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Jonathan Mccready’s Portugal Preview

It’s time for Jimmy DeCotis to show the world what he has got. With two weeks to prepare two GPs under his belt and injuries decimating the field, DeCotis surely has to be getting at least in the top fifteen this week, if not, he is in serious trouble.

With the EMX2 riders like Gasjer and Seewer also not contending the GP class in Portugal DeCotis has his best chance so far to get a good result. He really should be top ten on that bike with the missing riders – so let’s hope he has figured GP racing out by now!

The Injuries in MX2 are stacking up. Tonus, Febvre, Tonkov, Tiellet, Lieber are all out – that’s half of the potential top ten! With Rachenecker also out for a couple of races. The depth in MX2 is beginning to take a hit… just like it did last year when all of factory Yamaha and a couple of other top ten contenders where also missing.

Motocross is a tough sport but the injuries are starting to take a toll on the racing. What is the answer? Yes the tracks are tough and the jumps bigger but is that really the problem? Are the fourstrokes just too fast now? Who knows, but injuries aren’t good for the riders, the fans or Youthstream. The sooner all the MX2 guys are back the better.

At the sharp end Jeffrey Herlings should go unbeaten but Jordi Tixier is probably in the form of his life.  The rest of the pack will need to start beating Tixier soon if they want a shot at second in the championship.

Dean Ferris will want to bounce back from his poor performance in Bulgaria as will the unlucky Jake Nicholls. Two of the most determined riders in the paddock, both Nicholls and Ferris will be out to podium in Portugal.

Another rider who goes well in Portugal is Max Anstie. He rode fantastic in Bulgaria and you get the feeling that Max may be about the show everyone just what he has got on a consistent basis. But he still needs the starts to make the podium.

The dark horse may be Dylan Ferrandis. The track should suit the Frenchman and he is beginning to get back to the form that saw him podium last season.

Jason Clermont will be his teammate for the race and it will be interesting to see how the Frenchman adapts back to GP racing. He has some speed but whether it will be good enough for top ten remains to be seen.

Alex Lupino is finally showing his potential. After his first ever podium in Bulgaria the Italian should have even more confidence in Portugal. He has the fight in him this season and is determined to take advantage of the Pro Circuit ride. Keep an eye for Lupino over the next few races to see if he can reach the next level and become a permanent podium contender.

In MX1 the injuries are starting to mount as well with Xaiver Boog is now out for two races to join Steven Frossard and Evgeny Bobreyshev.

It is disappointing to see Frossard still out as he is one of the few who can match Cairoli in raw speed, but he has been injured so long now it could be hard for him to find that speed again for a while.

Kevin Strijbos is looking good. He matched his teammate all weekend in Bulgaria and looks to be on the verge of joining the Carioli chasing group.

The pressure is on Gautier Paulin. The relaxed Frenchman is sometimes too relaxed and despite winning the GP last weekend he still lost an important second moto fight with Cairoli. He is 40 points behind Cairoli in the series and can’t afford to settle for second. Maybe that is the difference between American riders and some of the GP guys (except Cairoli) – the American’s don’t settle for second.  If Barcia had been in Paulin’s position he would not have been too satisfied.

You can look at the big picture but sometimes it’s essential to just focus on the battle if you want to win the war.  Caroli’s rivals need to learn to win the battles first before they can even start to worry about beating Cairoli in the war. Right now Cairoli is winning both.

Cairoli has the perfect balance and that’s why he is the best. He hates losing but never quite risks everything for the win so his bad races are generally still on the podium. He didn’t need to beat Paulin in Bulgaria in race two but he did it anyway and prevented Paulin from making up a decent amount of points in the championship. Cairoli loves Portugal and it is going to take a brilliant performance from his rivals and perhaps even a chance in mentality for them to do it.

Tommy Searle is still looking for that missing piece in order to challenge for the podium, but he isn’t far away and usually goes well in Portugal.

Could someone please get Shaun Simpson a good start? Thanks. The determined Scot is riding as hard as ever but bad starts mean the armchair fans don’t get to appreciate it and the results don’t do his speed justice.

Jeremy Van Horebeek is starting to build some momentum and could be one to watch this weekend if he gets away…although there is always the possibility he may slow and let his teammate passed! The Jerre is very talented and very fast when he is on his game but maybe needs to believe in himself a little more and back himself to become the number one rider in the team – maybe he should talk to Romain Febvre!

Then there is the first round of EMX2.

With 94 riders entered, the talent in this series is pretty impressive. After his top ten overall in MX2, Swiss Jeremy Seewer may be the favourite for the title. He will have competition from young Spanish teammate Jorge Zaragoza as well as Frenchman Jordan Lacan.Tim Gasjer will also be in the mix and he has shown good speed in the GPs so far this season. Valentin Guillod and Brian Bogers will also be fast in what is a stacked series.

The Brits are also well represented with the Watson brothers and Adam Sterry. Nathan Watson could well have a chance to mix it up near the front after his performances in the British Championship and that will only help motivate Ben and Adam even more to be at the sharp end.

But that’s not all – we also have EMX125 racing to look forward too!

With 64 entries the two stroke class is proving very popular but the man to beat should be first round winner Pauls Jonass on the JM 125 KTM. David Herbreteau and Henri Jacobi are also fast and it may be time for last year’s 85cc World Champ Brian Hsu to come out of his shell on the big bikes. Also what is going on with Davy Pootjes?! Last year’s 85 European champ hasn’t been close to doing anything on a 125 so far this season. A big improvement is needed.

The pyramid system developed by Youthstream is working and the entries and the talent in both the EMX125 and EMX250 classes are proof of that. Thankfully the young Brits are now joining the series and that will help them adapt to the tracks and get noticed by the GP teams enhancing their chances of getting that coveted MX2 world championship ride!

It promises to be an exciting weekend for the stars of the present and the stars of the future at the picturesque Agueda circuit!

Article by Jonathan McCready

Picture by Nigel McKinstry

MX Vice Editor || 25

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