2013 FIM Motocross World Championship Predictions

We have been building up to the start of the 2013 FIM Motocross World Championship all week; but it is finally here! So, what better way to wrap up all of the hype and speculation than to let you know whom we think will win the GP of Qatar this weekend, and the title? You can let us know what you think about it all in the forum, below are our predictions.

Lewis Phillips

MX1 GP of Qatar Winner: Antonio Cairoli

Final Championship Standings:
1st Antonio Cairoli
2nd Clement Desalle
3rd Steven Frossard

Admittedly, I think Antonio Cairoli might be too strong for his competition this year. The field might be the deepest that it has ever been, but Antonio has so much momentum on his side right now; it will be extremely hard for someone to try and break that. Hence why, I believe that he will pick up the Qatari GP win this weekend, and his seventh world title. All you have to do is look at his results from the tail end of last year; he was evidently a step ahead of his rivals. When you look at his performance from the Italian Championship also (this was run through the month of February), he is clearly brimming with confidence. A fast, confident and healthy Antonio Cairoli will be difficult for the rest of the MX1 field to beat.

I think that the battle to watch all season will be the one for the final two podium positions. There are so many potential contenders; I believe that it is going to get heated at the front of the field (as I covered in detail in the MX1 class preview). However, the experience that Clement Desalle possesses will see him follow Cairoli home in the title fight, I think. Desalle has been around a while now; the knowledge that he has acquired will be beneficial when the series is complete. In my mind, Steven Frossard might be (one of) the closest to Toni in regard to raw speed. Hence why, I predict that he will round out the top three in the point’s standings. However, he has been out of action for quite sometime now; how this will affect his speed, and race craft remains to be seen.

However, as I have stated previously, any three of the twenty riders that will be looking to secure a place in the top ten could land on the podium, and it wouldn’t be surprising. But, one thing you can be sure of is that Toni Cairoli will rise to the top most of the time. He is just that good.

MX2 GP of Qatar Winner: Jeffrey Herlings

Final Championship Standings:
1st Jeffrey Herlings
2nd Jake Nicholls
3rd Jordi Tixier

KTM has always had a strong grasp on the MX2 class; however I predict that this will only get stronger this year, because of the lack of title contenders that the class features. But before we get to that, I feel like I need to justify why I have picked Jeffrey Herlings to win the GP of Qatar. News of the Dutchman’s crash has spread through the motocross community quickly; it is unknown whether or not he will be able to make it through the weekend program. But, I think that he will push through the pain barrier and start his season in the best possible way.

There are a few factors, which I believe will work in Herlings’ favour this weekend. I do think that the superfinal will favour the reigning MX2 champion massively, for two reasons. Firstly, he is on the best 250f in the field; therefore he will not be at as much of a disadvantage off the start and in other areas, whereas some of the other MX2 riders may struggle. Also, Herlings’ confidence will be a factor in the superfinal, I believe. It is no secret that he is confident in his ability, therefore when he comes up against some of the established MX1 stars (Cairoli, Desalle etc.) he will believe that he can beat them. But, some of the younger, inexperienced MX2 riders (who have not won a GP previously) may doubt themselves. However, it will all come down to how serious the injuries are that he [Jeffrey Herlings] sustained.

In my mind, I can’t see anyone beating Jeffrey Herlings to the title; but the battle behind him should be very intense. There are a large number of riders that could land on the podium at some point throughout the year. However, I think that the experience that Jake Nicholls and Jordi Tixier gained last year will see them pull through and finish in the top three at the end of the year. For the most part, Nicholls had Tixier covered in regard to raw speed last year; hence why have put him ahead in the final point’s standings. Jordi climbed onto the overall podium in Kegums though, so he knows what he needs to do in order to finish there at the end of the year. However, it will all come down to whether or not he can add some consistency to his program.

Jonathan McCready:

MX1 GP of Qatar Winner: Gautier Paulin

Final Championship Standings:
1st Antonio Cairoli
2nd Gautier Paulin
3rd Clement Desalle

In MX1, it is hard to look past Cairoli for the title. He is the full package. He can win when he needs to, he can ride any terrain and he manages a championship chase like no one else. I guess that is why he is a six-time World Champion!

Gautier Paulin could be the spoiler; he has looked brilliant in pre-season and had the speed in the first half of 2012. He also showed he is pretty good in the sand at Lommel. If Gautier can figure out how to maintain his top form over the entire season he might not be far from the front.

Clement Desalle is turning into the modern day Marniq Bervoets and he has to be getting frustrated. Desalle needs to find the fine line of have both consistency and race winning speed, the last two years he has had one or the other and I am not sure he will find the magic formula this year either, but saying that he will always be knocking on the door.

Speed wise both Frossard and Nagl are good enough to push for the title but they need to prove they can remain injury free and that might rule them out of the top three this season.

Tommy Searle will have the speed to win races but maybe not the experience and sand speed to really push Tony for the title, but he may be one of very few riders who is mentally as strong as Cairoli and that will be a big factor as the season goes on.

Dark horse for the season could be Jeremy Van Horebeek. The factory Kawasaki rider is pretty smooth and good on all terrains, he should suit the 450 and could get on the podium a few times, the only question mark is his self belief.

MX2 GP of Qatar Winner: Christophe Charlier

Final Championship Standings:
1st Jeffrey Herlings
2nd Arnaud Tonus
3rd Jake Nicholls

In MX2, Jeffrey Herlings is the obvious choice for the title as long as his injuries aren’t too bad. Herlings is just brilliant and his talent is unbelievable so unless someone can come out of no-where like Marvin Musquin did in 2009, no one will beat him. It is the second and third places that are hard to judge!

Despite his injury record I will go for Arnaud Tonus to finish second overall. If he can get through the first two GPs unscathed and can return to the form he had at the beginning of 2012 he will be snapping at the heels of Herlings if he makes a mistake.

After years of injury Jake Nicholls has turned into ‘Mr. Consistent’ and that could see him take third in the championship. It seems he has gone up another level again this season but it could again be a fight with his nemesis Jordi Tixier (and about six others!).

As for who could win this weekend, Herlings injury has thrown a bit of a spanner in the works! If Herlings isn’t too injured he should win but if he struggles there are a lot of guys who will try and seize the chance to get their first ever GP win.

In addition to Jordi Tixier and Jake Nicholls, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Christophe Charlier or Max Anstie take a win. Dean Ferris and Valentin Teillet could also be in the hunt as all these guys are good on man-made tracks.

Dean Ferris is my dark horse to have a good season, young, single minded, very talented and technically good; Ferris wants to be World Champion really badly in the next few years. I think he can be top five in the series.

Words by Lewis Phillips and Jonathan McCready

Image courtesy of KTM Images/S. Taglioni

MX Vice Editor || 25

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