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It’s Official – RV for GP

FIM MX World Champs 2015

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www.mxlarge.com

Nine-times US champion Ryan Villopoto will contest the FIM MXGP World Championship for the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team in 2015, while Jordi Tixier will defend his MX2 world title in Green.

Having won the Monster Energy FIM Supercross world title for the last four years, 26 year old Villopoto, a loyal Kawasaki rider throughout his professional career, will take on the challenge of the world’s premier outdoor motocross series with the intention of bringing Kawasaki their first World Championship in the MXGP class; the worldwide series will host 18 rounds on four continents in 2015.

“I am ready for the next chapter in my career and to accomplish new goals,” said Villopoto. “I’ve never been one to look at the record books so when an opportunity like this comes around, to race against the best in the world and represent USA, I have to see it through. It will be a major change of pace and this will be the last chapter of my career win or lose. I am extremely excited about the opportunity and also to be joined by a former champion like Tyla (Rattray). He knows what is needed to succeed on the world championship stage and I know I can learn a lot from him.”

Racing alongside Villopoto for the Kawasaki Racing Team in the MXGP class will be Tyla Rattray; the 28 year old South African won the MX2 world title in 2008 and was a regular race winner during a highly successful career in the USA with Kawasaki.

For Kawasaki Motors Europe, Racing Manager Steve Guttridge commented: “Ryan Villopoto is a truly global motocross star; for fans around the world to see him race on their home tracks will indeed be a privilege. After such dominance in Supercross it is refreshing and characteristically brave to see Ryan take on the world’s best MXGP riders and set his sights on supremacy in this class as well.”

Team owner Thierry Chizat Suzzoni proudly added: “For 2015, we are very excited to welcome Ryan Villopoto and Tyla Rattray into the Kawasaki Racing Team. It’s a fantastic challenge for the team and we are aware that the 2015 championship organized by Youthsteam is going to be very demanding, but our team is very enthusiastic and has ended this season on a high at the Motocross of Nations so we are going to actively prepare with the goal of taking up this challenge. I would like to thank Kawasaki, Monster Energy and all our partners for helping us to make this project become a reality.”

MX2 world champion Jordi Tixier, who clinched the title in an epic duel at the final round in Mexico last month, will bolt the number one plate to his KX250F in the Monster Energy Kawasaki MX2 Racing Team next season; his teammates will be Dylan Ferrandis and Thomas Covington.

2015 will be Tixier’s final season in the MX2 class due to the age limitation ruling and will mark a welcome return to green machinery as he clinched a French junior title on a KX125 during his youth. Monster Energy Kawasaki MX2 Racing Team will focus next season exclusively on the MX2 class with the full support of the Kawasaki factory.

“I’m very happy to have signed with the Monster Energy Kawasaki MX2 Racing Team; they approached me during the season and I saw how motivated they were to sign me,” explained an enthusiastic Tixier. “It will give me further motivation to defend my World title on a new bike; I know that everyone in the team is motivated and so am I. The team have the support of the Kawasaki factory in Japan; we spoke a lot with the technical staff and I know that they are able to provide us with the best material for every situation.”

The 21 year old will be joined in the team by fellow French youngster Dylan Ferrandis (20) and the 18 year old American talent Thomas Covington. Each of them has already shown his competiveness this season as Ferrandis raced to a career first GP moto victory on his way to fourth in the final standings, while Covington proved his speed with a moto podium on his debut in Qatar in March.

Steve Guttridge, Kawasaki Motors Europe, said: “It’s fantastic that Jordi is coming back into the Kawasaki family for 2015 in MX2. I truly hope he can take the final step in his MX2 career and get another World Champion title with Team Green before moving up to the MXGP class in 2016 ! The team has a great line-up of riders again for next season and we are all motivated to give them the very best tools and equipment to win at world level on the KX250F.”

Team owner Jean Jacques Luisetti commented: “Of course I’m delighted to have Jordi in the team alongside Dylan Ferrandis and Thomas Covington; we’ll have one of the best line-ups for next season and Jordi will make his first appearance for the team at the Paris-Lille Supercross next month. We will stop our investment in the MXGP class to focus on the competitive MX2 class where we have the full support of the Kawasaki factory and of course from our sponsors who trust in our project.”

Meanwhile, leading the charge in the U.S. for Kawasaki, the team welcomes two former 250 supercross champions as Davi Millsaps and Wil Hahn make their debut on the KX450F.

“We are extremely anxious to begin the 2015 season,” said Dan Fahie, Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Manager. “We have big shoes to fill after winning four-straight supercross titles but I could not be more excited to have both Davi and Wil on the team. Both riders have proven to be top contenders in the 450 class and they are just as enthusiastic as we are to get back racing and on top of the box.”

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki is excited to return to sweeping the podium with a nearly all-new roster for 2015. Adam Cianciarulo returns for his second full year after an astounding rookie showing in 250 East Supercross, winning the first supercross he entered along with two additional wins and five podium finishes in five races. Four-time arenacross champion Tyler Bowers returns to the team for his first full season following special appearances that included a 250SX win at Las Vegas in 2013.

Chris Alldredge will make his supercross debut following impressive top-10 finishes in the last three Pro Motocross nationals along with Arnaud Tonus who will make his U.S. debut after competing in the MX2 World Championship for Kawasaki where he won the 2014 MXGP of Brazil. Rounding out the roster is Joey Savatgy who scored his first professional podium finish in Indiana with second overall.

“We have a fresh crop of riders for the new season, all of which have a lot of potential,” said Mitch Payton, Pro Circuit owner. “We expect Adam and Tyler to hit the ground running, while Alldredge and Tonus will be making their supercross debuts, and Savatgy will be looking for a breakthrough year. I expect nothing but the best from each of these guys every weekend.”

“We have put together a tremendous group of riders for the 2015 season. The championship proven line of KX bikes has allowed us to fill our stable with race winners and champions,” said Reid Nordin, Senior Manager of Racing for Kawasaki Motors Corporation. “Having TwoTwo Motorsports choose Kawasaki is important to us as well. Chad Reid is a proven champion and knows he needs good equipment in order to be competitive and win. We’re also excited to have Hanny return to racing. He came close to winning a championship for us in the past and we believe he has the talent and determination to be competitive.”

Villopoto - Our View - from www.mxlarge.com 

Villopoto face

WOW!!!! Despite the fact we knew this was happening as long as two months ago, the press release this morning was still like news I never expected. American Supercross champion Ryan Villopoto racing in Europe. This is just beyond being huge, it might be the biggest thing to happen in the sports history. It is that big.

While doing an interview with Giuseppe Luongo at the Grand Prix of Lommel we talked about the future of the MXGP series, and how quickly it has been growing. The Youthstream boss then told me about Villopoto and how the deal was done, it was just a matter of a contract to be signed.

I then spoke to people within the whole deal and all confirmed it was happening 100%. While most media kept saying it wouldn’t happen, we knew differently and wrote that. Pretty proud that we were the first to confirm it happening many months ago, but still now it’s officual, it feels unbelievable.

Japan have gotten serious and the FIM motocross world championship are the winners. Having worked in this series since 1993 I can tell you I am more excited for 2015 than I have ever been for a series. Not only because of the whole Villopoto to Europe thing, but because of all the dimensions around this move.

With the Red Bull KTM Factory team totally dominating the GP series for the last decade or so, Kawasaki and Honda have put in huge dollars to try and compete. The Japanese don’t like to lose and they have decided that a motocross world championship is the most important championship in the sport, it’s where the best riders are and the most demanding circuits.

The dollars both Kawasaki and Honda have put into the GP series is massive, and it’s all due to the success of KTM. The winners of course are the fans as this MXGP series starts to build more momentum than it’s had in maybe 40 years.

But what about Villopoto, what can we expect from him?

Firstly there is a guy called Antonio Cairoli who won’t be making life easy for the American. In my opinion this is just what Cairoli needs to rise to his highest level. Beating the same guys for the last 10 years has done nothing for Cairoli’s motivation and while he rises each year, the thing all great champions want is the biggest challenge.

Expect the eight times world motocross champion to work harder than ever in the winter, build his early lap speed and work on anything and everything to try and keep winning. I bet Cairoli is sitting in his beautiful home in Italy and just smiling. I bet he can’t wait to get training for 2015 and make this his best year ever.

But back to Villopoto. How will the 2015 calendar go for the America? First we start  at night in Qatar, now it would be a hard man to bet against him in this one. A circuit that isn’t really that European, and at night. I would bet he wins this one, and I expect Cairoli to be watching with interest as he works out what is needed to beat the Kawasaki rider.

The next two rounds will be new circuits, and circuits that might suit the America, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go into round four in Italy with the red plate. But this is when it gets hard. Slippery, rock-hard circuits, massive crowds (and how big are the crowds going to be in 2015 thanks to the addition of the American champion). It could be like a roman colosseum, Cairoli the gladiator and Villopoto the helpless slave. Or it could also be like David and goliath. I think Cairoli and the GP riders might be tough to beat in this GP, and it could totally change the whole aspect of the championship. If Villopoto wins in Italy, then it will be his championship to lose.

Villopoto will be welcomed with open arms, you can count on that. He will be royalty, and along with Cairoli placed at the very top of the fans list of people to support. But what about the others, what can we expect from the likes of Gautier Paulin, Clement Desalle, Max Nagl, Tommy Searle and so many others.

The focus will be on the big two, and that will only make these others riders more hungry. We all know that Paulin can beat anyone on his day and with the massive budget from the HRC team, he will have more than enough support. The Frenchman is without question inside the top five riders in the World, and proved last weekend in Latvia that he is as good or better than guys like Ryan Dungey and Eli Tomac. He is capable of beating both Cairoli and Villopoto, and don’t be surprised if we see these three and Clement Desalle having huge battles every weekend.

We will have more on the whole Villopoto move this week, but for now, think about this. Back in the early 1970’s a young American 500cc motocross champion Brad Lackey moved to America to take on the toughest series in the World. Now just as the GP series has once again risen to the very top of the motocross world, we get another AMA champion moving here.

After Lackeys move many American riders and champions ventured to Europe to try and beat the Europeans. Marty Smith, Danny Laporte, Bobby Moore, Trampas Parker, Donny Schmit, Danny Chandler, Broc Glover and many more followed in the footsteps of Lackey all hoping to win the biggest prize in the sport.

The future is bright for the FIM motocross world championship, and as of 2015 it can only get better and better.

 
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