Fourth position overall at Kegums meant that Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP’s Kevin Strijbos only narrowly missed out on a fourth successive podium result since returning from wrist and thumb injuries.
In the midst of his good form the 29-year-old has been asked to extend his association with the Lommel-based factory team for 2016, which will mean almost a decade of racing RM250 and RM-Z450 technology for the squad.
With heavy rumours that Clement Desalle has moved to Monster Energy Kawasaki then securing Strijbos – a rider who finished third in the 2014 MXGP series – has been an important priority for the outfit helmed by Sylvain Geboers.
The vast and impressive Suzuki set-up however has been the target of many talks and rumours in the MXGP paddock in recent weeks with Geboers allegedly looking to hand the reigns of control of the operation closely connected to Japan over to somebody else. With Stefan Everts’ name prominent in the gossip it is possible that the organisation of the successful crew – who last celebrated world championship glory in 2007 with Steve Ramon – could change and there is even speculation over the continued role and presence of Sport Manager Joel Smets, who apparently has had a positive impact on the coaching and preparation side of the teams’ athletes (with Glenn Coldenhoff and Jeremy Seewer also included in the programme). Smets’ future carries plenty of stock for Strijbos.
“It is all looking good at the moment,” Kevin said exclusively to DBR. “I signed a provisional agreement and we are almost there. We just need to work out a few things and there are some other offers on the table. It would be good if I could stay and work the way I am now with my training and with Smets. I think it is going good at the moment and if I stay I want to keep them with me. I think they push me a little bit more. Hopefully they can stay and I can sign.”
If Desalle has departed Suzuki and ended a relationship that began in 2010 and delivered 17 GP wins in that time then Strijbos could have a new team-mate and those linked with the RM-Z have included an Everts’ favourite, Jeremy Van Horebeek, as well as Valentin Guillod and Shaun Simpson. Whatever the fate of the team and its riders it is likely any deals will have to be closed quickly to ensure that Suzuki retain the services of a potent line-up for 2016.