If there is one guy in the MXGP class who might be the dark horse in the class, it is MXGP rookie Mitch Evans. The young Aussie, who lines up for the Team HRC effort alongside World MXGP champion Tim Gajser has started his 2020 preparation on fire, finishing top three on most occasions and even winning a race, ahead of legends Antonio Cairoli and Tim Gajser.
It was at the backend of 2019 that rumours started circulation that Evans was getting the full factory ride with HRC, and for the young Australian, who started struggling with injuries, the rumours soon disappeared.
“There was talk about it,” Evans said. “Then it went away and then maybe I would stay on the 250 and then maybe the 450. I didn’t focus on it really, because I wanted to still get good results, because I had spent a lot of money to get myself over here, and I needed to earn money to get by really. There were some things that didn’t go in our favour. It was a learning year for me, learning the tracks and whatever. I think it came to me being a big guy on a 250 and taking too many risks that I shouldn’t have been doing. It just bit me in the end. I had to be smarter, that would have been better.”
That 2019 season, despite the injuries and suffering was still not all doom and gloom. Evans finished on the podium twice and raced up front on many occasions. A year to prepare for 2020 was perfect for the Aussie.
“I mean it was good to do a year to see all the tracks and see how everything works, but I knew deep down I am more suited for the 450, I want to be smooth and that helps when you ride fast on a 450. I always wanted to be racing the best in the World on the big bikes and to be running up front already is pretty cool.”
And now, entering into the opening round of the MXGP championship at Matterley Basin in two-week time, Evans is excited to get his feet wet in the MXGP class, and battle the likes of Herlings, Cairoli, Prado and his teammate Gajser.
“The goal is still the same, to finish top five there and get two good starts. I know if I get two good starts I can run with those boys and that is still the goal. I actually would like to finish on the podium, that would be really cool. I have finished on the podium at the opening round of the championships I have contested the last three years (in Australian and Argentina last year) and it would be cool to keep that going.”
So, for those who want to pick a rider who isn’t on the radar as yet, then the guy in red, riding with the number 43 might just be the man to put money on. A solid technique and a strong mind-set seem to be the perfect things to take this Aussie to places some might not have expected.
Photo Copyright: Bavo Swijgers
Author: Geoff Meyer