One of the interesting stories for the 2015 MXGP season will be in charting the progress of the English Watson brothers. Siblings Ben (17 years old and ready for a debut MX2 season with Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM) and Nathan (20 and with Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Racing in MXGP) have the potential to impact Grand Prix like the last family to rock MXGP: the Pourcel brothers from 2006-2009.
Ben comes into MX2 after an impressive first real attempt at the EMX250 series in 2014 where he won two motos and finished fifth overall. Nathan filled in for the injured Todd Waters for IceOne this summer in MXGP and his promise and professionalism prompted Team Manager Antti Pyrhonen to seek out the resources to allow the Kimi Raikkonen-owned squad to expand to three riders.
The official 2015 press release from Husqvarna was a little unclear on the role that the elder Watson will play for IceOne alongside new signing Max Nagl and returning Australian Todd Waters. Pyrhonen insists that the Brit is not merely waiting in the wings. “We have put Nathan through an intense testing programme with three major tests in October and November,” the Finn says. “We worked on different variations of the bike that we didn’t really have time to look at during the season when he was committed to Grand Prix races for us. We have taken him into the factory set-up to give him more experience and he has been working well with Max and has had a busy autumn.”
“Right now he is finishing two weeks at the Red Bull training centre in Austria and I know he is extremely happy and grateful to have had the opportunity to go there and learn about preparation, his physique and his training,” he added.
Watson was surprisingly called from his UK Husky team in 2014 to deputise for Waters after the rookie broke his leg before round five in the Netherlands. He contested five Grands Prix and was skirting near the fringe of the top 10 in some eye-catching rides. “Nathan is not just a back-up rider for us,” Pyrhonen asserts. “Yes, in a way he is part of that Plan B for the team but I think that he is a very talented and promising young rider and we want to be able to help develop his career.”
Watson, who has won British Championship races and nationals titles, is slated to enter all the European MXGP fixtures as well as the competitive German ADAC MX Masters series. He could also make some appearances in Britain if the calendar permits.