Monster Energy Kawasaki introduces 2019 MXGP team

Desalle and Lieber to pilot factory-prepared KX450–SR.


The Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team has officially introduced its squad for the 2019 MXGP World Championship, which is set to kick off at Neuquen in Argentina on 3 March.

Marking its 26th season of competition in the world championship, the team retains the same line-up as 2018, including Belgian Clement Desalle, who has won at least one GP every year since joining KRT in 2016, and will be team leader for the fourth-consecutive season after securing the third in the series standings last year.

Clement’s fellow countryman Julien Lieber will be his teammate for the second year running, and both will campaign the new Kawasaki KX450–SR which they’ve developed jointly throughout the winter together with team and factory support.

The squad will make its first appearance of the 2019 season on 24 February in the French International motocross at Lacapelle Marival, and a few days later will fly to Villa La Angostura in the Patagonia region of Argentina for the MXGP opener.


Reed expresses disappointment in Arlington showing

Fan-favourite winds up 11th at the seventh round in Texas.


Chad Reed has expressed his disappointment in finishing 11th at the weekend’s seventh stop of the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship in Arlington, Texas.

The JGRMX Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing rider had put together a string of improving top 10 performances in recent weeks, however the Australian fan-favourite admittedly didn’t have the pace to contend with the front-runners on Saturday.

Reed, a two-time AMA Supercross champion, now sits ninth in the points standings as the series heads to Detroit this weekend for round eight of the 17-stop tour.

“It was a tough weekend,” Reed stated. “The speed wasn’t there for some reason – I’m disappointed in my performance. I know that I’m better than 11th place. We will work on some things this week and then hopefully come out swinging in Detroit.”

Arlington’s thriller was taken out by new points leader Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who made a pass on Ken Roczen (Team Honda HRC) in the final turn to secure victory by a mere0.028s.


Improving Seely content with Arlington progress


Motivating heat race win for the Team Honda HRC rider.


In his return season from serious injury, Cole Seely has expressed satisfaction in his progress after a stellar showing at Arlington’s seventh round of the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship last weekend.

The Team Honda HRC talent earned a motivating heat race win before going onto lodge a strong performance in the main, rebounding from a lacklustre start to ultimately cross the line in sixth.

“I’d say the day went pretty well,” Seely commented. “Overall, I’m pretty happy with everything from qualifying all the way down to the main event. Times were really close in qualifying, which is cool because it shows there’s a lot of talent in the class but it also means if you’re a tenth off, you’re way back.

“I was happy to qualify in the top five, and in the heat race it obviously felt good to lead some laps and win the thing; it was also cool that Kenny won his heat, so we sort of shared that I guess. The main went pretty smoothly. I got off to a pretty bad start, but I was able to make some passes right away – like five guys in the first lap.

“I managed to eventually get into sixth and ride there for most of the race. I didn’t really get too tired at the end, but after three rough weekends and seeing things finally coming together, I didn’t want to push the issue too hard. For most of the race, the top six were running a similar pace, and it felt good to actually have sight of the leaders.”

The number 14 is currently positioned eighth in the championship standings as the AMA Supercross series heads to Detroit this Saturday night. The main was won by new points leader Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who made a pass on Ken Roczen (Team Honda HRC) in the final turn to secure victory by 0.028s.


Everts back in Hospital


Belgian website have reported that Stefan Everts is back in hospital after having problems with his feet. In our exclusive interview with Everts last month he mentioned how he is still having pain in his feet.

The  Belgian website said: Stefan Everts (46) was admitted to the University Hospital in Leuven on Thursday. The ten-time world motocross champion had a lot of pain in his right foot the last few days. After examination, it turned out that he had contracted an infection in one of the wounds on his foot. That infection must now be treated intravenously with antibiotics. It is certainly not a new outbreak of malaria, it sounds Friday in a press release.

"Of course this is a mental blow," Everts said. "Especially because we meticulously followed up and performed foot care. Well, yes, I knew that my recovery would be a long-term work, with an occasional obstacle. But I will also take this obstacle. "


Jorge Prado interview - USA?



As the plane landed on the Barajas airstrip, the pilot welcomed the passengers to Madrid and called for a round of applause for the brand new Motocross World Champion, who was accompanying them on that flight from Bologna. In seat 17B, a Galician boy blushed under a Red Bull cap. Shortly after disconnecting "airplane mode" on his smartphone, the messages started cascading through, the first of them made him shout out in amazement: "Shit, it’s the King!" Jorge Prado was being embraced by all his fellow Spaniards, starting with the Head of State himself, and was ready to start celebrating his long-dreamed goal of becoming motocross World Champion. 

This was the last flight of the 2019 World Championship season. Next Monday Jorge and his team will board a plane for Buenos Aires on their first trip of the season. The start of a tour with twenty stops and with the novelty of being the first season for the young Galician as a defender of the title. In the circuit of Neuquen, host of the first race, Prado will already own the coveted red plate: "When you come back as a champion you know that everyone else wants to beat you but my mentality will not change for the championship, I have to try to win but without making mistakes. At the moment I'm calm because I think I'm well prepared for it." 

In 2018 Jorge had a difficult start to the season with an elbow injury in winter that prevented him from taking on Argentina in good shape. This year his preseason has not had any incidents: "We have worked very hard and are at a much better place than last year, we have taken a step forward, focusing on improving physical preparation, on being stronger in order to gain speed and endurance. "The result has been proven in the three races of Internazionali Motocross, the Italian Open that has served as a strength comparison between the favorites for the World Championship: "They turned out to be very good races, I won all three and I was able to challenge myself in the superfinals against the 450 cc bikes which forced me to push. Not all the riders were there and it's only a pre-season series, but it has helped us to see that the bike is working well and that my preparation has been good." 


Prado will ride with number sixty one on his KTM (they call him SixT1), after making a query with his fans on social networks. The result was a draw and in the end it was the rider himself who made the decision to honor the MXGP Champion who is in his opinion the true number one. Facing the champion will be several of his rivals from last year and a good batch of young newcomers to the category: "I think it will be a tough championship. Jonass, who was the most dangerous is gone, but the rest of last year’s Top 5 will stay I'm sure everyone has improved, and there are also new riders who are looking to get into the top ten." 

MXlarge: What about your new teammate Tom Vialle? 

Prado: "He is a good rider and will have good races, but it is his first year in the World Championship and it has to be a learning season for him". 

Like any champion and despite his age, Jorge shows the necessary maturity to know that his greatest rival can be himself: "You are the source of the mistakes that can cost you a championship, it is very difficult to always be in the lead and stay focused to avoid making any mistakes." 

MXlarge: Do you feel any pressure from the people, especially now that you are considered the favorite? 

Prado: "I try not to think about it, I do not feel the pressure, I focus on my work and the results will arrive." 

In that sense, the Lugo native is very pragmatic and tries not to "get in his own head" with external factors. The same thing goes for the calendar: "I almost never look at it, it is what it is and I have to adapt and get the best out of each terrain and each track, but I do not like that Spain does not have a Grand Prix despite having a world champion, it's a shame! 

At least Jorge will feel at home amongst the Argentinian fans at the first race of the season next Sunday March 3rd: "It's a very special GP for me, with a lot of supporters, a big crowd, a spectacular circuit and a very special terrain, different from what we will find in the rest of the countries. I like it as an inaugural race." He will also race in Lommel, his second home, and several times in Italy, where his team is based and where he currently lives: "I miss my country, but I have become accustomed to living where my profession requires me to. It is where I have to be right now and I enjoy it, of course I would like to be with my mother and my sister, but for now this is the most appropriate situation." 


Jorge’s future is also starting to become a talking point. At the moment he still has a contract with KTM Factory Racing, but there are always questions about the future; there is no doubt that his focus is completely set on MXGP and even more after his exceptional performance in the mixed super finals of the Internazionali: "It is true that I was able to fight with them and hold off many of the leading riders of the MXGP World Championship, but still It's early to talk, I was riding a  250 and that means having less power and speed, but it's also true that a 450 requires more strength and endurance, and I do not think I am ready yet." 

MXlarge: The eternal question seems to be about the USA, isn’t it? 

Prado: "Yes of course, after the Motocross of the Nations result I have spoken with many important people there who insist that I go. I am not ruling out any possibility, but I try not to think about it either, I am now focused on the MX2 World Championship and the time will come to study, negotiate and those things. We will keep going step by step." 

On Saturday 2nd, in Patagonia, the engines will start. The world’s best riders in search of the 2019 title. Everyone wants the Prado’s red plate, but the Galician has learned his lesson and owns a clear road book towards one only objective: his second World title.

Story Diego Munoz Photo by Bavo Swijgers.


FIM - Anti-Doping Changes?