be_ixf;ym_202008 d_08; ct_100
CLOSE
Romain Febvre at the 2019 Monster Energy Yamaha Photoshoot
NEWS

Throttles primed: MXGP 2019 set to rip in Argentina

Feb 282019

For the second year in a row MXGP will tear out of the start gate at the plush Neuquen circuit in the heart of Argentina’s mesmerising Patagonia region: where the beauty of the lakes, mountains and greenery is only ignored when the furious sight of high-level motorcycle racing action cranks into motion.

Now 62 years old, the FIM Motocross World Championship – ‘MXGP’ – gets ready for another continent-hopping season where sixteen different countries will be visited and blasted in a period of just seven months. From the loose soil of Neuquen in Patagonia, to the vast jumps of Matterley Basin in the UK, the endless sandy bumps and holes of Lommel in Belgium, the insufferable heat and hard-pack of Semarang in Indonesia and the speed and spectacular leaps of Afyonkarahisar in Turkey, MXGP will again be the ultimate test of man and motorcycle.

Monster Energy count on some of the fittest, fastest and most experienced athletes backed by the might and expertise of top factory teams to take on the hegemony built by reigning champions KTM in the last two years. Monster Energy Yamaha’s Romain Febvre (27 years old and champion in 2015) and Jeremy Seewer (24 and MX2 championship runner-up in ’17) will also have the blue shadows of Gautier Paulin (28 and the Motocross of Nations talisman for France) and Arnaud Tonus (27 years old) in the premier class. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Clement Desalle (29 and three times MXGP runner-up) and Julien Lieber (24 and just his second year in MXGP) as well as Britain’s Tommy Searle (29) strength the reach of the ‘claw’.

The first Grand Prix of nineteen (meaning 57 race starts with the Saturday Qualification Heats attached to the two ‘motos’ on Sundays) sees all of the standings set to a fat ‘0’, and is the time of the racing season when questions fly thick and fast: Who is fit? Who is ready? Who is confident? Who has done their homework with bike set-up? Who will set the pace in the championship story?

 

It's a fascinating time, and the location of Neuquen as the ‘opener’ is prime scheduling. Fast, inviting, jumpy, loose and tricky: the Argentine course is neither for the faint-hearted or hesitant. It’s been on the slate for the last four years.

“Neuquen is fast, really fast!” said Julien Lieber. “On Saturday it’s nice to ride but then it gets a bit sketchy as the bumps get bigger. On the sighting lap for the second race on Sunday you are thinking ‘F**k, this is not going to be easy’. But it’s also a fun track and a cool place to go for the first race of the season.”

 

“This is my fourth time there,” he added. “So that experience helps because you know the type of tyre you need to use and what you need to do on the bike. Neuquen is a track that has a lot of flow but it’s a ‘Grand Prix’ track. Last year I went after just one month of riding because of an injury and after training on smaller places and jumps it was an adjustment! Even on the 450! My first few laps were pretty stressful.”

“I like the fact that we go that far for the first race,” Lieber says. “It removes a little bit of pressure. The weather is normally ideal compared to Europe at this time of year: not too hot not too cold. I hope we’ll have good conditions to start the season.”

 

Launching once MXGP comes back to Europe FIM Women’s World Champion Kiara Fontanesi is challenging for a sixth title but Kiwi Courtney Duncan will again be one of her toughest opponents. Monster Energy will also watch the EMX European Championship ‘feeder’ classes into Grand Prix with interest: EMX250 in particular providing the role of the last Petri dish for rising talent.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE:

RECOMMENDED

FOR YOU