There continues to be widespread enthusiasm in the MXGP paddock and for fans of the FIM Motocross World Championship concerning the mooted presence of AMA Champion Ryan Villopoto for the 2015 campaign but the American’s arrival as part of the Monster Energy Kawasaki team is still is some doubt.
Some key people that could have insight into complicated arrangement of the deals surrounding the final year of Villopoto’s Kawasaki Motor Company (U.S) and the relationship between KHI (Japan) and KME (Europe) have indicated that the move could be problematic for 2015.
Aside from the contract wrangles and hole left for Kawasaki in the USA (they have already signed the injury-prone Davi Millsaps for 2015) there is allegedly some concerns over Villopoto’s knee injury for which he underwent surgery and sat out the AMA Pro National Motocross series.
There has already been talk that he would miss the start of the supercross season and this could even have some impact for Grand Prix with the first round of the 2015 series slated for the end of February in Qatar.
Securing Villopoto for MXGP would be a priority for principal championship sponsors Monster Energy with the apparent departure of Gautier Paulin and Tommy Searle to other non-Monster backed teams.
“RV is one of the all-time greats and Monster Energy supports Ryan wherever he chooses to race,” offered Sports Marketing VP Mitch Covington.
“I don’t know what he will do after his knee recovery but he has a great history of coming back stronger from injuries. Who knows what he will do next year. He is a lucky young man that has lots of opportunities. Last I heard from him he was on a boat in Newport fishing. If I had to say I think you will see him in Anaheim in January under the Kawasaki rig.”
If Villopoto stays in the U.S. or even contemplates retirement then Kawasaki know that a decision for Grand Prix is very time sensitive as it would leave them few options for riders, especially at the level to fight for podiums in the MXGP class.
Tyla Rattray and Christophe Charlier have been linked and Shaun Simpson is also one of the key targets thanks to a strong season and fifth place in the MXGP standings. Current representative, Steven Frossard, has allegedly been told there is no KX450F for him for next season and the former GP winner is even considering a year on the sidelines due to the lack of a suitable deal in the rest of the paddock.