Interest in Evgeny Bobryshev has spiked in the last twenty-four hours, as it became clear that there is no room for him in the FIM Motocross World Championship. Bobryshev, a former Grand Prix winner and firm fixture beneath the Team HRC awning for seven years, was forced to move onto pastures new and eventually found a home in Britain with the private Lombard Express Suzuki team.
There is no denying the fact that Bobryshev belongs in MXGP, as he managed to jump up onto the premier-class podium twice in what was an injury-riddled season. The untimely manner that he was dropped by HRC left him in quite the predicament though. Monster Energy KRT had signed Julien Lieber and were full, Suzuki were shutting up shop and then there were no additional openings at the other factory teams. It seemed as though the new BOS Suspension team would be able to toss him a lifeline, but then that deal never materialised and eventually went to Benoit Paturel. The FIM Motocross World Championship was full at that point and, with no notable private sponsors, it was time to evaluate the alternatives.
Now, Bobryshev wants to be in MXGP. That was quite clear in the exclusive MX Vice interview that went live earlier today. However, seeing as his hand was forced, finding a home in familiar surroundings may be the best thing that could have happened. One would presume that he’ll feel disappointed when the reality of the situation hits him in March, but that would probably sting a little more if he had elected to travel to an unfamiliar land with people who he clashes with. The ambience should be enjoyable and he should be able to find comfort in that. There is an option for him to travel to a handful of MXGP rounds too, so that’ll ensure that a fire continues to burn inside of him.
There is actually an interesting sub-plot here as well. The Maxxis British Championship was a shadow of its former self this year and most made note of that fact. Bobryshev mentioned that there are great circuits and a large number of fans, but more and more practice tracks have started to edge onto the calendar and the number of spectators has dwindled dramatically. A majority of pundits believe that a quick solution would be to pull in some big names from mainland Europe again, much like the series did eight years ago. Promoters would be hard-pressed to attract a bigger name than Evgeny Bobryshev and the fact that he will sit alongside Tommy Searle and Jake Nicholls on the starting line makes for an intriguing title fight.
The prospect of that battle should be enough to garner attention, so most will keep a keen eye on spectator figures. If this does not play out as expected and the series continues to flounder, fingers will begin to be pointed and it will be apparent that there is a much greater problem that needs to be tackled. It is not just the ACU that will feel pressure though, as the Lombard Express Suzuki team have not yet fielded a rider of his stature. Neil Prince has experience in that area, of course, and that will help tremendously, but most will also keep a keen eye on how that effort grows over the next six months.
There are evidently many interesting pieces to this puzzle that will create some excitement, but that in itself may help Bobryshev climb up the ladder again. Bobryshev may not have the largest following, especially when compared to some of his counterparts, but one would presume that has doubled in the last day. Everyone loves an underdog and that is now a fitting label for him, despite the fact that he was third in the MXGP standings just two years ago.
Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Honda Racing Corporation