After attending nineteen events on different continents thus far this year, we have acquired answers to a lot of questions that you may have. That’s why we thought that we would open things up with this new feature! If you have something on your mind and want to be featured here, email [email protected] or get in contact via our various social media channels. Apologies if you sent in a question earlier this week and are not featured here, we had more than thirty legitimate questions. We’ll place you in volume three next week.
Question from @DanWise87 on Twitter: “Has Conrad Mewse got a ride for next year?” Stuart Hodder on Facebook also asked, “Conrad Mewse?”
A lot of British fans are concerned about this, but there is a reason behind it. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing released a press release earlier this week that confirmed that they have re-signed Thomas Covington and Thomas Kjer Olsen. There was no mention of Conrad Mewse at all in that text, which obviously aroused suspicion. Mewse does, however, already have a contract in place that will expire at the conclusion of the 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship.
Obviously his season has been turbulent to say the least, but Jacky Martens already stated in April that he would stick by Mewse. “I have never stopped during the season with one rider. When there is a problem, it has to be serious,” Martens told us exclusively. Let’s not forget that, since then, Mewse landed in the top three in a moto at the MXGP of Latvia and has been inside of the top ten in five motos.
Would everyone involved like better results at this point? Sure, but it is his rookie season. There was always going to be ups and downs. Oh and, just to ensure that there are no doubts at all, we reached out to Mewse this week and he confirmed that he does indeed have a deal in place. – @_LewisPhillips
Question from @JackLHyde on Twitter: “Where is Max Nagl heading, possibly Enduro?”
This is actually a great question. Max Nagl signed a one-year deal with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing late last year, which will obviously expire in a couple of months. Current rumours indicate that he will be dropped, which really would not be much of a surprise based on his results, but no one is really talking about where he could go. There are spots open on all five of the factory teams and Nagl’s name has not popped up in the rumour mill at all.
The fact that Nagl has been around for a long time is often overlooked. ‘12’ will be thirty in a couple of weeks and has taken some brutal hits during his career. Could he end up chasing a career in the EWC? It would not necessarily be a major shock to see that. It still seems peculiar that he signed a one-year deal at the end of last year, but he told us at the time that it was something that both parties wanted. Perhaps there is a greater plan in place here? – @_LewisPhillips
Question from @StuDawes on Twitter: “Any news on whether Justin Barcia or Malcolm Stewart are getting rides in MXGP next year? Long way to Italy just to see the Gaerne factory for Stewart!”
Right, where to begin? Justin Barcia has expressed genuine interest in racing in MXGP, but the Suzuki World MXGP team appeared to be the only option. Stefan Everts told us exclusively at the Grand Prix of Germany that he would not have the budget to chase a rider of his calibre, however, so that would not be happening. Not that it really matters, as Steve Matthes is reporting that Barcia is linked to the Red Bull KTM team in the United States.
Malcolm Stewart was in Italy simply to visit the Gaerne factory. I was at the Gaerne factory at the same time, went for dinner with him and did a ten-minute interview at the event. Trust me when I say that he was not there to talk to any of the teams in the FIM Motocross World Championship. – @_LewisPhillips
Question from @MXMasters2013 on Twitter: “Who is in the frame for a ride on the HRC MX2 team?”
Chihiro Notsuka will return to the team in 2018, it seems, so one of the spots would go to him. Michele Cervellin is obviously being considered for the second spot, but Brian Hsu’s name has popped up quite frequently. There really are not many other options that would be better than those two, looking at the list of MX2 riders, so it would probably be wise to expect one of them to lead the squad into action. Considering how wide open things are at this elite team, rumours regarding their riders have been sparse. – @_LewisPhillips
Question from @Row21_Andy on Twitter: “Who will replace Jordi Tixier at Kawasaki?”
Although it has not necessarily been confirmed, it is fairly obvious that Jordi Tixier will not be returning to Monster Energy KRT. Earlier in the year there were rumours floating around that Tommy Searle would take that spot, but the hottest rumour currently is that Benoit Paturel is going to move there. Those two would go well together, but has Paturel really done enough to step into a factory ride in the premier class? Podium finishes have been hard for him to come by on the 250F.
It is going to be most intriguing to see where Jordi Tixier ends up. It does not seem as though another factory team would pick him up, so a squad like Assomotor Honda may be a good landing spot. Perhaps a team like Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki would even take him? ‘911’ is undoubtedly still deserving of a deal that allows him to contest the flyaway races though. – @_LewisPhillips
Question from @DabOnEmFolk on Twitter: “Will Ben Watson potentially get a full-factory ride next year? Results have improved recently.” Karl Rowberry on Facebook also asked: “Ben Watson, factory ride next year?”
There has not been a lot of talk about Ben Watson and his status for next year, but that is okay. It will undoubtedly ramp up following that ride at the Grand Prix of Portugal. Could he potentially land on a great team? Yeah, sure, but what spots are open? Petar Petrov will vacate his Monster Energy KRT MX2 machine. One would presume, however, that they would enter next year with Adam Sterry, Stephen Rubini and Morgan Lesiardo. Admittedly it has not been made public how long their contracts are for though.
Benoit Paturel will leave the Kemea Yamaha team, but Jago Geerts is expected to take that ride. Suzuki World MX2 should return with Hunter Lawrence and Bas Vaessen, but both Red Bull KTM and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing are already full. There is obviously a spot at HRC too. Perhaps KTM could place him on a satellite time, but with support from the factory? – @_LewisPhillips
Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Husqvarna Motorcycles/J.P Acevedo