News 18 May 2021

Defending champion Vialle elects against number one plate

Frenchman anticipates Geerts to be the fiercest rival in 2021.

Image: Supplied.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle has elected against using the number one plate as he defends his MX2 crown in the 2021 MXGP World Championship.

The Frenchman has stuck with tradition in the MXGP series, where the majority of reigning champions choose to defend the title while using their regular grand prix number.

As the season-opener approaches on 13 June at the MXGP of Russia, Vialle anticipates Jago Geerts (Monster Energy Yamaha MX2) to be his fiercest rival in the pursuit of back-to-back MX2 championships.

“I want to keep 28, so that’s what it will be,” Vialle declared. “For sure 2021 is a bit different, but then again I spent most of 2020 with the red plate so that kind of pressure is the same. Don’t forget that when you are riding you don’t see the red plate!

“Everybody wants to beat you, but I think I had some of that last year as well – I kinda like being in that position. In 2020 it was mainly me and Jago so it was difficult to take points from him and to feel a bit safe with the lead. It only happened when he started to make a few mistakes.

“I think in 2021 there will be a few other riders even if [Thomas Kjer] Olsen and [Ben] Watson moved to the 450s. We’ll see. It’ll be an interesting year but I believe Jago will be the first guy to beat.”

Orlyonok will play host to MXGP of Russia’s opening round next month, kick-starting the 19-round world championship/