There is little doubt that if AMA Supercross and Motocross Champion Ryan Villopoto finds a way to compete in the 2015 FIM Motocross World Championship then MXGP will kick-off one of the most eagerly awaited title duels in living memory.

With the Kawasaki rider taking a fourth supercross crown in a row this year and Red Bull KTM’s Tony Cairoli in pole position for a sixth straight title in MXGP – as well as victory in the last two Motocross of Nations – then the two fastest and most decorated motocrossers in the world will be matching up.

After recently insisting that he has contract obligations for 2015 and is unlikely to race outside of America until 2016, the landscape has been shifting fast for Villopoto.


Gautier Paulin has left a huge hole at the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team by electing to join Honda and media sources in the USA are already claiming that ‘RV’ will not be an AMA competitor next year.

Kawasaki bosses have been meeting in Irvine, California this week to decide a course of action with the champion over his plans and the last year of his current deal.

Streaking ahead in this year’s series – following the Finnish round, Cairoli is 62 points ahead of Jeremy Van Horebeek (more than one Grand Prix) and Rockstar Suzuki’s Clement Desalle is now out of the running – the world champion knows the importance of duelling with Villopoto and what their battles will mean for the profile of the championship.

“I like it,” the Sicilian, who is contracted to KTM for another two years, said on the prospect of racing RV. “It seems that Grand Prix is getting more interesting. Even after the last Motocross of Nations you can see that the Americans are not winning as easy as they did before. Maybe the level [between MXGP and AMA MX] is quite similar…but OK the tracks are very different.”

“I think it is good that he might ride the world championship because it will generate a lot more interest from more media and it gives more value to being world champion if it is against the best American rider,” he added.

One issue that could help accelerate Villopoto’s presence is the need by principal championship sponsors, Monster Energy, to have a top athlete capable of challenging the KTMs. It is expected that Paulin will not be able to continue his association with the drinks brand in Honda colours.

In 2016 the premier class will become even more fascinating with Jeffrey Herlings widely expected to finally leave the MX2 category. In a little over six months almost every factory team in the paddock will be vying for his signature.

“I think he should move to MXGP soon,” opined Cairoli. “If you look at his races then I don’t know how he is having fun because he is winning so easily. Even with tracks we are having lately – that are so easy – he is far ahead. Imagine what happens when we come to a difficult place. It is his choice and we will see what he does in the future.”