After a weekend off the MXGP field is ready to race once again. The 10th round of the FIM Motocross World Championship will be held for the first time ever at the circuit of Orlyonokin Russia. Orlyonok did however prove itself as a worthy host after holding the 2016 FIM Junior World Motocross Championship.
The last MXGP visit to the country was in 2012. The venue is a 98 Mile drive from Sochi, Russia, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics with the track located on the eastern edge of the black see in a coastal setting.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass have momentum on their side after winning the last stop in France with Desalle claiming his first of win of season.
In addition to MXGP and MX2 the weekend will include European championship racing in the form of EMX300 Presented by FMF Racing and EMX250. Brad Anderson leads EMX 300 Presented by FMF Racing’s Championship after winning the opening round in Germany while Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Morgan Lesiardo leads EMX250 4 rounds into the series.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli is the current points leader, he won the last visit to Russia and with no previous MXGP race held in Orlyonok and the reigning champion Team HRC’s Tim Gajser out with injury the podium is wide open for new history to be made. The #222 will look to go 2 for 2 on Russian soil this weekend.
Frenchman and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Gautier Paulin has made a habit of racing up front the past few races, after his win at the MXGP of Europe and podium in France he is hungry for more. The last visit to Russia provided Paulin with a 7th overall, a result he will want to better.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle is coming off the best racing performance of his season, winning the overall in France. Desalle will strive to keep the momentum after the weekend off. Finishing second overall at the 2012 MXGP of Russia a podium if not another win is well within the Belgian’s reach.
Fifth in points but tied with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings is Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek. Both riders raced the MXGP of Russia but in 2012 they were in the MX2 category. Herlings claimed the 2012 overall but Van Horebeek was not far behind with third overall.
Russian native and HRC rider Evgeny Bobryshev has confirmed he will race his home GP after his broken collar bone in Germany. The #777 is motivated to come back as he is 7th in the points and HRC’s only rider for the weekend as Tim Gajser was recently diagnosed with a fractured shoulder blade and an unknown return date.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre had some of his best races at the previous GP in his home country of France. The 2015 Champion has been struggling this season but will use his improved french weekend as something build on.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass is continuing to perform at the level of a champion now half way through the 2017 season. Jonass took the overall in France 2 weeks ago and now has a 42 point lead over the second in the championship.
Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer is the closest to Jonass and his main title competitor. 42 points behind Seewer’s performances are improving and in France he finished 3rd overall but most importantly he minimized the mistakes which have been his foe thus far. Seewer is on a mission and is certainly one to watch this GP.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsen comes into Russia looking for the podium after missing it in France. The Danish rider has impressed in his rookie MX2 season and will most likely continue to do so in Russia. Olsen is sitting 3rd in the points but only 9 ahead of 4th.
LRT KTM’s Julien Lieber started the season strong with multiple podium finishes but lately he has struggled with mistakes. Now on his last year in the MX2 class Lieber is the only privateer in the top 5 of the points. The #33 is looking to impress the 450 teams and a strong Russian GP after some unfortunate rounds would do just that.
Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team’s Benoit Paturel is coming off his best performance of the season at his home GP in France. While most of the season has been filled with lackluster starts and battling through the pack, France saw a different Paturel, one who grabbed a career first FOX Holeshot and race win on the way to second overall. Paturel is turning his season around and will hope to continue moving in the winning direction for Russia.
MX2’s “Beast from the East”, Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Vsevolod Brylakov will unfortunately sit out this weekends racing due to injury but will be in attendance of what is his home GP.