The European Season Begins
By Geoff Meyer | 01 Feb 2013
Last weekend in Mantova, Italy, under relatively good weather conditions a handful of the leading MX1 riders came together to start the 2013 European Motocross season. Unlike in previous seasons the season opening Mantova Starcross did not welcome all the leading Grand Prix riders.
The Factory teams of Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki were there, with riders Evgeny Bobryshev, Max Nagl, Clement Desalle, Kevin Strijbos, Gautier Paulin and Jeremy Van Horebeek.
Outside this group smaller privateer teams like Route77energy MVRD Honda with MX1 riders Tanel Leok and Jason Dougan also showed their support behind the Italian race.
While it was Kevin Strijbos who showed really good form going 1-1-1 for the three motos, the racing was tight and exciting and several riders showing good results, including Jeremy Van Horebeek who made his Kawasaki MX1 debut.
“I spent two weeks training with my Kawasaki in Spain on hard tracks," Van Horebeek said. "I came to Mantova with a very good feeling even if the ground is more sandy there. It was interesting to race for the first time with the factory bike; you have to get used to the power and be soft with the gas, but for sure if I can get similar starts in the GPs it will be perfect.
This weekend in Sardinia the Red Bull KTM Factory team begins their preparation for the opening round of the FIM World Motocross Championships.
FIM World MX1 and MX2 Champions Antonio Cairoli and Jeffey Herlings will both be looking to start the season with some consistent results and hopefully good weather. Cairoli knows that the deep south of Europe will be much more friendly weather wise.
"The first two rounds will be ok of the Italian championship the weather should be okay," Cairoli said. "The first round is down here in Sardinia and the next round at the team's home tracks near Rome, so it will be okay, they are both in the south and the first round is a nice sand track. The third round is in the north of Italy and in the mountains, so we will have to see how that is."
Also lining up in Sardinia this weekend will be the Monster Energy Yamaha team, and the Factory TM team with their riders Steven Frossard, Joel Roelants and Shaun Simpson making their season debuts.
Simpson knows that the three Italian Championship rounds will give him enough time to be ready for the Grand Prix of Qatar in early March.
"I have been doing a lot of riding in the winter," Simpson said. "Enduro riding and TM gave me a bike to ride. I wanted to do Mantova, although we decided as a team to concentrate a little more on some testing and then doing the Italian Championship races. I am really looking forward to starting the season in Qatar."
Read the next news: Winter Stage with John Van Den Berk (01 Feb 2013)
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