The MXGP of Trentino – round 16 of the 2020 FIM Motocross World Championship – takes place this weekend and with just three rounds to go time is running out for Tony Cairoli (Red Bull KTM) to catch breakaway leader and defending MXGP class champion Tim Gajser (Team HRC).
The event will be the last triple-header of the year with round 17 also at the Pietramurata venue on Wednesday before the series winds up in Northern Italy on November 8. Unfortunately, all three will be behind closed doors following talks between series promoter Infront Moto Racing, the organising club and local authorities.
Trentino marks a return to hard-pack after three rounds in the bottomless sand of Lommel. Most riders have a preference but at this level they’re all fast no matter what the surface. So far this season we’ve seen seven different winners in the MXGP class but an eighth is unlikely.
Gajser took the lead from Cairoli at the MXGP of Lombardia at the end of last month and the Slovenian has now stretched out an impressive 74-point advantage and could – mathematically at least – sew up the title this weekend.
Don’t let the points gap fool you though – the 2020 championship has been super-close since Cairoli’s team-mate Jeffrey Herlings sustained season-ending neck and back injuries in free practice for the Grand Prix Citta di Faenza in early September.
Just 10 points behind the nine-time world champ, Jeremy Seewer (Monster Energy Yamaha) is also in the mix with an overall win to his name this season and so was Spanish sensation Jorge Prado (Red Bull KTM) until he was forced to miss the last round at Lommel after testing positive for COVID-19. The 19-year-old is on the entry list for Trentino.
Gajser’s 2020 record is impressive with 12 moto wins, three overall victories and 11 overall podiums but it’s been the second half of the season where he’s really shined, only missing the podium once in the last nine GPs.
By contrast, Cairoli’s form has started to slip and the veteran Italian may be forced to give up on his dream of equalling Stefan Everts’ record of 10 world titles.
With Shaun Simpson (SS24 KTM) out for the season after picking up a back injury last month, British interests lie with Evgeny Bobryshev (PAR Homes RFX Husqvarna), REVO-supported Dylan Walsh (JM Honda Racing) and Adam Sterry (Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee).
The gap between the leading pair in MX2 is also 74 points with French teenager Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM) holding a comfortable advantage over Jago Geerts (Monster Energy Yamaha) with Maxime Renaux (Yamaha SM Action) a further 101 adrift in third.
In just his second season in MX2, Vialle – son of ’90s GP winner Frederic – has lived up to the promise he showed in his rookie year and has now won 12 motos and six overalls this year and – just like Gajser – could wrap things up this weekend.
There’s a strong British interest in MX2 with Ben Watson (Monster Energy Yamaha) heading into Trentino on the back of a career-first overall win last time out and Conrad Mewse (Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee) also capable of claiming a podium.
It’s been a challenging season for Watson who at times has shown title-winning pace. The 23-year-old has won two motos and scored four overall podiums, demonstrating good enough form to secure a Monster Energy Yamaha ride in MXGP next year.
Mewse’s team-mate Bas Vaessen is also capable of a solid score and Josh Gilbert (PAR Homes RFX Husqvarna) will be hoping to get on the scoresheet but Ashton Dickinson (Craigs Motorcycles KTM) is out.
The two main classes will be supported by round four of the EMXOpen championship and the fifth and final round of the WMX series.
The EMXOpen class is turning into a Baltic-Scando benefit with Estonian Karel Kutser (KTM) leading the Finnish pairing of Kim Savaste (137 KTM Motorsport) and Miro Sihvoven (Husqvarna) with Latvia’s Toms Macuks (KTM) fourth.
Nathan Dixon (PAR Homes RFX Husqvarna) lies 11th and he’ll be joined by fellow Brits John Adamson (KTM) and Dan Thornhill (Cab Screens Deos Group Honda) in Italy.
In the WMX category Holland’s Nancy Van De Ven (Ghidinelli Racing Yamaha) has a slender four-point lead over defending champion Courtney Duncan (DRT Kawasaki) with Larissa Papenmeier (Yamaha Racing 423) another two points behind in third.
Stayed tuned throughout the weekend for regular updates from Trentino.