Features 2 Mar 2017

Countdown: MX Nationals launch analysis

Six factors we took notice of during Monday's 2017 season intro.

The 2017 Motul MX Nationals season was officially launched at Wonthaggi on Monday, where a host of top teams and riders took to the track for their first laps alongside eachother on home soil this year. MotoOnline.com.au was there keeping tabs on all the action and here are just some of the points we witnessed during the event.

Image: Alex Gobert (Foremost Media).

6. Private efforts impress:
With the launch taking place in Victoria, some of the leading teams from further north weren’t in attendance, however the likes of the Yamaha-equipped Bulk Nutrients WBR Motorcycles Race Team and newly-formed MAD Peter Stevens Racing KTM teams were on-track. They’re quality organisations who work hard with some top young talents, so keep an eye on them all season long.

5. Just Wilson at Suzuki:
One team that did make the trip south all the way from the Gold Coast was Wilson Coolair Motul Suzuki, with Luke Wilson at the helm. They did have a bike of Kyle Peters there, but since he’s in the US contesting supercross with JGR at the moment, he couldn’t make it. Hopefully he does head over by the time round one comes around in a month’s time, despite rumours suggesting otherwise.

4. Honda team’s dialled in:
Now managed by Jay Foreman, featuring two new riders in Todd Waters and Luke Clout, Crankt Protein Honda Racing has stepped it up for 2017 and we’re tipping a standout year for them aboard the all-new CRF450R. Second year into its motocross project, the team operated by Superbike championship winners, Motologic, should be much more competitive this year.

Image: Alex Gobert (Foremost Media).

3. Clout means business:
If anybody stood out on Monday for the sake of charging hard and putting in laps, it’d have to be Honda’s new signing Clout. He’s had a pretty low-key entry into the MX1 ranks until now, but despite very different track conditions to what we’ll see on race day at Wonthaggi, Clout was more than willing to push the envelope with some raw speed. He will be impressive this year.

2. KTM’s Marmont factor:
The launch marked multi-time national champion Jay Marmont’s first true appearance with KTM Motocross Racing Team in the role of team manager locally and he was working closely with Kirk Gibbs and Luke Styke. It’ll be an interesting topic to watch as the year unfolds, because with his specific and very recent racing experience, Marmont could bring an entirely new edge to the KTM duo.

1. CDR and Ferris at work:
Think CDR Yamaha is simply bolting on the number one plate and sending Dean Ferris out to defend his crown in 2017? Think again. The powerhouse factory team was hard at work developing updated solutions from the get-go at Wonthaggi and they’re not resting on what they already know. Chances are, come round one his YZ450F will be very different to the one he finished with last August.