Features 6 Jul 2017

Top 10: Current MXGP contenders

A who's who of the world championship series in 2017.

The 2017 MXGP World Championship is packed with highly-rated riders throughout both the premier MXGP and MX2 classes – it’s a seriously stacked series. In this latest edition of MotoOnline.com.au’s Top 10, we take a closer look at a selection of the most impressive racers in the series as we continue to see thrilling battles emerge at each and every round.

Source: Supplied.

1. Antonio Cairoli:
The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider is one of the most experienced and talented racers on the MXGP circuit in 2017 and he’s currently on his way to securing his ninth world title this season. Currently holding a 91-point lead in the 450 standings, the Italian mainstay has been super-impressive aboard his KTM 450 SX-F this season and doesn’t look to be slowing down after capturing yet another round victory over the weekend in Portugal, his fifth overall win of the season.

2. Tim Gajser:
The defending world champion has faced a challenging 2017 season, but there’s no denying he’s one of the most electrifying and talented racers in the series. With two round victories to his name this year, the Team HRC racer has most recently dealt with a shoulder-blade injury that saw him miss out on valuable championship points at multiple rounds. The Slovenian, now back to racing health, will be one to look out for during the remaining rounds as a definite threat for round wins.

3. Jeffrey Herlings:
The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider’s rookie season in the premier class certainly didn’t start out the way he had hoped after sustaining a broken hand a week before Qatar’s opener. Since then the multi-time MX2 champion has made steady progress in the main game and captured a career-first MXGP round victory in Latvia topping teammate and series leader Cairoli for the number one position. Herlings has remained a strong challenger since then and will continue to improve and become even more dangerous in this category as the rounds roll on.

4. Clement Desalle:
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle continues to remain a strong challenger in the MXGP World Championship during 2017. The Belgian rider claimed overall victories at both the Ernee and Orlyonok rounds cementing him as one of the main threats in this year’s championship. Desalle currently sits second overall in the premier class standings behind the Italian Cairoli with seven rounds remaining on this year’s schedule.

5. Gautier Paulin:
Part of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing squad for 2017, Gautier Paulin remains a threat in the premier class at all times. The Frenchman has captured one round victory to date this season as he stood on top of the MXGP podium at Valkenswaard for the GP of Europe. Paulin currently sits in a strong championship position as he holds down third place behind Cairoli and Desalle, however Herlings behind him is coming on strong.

Source: Supplied.

6. Romain Febvre:
Romain Febvre is one of the most highly-rated riders in the class this season as the 2015 MXGP World Championship winner. The Frenchman entered the 2015 season as a rookie in the premier class and became the first rider to capture the number one plate in his first attempt since Cairoli did so in 2009. Although yet to reach his previous form this season, Febvre remains a strong contender at all times and currently sits sixth overall in the standings.

7. Pauls Jonass:
Part of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing squad, Pauls Jonass has been impressive during the 2017 season and currently holds the MX2 points lead with seven rounds remaining. Currently holding a 38-point lead and with five overall victories to his name this year, the Latvian racer remains the man to beat in the hotly-contested class.

8. Jeremy Seewer:
With previous results topping the dominant Jeffrey Herlings in the quarter-litre category, the Suzuki World MX2 rider entered the 2017 MX2 World Championship as a clear title favourite. The Swiss rider has now captured four round victories to date and remains a championship threat as he continues to chase down Jonass for the 2017 MX2 crown.

9. Thomas Kjer Olsen:
Thomas Kjer Olsen has made his presence known in the MX2 World Championship this season as he continues to impress aboard his Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing entry. Currently sitting third overall in points behind Jonass and Seewer, the Danish rider landed himself on top of the box at the Latvia round to mark his very first victory in the MX2 category.

10. Hunter Lawrence:
Australia’s Hunter Lawrence has been a revelation in the MX2 World Championship this season as a rookie in the series. Although it has been an up-and-down season for the Queenslander, he turned heads in Germany this season capturing a career-first MX2 podium. It was a great moment for the Suzuki World MX2 rider as he finished in second-place behind highly-rated teammate Jeremy Seewer and a sign of strong results to come from the the impressive Aussie.