Dissected: Former Champs

Enter the record books

· 4 min read

In order to prepare for the upcoming FIM Motocross World Championship, statistics have been gathered to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. Working through race results and lap times from the past fourteen years was an intriguing exercise and really put the spotlight on who has performed exceptionally well in the past.

An aspect that we attempted to focus on specifically was the route that former MX2 champions have taken to get to their title. Some were particularly dominant, for instance, and others used consistency as their great tool. Pauls Jonass was both dominant and consistent in the season that just concluded though, as he won more rounds than anyone else and also appeared in the top three more often than not. The average moto finish that he had across the nineteen rounds was a fourth, but so close to being a third, and that is in line with what the former victors have achieved. Just six of the last thirteen champions have had a better average-moto finish than that.

Pauls Jonass was unstoppable in the MX2 division this year (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

Pauls Jonass was the winningest rider in the class this year, but how often does that happen? Ben Townley, Antonio Cairoli (twice), Marvin Musquin (twice), Ken Roczen, Jeffrey Herlings (three times) and Tim Gajser all achieved the same thing in their championship-winning seasons. Christophe Pourcel, Tyla Rattray and Jordi Tixier did not manage it. Rattray came close, as he had one less victory than Tommy Searle, but the other two struggled to find their way to the top of the box. Pourcel is fourteenth on the list of all-time wins in the MX2 division, which was introduced in 2004, and Tixier is twenty-second.

That is actually extremely interesting and, although it is not what this column was intended for, must be expanded on further. Tommy Searle sits fourth on that list of all-time wins, despite the fact that he has never won a championship, with twelve more triumphs than Jordi Tixier. The latter obviously has a world title on his resume though. Tixier was lucky when he claimed the title, no one can argue that, but those who peruse the record books will not care about that. It just goes to show how things could have gone so differently for Searle, had a bit of that luck gone in his direction.

Jonass battled health issues this year, but maintained his consistency (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. The average-starting positions jumped out from the tables below, which you can scroll through at your leisure, as they are not exactly exceptional. The funniest point is that Jeffrey Herlings, who typically struggles with starts and was one of the bigger guys throughout his time on a 250F, has the best average-starting position of all the former champions. His figure is significantly better than what the others achieved, but then it only takes one slight mistake to destroy an average.

This seems like a good place to leave it and allow you to draw your own conclusions from the data below. One thing that should be put together on MX Vice in the future is a sheet of statistics that Antonio Cairoli had through his championship-winning seasons. It is quite clear that he progressed so much from 2005 to 2007 and there is no doubt that he was even more dominant through his early years in the premier division.

Ben Townley (2004)

Avg. Qualifying Position

2.53

Avg. Starting Position

4.53

Avg. Overall Finish

3.25

Avg. Moto Finish

6.22

Ben Townley was undoubtedly the best MX2 rider in 2004 (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

Antonio Cairoli (2005)

Avg. Qualifying Position

4.44

Avg. Starting Position

6.09

Avg. Overall Finish

4.81

Avg. Moto Finish

6.25

Christophe Pourcel (2006)

Avg. Qualifying Position

4.73

Avg. Starting Position

5.20

Avg. Overall Finish

3.00

Avg. Moto Finish

3.67

Antonio Cairoli (2007)

Avg. Qualifying Position

1.43

Avg. Starting Position

4.20

Avg. Overall Finish

1.71

Avg. Moto Finish

1.79

Antonio Cairoli enjoyed one of his best seasons ever in 2007 (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

Tyla Rattray (2008)

Avg. Qualifying Position

2.20

Avg. Starting Position

5.40

Avg. Overall Finish

2.07

Avg. Moto Finish

2.90

Marvin Musquin (2009)

Avg. Qualifying Position

6.64

Avg. Starting Position

4.78

Avg. Overall Finish

3.36

Avg. Moto Finish

4.26

Marvin Musquin (2010)

Avg. Qualifying Position

4.67

Avg. Starting Position

3.27

Avg. Overall Finish

2.60

Avg. Moto Finish

3.23

Marvin Musquin made huge progress from 2008 to 2010 (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

Ken Roczen (2011)

Avg. Qualifying Position

1.53

Avg. Starting Position

3.03

Avg. Overall Finish

2.67

Avg. Moto Finish

3.63

Jeffrey Herlings (2012)

Avg. Qualifying Position

4.94

Avg. Starting Position

3.26

Avg. Overall Finish

2.44

Avg. Moto Finish

3.41

Jeffrey Herlings (2013)

Avg. Qualifying Position

4.50

Avg. Starting Position

3.48

Avg. Overall Finish

1.00

Avg. Moto Finish

1.10

Unsurprisingly, Jeffrey Herlings is the winningest MX2 rider ever (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

Jordi Tixier (2014)

Avg. Qualifying Position

6.29

Avg. Starting Position

5.47

Avg. Overall Finish

4.00

Avg. Moto Finish

4.35

Tim Gajser (2015)

Avg. Qualifying Position

7.06

Avg. Starting Position

7.91

Avg. Overall Finish

4.59

Avg. Moto Finish

4.44

Jeffrey Herlings (2016)

Avg. Qualifying Position

3.87

Avg. Starting Position

2.67

Avg. Overall Finish

1.07

Avg. Moto Finish

1.13

Pauls Jonass will be the first MX2 rider to run the number one since Marvin Musquin did it in 2010 (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

Pauls Jonass (2017)

Avg. Qualifying Position

3.89

Avg. Starting Position

4.46

Avg. Overall Finish

3.37

Avg. Moto Finish

3.58

Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: KTM Images/Ray Archer

Fantasy MX Manager
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