fight for the podium.
Team HRC’s Rubén Fernández has been a force to reckon with in 2023 and his consistency placed him in 5th overall. The Spanish rider will have to make sure to keep the great performer Team Gebben Van Venroy Yamaha Racing’s Calvin Vlaanderen at bay to keep his position in the championship. It won’t be easy knowing that Vlaanderen clinched a fourth overall in Turkiye showing a very good speed.
The first Italian in the Championship SM Action Racing Team Yuasa Battery MXGP’s Alberto Forato is 8th and will be competing at home with the support of the crowd.
Forato could not be in a better position after getting his career’s best finish in MXGP with 5th overall in Turkiye.
What a moment it would be for the strong rider if he could get a long-awaited podium in home soil. He will also be full of confidence knowing that he will be representing his country at the MXoN in Ernée.
Ship to Cycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Valentin Guillod who is 9th in the Championship has not been very lucky recently after some falls like in Turkiye that placed him 14th overall.
The Swiss rider could create the surprise knowing that his starts are getting better and better as he has shown in Turkiye with a holeshot.
However, Renaux is not far behind the Swiss rider (only 8 points) and looking at the Frenchman’s performance in Turkiye, it will be hard to contain the 2021 MX2 world champion.
Reanux is getting back to his best and is eager to get even better feelings before the Motocross of Nations next month.
The other home rider this weekend will Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Mattia Guadagnini who signed his return to the competition in Turkiye after his injury with an excellent ninth overall. Guadagnini has also been announced for the MXoN which he will work towards, starting with this weekend’s MXGP of Italy.
MRT Racing Team Beta’s Alessandro Lupino will be happy to come back home after a string of results that are not reflecting his real level.
The Italian will try to better his eighth overall in Latvia earlier this season with the help and support of the home crowd that will cheer for him.
Kawasaki Racing Team’s Mitch Evans will be forced to miss the MXGP of Italy due to a wrist injury that has bothered him for the last weeks. The Australian will try to recovery and get back at it at 100% for the last round of the season, the MXGP of Great Britain on September 23-24.
© Photos by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ
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MXGP class championship standings (after 17 of 19 rounds):
- Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 841 points;
- Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 774 p.;
- Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 676 p.;
- Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 628 p.;
- Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 570 p.;
- Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 532 p.;
- Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 456 p.;
- Alberto Forato (ITA, KTM), 444 p.;
- Valentin Guillod (SUI, HON), 310 p.;
- Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 302 p.;
MX2 class championship standings (after 17 of 19 rounds):
- Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 732 points;
- Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 684 p.;
- Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 650 p.;
- Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 645 p.;
- Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 520 p.;
- Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, HUS), 508 p.;
- Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KAW), 505 p.;
- Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 501 p.;
- Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 462 p.;
- Rick Elzinga (NED, YAM), 352 p.;