After attending thirty-two events on different continents thus far this year, those of us at MX Vice have acquired answers to a lot of questions that you have. That is why things have opened up in this new feature. If there is something on your mind, email [email protected] or get in contact via the various MX Vice social media channels.
"What about the under twenty-three rule in the MX2 class in the FIM Motocross World Championship," asked Simon White on the MXVice.UK Facebook page.
There will be an interview with David Luongo, the vice president of Youthstream, on MX Vice on Monday and that will have more on this, but here are some initial thoughts. The age-restriction rule was introduced in order to push the greatest riders into the premier division and effectively make that the pinnacle of the sport. It has worked. There is no denying the fact that if that was the goal, which it was, then mission accomplished. The depth in the class is unbelievable. Maybe it would be like that even without the rule? Who knows, but one could certainly argue that. The fact is that this cannot be looked at as a failure at all.
It is understandable why some fans are being led by their heart and leaning that way, because that premier class is difficult for a rider who is on the bubble to break into now. How can one simply claim that the rule is the reason for that though? It would still be deep without it and there would be no additional positions available on the factory teams. It is not like a rider like Jorge Prado is going to get shut out and left with no avenue to explore. Those riders will always be looked after. It is those who, as stated previously, are on the cusp who effectively reach a dead end and are left with nowhere to go.
It seems that the fact that guys are being pushed into the premier class is not the biggest issue in the public eye though, instead it is the fact that those who do not have an option to race a bigger bike have nowhere to go. If everyone could find a spot in the premier class, which really was the case five years ago, then most would probably be content with what is happening here. The newest EMX rules have added onto the issue, as that was always a back-up plan for those who did not want to give up on a dream. Anyway, back to the issue at hand, is there a chance that things could change for those in a pickle?
It is unlikely for the upcoming term, as it is so late and a lot of positions in the pits are taken now anyway. If a rider like Jose Butron could suddenly move down to MX2 right now, he would struggle to nail down an elite contract. Could it change in the future? The rule will never disappear completely, it seems, but perhaps the age limit could be bumped up to twenty-four? Industry heavyweights like Steve Dixon want to see that and, although it is only a difference of one year, it would actually make a big difference. Time will tell. There have not been any rumours in the pits that things are going to change though, so expect it to stay the same. – @_LewisPhillips
"Is Jorge Prado going to be the next Jeffrey Herlings?" asked Jak Murray on the MXVice.UK Facebook page.
This topic is coming up so much now, as most are looking into the future and trying to predict when Jeffrey Herlings could potentially be stopped. It makes sense that most fans are then choosing to pull Jorge Prado into the conversation, because when looking at it on paper he is effectively the next in line. Will it work out that way? It is tough to say at this point. There are things that go against Prado currently, as he is small and inexperienced, but then that is irrelevant as he will not go up against Herlings next year. The crown will be passed on one day, even if it does happen by default when Herlings chooses to hang up his boots, and one would presume that Prado will be there waiting in the wings.
Looking at this situation realistically, who is going to take over from Jeffrey Herlings? It has to be someone who is not racing in the class currently, as that is clearly not going to work out. Pauls Jonass is the only rider who could potentially get there before Jorge Prado, but then that is rather unlikely. Jonass had a successful run in the MX2 class, but he has never been hailed as the next big thing like his former teammate. Changing classes can sometimes transform a guy and even Jonass has said that he rides the bigger bike very well, so it is obviously too early to just write him off, but one would presume that it is unlikely that he is going to reach that level.
This is actually an interesting point to discuss. Jorge Prado is the next big thing and will turn out to live up to that. Who is the next in line behind him though? Prado was given that title very early on in his career, but there is not a guy like that currently. Jett Lawrence filled that role this season, one could argue, but he will not be fighting for a world title anytime soon, now that he has begun his American adventure with the GEICO Honda outfit. It will be intriguing to see if an unknown guy jumps into that role once the new season begins. There is always the potential for that to happen. – @_LewisPhillips
"Is Cooper Webb going to adjust to the KTM and live up to his hype?" asked Drew Lambert on the MXVice.com Facebook page.
This is arguably going to be the most exciting plot to follow during Monster Energy Supercross, besides the actual title race. Webb simply has to perform, there is no doubt about that at all, but he also needs to keep healthy. The latter has actually been his greatest problem since stepping into the premier division, although most tend to sweep it under the rug. It is actually worth noting that he has never completed a full series in the 450SX or 450MX class. There has been chatter that the YZ450F is tougher on the smaller guys, although for the most part staying healthy simply comes down luck.
It is wrong to get on a guy too much for getting hurt but then, on the other hand, there becomes a point where it derails a career completely. Look at Dean Wilson! Staying healthy is the first step and then he has already proven that he can land on the podium. If he does that in his first year with Red Bull KTM, will that make it a success? Is everyone looking for more out of him? It seems there is a bit of confusion about what fans and insiders expect from him. It is still unrealistic to expect him to win races, one could argue, as that is quite a step from where he is currently. Gathering consistent podiums is not too much of a stretch, but that is not quite living up to his hype. – @_LewisPhillips
Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: KTM Images/Ray Archer