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Maggiora GP - Preview

Maggiora GP - Preview

Jun 12

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The glorious hillsides of Maggiora Park welcome the 2024 MXGP World Championships for the MXGP of Italy, as the series reaches its halfway point at one of the most iconic venues in the entire calendar.

The history behind the mighty Italian circuit in the north-western area of the country is such that it hardly needs to be told, even though there have only ever been 11 MXGP events at the venue, plus five ‘Nations’ events over its near 60-year history.

The first visit was in 1966, for a 500cc Grand Prix won by East German legend Paul Friedrichs, before the Motocross des Nations first went there in 1970, won by a five-man Swedish team, then two Trophees des Nations (for 250cc machines only) events, which were both won by Team Belgium. Liam Everts’ grandfather Harry Everts was on both of those teams!

Of course, one of the most famous Motocross events of all-time was held on the Italian slopes in 1986, when the incredible Team USA line-up of David Bailey, Rick Johnson, and Johnny O’Mara left the whole world in their wake in a perfect display of riding, only beaten by each other individually!

The venue was re-opened in 2013, holding five MXGP events since.Tim Gajser, who won in 2015 and 2022, Jeffrey Herlings (2013-14 in MX2), and Jago Geerts (2022-23 in MX2) have each matched Puzar’s total of two wins at the circuit in that time, so will the 2024 edition see the first three-time winner crowned?

Last year’s racing was held later in the year, and saw Jorge Prado and Andrea Adamo clinch the two World Championship crowns, while Jeremy Seewer and Jago Geerts took the Grand Prix winner’s trophies. Herlings has won the most individual races at the circuit, 5 in total, although they were all in MX2, and he hasn’t visited the circuit since the 2016 MX of Nations, where he took the individual Open class win, despite The Netherlands losing the team trophy to France on the final lap of the entire weekend!

The WMX Women’s World Motocross Championship returns to Maggiora for the first time since 2013, when Italian legend Kiara Fontanesi took the overall win on the way to the second of her six World titles.She reaches her home race lying third in this year’s series for her MXFontaRacing GASGAS Syneco team, although she is tied on points with Lynn Valk of Schmicker Racing, 42 points behind De Baets Yamaha’s series leader, Lotte van Drunen.Daniela Guillen lies second in the standings, just 8 points behind off the lead for the RFME Spain National GASGAS team. The WMX class could serve up some seriously close racing at Maggiora!

EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing series also returns, with Hungarian Noel Zanocz leading by 26 points for the Fantic Factory Racing EMX125 team after his win in Latvia, while Racestore KTM Factory Rookies star Gyan Doensen holds second place. Zanocz’s Italian teammate Simone Mancini will be cheered on by his local supporters, as will fellow home favourite Francesco Bellei of the Dreams Racing team!

For the fifth straight MXGP weekend, the red plate changes hands as the crews head to north-western Italy. Team HRC’s Tim Gajser, who took only his second ever GP win at Maggiora back in 2015, on his way to the MX2 world title, and another in MXGP in 2022, carries just a four-point lead in the standings over MXGP World Champion, Jorge Prado.

The Spaniard won the first race in Maggiora last year, as a problem for Romain Febvre made the points gap insurmountable, leaving the Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing team to celebrate with their new World Champion! So far this year, when the conditions have been dry and straightforward, the #1 plate holder has been close to untouchable, but mistakes on rain-affected circuits have cost him his Championship lead despite winning 6 of the 9 Grands Prix this year.

Jeffrey Herlings took his first win of the season for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing last weekend in Latvia, and is now 68 points behind Gajser in the standings. Having never raced a Grand Prix at Maggiora on a 450, it’s difficult to guess where his pace will be on the Italian slopes, but that Nations appearance saw him take a 2-1 scorecard when a fall cost him the win in his first outing.He will probably be quite happy if wet weather follows the series again this weekend.

One rider having a great year so far in MXGP is Schmicker Racing pilot Cornelius Toendel, who lies 12th in the standings and has winning history at Maggiora, having won in EMX250 back in 2022. Mattia Guadagnini sits 14th in the standings and is the highest-placed Italian in MXGP so far, although last year’s EMX250 Champion Andrea Bonacorsi is currently 16th for Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP, having switched to the bigger bike at round five. If Guadagnini repeats his recent lightning starts on the Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing machine, the noise from the crowd will be deafening!

Ivo Monticelli is the sole survivor for the Italian MRT Racing Team Beta squad, and will again be looking to break the top ten in his home country!

MXGP - World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 454 Points;2. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 450 Points; 3. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 386 Pts; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 327 Points; 5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 299 Pts; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, KAW), 289 Pts; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, FAN), 277 Pts; 8. Pauls Jonass (LAT, HON), 274 Pts; 9. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, HON), 188 Pts; 10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, HON), 175 Pts.

The MX2 class witnessed its first new winner of the season in Latvia last weekend, with Sacha Coenen taking a brilliant maiden victory for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing while the Championship leaders on the Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing team, Kay de Wolf and Lucas Coenen, both hit the deck more than once in race two! The teammates do still hold first and second in the standings, with the Dutchman ahead by 55 points. Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing man Simon Laengenfelder is only seven points further back in third, and is the only rider in the class to have won a race before at Maggiora, having taken the first race last season.

The big hope for a home GP win is Andrea Adamo, at the circuit where the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing star clinched the world title last season.He is currently fifth in the points table, behind his teammate Liam Everts, after taking race wins at Trentino and Lugo.He should be strong on this sort of hard pack terrain but the reigning Champion needs to kick-start his campaign at his home GP so he can start the second half of the season with some momentum.

Apart from Adamo, Ferruccio Zanchi will have the home crowd support as he starts his first Grand Prix on Italian soil (he missed both Sardegna and Trentino in April) for Team HRC. As well as that, the Italian Fantic Factory Racing MX2 squad will run a special livery for their home Grand Prix, so Kay Karssemakers and David Braceras will hope to be inspired by the Latin passion which will pour from the hillsides of Maggiora this weekend! Don’t miss it!

MX2 - World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 443 Points; 2. Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 388 Pts;3. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 381 Points;4. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 341 Pts; 5. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 327 Pts;6. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, TRI), 287 Pts; 7. Rick Elzinga (NED, YAM), 278 Pts; 8. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), 228 Pts; 9. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 226 Pts; 10. Quentin Prugnieres (FRA, KAW). 174 Pts.

TIMETABLE

SATURDAY: 8:20 WMX Free practice, 8:50 EMX125 Group 1 Free practice, 9:20 EMX125 Group 2 Free practice, 9:50 WMX Qualifying Practice, 10:30 MX2 Time Practice, 11:00 MXGP Free Practice, 12:30 EMX125 Group 1 Qualifying Practice,13:05 EMX125 Group 2 Qualifying Practice, 13:40 MX2 Time Practice, 14:15 MXGP Time Practice, 15:00 WMX Race 1, 15:45 EMX125 Race 1, 16:35 MX2 RAM Qualifying Race, 17:25 MXGP RAM Qualifying Race.

SUNDAY: 09:45 WMX Race 2, 10:25 MX2 Warm-up, 10:45 MXGP Warm-up, 11:30 EMX125 Race 2, 13:15 MX2 Race 1, 14:15 MXGP Race 1, 16:10 MX2 Race 2, 17:10 MXGP Race 2.

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