Features 5 Mar 2020

Q&A: Australian MXGP contenders

Answering burning questions after Great Britain's opening round.

In this instalment of Q&A, we answer burning questions on Australia’s MXGP World Championship contenders after the first round at Matterley Basin in Great Britain.

Image: Supplied.

Q: Mitch Evans was quite impressive, what can we expect from him in the coming rounds?

A: In his premier class debut, Team HRC’s Mitch Evans was highly-impressive in the UK, racing to a 3-7 scorecard for fifth overall. Evans really suits the 450 as we’ve seen in the past here in Australia, and following a glowing display of riding last weekend, I think we can expect him to be on the podium on more than one occasion moving throughout the series.

Q: What happened to Bailey Malkiewicz?

A: It’s safe to say it was a challenging MX2 World Championship debut for Team Honda 114 Motorsports rookie, mustering up 38-29 moto scores for 32nd on the overall result sheets. The teenager actually suffered a knee injury during the pre-season, which hindered him significantly on the weekend. It was only worsened with the challenging conditions, which were heavy and rutty after a good amount of rain.

Q: Can we consider Jed Beaton a title contender in the MX2 class this season?

A: The MX2 class is wide-open this year, and Jed Beaton is definitely a title contender. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing finished just shy of the podium on Sunday, scoring a second place result in race one before an error in the final encounter saw him cross the line in P6.

Image: Supplied.

Q: Wilson Todd was mid-pack, that wasn’t expected…

A: With two Australian MX2 titles to his name, there were definitely expectations on Wilson Todd, however it needs to be taken into consideration that he’s only had two and half months on the bike after fracturing a vertebrae late last year. Not only has he had limited bike time on a new manufacturer with DRT Kawasaki, but he’s also in a completely new environment. With more bike time and settling into his surroundings, we anticipate he’ll be well in the mix as the series progresses.

Q: Nathan Crawford had a decent crash, is he good to go for round two this weekend?

A: Nathan Crawford’s crash on the uphill triple at Matterley Basin was heavy! He was lucky to escape any major injuries, and bounced back for 14th overall after racing to 18-10 moto scores. He’s good to go for Valkenswaard this weekend, which will be much for familiar conditions for the Queenslander.

Q: Are there any other Aussies in the world championship?

A: Evans, Beaton, Malkiewicz, Todd and Crawford are the only five Australians across the MXGP and MX2 categories, but there are actually a couple of Aussies in the MXW division – Tahlia O’Hare (KTM) and Hannah Bagnall (Honda). O’Hare was 12th overall, as Bagnall lodged 25-39 race results. They’ll both be back in action this weekend in the Netherlands.