Australia’s Dean Ferris may have to wait until almost Christmas time until he can start riding the FC350 that he will steer for Jacky Martens’ Wilvo Nestaan Grand Prix team in 2015 but the 24-year-old believes he has been handed “one of the best deals”.
The 2013 Belgian Grand Prix winner shone in wild-card outings in MXGP this year for the IceOne Husqvarna crew gunning Tyla Rattray’s works 350cc machine, scoring a sixth position in the Finnish round at Hyvinkää. Ferris had originally begun 2014 in the confines of Red Bull KTM in Murrieta, California but injury and sickness ended his AMA adventure prematurely.
Speaking exclusively on his deal (and one that will keep Australia’s two leading MXGP racers in Husqvarna ‘white’, with Todd Waters set to remain in Kimi Raikkonen’s IceOne set-up) Ferris enthused about his role as the official FC350 athlete for the Pierer Group-owned firm in 2015 for what will be his first full tilt at the MXGP class.
“It is a 350 and it’s my choice [to ride the bike],” he explained. “Husky obviously needed somebody on one and there will be a lot of focus on me and the bike. I’m sure I’ll have to develop some of my own parts, which will be nice.”
“For once in my life I am staying with the same brand and I don’t have to iron out all the bumps through the season like I have in the past. I know I’ll get all the support and the access with Jacky that I had this season,” he added.
Ferris is coming back to health following an operation on a broken right femur sustained during the second moto of the Grand Prix of Goias in Brazil in September. “There is no rush so I’m going to make sure I heal properly and get strong before I ride,” he said. “Everything is on track so far. The surgeon in Brazil did an awesome job at fixing it.”
The arrangement with Martens is an unusual one. The Belgian’s well-established team assumed official MX2 responsibilities for Husqvarna in 2014 and earned Grand Prix victory thanks to Romain Febvre. The crew will retain the services of Russian Alex Tonkov (who rode so superbly on the FC350 at the recent Motocross of Nations) but will now split classes with the acquisition of Ferris.
The Aussie is based a short distance away from the team’s base at Lommel and is clearly happy with the arrangement that was confirmed in the middle of the summer. “It was Jacky’s decision and the factory supported that,” he said. “It is what I wanted and the team also. It is really convenient and nothing is a drama. We’ll go testing at the tracks I ride at.”
The contract confirmation came at a nervy time for Ferris. He knew he had only a handful of appearances at IceOne and until Rattray returned to fitness to impress and seek a return to Grand Prix competition. “I came off a bad injury [in the United States] and had such a short time to sort something out,” he recalls. “It is the earliest I have ever signed a deal and it is the best one I’ve ever done. Everything has turned out good this time and it’s the first [time] that Plan A has worked out. I never even negotiated with someone else and I think we are happy on both ends of the deal.”