Pit Prowl: MXoN at Assen

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The Motocross of Nations always causes fans to obsess over custom parts and new material. Countless brands pull out all of the stops to ensure that their rider is representing his country well and that they are signing the season off with a bit of extra flare. What were some of the cool things that were spotted inside of the paddock? Here is a gallery so you too can just dribble over the factory bits!

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The JWR Report: MXoN

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JWR Yamaha Racing were present in the pits at the 2019 Motocross of Nations this past weekend. It was a very eventful weekend, as Anton Gole represented Team Sweden and Vsevolod Brylyakov led Team Russia into action. The event was run in front of the 74,000 fans at the Assen TT Circuit in The Netherlands.

Vsevolod Brylyakov was extremely quick on the rugged sand circuit, but poor luck beset him and his Russian teammates. The riders consequently failed to qualify for the main races and had to watch from the sidelines on Sunday afternoon. Anton Gole had better luck, as a fifteenth in the Open qualifying heat helped Sweden transfer to the main races in eleventh. When Gole lined up for his first race on Sunday – a race that included MX2 and Open riders – conditions had deteriorated significantly. He still showed good speed en route to a twenty-third.

Anton Gole was having another incredible ride in the last race, as he was running in eighteenth in the mixed classification. The power-sapping conditions caused him to run out of fuel with just over a lap to go though and therefore he did not quite reach the chequered flag. Gole still secured eleventh in the individual Open classification and helped Team Sweden claim fourteenth in the final classification. Both of his finishes were counted in their final points haul.

The 2019 Motocross of Nations marked the end of an exciting term for the JWR Yamaha Racing squad. The Swedish team tackled the full FIM Motocross World Championship for the first time and plan to make more progress in 2020. The plans that the team have in place will be announced in due course.

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The JWR Report: China

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The 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship concluded over the weekend. The eighteenth and last round of the campaign was run on a purpose-built layout in Shanghai, China, that featured a sandy surface, which played to the strengths of JWR Yamaha Racing rider Kevin Strijbos. Strijbos was the sole representative for the JWR outfit on Chinese soil.

Qualifying was a positive exercise for Strijbos, who secured ninth and yet another top-ten ranking. The first points-paying moto on Sunday was then a turbulent affair. A fall early on in the moto left him with a painful shoulder and no choice but to pull out prematurely. In an effort to stay safe and not cause further damage, the decision was made to miss moto two and watch the spectacular Grand Prix of China from the sidelines. It was a crushing end to a consistent run of top-twelve finishes.

Kevin Strijbos will now focus on recovering ahead of the Motocross of Nations in two weeks, where he will represent Team Belgium in the power-sapping sand of Assen. Vsevolod Brylyakov will ride for Team Russia and Anton Gole will be on Team Sweden.

Kevin Strijbos: “I had a huge crash in the first moto and hurt my shoulder, so I did not start the second moto. I will stay positive, because in two weeks there will be the ‘Nations in Assen and we go all in with Team Belgium!”

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Fantasy Tips: MX Manager

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Is Ke Wang the best pick on Fantasy MX Manager this week? Is Yang Pu a better choice? One could certainly argue that is the biggest question mark entering the Grand Prix of China. That sounds like a joke, but it may end up becoming a pivotal point. The wildcards really do make a difference in this game and thus it is really worth paying attention to practice times across the weekend.

There is also another point that players should pay attention to this weekend. Those in China are seven hours ahead of the United Kingdom and – with it being a flyaway race – the first MX2 moto will begin an hour earlier than usual. Entries will close at quarter past five in the morning on Sunday and that could also end up being a game changer. It is highly unlikely that a lot of players will be awake when the gates drop, so it is important for players to remember to enter a capable team on Saturday evening. There are going to be players who forget about that little detail and give up positions at the very end of a gruelling season.

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There are not too many picks that really jump off of the page in the premier division, but one is a safe pick. Brian Bogers only costs €150,000 and should be right around the top ten in a field that will consist of just fourteen regulars. There is no one else on that level who costs so little, so what is the reason behind his price tag? Bogers looked great in Turkey and ran inside of the top five before dropping right down the order. It was not an encouraging ride at all, but then that shoulder has had another week to heal now too. Cling to the positives.

Go for an all-Dutch team in the premier class and success is almost guaranteed on Sunday. Pair Bogers with Jeffrey Herlings at €500,000 and there would be a decent haul of points for a little over fifty percent of the overall budget. There is no one else who has a lot of upside – aside from Tommy Searle if his shoulder holds up – and wildcards are arguably more beneficial in MX2, simply because there is more space for them to succeed. Take a look at those who are more of a risk though. What is there to really lose for a lot of people? The season is over for most at this point.

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Ray Archer

Thomas Kjer Olsen is going to be the most picked rider in the MX2 division this week. After a bout of food poisoning, he did not even race the second race at round seventeen and therefore his stock has plummeted in the week prior to the Grand Prix of China. If he is back to his best – and he should be at this point – then it is guaranteed that he will offer up some sort of return at €350,000. Most will make a swerve for him this week though, so should a player who is desperate to make progress zig whilst everyone else zags? It must be stressful to be in the fight for the crown.

Zach Pichon is very good value at €150,000. Most are understandably sceptical about signing him up, but he was surprisingly strong at the Grand Prix of Turkey. Will that continue? There are not too many riders in Asia this weekend, so he should still be in the points even if he cartwheels. Considering that fact should make it easier for some players to take the plunge. Spending less than fifty percent of your budget on MX2 riders would be a good strategy to adopt. Going for a wildcard would save even more money though so – looping back around to the beginning of this piece – watch the practice times!

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The JWR Report: Turkey

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Kevin Strijbos was the sole representative for the JWR Yamaha Racing outfit at the penultimate race of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship, the Grand Prix of Turkey, and delivered great results once again. The event at the Afyonkarahisar circuit was held in front of 25,000 fans.

The Turkish fixture got off to a brilliant result for Strijbos, as he qualified eighth on Saturday and secured a positive position on the starting line. The intense temperatures fazed some competitors in the first points-paying moto on Sunday, but Strijbos moved up from twelfth on lap one to eleventh at the end. The second moto was even more impressive. Twelfth was where he started once again and he progressed to ninth by the end of the thirty-minute stint. Ninth was also the position that he occupied in the overall classification.

Kevin Strijbos will now head to China for the final round of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship, where he will attempt to improve on his current ranking of twenty-first in the premier-class standings. A new circuit in Shanghai will play host to the fixture.

Kevin Strijbos: “Another good weekend here in Turkey. I felt good on Saturday with an eighth in qualification. In the first moto on Sunday I had a bad start but could turn inside on the first corner and came out about seventh, I think. I lost some spots as I made small mistakes and was a bit too careful on the track. Once I started to get in my rhythm, I showed good speed and closed the gap with the top ten but did not have any laps left to make a move. In the second moto I got a good start and rode the whole moto pretty good to finish ninth for ninth overall. I am just happy with my speed and riding at the moment.”

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Fantasy Tips: MX Manager

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Those taking part in the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship are charging towards a conclusion now, as the penultimate race of the current term will be run in Turkey over the weekend. Afyonkarahisar can be tough for some of the smaller outfits to reach – especially at this point in the year when budgets are stretched – and consequently the landscape in both MXGP and MX2 will be slightly different this weekend.

A lot of the premier-class contenders have made it across to the hard-pack venue, except for those who succumbed to injury at the previous race in Sweden. The MX2 class is littered with new names though. A couple of EMX contenders have stepped up now that their respective series have drawn to a close, which means that there are some unknown commodities for the Fantasy MX Manager players to consider. Those riders are capable of achieving a ton, but it is by no means a guarantee that they will be successful and consequently there is a certain amount of risk involved.

There is no doubt that Roan van de Moosdijk is going to be picked more than anyone else this week, because of what he achieved the last time that he lined up in the MX2 class. The Grand Prix of Portugal was where he first competed on the world stage and he immediately impressed – a fifth in the second race sent shockwaves through the paddock. It seems as though that is all anyone remembers though. The fact that he ended up fourteenth in moto one – after getting caught up on lap one and starting in twenty-ninth – has been disregarded by most.

Charging through the field like that was obviously impressive, but it is certainly not guaranteed that he will finish in the top ten in both motos like so many would presume. Moosdijk could still be considered a risk at the €350,000 mark. It is likely that most will still jump onto his bandwagon and ride the wave though, as it is tough to ignore his raw speed. There are some other graduates at better prices though: Alberto Forato costs €300,000 and could beat his EMX250 title rival. Forato is in a similar boat to Moosdijk but will not get the same level of attention, meaning there is more to gain.

What about ignoring both of those riders and focussing on someone who has more experience in the MX2 class, like Kevin Horgmo? Horgmo has had his price cut since the Grand Prix of Sweden – where he acquired just two points – and now sits at the €150,000 mark. There is a ton of upside with that signing, but will the casual player even notice? The only question that could cause one to hesitate is whether his move over to Marchetti KTM will prompt a learning curve of sorts. It is not like he is on a different colour, so it should be fairly seamless. You never know though! Watch the practice times.

Mattia Guadagnini is also stepping up to the MX2 class on Turkish soil but faces an even bigger jump than those mentioned previously. Guadagnini was racing in the EMX125 class just two weeks ago and has not piloted the FC 250 in anger this season. There is really no way to predict how this thing is going to go for him – the €200,000 price tag is daunting. Perhaps he will jump off the page in the qualifying process and shock the thousands in attendance? One would think that it is just safer to go with Horgmo and actually save some cash, but then the safe option may not carry a player too far at this point in the game.

Those are just some of the unique Fantasy MX Manager options to consider. What about Jeffrey Herlings? Herlings burnt a lot of players last week but may be too tough to ignore this weekend. There are just so many different ways to go. There is one thing to remember though: Those in Turkey are two hours ahead of the United Kingdom, so entries are going to close slightly earlier on Sunday morning. You have been warned.

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Insight: JWR and OC1

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What goes into running a professional MXGP team? This new video from the folks at OC1 highlights the work that the JWR Yamaha Racing team put in each week, including how many times they use the OC1 products. They clearly come in handy a lot! Sit back and enjoy the footage.

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The JWR Report: Sweden

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JWR Yamaha Racing finally got to experience a home Grand Prix over the weekend, as round sixteen of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship was held at the spectacular Swedish circuit of Uddevalla. A total of 22,000 fans flocked to the circuit to catch a glimpse of the JWR awning and the four riders, including the home heroes like Anton Gole and Tim Edberg.

Kevin Strijbos was the star at the Grand Prix of Sweden, as his recent progress was evident in both premier-class motos. A poor gate pick, after ending seventeenth in qualifying, did not make it too easy on him, but he persevered and made multiple passes to secure ninth in moto one. The second moto was identical, as he charged forwards yet again and took another ninth. Eighth overall, a season-best finish, was his final ranking, so there was a reason to celebrate beneath the JWR Yamaha Racing awning.

Vsevolod Brylyakov was also impressive, as he too charged forwards in both motos to secure a sixteenth and a thirteenth in the two motos. Those finishes left him in fourteenth overall and tied on points with his teammate, Anton Gole, who took exactly the same moto scores in the two races. Gole was sixteenth overall on the day.

The fourth rider beneath the JWR Yamaha Racing tent, EMX250 rider Tim Edberg, also delivered in front of his home fans, as a tenth and a fifteenth in the motos put him in fourteenth overall on the day. The EMX250 term is now complete and Edberg secured twenty-second in the final championship standings. The tenth in moto one at the Grand Prix of Sweden was actually his best finish of the season.

The JWR Yamaha Racing team thoroughly enjoyed meeting the countless Swedish fans across the weekend and would like to thank everyone for their continued support.

Kevin Strijbos: “Yeah, it was a good day. Yesterday was just horrible. I did not have a good feeling on the track and bike. We changed suspension for warm up and it was way better. My reaction time on the start was really good but, because I was too far on the outside, I could not take a better start. I still managed to push both motos pretty good from the start until the finish, so I was happy. I think it was needed for myself and for the team. All the riders did great in the team’s home MXGP, which is always good.”

Vsevolod Brylyakov: “Coming to this weekend, which is probably my final round this year, I wanted to do good results. I have some great memories from here. I was looking forward to it and the qualifying race made me even more confident. I was super motivated coming into Sunday but struggled with the starts all weekend and had to fight forward. I just had a small crash in moto one and could only come back to sixteenth. I was a little bit disappointed with that, but the second moto was much better. Overall, I finished the season on a high note. There are now two Swedish rounds left and then the Motocross of Nations, so I am looking forward to enjoying those.”

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Team Spotlight: JWR Yamaha

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The JWR Yamaha Racing team entered the sixteenth round of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship on their home soil – at the renowned track of Uddevalla – with renewed hope. Off the back of an improved performance at Imola they did not disappoint, with Kevin Strijbos scoring his best results of the season so far. They team were also featured on the MXGP broadcast, which you can see below.

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Pit Prowl: MXGP of Italy

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Anthony Rodriguez made his first appearance on a Hutten Metaal YZ450F at Imola last weekend, having left BOS Factory Racing earlier in the week. The Venezuelan rider has had a busy first week. Since joining his new team last Sunday, having completed two days of testing before competing at the Keiheuvel international in Belgium on Thursday where he claimed eighth overall in MX1.

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What high-tech method do the Red Bull KTM mechanics have for logging the work being undertaken on Tom Vialle’s bike in preparation for the next two rounds? Masking tape and a sharpie!

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EXBikes were dotted around the paddock at Imola as Youthstream and the FIM launch the EXBike FIM World Cup this weekend. The one-off event attracted names such as MotoGP star Marco Melandri and former Grand Prix winner Davide Guarneri to compete in the twenty-five minute (plus one lap) race around the motocross track.

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The EXBikes were also subject to scrutiny from technical control.

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The interest in EXBikes also extended out into the trade stands with Speedy Mousse having their MTB ranges on show alongside their motocross products.

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British rider Tom Grimshaw acted as a fill-in rider on the JK Racing Yamaha team once again, as Jere Haavisto is still sidelined with a torn ACL. The 18-year-old British rider made his Grand Prix debut at Lommel two weeks ago and finished thirty-second overall.

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Whilst the EMX250 class wasn’t racing in Italy last weekend it didn’t stop F&H Kawasaki from showing off the newly red-plated KX250F of Roan van de Moosdijk.

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Mitchell Harrison has a new lid this weekend from Suomy.

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His bike meanwhile contains a number of bespoke parts from the Bud Racing shop, including the hose kit and triple clamps.

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HRC have been using stands from the American company Power Lift Systems this year. The battery powered lifts were also used by Suzuki World MXGP back in 2017. HRC also include the mechanics on their stands, including Tim’s brother Nejc Gajser.

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Jeremy Seewer showed off his new Shoei helmet, which he designed with his girlfriend.

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It’s not everyday you see the MXGP trucks in such an iconic location!

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