At a time when the Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna factory team had to face the prospect of a Grand Prix without any riders – until bringing in Nathan Watson for the MXGP of Germany – it could accelerate the brand and crew’s intentions to finalise their plans for 2015 and possibly the chance of running three riders in the MXGP class.
The thumb injury sustained by Tyla Rattray at a miserable and crash-ridden Italian Grand Prix for the South African last weekend is the second hand ailment suffered by the former world champion this year.
Rattray has had surgery again and will be off the bike for another six weeks. Team-mate Todd Waters has also been on the sidelines since the end of April.
“Todd’s recovery is going well and now he is doing the rest of the programme at the Red Bull training facilities in Austria,” Team Manager Antti Pyrhonen said by way of an update on the Australian. “He has all the doctors and physios he needs and we are really happy that he can use that facility so I want to thank Red Bull for that.”
“I think in three or four weeks he can start training with the bike – the beginning of July – and then we need to see where he is,” the Fin added. “The goal is that he can return this year and we are looking at Lommel [Belgian GP on August 3rd]. He knows the track, loves sand and can do plenty of preparation for that.”
At the Grand Prix of Trentino in Italy back in April KTM Sport Director Pit Beirer commented that KTM would consider a six rider structure for the factory team in 2015 and highlighted the extremely bad luck with Husqvarna’s personnel as an example of why more riders and bikes would be useful to justify the whole initial investment.
IceOne have been linked with a host of riders, including Gautier Paulin and Spaniard Jose Butron. Pyrhonen remained non-committal on the subject and also whether the Kimi Raikkonen-owned crew would expand to become a trio of racers next year.
“It is open currently,” he said. “Normally it will be a two rider programme but we haven’t confirmed that yet. It would be very challenging [to run three riders]. We already have our hands full to manage two guys at the top level. It will not be easy but if we commit to three riders then it is because we can do it.”
“We don’t have anything to announce yet,” he added. “We need to see how the rider’s market turns around.” With Arnaud Tonus already joining the Pro Circuit team in the USA that leaves Gautier Paulin and Tommy Searle as the next riders to decide their employers before the likes of Steven Frossard and Shaun Simpson – not to mention Rattray and Waters – to agree new contracts in the paddock.