The fifth round of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship has arrived at long last and, with that, the current term of Fantasy MX Manager has been knocked up a gear. Unlimited transfers are in full effect and the rider prices have changed significantly. There are new bargains in both MXGP and MX2 and it is of vital importance that those are paid close attention to.
Where to even start? Clement Desalle has been cut the most in the premier class and for good reason. The Monster Energy KRT star underwent surgery immediately after the Grand Prix of Trentino, where he pulled in a measly nine points, but is ready to race again this weekend. Is he going to jump right back into the mix and prove to be great value at €300,000? It would not be hard for a rider of his calibre to do that. If he manages to end the weekend with a brace of eighths, which means that he will be around the same group as a rider like Shaun Simpson, then that will be a decent return. Desalle does not have to win at that price.
It is even worth considering a guy like Glenn Coldenhoff, who costs €350,000. Coldenhoff was simply trying to create a base through the first four rounds, after that pre-season injury, and still exceeded expectations, so does that mean that he will be significantly better now? The way that he performed at the second round of the Dutch Masters was promising and one would presume that he is in better shape than Clement Desalle at this point, hence the small difference in price. Desalle has a higher ceiling though! It is a difficult call to make, so paying attention to practice times and qualifying results is just so important.
There is another rider in that price bracket who has the potential to raise eyebrows, that being Jeremy Seewer. €450,000 was his previous price and he now costs €300,000 after struggling with the aftereffects of the lung infection that he battled during the off-season. It is likely that he will be close to full strength, if not at his best, now, so will he float around the top five like he did in the previous term? It is certainly possible and, as mentioned above, that would be an amazing return for just €300,000. Shopping in that price range is the best way to ensure that a team is sustainable and there will be an element of consistency.
Another place to shop is at the lower end of the market. Kevin Strijbos costs just €100,000, because this is his return to racing and therefore there are some question marks. Vsevolod Brylyakov is the same price as his teammate, so insanely cheap, but he has not been a consistent points scorer thus far this year. That is another risk that one must weigh up. Tanel Leok falls into that same category too, as he now costs just €100,000 and can score a reasonable number of points. In fact, he has scored points in every single moto that he has contested thus far. That is a fact that will surely make most think…
Max Anstie (€250,000) and Tommy Searle (€200,000) are just as tempting, especially considering that their upside is so significant at those prices. Anstie became a lot cheaper after the four rounds, simply because he has had bad luck, so one certainly wants to have him aboard when he puts two races together, but when will that be? The fact that he is beaten up after a crash at the Dutch Masters makes his selection even more daunting. Tommy Searle could also pay off in a huge way, if he can have a consistent day. A brace of tenths would be good enough at €200,000.
The prices change and there is suddenly so much to discuss! That is just the MXGP division, but what offers are available in MX2? There are more price drops in that category: Eighteen guys are cheaper than they were at the previous outing. There are no riders who have made a substantial jump in either direction, so shopping around the €200,000 mark is arguably the tastiest option currently. Whilst floating in that area one will stumble across Alvin Ostlund, Dylan Walsh, Darian Sanayei, Mathys Boisrame and Mikkel Haarup. All of the riders listed cost either €200,000 or €250,000. There is a lot of potential there.
Who has the greatest value out of those five riders? Darian Sanayei is an obvious choice, but then he has a long way to go in order to return to one hundred percent. It is worth waiting to see the impact that such a lengthy break has had on his health but, on the other hand, if he goes out and kills it this weekend then his price will skyrocket by the time that the Grand Prix of Portugal rolls around. That is the danger with the new format: Pounce when the window is open or risk missing out on a great opportunity. Playing it safe is an option, but there will be some huge scores from those who roll the dice.
Dylan Walsh (€200,000) is an intriguing choice, despite the fact that he has had a disastrous time at the last two rounds of the FIM Motocross World Championship. A shoulder issue restricted him at that point in the term, but all signs indicate that he is now one hundred percent. Finishing comfortably inside of the top ten is a possibility on all surfaces and it would not be much of a shock to see him push the top five at the coming races. Grab Walsh whilst he is cheap or risk missing out! The same sentiment could be applied in discussions about his teammate, Alvin Ostlund, as well. Ostlund also costs €200,000.
There is actually another guy, Mitchell Harrison, who is in the €200,000 bracket and tempting. Harrison did not have much to yell about at the Grand Prix of Trentino, his first round with Bud Racing Kawasaki, but his speed was extremely impressive. Where is he going to be now, one month on? The latest American import has had a constructive five-week break, with a handful of French races mixed in for good measure, so will obviously be more comfortable. Although Mantova is sandy, there is a hard base and the jump-laden layout makes the circuit not too dissimilar to what he raced on in the United States.
Does all of that mean that Mitchell Harrison should be picked? It seems like an obvious selection, but once he is compared to those guys in the same price range some of the appeal is gone. It is not definite that any of those riders will pay off at the Grand Prix of Lombardia, so it is a guessing game to an extent, but one of those guys should be selected. Having someone that cheap on a team would enable the user to shop for one of the stars. It is actually realistic for a scenario such as that to play out over the weekend, as plenty of frontrunners are cheaper than ever before.
Tom Vialle (€450,000), Ben Watson (€450,000), Jago Geerts (€500,000), Thomas Kjer Olsen (€500,000) and Henry Jacobi (€500,000) do not cost an astronomical amount and should therefore be considered. It is just a lot harder for one of those guys to pay off on their own though, as they really need to finish in the top three in both races in order to do that. Picking them is a brilliant move if winning the grand prize at the end of the season is a priority, because their consistency will help users to make a run at the overall win, but the chances of winning an individual round without rolling the dice are slim. It makes sense to pair someone like Thomas Kjer Olsen with Tanel Leok.
There is so much more to discuss, but not enough time. Remember that it is possible to change picks right up until the moment that gates drop on the first MX2 moto on Sunday, so assess the practice sessions and qualifying races on Saturday and make wise decision. The MX Vice social-media channels will be open from this point on for queries and questions. Let battle commence!
Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX