News 28 Jan 2017

Tonkov confirms Australian plans with Kawasaki

Russian outlines intentions to contest 2017 Motul MX Nationals.

Source: Supplied.

Grand prix front-runner Aleksandr Tonkov has spoken out about his plans to compete for Kawasaki Racing Team in the 2017 Motul MX Nationals.

The 23-year-old Russian has been linked to Kawasaki in Australia for much of the silly season, however the team is yet to confirm him alongside Nathan Crawford.

“It’s not a story, but reality,” Tonkov revealed to leading MXGP website “The guys from Monster Energy Kawasaki contacted me with a proposal – it was very interesting and pretty good. I already signed the contract, but I still need to fix some things before I go.”

Tonkov saw his GP campaign end prematurely in 2016 due to visa issues that have denied him entering Europe. It’s understood he’s currently going through the process of securing an Australian visa.

“I decided I am not going to come back to the GPs this year, because I am so far behind and the season started already,” he said of his visa problem. “I thought go to Australia and then maybe do the GP in US and see what is possible for 2018. As I said it is still in progress, so I can’t say when it will be or how will be fixed. Can we fix it or not, I just hope for the best?”

With Kawasaki not expected to officially announce Crawford’s teammate for another month or so, Tonkov indicated that finalising a visa for Australia is also a difficult, lengthy process. Regardless, he is still recovering from recent knee surgery.

“Australia is difficult, it takes a long time to organize the visa,” explained the MX2 GP race winner. “It takes more than six weeks. That is why I am still waiting for this.

I had surgery on my knee, so I still can’t ride. I will fly to the south of Russia and ride. Where I live its minus 20 degrees, so impossible to ride a bike. I have some friends who live in the south and they have bikes, so I will take my gear and see how it goes.

“Last time I rode a bike was Mantova and I was getting my feeling back. I don’t know my back will be, because as you know I broke two vertebrae in my back. Since then I haven’t ridden, so we will see. I hope it feels good.”