News 28 Mar 2017

MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki confirms Tonkov signing

Russian international arrives in Australia ahead of MX Nationals.

Source: Supplied.

MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team has confirmed Aleksandr Tonkov has arrived in Australia for this weekend’s opening round of the 2017 Motul MX Nationals at Wonthaggi.

MX2 grand prix race winner Tonkov, 23, has just arrived in Queensland this week to join teenage rookie Nathan Crawford – who remains under an injury cloud – in the MX1 ranks aboard the factory-backed KX450F.

The highly-rated Russian international, who had his MXGP career disrupted last year due to visa issues, will be certain to bolster the Australian championship. He’s been linked to the seat since December last year, but only just officially announced.

“It’s exciting, for sure,” Tonkov told this afternoon. “We’re driving right now and I’m looking left and right, just to see, because it’s like a different world. But in the end, it’s the same thing and we have the same goals. It’s a different championship after racing GPs, new riders and new people around. It’s interesting to see and to learn.

“It will be difficult in the beginning because we are a little bit late, but it is what it is and we will try to keep building. The first round, I will be maybe three or four times on the bike before if I’m lucky, so after that we have some time. I have no expectations, just have fun and take as many points as we can… who knows, we will see.”

Tonkov will take-on the best of Australia’s domestic contenders through the entire 2017 season with the Troy Carroll-managed MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki organisation, including familiar ex-MXGP regulars Dean Ferris and Todd Waters.

“I’ve been racing with them in Europe, in the Belgium championship and stuff, so for sure it’s interesting. They’re good riders and have performed really good at the Nations, so the level is really good in Australia. I’m just looking forward to racing and having some battles with those guys.”

Carroll commented: “We have had this locked in for a while and it has been a lengthy process, so we are happy everything is in place now and Aleksandr is settled in. From here we will be fine-tuning Aleksandr’s KX450F and setting it up perfectly for him.

“We are running a top level, factory racing team and we need to have first-class athletes and Aleksandr has certainly proven his potential so we are definitely excited to have him on board this year. Combined with our MX1 development rider, Nathan Crawford, we are expecting great things in 2017.”

Kawasaki Motors Australia sales and marketing manager Robert Walker welcomed Tonkov to the team: “Motocross is a very tough sport, especially when competing at a national level and there are many different factors that come into play.

“Straight out of the crate, the KX450F is a very competitive machine that Troy and our team have enhanced. This, combined with our 2017 athlete line-up, makes for a very strong combination and we are confident that Kawasaki will be on the podium consistently throughout the series this year.”