Alex Tonkov has pushed his name back in the reckoning for regular MX2 podium finishes after his first trophy in just his second season as a works Husqvarna rider in Valkenswaard, Holland.
The Russian, who was still nursing the affects of a shoulder injury at round five where he finished second overall but was demoted to third after Dylan Ferrandis’ penalisation of 10 positions in the second moto, has cited the power of the new bike as one of the reasons for his emergence.
Tonkov suffered niggly physical problems as part of Jacky Martens’ Wilvo Nestaan crew in 2014 and was overshadowed by team-mate Romain Febvre who gave Husqvarna their first Grand Prix victory in any class this century.
The 21 year old is now alone in the MX2 set-up and after being part of Husqvarna’s official presentation with the FC250 at Arco di Trento for the Grand Prix of Trentino last month has started to impress on the motorcycle that is largely similar to the bike steered by Jeffrey Herlings and Pauls Jonass in the Red Bull KTM squad.
Tonkov aced a holeshot in Italy and then a week later at Valkenswaard was first around the opening turn in all three starts across the weekend. “It is an amazing bike and I pulled three holeshots with it in one GP,” he said. “It is completely different and not comparable to the old version. I feel much more comfortable and I can ride faster and safer.”
Better starts – and a clean run of health could be the break that Tonkov needs to further establish his name among the leaders in the category. “In 2013 I was pretty much at the front in a lot of starts and last year we didn’t have that,” he admitted.