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Jeremy Van Horebeek at the 2017 Grand Prix of Portugal

Van Horebeek: “We know our weak points and we know what we have to do”

Aug 072017

Monster Energy Yamaha will be able to count on Jeremy Van Horebeek’s smooth style and versatile skill set for another year at the front of MXGP after the Belgian recently inked a contract to extend his stay on the factory YZ450FM for a fifth term. The 27 year old has been an ever-present force among the leading group of Grand Prix stars of the FIM Motocross World Championship since moving into the premier class in 2013, and has an enviable Motocross of Nations record with medals for each of his appearances in the distinctive Belgian black, yellow and red colours.

For the third season Van Horebeek will sit in the Yamaha awning next to Romain Febvre in 2018 and continue the quest to rule a competition that has increased in quality, difficulty and speed since #89 notched twelve podiums and snared runner-up status in 2014. There is an extra sweetener in the deal with the prospect of the manufacturer’s revised and revitalised YZ coming into play; there will be some interesting testing and development sessions occurring once ’17 MXGP wraps at the Grand Prix of Pays de Montbeliard (France) on September 24th


“I have to be honest there are many good conditions around the team; from the bike evolving each year, the family feeling and the relationship with the guys and Yamaha crew. Sometimes it can be good to change bikes for renewed motivation but we have a new bike coming for next season. It is the same team, same brand but a new challenge,” Jeremy said.


In a steady relationship, content and less uptight about his racing (he arguably felt the pressure of being world no.2 in 2015 and could not meet his own expectations in terms of results), Van Horebeek has found positivity in discovering other aspects of his life. The effect has been as beneficial as the never-ending lessons of being a Pro racer and athlete.

“There are a lot of young kids coming up in MXGP but I am more mature and I know racing is not everything in life,” he confides. “If your home life is good it helps with your job and at the races. I think this has been one of the best seasons so far I guess – except for 2014 but then the level that year was not so high. I was fourth in this championship until I broke my finger and had two podium results. I was still looking for some bike details with the team but then breaking my finger was a bummer and hard to come back [from]. But the way I approached this season in general was really good and was a step in the right direction. I will step-it-up further for next year and I feel good. I’m still young – I’m only 27 – and I have another five or six years to go.”


Half a decade with Michele Rinaldi’s exceptional race team – that rarely changes staff – has helped foster a productive environment for Van Horebeek. “Like I’ve said in the past I wouldn't mind finishing my career at Yamaha,” he smiles. “It is a good team and good atmosphere. We know our weak points and we know what we have to do. It is not always easy to find that stuff but we have been together for so long that we know many things and the shortcuts to work. Five years is pretty good and I’ve been in the top five almost all the time but always with stupid injuries. I am definitely a top three rider and I’m sure if I didn't have the finger problem this year then I would be there again.”

Perhaps, most crucially, there is still a question of ‘what if?’ around JVH. A sense that MXGP fans have not quite seen his full potential and the next nudge of form that delivered eleven rostrum results in a row in 2014 – including his first victory in the division. “The thing I’m missing is winning…I hope I can give my fans some more of that because it’s been a while,” he assesses. “I’ve been many times on the podium…and that's not easy at this level. I hope I can bring some wins to the table; it’s on my mind all the time.”


Set for the coming year, Van Horebeek has the tools and the platform to hone his champagne spraying skills and to analyse the many keys – mental and physical – to rule one of the hardest motorsports in the world. It would be a folly to discount the #89 out of the mix.