The final pieces of the MXGP puzzle for 2015 will fall into place tomorrow when Motocross of Nations star performer Gautier Paulin is expected to be unveiled as HRC’s main hope for glory on the CRF450RW at the EICMA show in Milan.

We’ve been reporting on Paulin’s move for some time – since spring rumours have been gathering pace that #21 could possibly switch to HRC.

In June, Honda confirmed our earlier report that an offer of a contract to MXGP winner Paulin had been made and just a month later, following the Grand prix of Sweden we reported that Paulin had inked a two year deal to be a factory HRC rider.


Max Nagl’s departure from the Honda World Motocross team after two years was confirmed at the end of last week with a press release from Husqvarna stating that the German will be representing the Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna team for the next two seasons and will return to the fold of the energy drink and base of equipment with whom he made such a mark at world championship level through a 10 year career.

For Honda the timing of Husqvarna’s announcement means it’s only a matter of hours before Paulin can be presented with Evgeny Bobryshev and the likes of Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and the rest of HRC’s athletes and teams across the disciplines for 2015.

Paulin won Grands Prix in Qatar and Leon, Mexico this season on the works Kawasaki that will now be steered by AMA Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto. The 24-year-old aced both motos at the Nations in Latvia last month to propel the French team to victory for just the second time in the 68 year history of the event.

Paulin’s signature for Honda means a return to the brand and team framework that he made his international breakthrough in 2007 with several eye-catching Grand Prix wild-card appearances (at Namur, Belgium and Moneyglass in Northern Ireland) and the European Championship title with a last gasp triumph at the final round.

It is rumoured that former FIM and AMA Champion Jean-Michel Bayle will have some active role in the factory HRC set-up, possibly as an advisor or sport coach. Bayle has had close links to Honda in recent years and has been present at various model launches.

Early in 2014 Nagl and Bobryshev had to travel to Japan for the official presentation of the HRC racing line-up but Honda are clearly capitalising on the expected hefty media presence at Europe’s biggest motorcycling show in Italy tomorrow.